Peru’s capital is becoming one of South America’s biggest hitters. British Airways launched direct flights to Lima last summer, but no longer do visitors touch down int he city and get out as soon as jet lag allows — an explosive food and culture scene means these days it’s a standalone city break, holding its own against the likes of Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro.
Buzz has been growing about its restaurants for the past few years, but instead of joining the waiting lists for the most celebrated joints, look for the new, more casual affairs which some of the top chefs am opening up.
Rafael Osterling (of Miraflores’ Rafael fame) opened El Mercado recently — a simple farm-to-table restaurant firmly rooted in Peruvian cuisine, as opposed to the Mediterranean fusion at his flagship restaurant — and darling of the jet-set Jaime Pesaque will open Mayta in 2017.
The capital’s hotel scene is blossoming: new openings include Casa Republica in Pacific-edged Barranco — a lavish 1920s mansion reimagined as it was in its glory days, opening in February — and the Atemporal ‘hotelito‘ in Miraflores, where contemporary art and retro furniture meet in a 1940s building that’s a cross between a medieval castle and a Swiss chalet.
There’s plenty going on outside the capital, too. In May, Belmond’s Andean Explorer train will ply its route from Cusco to Arequipa, winding through the Andes and past Lake Titicaca as part of one of the highest altitude train journeys on Earth.
The ‘second Machu Picchu’, pre-Incan fortress Kuelap, will get more accessible with the imminent opening of a cable-car. Instead of braving a four-hour walk to the ridge, 9,800ft above sea level, the cable-car will whisk visitors up in a sweat-free 20 minutes.
LATAM’s new flights from Lima to Jaen are opening up the north of the country — it’s now easier to reach places like Mancora, a boho surfing village near the border with Ecuador. Popular with the South American jet set, it’s been difficult to reach for travellers without their own private planes.
Even the Amazon is opening up its secrets — a ‘boiling river’ that simmers in temperatures over 90C and was previously known only to locals, made headlines this year. Jacada Travel can arrange trips to see the river and meet the native Amazonian communities who live on its banks.