There is not a shortage of travel sites for Lima, Peru. Most give the same tips about Pisco sours and Picarones. Travel videos feature obnoxious hosts sampling ceviche with exaggerated facial expressions. It’s good, but c’mon, it’s just dead fish. For a country with four thousand potatoes, thirty bananas, and a tuna section that rivals the American cereal aisle, there is a lot to eat here. Still, there is more to Lima than what meets the gullet.

So what’s my foodless tip about the City of Kings? Visit La Punta, or the TIP of Port Callao.

Imagine if a slice of Mackinac Island collided with Havana Cuba and somehow ended up in Lima. That’s La Punta.

Maybe it’s a magical place that local Limans don’t want to share with tourists, like Manny’s Deli in Chicago or the Mideastern restaurants on Soi 13 Sukhumvit in Bangkok. You’ll meander down colorful streets covered with murals and stumble upon foodie restaurants galore without bumping into a lost backpacker trying to find the Inca Trail.

OK, I mentioned food. I retract what I wrote a few paragraphs ago. The purplish drink in the carafe below is not a Peruvian wine, but chicha morada. This concoction is made from purple corn and spice, reminiscent of mulled wine, or a liquified Christmas candle.  And yes, I ate ceviche.

In La Punto, you’ll find color. The architecture is reminiscent of wedding cake with piped white frosting, including a pink cathedral that I’m sure John Mellencamp would bless. There are art galleries that contain real art, not just llama paintings and Machu Picchu wall hangings.

Rocky beaches don’t stop local kids from splashing around the beaches at La Punta. And yes, stick around for the sunset.

So those are my tips on The Tip.

Other Lima Tips? Forget sending letters.

Remember cutting your tongue licking an envelope shut? Yes, letter writing went out of vogue with brick phones and bread machines. In Lima, SerPost (Perus’s national Postal service) requires a thumbprint, photo, authentic passport –not the photocopy you keep in your wallet–plus ten minutes of your life to mail each letter. Then, the postal worker will peek inside each envelope to make sure you are not smuggling an endangered Andean condor. Two months later? Your letters still may not have arrived, having the same fate as my lost boxes from China. Mailing international letters is about $4 USD per envelope. Considering there isn’t snow or rain in Lima to stop the mail, that’s of money for nothing.

Leave your umbrella a home.

It doesn’t rain in Lima (sounds like a song title, doesn’t it?). While there may be some foggy mist during the winter months -June, July, August- rain showers in Lima are as rare as a clean toilet at a Chinese gas station. You’ll want to bring a hat to protect yourself from the sun. Lima is about eight hundred thirty-three miles south of the Equator, a bit closer than Bangkok, which is about nine hundred fifty-one miles away.


LIMA crime reports paint a rather dark picture of the city, which is why when I got off the plane, I expected to be starring in my own episode of Narcos. I clutched my purse with my dear life, even leery that the cats of Kennedy Parque would mug me. Now? I’ve loosened up a bit. Granted, Lima is more dangerous than an Amish village, but Lima crime is really no worse than Chicago (Take that any way you want). Keep your radar up and don’t be stupid with your smart phone.

If you want to pray, don’t go to church.

Catholicism is in the water here. But when tourists invade landmark cathedrals with cameras? It can be hard to concentrate on your hail Marys. If you want to go to a church to talk with God instead of snapping photos, check out Union Church of Lima or the or The Anglican Cathedral of the Good Shepherd. Both offer services in English.

Use Uber

While it’s a safe walk during the day, La Punta is not a place to wander around at night like Where’s Waldo. An Uber from Parque de Kennedy to Port Callao is about 30 sol or $10 USD).

Brush up on your Spanish.

Why? Because if you ignore your Duo Lingo Language App, it will frown. Don’t ask me how I know.

Include a tip, please.

If there’s anything you want to vicariously eat through me in Lima? Just select a menu from the restaurant you want me to visit and critique. Tell me what to order, the price, then send the tab to me via PayPal. I’ll be your menu-tasting guinea pig and may even eat one.

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