Sri Lanka Guide: Climbing Adam’s Peak

Climbing Adam’s Peak is one of the most important destinations in Sri Lanka. After making the pilgrimage myself, I have to say that it should be your number one priority to make it here during your Sri Lanka trip. Why?

The cultural and religious symbolism of Adam’s Peak is very important to the Sri Lankan people. The Buddhist population believes there is a footprint from Buddha himself at the top of the mountain, while the Hindu people believe the footprint is from their god Shiva. Christians and Muslims believe it is from Adam, and the first step he took after being exiled from the Garden of Eden. All four religions consider climbing Adam’s Peak to be a sacred pilgrimage, and we saw many people from every generation making the strenuous hike, from small children to barefoot grandmas and everyone in between.

This hike isn’t easy, either. Climbing Adam’s Peak means struggling up 5,000 stairs. Oh, and did I mention that the walk begins at 2 am? If you’re still interested in undertaking this sacred trek (you should be, it’s amazing!) then keep reading….

 

 

Where is Adam’s Peak?

Adam’s Peak is located in the south west part of the country, and is pretty far away from most other tourist attractions. We decided to do it between our time in Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle and Ella in the Hill Country. We had a hired driver and stopped for one day at the destination. Check out my detailed Sri Lanka Itinerary to learn more about the best time to fit it into your trip.

 

When is Climbing Season?

The best time to climb Adam’s Peak is during the pilgrimmage season. This runs from January to May. For the rest of the year, the mountain “closes.” That means there are no open shops, no electricity and lights, and no people on the mountain save for a few tourists who are climbing Adam’s Peak out of season. This is more dangerous and should only be done with a lot of planning, packed food and water, and even a hired guide.

If you are going during the pilgrimage season, no guide is necessary, because there will be thousands of people on the mountain with you, and plenty of shops to buy water and food on the climb up. Just make sure you avoid the full moons and weekends. These are the most popular days, and the massive crowds can prevent you from even reaching the peak.

 

 

Which Route Should I Take?

There are multiple routes for climbing Adam’s Peak. The most popular, and the one that I took, was the route from the small town of Dalhousie. This route is lined with lights, shops, and is completely on stairs… there are no hiking trails here.

 

How Long is the Climb?

The 5,000 steps take about three and a half hours to ascend, and two and a half more to descend. We left our hostel in Dalhousie around 2 am and returned at 9 am. I am, however, a very slow walker… the route can be done faster or slower depending on your fitness levels.

 

What Time Should I Start The Climb?

The tradition is to start the climb at 2 or 2:30 am, and reach the top to watch the sunrise. I definitely suggest this because first, you will see all the Sri Lankan people making their pilgrimages, and second, you will miss the extreme heat and sun of the day. Finally, you’ll see the sunrise from the peak, where the view of Sri Lanka’s lush jungles,  rolling hills, and blue lakes is stunning.

 

What Should I Bring on the Climb?

Good hiking boots, and a few layers because the night starts chilly but will warm up as you climb and the sun rises. You should also bring toilet paper and hand sanitizer for the bathrooms, and small bills and coins to buy water and snacks on the way up.

 

 

How Long Should I Stay in Dalhousie?

There is really not too much to do in this town, and all the hostels have extremely high prices because it’s such a popular tourist destination. Because of this, we arrived in the town in the evening, ate dinner in our hostel (Slightly Chilled Guest House, very clean but definitely pricey) and tried to fall asleep early. Then we woke up at 2 am for the climb and finished around 9. We showered and ate breakfast at our hotel, then left immediately with our driver to head to Ella. If you have a private driver, I definitely suggest this. If not, you may be too tired to deal with public transport and want to spend a second night to recover before you move on.

 

Where Should I go after Climbing Adam’s Peak?

After climbing Adam’s Peak, my legs were DEAD. They have never ever been so sore in my life, and I doubt they ever will be again. I became a hobbling shell of my former self. Unfortunately, after climbing Adam’s peak we went to Ella, which is a town known for climbing little Adam’s Peak, Ella Rock, and other beautiful hikes. I chose this as our next destination in our Sri Lanka Itinerary because it was only four hours from Adam’s Peak. I’m happy we went, but I would also suggest scheduling a few days at a beach directly after your climb to really relax and recover.

 

What else can I say about climbing Adam’s Peak? Outside of these specifics, it was honestly a truly magical experience. One of those moments where you feel completely connected and united with the people around you, as you all sit and enjoy your physical accomplishment and a beautiful but fleeting sunrise. The climb was physically challenging, but so rewarding. I 100% recommend adding Adam’s Peak to your Sri Lanka itinerary. Even if you’re a little out of shape or nervous about the climb, it’s easy to go slow and steady to the top. Give it a try and I promise you won’t regret it!

All my love,
Di

 

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The Perfect Weekend Trip from Lima

After being in a city of 8 million for over two weeks, I really needed an escape from the noise and pollution. Daniel and I decided to take a weekend trip from Lima to the Islas Ballestas and Huacachina Oasis. While there we met up with one of my best friends who is currently doing the Gringo trail and passing through Peru. We had an awesome time, and now I definitely recommend visiting the Huacachina Oasis on a weekend trip from Lima!

 

 

Day One – Lima to Paracas

Our first stop was the Islas Ballestas in Paracas. They are a four hour bus ride from Peru. We caught the bus on a Friday afternoon for our weekend trip from Lima at the Soyuz bus station on Avenida Mexico where the Soyuz and Peru Bus lines both run. They leave every 15 to 20 minutes on the Lima to Ica route, and cost $12 per person.

The bus dropped us off in Pisco, and from there we had to take another 20 minute and $8 taxi ride to Paracas,  a small town right on the water. It has a tiny beach front and a strip of restaurants on the ocean. We met up with our friends, grabbed dinner and a few drinks, and called it a night.

 

Day Two – Islas Ballestas and Huacachina Oasis

The next morning, we woke up for the 10 am Islas Ballestas tour. The tour cost $8 with another $5 tax, and it is super easy to buy tickets at any of the hostels or agencies around the square. We walked to the pier right in the center of the small town and loaded up on the small boat.

The Islas Ballestas are called the poor man’s Galapagos, but honestly, I think that’s a bit of a stretch. The tour was just… ok. Some factors into my less than enthusiastic review include a hangover on a choppy boat, crowded and uncomfortable seating, crappy gray weather, and worst of all the absolutely horrible and strong smell of exhaust that engulfed us whenever the boat stopped to point out birds or animals. It was extremely unpleasant and definitely impacted my enjoyment of the trip.

 

 

However, there were still a few highlights. Most notably was the teeny tiny penguins who lived up on the rock cliffs with the birds, and of course the sea lions. These fuzzy and strange creatures were such a delight to see up close (even though in the back of my mind, I felt awful for being complicit in bringing so much horrible exhaust and boat fumes into their habitats.) The boat tour was two hours total, and we saw the birds, penguins, and sea lions for about 30 to 45 minutes of the trip.

 

 

My Tips

If you decide to do the Islas Ballestas tours, my tips would be to bring warm clothes because the boat ride is cold and the wind is strong. Also, if I did it again I would have spent the whole weekend and both nights in Huacachina, and just booked the tour through an agency there to take us out and back, and skip the night in Paracas (although this may be more expensive).

Finally, if you’re really into wildlife you can also add on a second trip to the Paracas National Reserve after your island tour. This is 5 more hours, but only costs an extra $5. Definitely something to consider if you have a lot of time on your hands.

 

Paracas to Huacachina

 

 

After the tour and lunch in town, we started the next leg of our weekend trip from Lima. This time it was off to the Huacachina Oasis. To get to the oasis from Paracas, we waved down a taxi to take us to the Pisco bus station. Although it is back tracking, it was cheaper to take the bus than the $35 taxi ride to Ica. At the bus station, we took an hour long $1.50 bus ride to Ica, the large city that Huacachina lies just outside of.

 

 

The oasis may seem like it’s in the middle of nowhere, but in reality it’s only a 5 minute taxi ride from the Ica bus station. Huacachina is a small little town built around a small little lake. The town and lake are surrounded by looming sand dunes on almost all sides, and it has a really awesome and lively atmosphere on the weekends.

The markets, shops, restaurants and bars surround the small lake, and palm trees shade the walk. This oasis was never at the top of my bucket list, but it’s been one of my favorite destinations in the country and is a perfect weekend trip from Lima if you want to just chill and relax.

 

We stayed in the Carola hostel (which isn’t actually completely constructed yet) and spent the afternoon lounging in our swim suits by the large pool and enjoying the sun. Later, we climbed up onto the sand dunes to enjoy the sunset, and then ate an awesome dinner and delicious wings at the Huacachina Backpackers House. Our hostel warned us they were going to be partying in their bar until 6am, and they didn’t disappoint. Music blasted and the club filled up until sunrise.

 

Day Three – Sandboarding, Dune Buggies, & the Tacama Winery

 

 

Sunday was off to a slow start. We woke up and ate a late breakfast, then split up for the afternoon. My friends decided to try out the sand boarding and dune buggies, while we went off to the Tacama Winery.

The sand boarding and dune buggy tours leave every morning at 10:30 and every afternoon at 4:30. They cost $11 each and are two hours of riding around on the surrounding dunes, and boarding down them at sunset. This tour is one of the most popular in Huacachina and seems like a blast.

 

 

However, we opted to hit up the Tacama Winery instead, and I’m so glad we did. This winery is the oldest vineyard in South America. It was founded by the Spanish Conquistadores in the 1540’s and has been continuously run ever since. The winery is also so beautiful that it is regularly used for weddings and events, and I can definitely see why.

The entrance is a long tree covered lane lined with flowers, and the winery itself is surrounded by a lush green lawn and colorful gardens. Inside we did the $3 tour and tasting, and were able to see the old monastery, chapel, and courtyard as well. So beautiful.

 

 

The best part about the Tacama winery (which also serves Pisco, the national liquor of Peru,  if that’s more your style) is that the bottles were delicious and cheap at only $7 each. The four of us split a bottle of red and white while sitting out on the lawn, breathing the fresh air and watching the sun begin to set.

The only complaint I had is that the winery closed at 5:30 and we had to leave… even though it is probably for the best. The vineyard is secluded so they even called a taxi for us to take us back to the Ica bus station.

 

 

Passport Theft

From here, it was time to head home. We took the 8pm bus for $8 back to Lima. The five hour ride was uneventful for us, but not my friend. She was on the 7pm bus after the sand boarding, and unfortunately her boyfriend’s backpack containing one phone, two laptops, and BOTH their passports was stolen from under the seat while they were asleep.

This devastating discovery has been tough, and means they’re going to be stuck in Lima for two weeks instead of two days while they work on getting their passports replaced at the US Embassy. If you have valuable stuff in your bags on the busses in Peru, make sure you keep them on your laps or under your feet at all times, because losing a passport is every traveler’s worst nightmare.

 

All in all, and besides this (pretty major) setback with the passports, the Islas Ballestas and Huacachina Oasis were the perfect weekend trip from Lima. They are all situated close together and super easy and cheap to get to from Lima. The oasis is also an amazing place to relax and unwind for a weekend from work or travel. Definitely don’t miss it on your way through Peru!

All my love,
Di

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What to See in Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle

Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle is a unique part of the country. It is located in the center and is definitely Sri Laka’s historical capital. The “triangle” is made up of three cities: Kandy, Polonnaruwa, and Anuradhapura. Two of them are only ruins, but they all have historical and cultural significance, so there is a lot to see and do here. I spent ages pouring over reviews and itineraries before finally finding the cultural triangle to do list that worked for me.

We hired a private car, so we were picked up at the airport in Colombo and drove straight to Kandy. We spent two nights in the city, then two nights in Sigiriya where we visited the rest of Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle destinations.

Daniel and I only spent four days in Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle, but without a time crunch we easily could have spent a few weeks here instead. Unfortunately we had to prioritize the top sites, and I think we made the right choices. Here are the top five must see’s in Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle.

 

1. Polonnaruwa

Cost: About $25 per person
Time: Half day to full day trip
Location: One hour drive from Sigiriya

 

 

This was honestly my favorite day of our whole two week trip. Polonnaruwa is amazing, there’s just no other word for it. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site, so it’s been well preserved over the years. The city used to be a capital of Sri Lanka 1,000 years ago, and now the sprawling ruins lay abandoned, slowly being taken over by the encroaching jungle.

What makes Polonnaruwa so special? It is not a widely visited tourist destination, so it wasn’t over crowded. That meant, we were able to explore areas completely silent and away from the rest of the crowds. I think that helped a lot in feeling the eeriness and weight of the history this location holds. Beautiful carvings, designs, and even giant buddha statues surrounded us and transported us back to an ancient time. We also rented bikes at the ruins, and rode them around to see a lot of crumbling temples and statues off the main road.

 

 

Polonnaruwa is only about an hour drive from the town of Sigiriya (where the famous Lion’s Rock is located) and we did our whole trip to the ruins in a half day. I could have easily spent more time exploring, but we were hit with a rain storm and decided to leave.

There’s also a nice museum at the entrance center to learn more about the ruins before you visit the site or even hire a guide to take you on a personal tour, and a beautiful lake to chill at. Just keep in mind this is an important place, so everyone needs to have their legs and shoulders covered to enter.

 

 

 

2. Sigiriya (Lion’s Rock)

Cost: $30
Time: 3 hour trip. Try to do it in the early morning or late afternoon for the best lighting and views.
Location: Just outside the town of Sigiriya

 

 

This site has two different names. The locals call it Sigiriya, and the tourists call it Lion’s Rock. This is easily one of hte most popular destinations in the entire country and for good reason. 1,500 years ago a badass king saw this giant rock and decided to build his palace on it. The rock is over 600 ft high, but that didn’t stop this dreamer. He built a kingdom on and around the rock, even carving pools into the top. The ruins of his palace still remain there today.

Now, you can enter the beautiful park around the base, and climb staircases to the top. Oh, and beware of bees. We passed multiple signs telling us to be “still and silent in the case of a hornet attack” and to walk quietly so we wouldn’t disturb the giant hives that were EVERYWHERE. If you’re allergic to bees, you honestly might want to give this one a miss.

If you do make it to the rock unscathed, the next challenge is making it to the top. It’s more of a climb than a hike, and most of the trek up was on staircases or bridges attached to the rock face. The climb only took about 25 minutes and wasn’t too hard. Finally, we reached the top.

The ruins were ok, it was the view that was so amazing to me. Lion’s Rock lies in the middle of a pretty flat area, so we could see for miles. There were lakes, rolling hills, forests, and green as far as the eye could see. Absolutely stunning. This is definitely a can’t miss location for any visitor in Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle.

 

3. Dambulla Golden Cave Temple

Cost: Normally $10, we got lucky and hit it on a holiday so we got in free.
Time: We spent about 2 hours at this site
Location: Situated between Kandy and Sigirya. Best seen as a pit stop on the drive between the two towns.

 

 

The Dambulla cave temple is a really interesting site in Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle. It is a temple built into a maze of caves in a large rock. It’s also over 2,000 years old! These ancient caves are dark and cool, and have many large buddha statues and paintings in them. Also, on the walk up to the caves you will see plenty of monkey families hanging out on the trails and in the trees. Be careful with your belongings, because they’ve been known to snatch food and shiny things straight out of visitors hands! We spent 30 minutes just sitting and watching them all play around us.

Once in the caves, things are much more solemn. The Buddha statues and paintings are highly respected, and the caves are still an active monastery and place of worship today. Because of this, just like most other places in Sri Lanka covered knees and shoulders are required at Dambulla. We spent about an hour wandering through the caves, then returned to the base of the temple where we enjoyed a snack and the view of the largest Buddha statue in Sri Lanka.

History, monkeys, amazing views… what’s not to love about this must see site in Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle?

 

 

4. Stay in a Treehouse

There are surprisingly a lot of treehouse options in the cultural triangle, and one for any budget. There were some super nice ones listed on Airbnb that were out of my price range, but luckily I stumbled upon the Inn on the Tree in Sigiriya. This “hotel” is amazing, and will make any trip to Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle go from awesome to unforgettable.

 

 

The Inn on the Tree has tree houses situated in the jungle, high up in the trees. The sides are open air, and there are balconies to relax and enjoy a drink. The beds all have nets around them to protect you from bugs, just be careful to keep them closed at all times. The Inn on the Tree also has a restaurant and provided a delicious free traditional Sri Lankan breakfast curries every morning of our stay.

If you want to relax and escape from the real world for a bit, booking a treehouse stay during your trip through Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle is a MUST.

 

5. Visit Kandy

 

 

We spent two days in Kandy at the beginning of our trip to Sri Lanka’s Cultural triangle, and we had a good time. There’s a lot to see in the town, most notably the Temple of the Tooth. This temple is painted beautifully and features an important Buddhist relic… a tooth from the Buddha himself. Spend some time here wandering the ornate hallways, saying a prayer, and exploring the grounds.

 

 

Other things to do in Kandy include visiting the lake and botanical gardens, shopping at the silk, gemstone, and wood markets, checking out the giant Buddha statue with a view of the city, enjoying the night life, and going to a cultural show. The cultural show we went to was only a few dollars each to enter, and performed by locals with beautiful costumes and dances. At the end, there were even fire walkers for the finale. It was a cool way to learn more about the traditional Kandy tribe and their culture.

 

 

Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle is an amazing part of the country’s history and heritage. I learned so much about the country, and was very surprised to see temples and ruins that were thousands of years old! If you visit, make sure you don’t miss my five favorite places and sites in the area.

PS Not sure how to start your Sri Lanka vacation planning? use my two week travel itinerary to learn the best way to travel through Sri Lanka.

All my love,
Di

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The Best Way to Travel Through Sri Lanka

I spent two weeks traveling in Sri Lanka in spring 2016, and it was an absolutely amazing country. I knew pretty much nothing about it when we planned our trip, but we bought the flights because they were so cheap and short from Abu Dhabi. Once I got into the nitty gritty of of planning our trip, though, I realized this wasn’t going to be the super easy beach vacation I was imagining (although we did hit up the beach and it was beautiful.)

Sri Lanka is a small country, but the main tourist attractions are not that close together. There’s the hill country, which is super green and full of tea plantations, there are beautiful beaches along the coast, there’s the iconic climb up Adam’s Peak, and finally Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle. All are worth seeing, but they are all spread hours away from each other.

Making sure we could get to all of these throughout the two week trip was not an easy task, and I spent weeks reading itineraries, plotting the best routes and destinations, and figuring it all out. Hopefully, my work can save you some time! Below is the itinerary we took for the best way to travel through Sri Lanka and hit all of the top tourist destinations in the country along the way.

 

 

The Best Way to Travel Through Sri Lanka

My biggest tip is to hire a private driver. I know this may not be possible for some budgets, but if it is, it is definitely worth your time. There are trains that run from town to town, but they’re often extremely crowded, and won’t get you to the farther or harder to reach places (like Polonnaruwa, my absolute favorite site in Sri Lanka.)

We hired a private driver had a good experience. Our driver spoke English and even helped us out and drove us to a clinic when we had a minor medical emergency. You can choose to do one of the many driving and tour companies’ set itineraries with hotels included in the price, or you can customize your own. I suggest customizing your own itinerary and booking your own hotels, because I personally am an avid review reader and would never entrust those choices to a company who just wants to cut costs. So, don’t be afraid to decide exactly what you want, then negotiate a price to get it. Our itinerary is below and after our trip was all said and done, I think it was the best way to travel through Sri Lanka!

Our price for 10 days of transport with a private car and guide was $375, plus an extra $10 per day for the driver’s accommodation at the hotels. Make sure you ask the tour operator you choose if there are extra costs for your driver so you don’t get blindsided by them in the end. In total, we paid $465 for private transport for 9 days. I think this was totally worth the cost because it allowed us to easily stop at Uda Walawe National Park on the way to the beach without spending a night there, and gave us the ability to leave Adam’s peak right after our climb instead of spending a second day and night there. Plus, no crowded buses, no haggling with tuk tuk drivers, dealing with trains after an overnight flight, etc. It was great choice and I definitely recommend it!

 

 

Our 9 Day Sri Lanka Itinerary

March 25th: Colombo airport pick up and drive to Kandy
March 26th: Explore Kandy
March 27th: Drive to Dambulla for day trip, continue to Sigiriya
March 28th: Hike Lion Rock, Day trip to Polonurawa, return Sigiriya
March 29th: Drive to Adams Peak
March 30th: Hike Adam’s Peak, drive to Ella
March 31st: Explore Ella
April 1st: Explore Ella

April 2nd: Drive to Uda Walawe National Park, do afternoon safari, continue to Hikkaduwa

 

After spending nine days moving from place to place, ending your trip at beach is the best way to travel through Sri Lanka. We arrived in Hikkaduwa on April 2nd, we spent 5 days just relaxing on the beach. There are a lot of beach options in Sri Lanka, but Hikkaduwa is the most built up, and has the best restaurants and nightlife around it. I also chose it because it was close to Colombo for an easy drive back to the city for our flight home. Beach-hopping is popular in this country (and the eastern coast is huge for surfers) but for me the whole point of a beach vacay is to do nothing, so just chilling on one worked best for me.

 

The only change I would make to this itinerary would be to maybe spend one day in Nuwara Eliya on the way to Ella, and cut one day in Ella to make up for it. We drove through Newara Eliya and it looked really beautiful and peaceful, there are colonial houses and bike rentals to ride around the lake, as well as the famous hike to World’s End. At the end, though, I decided the dawn wake up call for World’s End didn’t quite fit into our plans, and that we were moving around enough as is. Even though we missed out on Nuwara Eliya, I was really ready to rest and relax in Ella after the tough hike up Adam’s Peak. If you’re planning a trip to the country, use these tips for the best way to travel through Sri Lanka, and comment below if you have any more questions!

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The Lima List: What to do for a day in Barranco

A lot of blogs and articles recommend heading to Miraflores for the best that Lima has to offer, but if you do, you’re missing out. Barranco is far and away my favorite neighborhood in Lima. It’s trendy, hip, and artsy. It has amazing food and nightlife, and a super chill and happy vibe. It’s easy to spend a day in Barranco, and when you do don’t miss out on my favorite spots!

 

To Do

One of my favorite places to stop by during a day in Barranco is definitely Dedalo Arte y Artesenia. This store is almost like a gallery because everything they sell is so beautiful. Trust me, it’s not like the other tourist markets with the same alpaca sweatshirts and knick knacks. At Dedalo, every room has a different theme, from jewelry, to art, to my favorite with gorgeous ceramic tea pots that I definitely can’t afford but still will dream about. There is also an outdoor cafe with craft beer, coffees, artisanal chocolates and desserts and an amazing secret garden ambiance. Don’t miss stopping in Dedalo if you’re in the area!

 

 

La Feria market is another can’t miss spot in Barranco. It’s one street up from the main square, but only open on the weekends. If you can, plan your trip around being here because it’s amazing. Stalls sell homemade products, clothes, art, and of course amazing food. There’s a sushi stall here I really want to try, as well as crepes, ice cream, coffee, cocktails, pizzas, and plenty more. There’s a stage for live music at night, and the last time I was here there was even an adoption stall with puppies and the tiniest kittens we could hold and play with. It seriously does not get any better than that!

Feeling outdoorsy? The beach walk is a great, free, and relaxing activity to add to your to do list. Barranco is located on cliffs overlooking the ocean, and there are little parks, paths, and green spaces along them to walk or sit and enjoy the waves. If you’re lucky enough to be there when it’s not gray and smoggy, you’ll also get awesome skyline views of Lima as well.

 

 

Finally, the Bridge of Sighs is probably the biggest tourist attraction in Barranco, and it’s cool for a couple reasons. Built in the 1800’s the bridge is the historical center of the neighborhood. It’s surrounded by amazing graffiti, an old church, and a score of restaurants and bars. It has a view of a cobbled street packed with vendors and you should definitely spend some time wandering the area, relaxing in the flowered park, and taking in the ocean view from the nearby vantage point.

 

To Eat

Barranco has some amazing spots to sit down for a bite to eat. While there, we tried a lot, and passed by more restaurants we wish we had room for!

The first is La Panetteria. This cute little bakery is perfect for a meal or a snack. We got iced coffee, a smoothie, and some fresh ciabatta to take home, but they also have sandwiches and amazing looking desserts. It’s right by the main square and a perfect place to chill. They even had some craft beers on the menu that I hadn’t seen anywhere else in Peru, like a cream and cocoa brew.

I’ve been craving a good burrito forever (miss ya Chipotle!) so when I read the reviews for the Burrito Bar, I knew we couldn’t miss it. It’s for sure the best burrito I’ve had in my 10 months in South America, and also cheap. It was only about $5 for a burrito that is definitely big enough to split. The tortillas are so fresh and tasty, and the barbacoa meat was really flavorful. It’s easy to order and build with the exact toppings you want, so if you’re missing good Mexican food, the burritos, quesadillas, and tacos here are a must.

 

 

Some honorable mentions on this list are two restaurants I passed by but didn’t try. Both were packed, and one even had a line of people waiting out the door. The first is Isolina Taberna. This restaurant is Peruvian and must be amazing. The decor inside was cool, and the menu was surprisingly cheap for how nice it looked. Interestingly, the menu states that every meal is big enough for three people! The Peruvian dishes seemed heavy on the meat, but were still only $10 to $20 each. Not bad to feed a whole group. They also had $5 fish and pork sandwiches that sounded delicious. Second, if you’re craving seafood and ceviche (Lima has some of the best in the world) then check out El Muelle. It was packed all day and the dishes people were eating on the patio looked gigantic. If I head back to spend a day in Barranco again before I leave Lima, this is definitely at the top of my list and I will report back on the experience!

 

To Drink

By far my favorite bar in Barranco is Wick’s. This traditional English pub is run by a English-Peruvian couple. All of the staff spoke English and best of all… they had draft cider! If you’re a cider lover like me, you’ll be in heaven! I haven’t had a good one since I moved to South America so it was a delicious taste of home. They also have their own house beers on tap, as well a a daily deal for a meal and a pint for $10.

The Barranco Beer Company is another great bar for beer lovers to visit during a day in Barranco. The bar is big and you can see their brewery in the back. The Barranco Beer Co. has a few different house beers like the new Saca Tu Machete on tap with 10% ABV. We tried the oatmeal stout and the lager and both were really good. If you’re sick of drinking Cusquena and Pilsner, this is a great place to try something new.

 

 

If  you’re more into cocktails than beer (I’m not, so I didn’t try this bar but it has rave reviews) check out Ayahuasca Resto Bar and let me know how it is. The bar features craft cocktails and is built in a renovated colonial mansion. Nothing more hip than that!

 

If you’re in Lima and planning to spend a day in Barranco, don’t miss these top spots to shop, take in the sights, and of course eat and drink some of the best Lima has to offer. Barranco is a trendy, hipster neighborhood in Lima and feels like as escape into a totally different world. Definitely don’t forget to add a day in Barranco to your Lima to do list!

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