What to Do in Peru If You Only Have a Week
Then hop in a taxi to the Miraflores District and hit up Gastón Acurio’s famed cevichería La Mar, a restaurant that helped turn Peru’s national dish into a worldwide phenomenon. Jump back on the Metropolitano to the bohemian neighborhood of Barranco and spend your afternoon soaking up the streets and ocean vistas. Have a coffee at Café Bisetti, a roaster that specializes in native Peruvian blends, and maybe pop into an art gallery or two. At sunset, stroll across the Puente de los Suspiros, the neighborhood’s iconic wooden bridge not far from Isolina, a two-level criolla taberna where you can order classic Limeño dishes like tacu tacu (refried rice and beans) or cau-cau (a tripe and potato stew).
Spend the next two days based at a resort hotel in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, such as the ones between the towns of Urubamba and Ollantaytambo. Ask your concierge to help set up day trips to attractions around the valley. If possible, schedule one day around a visit to Pisac on a market day (Tuesday, Thursday, or, best of all, Sunday), when the sprawl of indigenous vendors selling handmade alpaca throws and scarves, among other things, is at its largest. Combine market browsing with a hike to the ruins on the mountain above town. Follow that with a hot stone massage at your hotel spa.
For your other free day, join a tour, maybe even by horseback or mountain bike, to the Salineras de Maras, salt mines that date to before the Incas, and to Moray (pictured above), an enigmatic Inca site defined by its circular agricultural terraces. Here chef Virgilio Martinez operates the fine dining restaurant Mil, an experience in itself.
Catch a morning flight back to Lima. Spend your last day picking up any final souvenirs at the Mercado Indio, close to Parque Kennedy in Miraflores, where you can nibble on a pan con chicharrón (fried pork with sweet potatoes) sandwich at La Lucha. For one last adventure, sign up for tandem paragliding on the malecón, not far from the cliffside Larcomar shopping center (its mirador, or balcony, is pictured above), where you will soar out over the Costa Verde. Indulge in one last dinner at Maido, a Japanese-Peruvian restaurant that consistently ranks among the world’s best places to eat.
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