One of the best places in town to meet other travelers is Home Peru (Arequipa 4501, tel. 01/241-9898, www.homeperu.com, US$9 dorm, US$12 pp s, US$24 d shared bath with breakfast), a restored colonial mansion five blocks from Miraflores’s Parque Kennedy. Spacious, sunny wood-floored rooms have comfortable bunk beds and shared baths with hot water. There is a nice room on the ground floor with cable TV, as well as free Internet, inexpensive laundry, a shared kitchen (the supermarket is just a block away!), and a charming open-air dining area for morning breakfasts.
A great place for budget travelers is Explorer’s House (Alfredo León 158, tel. 01/241-5002, explorers_house [at] yahoo [dot] es, US$8 dorm, US$12 s, US$20 d with breakfast). The house-cum-hostel has a common kitchen and TV room with a video library. The communal baths are clean, and laundry is US$1/kilogram. The friendly owners Maria Jesus and Victor give a remembrance gift upon departure!
Casa del Mochilero (Cesareo Chacaltana 130A, 2nd Fl., tel. 01/444-9089, juan_kalua [at] hotmail [dot] com, US$8 pp dorm with shared bath) is a clean and plain backpackers’ hangout, about 10 minutes’ walk from Parque Kennedy, with bunk rooms, shared bathrooms, and group kitchen. Mochilero’s Inn is a lesser, though similarly priced, knockoff down the street, which we do not recommend.
Loki Inkahouse (Larco 189, tel. 01/242-4350, www.lokihostel.com, US$8 dorm, US$24 s, US$25 d with breakfast), on Parque Kennedy, couldn’t be better located. Next door are some of the city’s busiest restaurants and bars. But you may never need to visit them. Loki’s Peruvian owners have converted this colonial house into a backpacker’s haven, with everything you might want: a great rooftop patio, card-playing tables, three Internet stations, a TV/DVD room, a communal kitchen, and even a bar.
It doesn’t get more secure than at Hitchhikers (Bolognesi 400, tel. 01/242-3008, www.hhikersperu.com, US$10 dorm, US$25 s and d with breakfast), an old house tucked away behind fortress-like walls. There’s no scrimping on space here. Shared rooms have tall ceilings, the communal kitchen has two rooms, and there’s even a huge parking area, which doubles as a table tennis arena.
The cheerful Flying Dog Hostels (fwww.flyingdogperu.com, US$10 dorm, US$23 d with breakfast) have become an institution in central Miraflores, and there are locations in other parts of Peru. The three Lima locations (Diez Canseco 117, tel. 01/445-0940; Lima 457, tel. 01/444-5753; Martir Olaya 280, tel. 01/447-0673) are within a stone’s throw of Parque Kennedy, and all guests eat breakfast at outdoor cafés on the park. The layout of each hostel is more or less the same: tight dormitory rooms, a few private rooms, sitting areas, clean bathrooms, and lots of hot water. If you make a reservation, be sure to know for which Flying Dog you’ve made it. They also have options for longer stays.
Hostelling International (Casmiro Ulloa 328, tel. 01/446-5488, www.limahostell.com.pe, US$12 dorm, US$18 s, US$24 d) has a variety of rooms spread out in an old home with sunny courtyard that is a 10-minute walk to Parque Kennedy. There is a travel agency in the lobby.
The charming Hostal El Patio (Diez Canseco 341, tel. 01/444-2107, www.hostalelpatio.net, US$40 s, US$50 d with breakfast) is a memorable colonial home overflowing with plants and flowers and cheerfully painted walls. Large rooms have either tiled floors or carpet, as well as homey furnishings and large windows. Ask for a mini-suite for an additional US$5—you’ll get your money’s worth with a kitchenette. Rooms are interspersed with terraces, which are great places for reading or sunbathing.
Francis, the friendly owner of Albergue Miraflores (Espinar 611, tel. 01/447-7748, www.alberguemirafloreshouse.com, US$34 d or s with breakfast), claims that his second-floor staircase is practice for Machu Picchu. Then he laughs. It is the cheerful attitude that makes the small, dark rooms acceptable. Plus there are spacious common rooms, Internet, a patio with a barbecue, and third-floor rooms with nice lighting.
Our favorite upscale hotel in Lima is the charming Hotel Antigua Miraflores (Grau 350, tel. 01/241-6166, www.peru-hotels-inns.com, US$79 s, US$94 d with breakfast). This turn-of-the-20th-century mansion has all the comforts of a fine hotel and the warmth of a bed-and-breakfast. The rooms are large, cozy, and handsomely decorated with hand-carved furniture, local art, and warm colors. Plus, the remodeled bathrooms have big tubs. There are plush couches in the downstairs sitting room, and the six types of breakfast are served in a sunny, black-and-white-tiled café. It is worth paying another US$20 for a room in the old part of the house, and suites are also available with kitchens and whirlpool tubs.
Across the street from the handicrafts-haven Inka Market, the new, upscale Casa Andina Centro (Petit Thouars 5444, tel. 01/447-0263, www.casa-andina.com, US$65 s, US$80 d with breakfast) puts you in the middle of the action, but without the hustle. Rooms have everything for comfort: modern bathrooms, firm beds, down comforters, cable TV, minifridges, air-conditioning, and Internet in the lobby. The hotel chain has a second location slightly away from the center, Casa Andina San Antonio (Av. 28 de Julio 1088, tel. 01/241-4050), which is near some of Miraflores’s best cafés, and another five-star version nearby as well.
Aparthotel San Martín (San Martín 598, tel. 01/242-0500, www.sanmartinhotel.com, US$110 s, US$130 d) offers spacious suites with living room, double bedroom, closet, bathroom, kitchen, cable TV, and phone. There are beds for two people and a pullout couch for two more. Floors 8–10 have wireless Internet.
The new El Faro Inn (Francia 857, tel. 01/242-0339, www.elfaroinn.com, US$40 s, US$60 d with breakfast) is a modern hotel one block from the oceanfront. Small rooms are carpeted, with cable TV and basic furnishings. Other amenities include cheap Internet, laundry, and a rooftop terrace.
Also one block from the oceanfront is Hostal Torre Blanca (José Pardo 1453, tel. 01/242-1876, www.torreblancaperu.com, US$53 s, US$65 d with breakfast), which offers large carpeted rooms with cable TV and minifridge. There is free Internet and airport transfer.
Most of the five-star hotels are in San Isidro but Lima’s best is Miraflores Park Hotel (Malecón de la Reserva 1035, tel. 01/610-4000, www.mira-park.com, from US$230 s or d). This elegant glass high-rise, located on an old park overlooking the ocean, offers the best in service, comfort, and views in Lima. The grand marble entry is decorated with antique furnishings that are complemented by modern art. The luxurious rooms offer ocean views, elegant furnishings, cable TV with DVD player, fax machines, and wireless Internet. Other amenities include video library, massage (US$40), swimming pool, and squash court.
The oceanfront JW Marriott (Malecón de la Reserva 615, tel. 01/217-7000, www.marriotthotels.com, US$245 s, US$265 d) occupies prime real estate overlooking the Pacific Ocean and just across the street from the deluxe, full-service Larcomar mall. The rooms live up to five-star Marriott quality and are nearly silent despite the street below. For the best view, ask for a room on one of the upper floors with ocean view. Perks include glass-enclosed bars and restaurants, casino, pool, and tennis court.
© Ross Wehner and Renée del Gaudio from Moon Peru, 3rd Edition