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A Totally Different Way to Tour Lima

Lima is a sprawling city and a constant buzz of activity. Its size reminds me a lot of New York City. On our recent trip to Peru, we knew we would have a free day in Lima after our tour ended. So we kept in mind how big the city was as we looked for something to do. A while back, we had done an awesome bicycle tour of Santiago, Chile, and wondered if a Lima bike tour could be an option. After searching the internet a bit, I found Bike Tours of Lima. They offered tours in English and Spanish, and on the day we were in Lima, a Sunday, they offered their half day “Bohemian bike tour” in English, which crisscrossed several neighborhoods. We were in!

The bicycle tour was a fantastic way to see Lima! The weather was ideal - sunny and warm. And, we saw the city in a way that many tourists don’t get to experience. We started at the bike shop in Miraflores, a section popular for restaurants and shopping. We continued to the Malecon, basically the boardwalk or promenade, which runs along the cliffs over the Pacific Ocean. The views were spectacular! Next, we made our way through the artsy Barranco neighborhood and stopped at the Bridge of Sighs, where you walk over the bridge holding your breath and make a wish. (I wished for a bajillion dollars to travel more, but so far, I’m still waiting!) We pedaled through all these neighborhoods not just seeing the sights, but also watching people go about their everyday lives.

Our tour was an easy ride - not a stage of the Tour de France - suitable for a wide variety of fitness levels. We rode maybe five to ten miles, stopping along the way to hear a bit about the area’s history and to see points of interest. For the most part, we were in bike lanes, or on quiet streets. There were a couple of sections where traffic was a bit heavier, but our guide was extremely careful in herding her “ducklings” along without incident.

Included in our tour, was a stop for refreshments at a bodega named Piselli, in the Barranco neighborhood. Supposedly, it’s the oldest continuous bodega in Lima. I would have never known about it if we hadn’t taken the tour. There, we a choice of sandwiches made with olives, country ham sandwich or cheese. Even better than the sammies, was getting to chat with our fellow tour members. It was a diverse group of about eight, and included people from everywhere – a couple from Switzerland working in Argentina, a young Romanian woman travelling solo around South America, a couple from El Salvador, just down for the weekend and a woman from Brazil. We talked and laughed in a mix of Spanish and English as we noshed.

After the tour, we walked the five blocks or so to the Malecon and had lunch at a seafood restaurant located at the outdoor Larcomar mall overlooking the Pacific Ocean along the Malecon promenade. It was packed with both tourists and locals, all enjoying fresh seafood and the breathtaking cliff views of the Pacific. It was the perfect way to end our time in Peru. After lunch, we made our way back to our hotel, got ready for our flight to the US and said goodbye to Peru. So, if you’re in Lima and looking for something out of the ordinary to do, give a bicycle tour a whirl!

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