Location: Lima, Peru
After a relatively successful test run of the digital nomad lifestyle in Lisbon in January, Lima beckoned. Peru is associated with one attraction above all others, Machu Picchu, but in this 2 week stay I was determined to immerse myself in the Peruvian capital too - and see what it has to offer.
Here's a (hopefully) useful interactive map of Miraflores with some of the locations mentioned below already pinned.
Where to Stay in Lima for Digital Nomads
If you're working remotely in Lima as a digital nomad, then you most likely want to stay in the vibrant district of Miraflores. There is a lot going on and it's perfectly safe from what I've seen - which isn't necessarily the case for other areas.
There are pros and cons when deciding whether to stay in a hostel or AirBnb. I decided to go the hostel route, but with a private room and en-suite at Pariwana. It's not the cheapest option but gives you the benefits of a hotel with a much more social vibe and opportunity to meet other travellers.
Pariwana itself was great - the staff were helpful, the location is ideal and they offer services such as airport transfers and laundry which makes everything easier when you're working. As well as that they have a rooftop bar with decent food and events every night of the week.
Where to Work Remotely in Lima
Finding a good coworking space online has proven difficult - you really need to physically see it to know if it will be a good fit. So on my first Monday in Lima I got up early and set out to visit a shortlist of options I had found - none of which seemed ideal for various reasons - price, distance, facilities.
Luckily my first stop, Partage Coworking, blew all of my expectations out of the water. Despite being located on the 10th floor of a non-descript office block, with no clear signage that it's there, I knew this was a great workspace once I took a look around. It was just a 2 minute walk from where I was staying, the rates were reasonable and the environment was great (comfortable desk, chairs, meeting rooms, stable WiFi, printing, scanning etc.). Added to that there is a great social atmosphere between all of the members and staff, and this really was a great find. Shout out to Enrique and all the staff for delivering such a great coworking experience.
- Cost: $50 per week (hot desk, daily and monthly rates available)
- Payment: Cash or Debit/Credit
- WiFi: Download 28mbps, Upload 22mbps
- Meeting Rooms: Yes
- Water: No
- Local Coffee Haunt: Agora Arte y Cafe
Sightseeing in Lima
As mentioned, Peru's main attraction is Machu Picchu - and it's safe to say it didn't disappoint. the pictures speak for themselves, but if you're planning to visit here are a few things to know;
- Setting out from nearby Cusco is the best option. I spent all of about 4-5 hours there so can't add too much - but it seemed fine
- Depending on how much time you have you may want to do the 4 day Inca trail. I wanted to do it in a day and opted for this tour. It's expensive, but worth it. Our guide was great, the train ride was cool and they even do pick up and drop off to your hotel in Cusco.
- Avoid the stray dogs at Ollayantambo train station. This is common sense you would think - but a tourist decided to pet them and got a bite.
Back in Lima, Huaca Pullcana is an ancient Peruvian site located in the city - dating back to the 3rd century AD. This is within walking distance of central Miraflores and is worth checking out even for a few hours. Hot Tip: There is an excellent restaurant on-site. It's expensive for Lima, but after exploring the ruins in the hot sun it's a great spot for a break.
There are some, though not a lot, of options for evening entertainment. I joined a tour to see Magic Water Circuit in the center of the city. This is a series of fountains commissioned by the city to help rejuvenate parts of the old city.
One of the cooler areas of Lima is Barranco, a colorful, artsy neighborhood chock-full of restaurants, bars and nightclubs - not to mention great architecture and museums. It's a short walk from Miraflores south along the coast.
For the adventurous, there a number of paragliding companies by the coast in Miraflores. The skies are full of these especially on the weekend. There's also plenty of opportunity to go surfing if you are so inclined.
The nightlife in Miraflores is pretty good and the Peruvians are welcoming and friendly. Given the limited options in the city this more than made up for it.
Eating and Drinking
The famus local dish is ceviche - raw fish cured in lime and chili. Very tasty and well worth trying when you're here. The other local dish was lomo salteado - essentially a beef stir fry, I mean how can you wrong?
Other less successful culinary adventures involved trying alpaca meat (which was unremarkable) and chainfainita. My lack of espanol got me into trouble here as, even after asking what is was, I misunderstood the answer and ended up with a plate of cow lung. Of course I only found that out later after eating it.
Pisco is the national drink of Peru and serves as the base of many of their staple drinks. Of course there is the classic Pisco Sour which is strong and bitter, with a unique texture thanks to the addition of egg white. The other that I tried is Chilcano - which is much smoother and goes down just a little easier.
The biggest takeaway from my first stop on this trip is how important it is have a functional understanding in Spanish. There have already been many awkward encounters where I'm trying to interpret someone as they interpret me, and ordering random things of a menu because I don't know any better (see above). Duolingo, Narcos and a course called Language Transfer are all in play and I'm hoping to quickly improve. I may even look for Spanish classes at a future destination.
The traffic in Lima is loco. Vehicles at every junction play chicken with each other to see who will stop first. They have traffic police everywhere directing and recording the flow of traffic. I had to get to get to the airport during rush hour for my flight to Cusco and it's genuinely shocking we weren't in an accident after a couple of near misses. Though thanks to my taxi driver for getting me there just in time!
Finally following on from a 3 hour delay in Lisbon airport a few weeks prior, my flight back from Cusco was full on cancelled. Luckily I made it to the desk to get rebooked on another flight that night - others weren't so lucky. I'm hoping this doesn't become a trend.
That's it for Lima.
Next stop: Santiago, Chile