Exploring Miraflores

If your travels take you to Lima, they will most likely take you to Miraflores, an exciting residential and shopping district just south of downtown Lima.

Miraflores is teeming with restaurants, cafes, bars, shops and hotels, making it a popular destination for both Limeños and visitors alike. In fact, five of the six vegetarian restaurants we profiled earlier are located in Miraflores. Since you’re definitely going to want to spend time in Miraflores, here are some attractions you won’t want to miss.

1. Parque Kennedy

This is the heart of Miraflores, where the locals come to stroll, dance, eat and escape the urban hustle amongst the many beautiful green landscapes. The most prominent building in the park is the Virgen Milagrosa Church, built in 1939. Also popular is the Chabuca Granda Amphitheater, where you can take in a variety of performances. In addition to various artisans, handicrafters and street food vendors who peddle their wares, Parque Kennedy is also a haven for dozens of stray cats. The municipality keeps a close eye on the feline population, providing health services (including spaying and neutering), and arranging for adoptions.

2. Choco Museum

Chocolate lovers take note! This museum, devoted to the world’s favorite treat, will not only give you the history of chocolate, but plenty of delicious samples—made with organic, Peruvian cocoa beans–along the way. You can even take a workshop to make your own chocolate bar. Oh, and there’s the gift shop.

3. La Mar

A visit to legendary chef Gaston Acurio’s casual restaurant is a must for any seafood lover. The specialty here is ceviche. All kinds of ceviche, from the traditional to the innovative. La Mar is located on La Mar Avenue (what are the chances?), and open for lunch only. Best to arrive early, as the restaurant does not take reservations, and gets crowded quickly.

4. Larcomar

Did someone say shopping? This large shopping center is perched on a cliff above the sea, and offers something for everyone. In addition to shopping, you can take in a movie, grab a bite to eat (there are several US-based casual dining chains, if you’re pining for the comforts of home), even bowl a few frames. The outdoor seating area offers great views in a sophisticated, yet relaxed setting.

5. Mercado Indio

Big, sprawling and colorful, this is the place to shop for Peruvian souvenirs. Take your time, and hit lots of stalls in your quest for pottery, alpaca rugs, and vibrant blankets. Compare prices. And don’t be afraid to haggle!

6. Huaca Pucllana

What’s that? You’d like to see a 2,000-year-old adobe pyramid in the middle of a city? Well, step right up and visit Huaca Pucllana, also known as Huaca Juliana. Yes, here in the middle of Miraflores stands this massive, multi-layered, clay structure that was used for both ceremonial and administrative purposes.

7. Pisco Bar

It’s casual, cozy and a great place to learn all about Peru’s national beverage, pisco. A pisco sour is a must, of course, but be sure to taste the many different types of pisco served here. And if you’re hungry, you can order a nice ceviche to complement your cocktails.

8. La Emolienteria Bar

It’s colorful, loud, lively and has an extensive menu of pisco-based cocktails. What more could you ask for? How about a menu loaded with Peruvian bar food options? Get here early to get a good spot, as it’s very popular with the locals.