10 Places to Visit in Lima, Peru

Besides its amazing food, Lima is an extremely vibrant city with lots to offer to visitors who hail from all over the world. It doesn’t matter if you are a history buff, a foodie or an avid shopper (or a combination of everything) – there’s bound to be something in Lima that excites you! We spent a total of 9 days in Lima, and felt that we had so much left unexplored. If you are headed to this awesome city, here are some things that we think you should consider adding to your travel itinerary! 🙂

1. A visit to Barranco, Lima’s cultural district 

Barranco is a district with a very unique flavour. Take a walking tour around Barranco and you will see beautiful murals adorning the walls of buildings and houses. What used to be a spillover district from neighbouring Chorillo, Barranco was where artists congregated, lived and started honing their craft. The district then slowly evolved into the artistic centre of Lima, and is now Lima’s most expensive neighbourhood.

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While at Barranco, it is also common to spot many cafes dotting the sidewalks. One of the most popular cafes to visit is La Panetteria, a favourite breakfast haunt of locals. We tried their signature mango maracuya juice and cappucino, and shared a jamon queso sandwich (ham and cheese sandwich) and lomo (meat) empanada. The food was tasty and service was good, but the place was small and very crowded.

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Address: Barranco, Av Grau 369, Cercado de Lima, Peru
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A cheap alternative to indulging in the cafe culture of Barranco is to try one of its many local cereal breakfast stands, which serve a hot cup of cereal mix made of a variety of grains and milk. It is cheap, extremely tasty and very nutritious! You can choose the grains you want or ask for ‘especialidad‘, which refers to their specialty. We ordered the latter and absolutely loved it.

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When walking around Barranco, try spotting the famous Bridge of Sighs, which got its name from couples standing on the bridge and sighing at the beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean in the distance. There is also a lovely Banos boardwalk that takes you along the coast of the Pacific, which makes for an easy and romantic stroll!

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Bridge of Sighs 

Another interesting place to visit is the site of the landing of the last train to the Andes, which has now turned into an eclectic art gallery. The view of the ocean from the train carriage was so beautiful – it bordered on inspirational.

 

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A visit to Barranco easily takes up an entire day, but the district has lots to offer at night too. Pop into one of its endless bazaars, which house shops selling souvenirs, food, and even feature live bands and school choirs that perform for free! Different bazaars are held at various times of the year, but there is almost always at least one that is ongoing all year round.

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2. Take a historic tour around Central Lima (City Hall)

City Hall (or Central Lima) teems with history and is a must-visit if you are interested to learn more about the city. Getting to City Hall is easy – take the Metropolitan (which is a “train” in the form of a bus) to Union Station. Tickets cost just 1.50 soles. We recommend signing up for the Free Walking Tour to get more information on Lima’s historical centre.

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Central Lima’s main activity is concentrated about the Main Square and its surrounding buildings, like the Palace of the Government and the Main Cathedral. The buildings around the main square are decked in yellow owing to Spanish colonial influence. If you visit the square during the weekend, you will miss the office crowd and see areas around the square being cordoned off for various events such as a cycling race or colourful parade. We managed to witness a huge group of cholitas dancing to the beat of traditional Peruvian music to commemorate the Battle of Angamos! The atmosphere was very lively; we had the time of our lives.

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Near the square, there is also a rock-like statue, which is actually the Statue of Tauli, the ‘father’ of the Incan civilisation (photo above, left). It is said that his remains and part of his house were used to create the statue, and the locals believe that if you place your hand on the statue, you can get some of Tauli’s ‘positive energy’.

3. Have Chifa at Chinatown

Lima is a foodie’s paradise, and Chinese food here has also earned a name for itself. In the 1600s, immigrants from Asia, most notably China and Japan, arrived on the shores of Peru and started to eke out a living here. The next wave of Chinese immigrants arrived in the late 1800s, and this is when Chinese cuisine started to flourish in Lima. Today, Lima is well known for its chifa (Peruvian Chinese cuisine), whose name evolved from the Chinese term ‘chifan’ (which means to have a meal). The chaufa (fried rice, which evolved from the Chinese term ‘chaufan’) is an especially popular dish in Peruvian Chinese cuisine. Today, the Peruvians consider chifa as part of their national cuisine, and it is common to find a non-Chinese chef cooking up a mean storm of chifa. 

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The best place to have chifa, in our opinion, is Chinatown, which is full of Chinese eateries selling dim sum, wanton noodles and chaufa. The place is also worth a visit for cheaper priced items if you would like to do some shopping. However, do note that it gets very crowded on weekends.

4. Shop at Centro Comercial Larcomar

This is a shopping centre located in the Miraflores district, and is very popular amongst locals and tourists. It houses a variety of local and international fashion brands and is home to many restaurants, most of which offer a fantastic view of the Pacific Ocean. Y especially loved the Prune store, which sold the trendiest leather bags made in South America :p

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Larcomar is especially crowded during sunset, and visitors will spend time at the sky deck watching the sun set over the Pacific Ocean. The view is exceptionally beautiful and the deck is a perfect place to unwind after a long day.

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Address: Malecón de la Reserva 610, Miraflores 15074, Peru
Opening hours: 11AM to 10PM

5. Catch a traditional Peruvian Paso Horse and Dance Show 

Peru is well-known for its Paso horses, which have a four-beat gait that make for an extremely comfortable ride. A visit to Peru wouldn’t be complete without experiencing the beauty of these horses! For this, we visited Hacienda Mamacona, which was located a 20 minute drive from the city centre.

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Our visit started off with a performance by the gauchos on their horses, and we were given an extremely delicious welcome drink, complete with some fried fritters. The weather was perfect! The show was translated into English as well, and at the end of the session we had the chance to try riding the horses.

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After the performance, we had a delicious buffet lunch at the dining area! The spread was super extensive and we ate… and ate.

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After lunch, we roamed about the hacienda to take some photos. There were also blankets for us to just lie on the grass and snooze – perfect holiday activity!

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Getting to the hacienda from Miraflores is most convenient by taxi. We should share a very unpleasant experience here, though – we were cheated by a taxi driver who refused to let us disembark when we had agreed on the price beforehand. Luckily, the owner of the hacienda came to our rescue. Anyway, taxi scams are quite common in Lima so it is advisable to get the driver to write out the amount he is charging you and keeping that as proof, in case of any dispute. We learnt to be wiser after the incident :p

AddressAlameda Mamacona s/nLima Lima 37, Peru
Verdict2bd1ec238e4d5c5864d2a75bf086f07c_cubs-directory-archive-paw-clipart-bobcat-paws_703-690 2bd1ec238e4d5c5864d2a75bf086f07c_cubs-directory-archive-paw-clipart-bobcat-paws_703-690 2bd1ec238e4d5c5864d2a75bf086f07c_cubs-directory-archive-paw-clipart-bobcat-paws_703-690 2bd1ec238e4d5c5864d2a75bf086f07c_cubs-directory-archive-paw-clipart-bobcat-paws_703-690 2bd1ec238e4d5c5864d2a75bf086f07c_cubs-directory-archive-paw-clipart-bobcat-paws_703-690

6. Eat fresh at the Mercado (Market)

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The mercado is where locals go to for the freshest produce, including fruit, raw meat, vegetables and even flowers. In recent years, it has become a tourist attraction in itself. The market also houses several stalls selling cooked food and drinks for breakfast and lunch. These are extremely popular with the locals as they are affordable and tasty.

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There is also a section dedicated to fresh ceviche! A word of caution, though, it is always good to do some research on recommended stalls as hygiene standards can be a little questionable. We recommend Cevicheria Alex, which is popular amongst locals and tourists for its fresh ceviche (and of course, good hygiene). 😉

Address: Jr. Santa Maria de los Angeles Mz. N1 Lote 07 Urb. San Diego San Martin de porres, Lima 36 Lima, Peru
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 7. Shop for souvenirs at the Artisan’s Market
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The Artisan’s Market is a group of markets located opposite the mercado. Each building has a name, such as the Cuzco market, and houses a cluster of shops selling a variety of souvenirs and handicrafts. It is good to walk around first to get an idea of what the shops are selling, before actually purchasing them. Most shops sell similar items and bargaining is always a possibility 🙂
8. Hike up Cerro San Cristobal 
Cerro San Cristobal is a 410m hill that gives a panoramic view of Lima city and its shanty towns. We trekked up the hill with our guide, Franco, whose walking tour of central Lima we had joined the day before. Until a few years ago, tour buses were allowed up Cerro San Cristobal, but a fatal bus accident involving tourists resulted in authorities cordoning off the area to vehicles.
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There are 14 crosses from the foot of the hill to its peak, with the largest cross located at the top of the hill. Catholic devotees do a pilgrimage during the Traditional Holy Week in Peru, and this journey is a reflection of Jerusalem, with Cerro San Cristobal representing Calvary.
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9. Take a romantic stroll around Rimac
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The Rimac region is also known as every lover’s paradise, and the place is popular with couples due to the presence of many romantic parks. This area owes its origins to a Spanish King, who had the places designed for his lover. Pieces of Spanish architecture and design, such as street lamps, have been constructed to retain the parks’ original flavour.
10. Have a picnic at Kennedy Park
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The Kennedy Park is an extremely popular park situated in the heart of Miraflores. It is surrounded by restaurants and cafes, and within the park, there are street vendors selling all types of sweet snacks.

The park is a gathering point for locals who take part in the community salsa, and on Saturday mornings, mothers gather at the park to dance with their toddlers!

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Artists also take to the park to display their works and craftsmen sell their handmade jewellery on the pavements.

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The park is an excellent place to have a picnic and people-watch. There are loads of cats here though, so if you are afraid of cats (like Y is), you may want to take special note. :p

We hope this summarises Lima and entices you to make a trip to this beautiful city! Stay tuned for our next post on Ica and Huacachina – sand dune haven. 🙂

*This is a non-sponsored post. 

With love,
cropped-cropped-three-wandering-bears

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Lima, the world’s gastronomic capital

If we were to recommend one city in South America we would definitely visit again, it would be Lima, Peru, not least for its mouthwatering cuisine. In fact, Lima is also affectionately known as the world’s gastronomic capital, simply because its food is bound to delight even the pickiest eaters! So, it is only natural that we dedicate a post entirely to Lima’s food scene because we LOVED IT SO MUCH.

Here’s a list of what you MUST eat when you are in Lima – tried, tested and given the bears’ stamp of approval!

1. Best Sandwich & Fries: La Lucha Sangucheria Criolla

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La Lucha is a very popular local fast food chain with a healthy twist – all orders are made on the spot and only the freshest local ingredients are used. Their burgers come with fries on the side, and these fries are made using local huayro potatoes. We tried this on our first night at Lima, where we ordered takeaway to enjoy at the nearby Kennedy Park. We were dead silent throughout dinner because the sandwiches were just TOO GOOD.

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We especially loved the generous servings of meat, avocado and onions in our burgers. Service was also excellent – the waiters provided us with a portion of all the seven types of sauces, ranging from golf sauce to olive mayo! We also ordered a portion of chicha morada, Lima’s most popular local drink made of purple corn and cinnamon, to go with our burgers. We became die-hard fans of La Lucha and kept returning in the days that followed!

AddressDiagonal 308Lima, Peru
Verdict2bd1ec238e4d5c5864d2a75bf086f07c_cubs-directory-archive-paw-clipart-bobcat-paws_703-690 2bd1ec238e4d5c5864d2a75bf086f07c_cubs-directory-archive-paw-clipart-bobcat-paws_703-690 2bd1ec238e4d5c5864d2a75bf086f07c_cubs-directory-archive-paw-clipart-bobcat-paws_703-690 2bd1ec238e4d5c5864d2a75bf086f07c_cubs-directory-archive-paw-clipart-bobcat-paws_703-690 2bd1ec238e4d5c5864d2a75bf086f07c_cubs-directory-archive-paw-clipart-bobcat-paws_703-690

 

2. Best traditional Peruvian food: Rincon Chami

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A simple local traditional restaurant located in the quiet neighbourhood of Miraflores, Rincon Chami serves authentic and tasty Peruvian fare. It also has its own dessert shop right next door, where you can pop by for some cakes and coffee after your main meal.

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We tried Aji de gallina (chicken with traditional spicy sauce), Tacu tacu con lomo (minced beef in Peruvian bean sauce), chicha morada and jugos surtido (mixed fruit juice). The portions were generous but a little too salty for our palate, which we later found characteristic of South American food. Still, we adored the home-cooked taste of the meal and the cosy atmosphere of the restaurant!

Address: Calle Esperanza 154, MirafloresLima, Peru
Verdict2bd1ec238e4d5c5864d2a75bf086f07c_cubs-directory-archive-paw-clipart-bobcat-paws_703-690 2bd1ec238e4d5c5864d2a75bf086f07c_cubs-directory-archive-paw-clipart-bobcat-paws_703-690 2bd1ec238e4d5c5864d2a75bf086f07c_cubs-directory-archive-paw-clipart-bobcat-paws_703-690 2bd1ec238e4d5c5864d2a75bf086f07c_cubs-directory-archive-paw-clipart-bobcat-paws_703-690 

 

3. Best ceviche: Punto Azul 

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Punto Azul literally means “Blue House”, and this eye-catching building with blue windows is the perfect embodiment of its name. The place is extremely popular with locals and tourists. We arrived at 11am and the place was soon crowded with a long queue forming outside the restaurant by 12pm.

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Punto Azul is best known for its ceviche, which is Peru’s creative take on Japanese sashimi. Ceviche is served only during lunch while the fish and seafood is still fresh from the day’s catch. We ordered the mixed platter ceviche which comprised fish, octopus and shellfish, as well as spaghetti el pesto with breaded fish.

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The ceviche was extremely fresh, and the pasta was thick, creamy and rich. After taking his first mouthful, J actually exclaimed “OH MY GOSH” and we had the rest of our meal in silence (again). We also ordered a pitcher of frozen passionfruit juice to accompany our food – it was so refreshing and delicious!

Address: Av. Primavera 2235 | Calle San Martín 595, MirafloresLima 15555, Peru
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4. Best atmosphere: Canta Rana

A popular local hangout, Canta Rana is located at Barranco, the artsy and upmarket district of Lima. It is easy to miss this gem as it is obscurely situated at the corner of a relatively run-down building. However, step into the restaurant and you will feel like you’ve travelled back in time and entered an entirely different world!

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The walls are adorned with certificates, letters and old photographs of famous celebrities and sports people who have eaten here. Flags of different countries hang from the ceiling, giving this place an old school vibe.

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Eclectic decor aside, the food here was surprisingly good. We tried the Arroz chaufa (fried rice), which was very fragrant and tasty, and easily the best fried rice we had in South America. We dare say that it would even rival some of the hawker stalls in Singapore!

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AddressGenova 101Lima, Peru
Verdict2bd1ec238e4d5c5864d2a75bf086f07c_cubs-directory-archive-paw-clipart-bobcat-paws_703-690 2bd1ec238e4d5c5864d2a75bf086f07c_cubs-directory-archive-paw-clipart-bobcat-paws_703-690 2bd1ec238e4d5c5864d2a75bf086f07c_cubs-directory-archive-paw-clipart-bobcat-paws_703-690 2bd1ec238e4d5c5864d2a75bf086f07c_cubs-directory-archive-paw-clipart-bobcat-paws_703-690 2bd1ec238e4d5c5864d2a75bf086f07c_cubs-directory-archive-paw-clipart-bobcat-paws_703-690

 

5. Best view: Mangos at Larcomar Shopping Centre

Larcomar Shopping Centre is a newly built retail haven that is located along the Pacific coast of Lima in the Miraflores district. There are scores of restaurants that boast lovely ocean views, but we found Mangos to be the most value-for-money. We had a brunch buffet here and the spread and variety of food were just awesome. Service was impeccable and who wouldn’t want breakfast with a view like this?

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Here’s a sneak peek of what the breakfast buffet spread looks like:

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Have we convinced you yet? 😀

Address: Malecon de la Reserva No 610 Tda. 4-02 Miraflores, Larcomar
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6. Best value and variety: Mercado 1 (Local Market) 

If you want to try really local food at a really local haunt, try visiting the local market for some really affordable and delicious meals. We had breakfast at one of the makeshift kiosks right outside the market – buns filled with fried dough fritters, sausage and fries, and topped with mayo and ketchup, plus a glass of soy milk and bean beverage for just 1 sole! We went back for a second serving immediately after we finished our first.

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The very same day, we had lunch at El Cevichano, a stall serving ceviche in the local market. It is frequented by locals and tourists and has good hygiene standards, which is really important for preparing raw dishes. We ordered the ceviche mixto (mixed platter) and ceviche pescado con chicharron (fish with fried calamari). Portions were big and the seafood was really fresh. Prices were also very affordable compared to those in restaurants.

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If you want to munch on some fresh fruit, the market is also well-known for its colourful variety of sweet and juicy fruits that Peru has come to be famous for.

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Our rule of paw? Follow the local crowd. If they are flocking to one stall, there’s got to be a good reason why. 🙂

AddressAv. Paseo de la RepublicaLima, Peru
Verdict2bd1ec238e4d5c5864d2a75bf086f07c_cubs-directory-archive-paw-clipart-bobcat-paws_703-690 2bd1ec238e4d5c5864d2a75bf086f07c_cubs-directory-archive-paw-clipart-bobcat-paws_703-690 2bd1ec238e4d5c5864d2a75bf086f07c_cubs-directory-archive-paw-clipart-bobcat-paws_703-690 2bd1ec238e4d5c5864d2a75bf086f07c_cubs-directory-archive-paw-clipart-bobcat-paws_703-690 2bd1ec238e4d5c5864d2a75bf086f07c_cubs-directory-archive-paw-clipart-bobcat-paws_703-690

 

7. Best street food: Churros
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Street peddlers are everywhere in Lima, or Peru for that matter. There are lots of local street snacks worth trying, but we were simply blown away by the churros we had. We have tried churros in many different countries around the world, but the churros in Lima – with hot dripping caramel centres and crispy deep fried doughs – are simply THE BOMB. Who knew these deceptively plain looking churros could taste so good?
8. Special mention: Sangucheria el chinito  
We happened to chance upon this place when we were walking around the City Hall area. From a distance, it looked like any other casual dining place, and since it was the only one open at 8pm, we decided to give it a try. After some research, we discovered that this was an extremely popular eating establishment that has been around since 1960!
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Sangucheria el chinito specialises in Chinese-style roasted pork ribs. We tried the chicharron (fried pork) and costillitas de chinito (roasted spare ribs). These were SO SUCCULENT AND TENDER, we almost DIED eating them. The servings were huge though, and after eating the same thing for a while, we got a little sick of the oily fat trimmings around the meat. Still, this place is definitely worth a visit if you have a thing for roasted ribs!
AddressJiron Chancay 894 | Cercado de LimaLima, Perú
Verdict2bd1ec238e4d5c5864d2a75bf086f07c_cubs-directory-archive-paw-clipart-bobcat-paws_703-690 2bd1ec238e4d5c5864d2a75bf086f07c_cubs-directory-archive-paw-clipart-bobcat-paws_703-690 2bd1ec238e4d5c5864d2a75bf086f07c_cubs-directory-archive-paw-clipart-bobcat-paws_703-690 2bd1ec238e4d5c5864d2a75bf086f07c_cubs-directory-archive-paw-clipart-bobcat-paws_703-690
There are just so many types of food to try in Lima that it would be a gross disservice to limit our recommendations to these few! In general, the standard of food in Lima is high. Eating was definitely an activity that we looked forward to every day (OK, every few hours). 😀

*This is a non-sponsored post. 

With love,
cropped-cropped-three-wandering-bears

 

 

Huaraz: The Peruvian gateway to magnificent mountain ranges

As part of our grand honeymoon plans, we took a break from work for about 3 months to travel around South America. The first stop on our itinerary was none other than Huaraz (Peru), the famous gateway to some of the most beautiful mountain ranges in the world!

Where is Huaraz? 

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Huaraz is a city in the Peruvian Andes, and is home to more than 100 000 people, who are mostly of Andean origin. As such, it is a common sight to see Andean women dressed in their traditional costumes going about their daily activities! Very colourful and pretty. 🙂

IMG_3350Totes loving the colourful poufy skirts worn by the Andean women! 

Standing at an elevation of more than 3000m above sea level, Huaraz is most famous amongst backpackers for its adventure sports such as trekking and snowboarding. It is also home to the Huascaran National Park, which comprises most of the mountain ranges of Cordillera Blanca of the central Andes, and is a UNESCO Heritage Site.

How did we get there?

Getting to Huaraz is very simple. Most international tourists fly to Lima, Peru’s capital, and take an 8 hour overnight bus to Huaraz. Popular bus companies (tourist class, safe) are Cruz del Sur and Oltursa. The tickets cost 80 soles (about 25 USD) and advanced booking is recommended as the route from Lima to Huaraz is pretty popular during peak tourist seasons (July to August).

Some basics… 

Weather and acclimatisation
During summer (December to March), Huaraz is warm with high rainfall, while during the winter months (June to September), there is very little rainfall. Still, it can get pretty cold during windy days and especially at night. Due to its elevation, acclimatisation is necessary. It is advisable to stay in Huaraz for at least 4 to 5 days before ascending further (Y came down with acute bronchitis because she was trying to be a hero without proper acclimatisation). It is also good to get prescriptive medicines such as Diamox to help with acclimatisation. Taking coca leaves or coca tea also helps relieve altitude sickness symptoms.

Transport within Huaraz
There are many ways to get around the city. You can try taking the motor taxis (which are really motorized tricycles with a flimsy box built around them to shelter you from rain) for only 1 – 2 soles, local microbuses or ‘micros’ for only 0.50 to 2 soles, and even taxis for only 3 – 5 soles. Or if you prefer, the city is pretty easy to navigate on foot (time to start clocking those 10,000 steps!)

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Passenger’s view: Riding in a motor taxi

Safety
In terms of crime, we felt that Huaraz was one of the safer South American cities. If you keep your wits about you and don’t flash your valuables for all to see, you’ll be fine. There are many police officers patrolling the city centre in the day. The only danger would perhaps be the high possibility of getting run down by a vehicle. Traffic lights and pedestrian crossings are merely decorations adorning the streets. ‘Nuff said.

People & culture
The people in Huaraz are SUPER FRIENDLY. Though most of the locals only speak Spanish and Quechua, those employed in the tourism and hospitality sectors can speak basic English. It would be useful to download a Spanish-English dictionary on your phone. We recommend Spanish D!ct, which was a lifesaver – it works offline and there is a fun game for you to play when you are bored to improve your Spanish, and is FREE (don’t we all love freebies?) :p The locals are also very hardworking – they start their day at 6am in the morning and end work at 8pm at night, so shops are open throughout the day! Yay!

Tourism information and assistance
The best place to get tourist information is at iPeru, the official tourist information centre in major Peruvian cities. The one in Huaraz is located next to the main square (Plaza de Armas).

Accommodation
We stayed at Hospedaje Casablanca, which was conveniently located opposite Mercado Central (central market). We highly recommend it. It is affordable, clean and has awesome service plus free breakfast.

Wifi
Wifi is very slow and unreliable in Huaraz, even in the more popular cafes and hotels which offer it. Our advice? Disconnect and enjoy the natural beauty around you! You don’t need wifi here anyway.

 

What’s nice to eat? 

There are lots of roadside stalls selling grilled meat and sometimes questionable food, but unless you are ready to suffer food poisoning or deal with diarrhea on your trip, we recommend sticking to cafes and proper restaurants. For the more gastronomically daring peeps, try cuy (or fried guinea pig). Yes, you heard right, guinea pigs are reared for food and not as pets in Peru :p Anyways, here are some cafes/restaurants that we tried, and our honest opinions about them.

CAFES

Cafe Andino
Cafe Andino is ranked the #1 Cafe in Huaraz on TripAdvisor, and it isn’t difficult to guess why. Tucked away on the third storey of an old building, it is far away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre – relentless honking of cars and all – and offers a quiet respite for travellers.We had breakfast here the moment we arrived in Huaraz, and were spoilt for choice.

 

Picture1Left to right: Lomo Saltado, Cafe Andino breakfast set, Coca Tea

We tried the Lomo Saltado (a local Peruvian Favourite of stir fried beef and rice) and the Andino breakfast set (both pictured above). The food was pretty decent, but expensive for Huaraz’s standards. We finished our meal with a pot of coca tea to help us with acclimatisation (yes, the only legal chance we get to try this! P.S. this is NOT a drug). It worked!

Food aside, Cafe Andino gets bonus points for the wonderful view it offers, owing to its location on the third storey – you can enjoy the scenery of the majestic Cordillera mountain range from here.

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We came back a few times after, and tried their coffee as well, which was surprisingly good. If you love Western food and American breakfasts, this is the place for you.

Address: Jiron Simon Bolívar, Huaraz
Verdict:  2bd1ec238e4d5c5864d2a75bf086f07c_cubs-directory-archive-paw-clipart-bobcat-paws_703-690 2bd1ec238e4d5c5864d2a75bf086f07c_cubs-directory-archive-paw-clipart-bobcat-paws_703-690 2bd1ec238e4d5c5864d2a75bf086f07c_cubs-directory-archive-paw-clipart-bobcat-paws_703-690 2bd1ec238e4d5c5864d2a75bf086f07c_cubs-directory-archive-paw-clipart-bobcat-paws_703-690
Try this place if you are looking for a relaxing place to read, surf the net or hang out with friends! (Note that like all places in Huaraz, wifi can be unreliable and very slow at times.)

 

California Cafe

The second Cafe we visited was California Cafe, a cafe conveniently located near the central  square of Huaraz. Stroll down Jiron 28 de Julio, and you will be pleasantly greeted by a bright yellow facade that’s impossible to miss!

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California Cafe serves standard western brunch fare. We tried the American flapjacks, which, in our opinion, was very unimpressive (and expensive). The mixed fruit milkshake we tried was also too sweet for our liking. Food wise, we felt that this cafe was really lacking. The only reason we can think of for it being ranked #2 on TripAdvisor is probably its free wifi, library and relatively friendly staff.

Address: Jiron 28 de Julio, 550, Huaraz
Verdict2bd1ec238e4d5c5864d2a75bf086f07c_cubs-directory-archive-paw-clipart-bobcat-paws_703-690 2bd1ec238e4d5c5864d2a75bf086f07c_cubs-directory-archive-paw-clipart-bobcat-paws_703-690 2bd1ec238e4d5c5864d2a75bf086f07c_cubs-directory-archive-paw-clipart-bobcat-paws_703-690

Visit this for its library or for a cosy place to plan your trip!

RESTAURANTS

When walking around in Huaraz (and many parts of Peru), don’t forget to look out for daily lunch sets which the locals call ‘menu’ – they come complete with starters, mains, desserts and drinks for a very affordable price. They are prominently displayed on standing chalk or white boards at the entrance of the restaurants close to lunchtime.

Ajo Picante: Best grilled fare in town (Highly recommended)

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Ajo Picante serves grilled food at its best! It is a small and cosy family-run restaurant. We first visited the place on a rainy night, and were literally guided to its doorstep by the delicious aroma from the next block. When we reached the restaurant, we were greeted by the very friendly owner-cum-chef who provided great recommendations. He also spoke good English, which was definitely a plus! In fact, we loved the food and service so much that we went back a second time. During our second visit, it was Peru’s World Cup qualifier match against Argentina, and the friendly chef gave us some information about the football scene in Peru 😀

We strongly recommend their grilled trout and mixed skewers with homemade mushroom sauce. They also make some pretty decent pisco sour (Peru’s national drink).

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Address: Jr. Juan de la Cruz Romero #654Huaraz, Peru
Verdict: 2bd1ec238e4d5c5864d2a75bf086f07c_cubs-directory-archive-paw-clipart-bobcat-paws_703-690 2bd1ec238e4d5c5864d2a75bf086f07c_cubs-directory-archive-paw-clipart-bobcat-paws_703-690 2bd1ec238e4d5c5864d2a75bf086f07c_cubs-directory-archive-paw-clipart-bobcat-paws_703-690 2bd1ec238e4d5c5864d2a75bf086f07c_cubs-directory-archive-paw-clipart-bobcat-paws_703-690 2bd1ec238e4d5c5864d2a75bf086f07c_cubs-directory-archive-paw-clipart-bobcat-paws_703-690

Cafe 13 Buhos: Best Set Menu

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One of the many resto-pubs located in the city, what sets them apart is their daily set menu which comes in HUGE portions at very reasonable prices (only 12 soles!) Our menu for the day was menestron sopa (soup with chicken and vegetables), saltado oreintal c/ carne (mixed beef with rice) and pescado en salsa teriyaki c/ puree (trout in teriyaki sauce), dulce de leche (sweet pudding) and chicha morada (purple corn drink). One set menu was enough to stuff both of us to the max. Plus,  the food tasted pretty good!

Address: Parque ginebraHuaraz, Peru
Verdict: 2bd1ec238e4d5c5864d2a75bf086f07c_cubs-directory-archive-paw-clipart-bobcat-paws_703-690 2bd1ec238e4d5c5864d2a75bf086f07c_cubs-directory-archive-paw-clipart-bobcat-paws_703-690 2bd1ec238e4d5c5864d2a75bf086f07c_cubs-directory-archive-paw-clipart-bobcat-paws_703-690 2bd1ec238e4d5c5864d2a75bf086f07c_cubs-directory-archive-paw-clipart-bobcat-paws_703-690

Carbon Dorado: Best Fast Food

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Carbon Dorado is a fast food restaurant specialising in chicken dishes. It was recommended by a local at our hotel – it was raining heavily and Y wanted something soupy for dinner. We quickly made our way to the restaurant, which was just a 2 minute walk from our hotel, and ordered Arroz Chaufa (fried rice), 1/2 roasted chicken, and a sopa de gallina (Chicken soup). The soup tasted like it was made of some instant powder (think maggi mee), but service was fast and portions were big, and somehow just what we needed on a rainy day 🙂

Address: Av. Antonio Raimondi 528 Huaraz AncashHuaraz, Peru
Verdict: 2bd1ec238e4d5c5864d2a75bf086f07c_cubs-directory-archive-paw-clipart-bobcat-paws_703-690 2bd1ec238e4d5c5864d2a75bf086f07c_cubs-directory-archive-paw-clipart-bobcat-paws_703-690 2bd1ec238e4d5c5864d2a75bf086f07c_cubs-directory-archive-paw-clipart-bobcat-paws_703-690


The best way to burn calories…?

Huaraz is practically hiking central or, in other words, paradise for mountain lovers. You can choose to do day hikes or longer hikes, depending on your comfort level and fitness. It is highly recommended to acclimatise for 2-3 days in Huaraz, before going for at least 2 day hikes to acclimatise, and then going on longer or more strenuous hikes. This is because altitude sickness can be fatal. We actually booked the Huayhuash Trek but had to cancel it as Y had to be rushed to hospital for acute bronchitis, and was advised against ascending any further. Hence, we only managed to complete 2 acclimatisation day hikes during our stay in Huaraz.

Day hike 1: Laguna de Willcacochia (3725m)

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This was supposed to be one of the simplest day hikes around, but due to its elevation, it was no easy feat. We found ourselves stopping every 10 minutes to catch our breath. Okay, we confess we had not been training and were not in our best physical state as well. :)Anyway, to get to the start point of the trail, take a local microbus (service 10 or E) to Puente Santa Cruz (a bridge). Mention that you are going for the trail and the bus attendant will let you know where to get off. Despite it being very physically demanding due to the altitude, the trail is a beautiful climb and you will pass by Santa Cruz village, the local school and many farms and houses. Villagers are extremely friendly and will guide you to the right path if you happen to go in the wrong direction! Still, that didn’t prevent us from getting lost (more on that later).

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The absolute highlight for us, however, was that as we were 3/4 up the summit, it began to rain really heavily as dark clouds loomed above us. This rain HURT real bad. We soon discovered that we had walked into a HAILSTORM, and had no choice but to turn back and hide behind a rock as we were being pelted SO BADLY on our faces and legs. The mountain must have hated us a lot to have such a fate befall us. 😦

In our frenzy to descend, we got lost. We had to walk through freshly dug trenches and jump across fences. When we finally reached the end point, it was raining heavily but a microbus spotted us from a distance and waited for us – the silver lining and perfect fairytale ending to our misery!

Day hike 2: Laguna 69 (4600m)

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After (sorta) successfully completing our first day hike, we signed up for the Laguna 69 hike, which many people had said was one of the most beautiful day hikes in Huaraz. However, as the trailhead was quite a distance away, we had to book transport with Quechuandes (any travel agent is fine but make sure you check their reviews online first). It cost us 35 soles per pax (25 soles for return transport to hotel and 10 soles for the entrance fee to the trail). The bus picked us up from our hotel at 5am and we returned at 6pm. It was a 3h bus ride from the city to the trailhead. The trail was enjoyable with beautiful scenery along the way, and relatively easy at the start. However, the last part of the trail was a very steep ascent.

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Honestly, we felt that the views we saw along the way were much more impressive than the lake itself (we’ve seen much prettier lakes before) but well… you do it for the acclimatisation and any more is probably a bonus. 😉

Besides these day hikes, some other multi-day hikes that are worth doing are the Santa Cruz Trek, Huayhuash Trek and Cordillera Blanca Trek.


But I don’t like trekking! What do I do? 

Our short answer is, well, if you don’t like trekking, what are you doing in Huaraz?! Haha. Well here are some sights in the city that are pretty interesting and worth checking out too 🙂

Mercado Central (Central Market)

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This is the main market where locals go to for food, woven goods, textiles, meat and flowers. The main market is located indoors but makeshift stalls spill over to the sidewalks.

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The area is bustling from 6am to late afternoon, and you can find virtually anything and everything you are looking for here. Be sure to hone your bargaining skills too – it will come in handy if you don’t want to be charged exorbitant ‘tourist prices’.

Address: Av. Tarapaca C/ Av. Antonio RaimondiHuaraz, Peru

Main Square (Plaza de Armas)

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Here, street peddlers sell goods and provide services to tourists and locals. For instance, you can pay the resident Andean woman some money to take a photograph with her pet alpaca. There are also various attractions surrounding the main square which can keep you occupied for the day, such as the cathedral, library, museum, Sagrario de San Sebastian (Tabernacle), the cultural centre and artisan’s market.

Trout farm

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Located slightly off the city centre, the trout farm lies across the river and can be reached by a motortaxi. Entrance is free and there are many types of trout you can see and even feed! Children would absolutely love this place.

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Address: Av. Confraternidad Internacional Este s/n (costado de la pisicultura.)

Explore the city on foot
You might just be able to chance upon something interesting, such as typewriters along a side alley or random parades. Otherwise, soak in the atmosphere of the cacophony of sounds and burst of colours as Andean women in traditional dresses go about their day.

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Hire a local service
Fancy a massage or a haircut? Hop into a local spa or hairdresser’s if you are daring enough! J cut his hair and literally came out with something quite bizarre, so beware 😛

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Huaraz was a nice start to our trip, and we would have liked to stay longer had it not been for Y’s difficulty acclimatising the first time around. The silver lining was that we were better prepared for our later hikes and aware of the importance of acclimatisation – it is definitely not something to mess with!

Stay tuned for our next post on Lima, the culinary capital of the world, coming your way soon! 🙂

*This is a non-sponsored post. 

With love,
cropped-cropped-three-wandering-bears

Day Three: Trekking Kawah Ijen, Coban Sewu and Goa Tetes Waterfall

*This is a guest blog entry. For more details on our guest blogger, please scroll to the end of the entry!  

[This is part 4 of a series of 4 entries for my 4D3N trip to East Java, Indonesia. For my previous entries, click here, here and here.]

Itinerary for the day

Kawah Ijen Trekking -> Coban Sewu and Goa Tetes Waterfall -> Dinner -> Hotel 88

We checked out from our accommodation and departed at 12.00am. After a 2 hour drive, we arrived at the starting point of our Kawah Ijen trek at Paltuding. The temperature felt colder than Mt. Bromo, but you won’t feel cold for long, once you begin your 3 km trek up to the rim of the crater, and the steep descent of 45 to 60 degrees down the crater.

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As we descended down the crater, there was a constant flow of sulfur miners passing us by. Our guide, Eko, explained that they were making their daily rounds carrying up to 90 kg of processed sulfur on the back of their shoulders up the crater. Each miner usually makes 2 trips daily. As the path to the crater is very steep and uneven, do try to get out of the way and provide them a clear path when you see the sulfur miners approaching! Some sulfur miners will try to sell mini sculptures (such as mini turtles, flowers etc.) carved from the sulfur stones – you may want to consider purchasing from them but if you decline, they will not persist.

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Finally, we see the blue flames burning brightly amidst the curtains of smoke arising from the active vent. The flames burn blue not because the lava is blue – when the sulfuric gases react with oxygen, they ignite and burn with a flame that is electric blue. You will notice miners working near the edge of the lake and the active vent of the volcano. These miners are breaking off the sulfur that has cooled and solidified, to haul it up the crater.

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As the sun began to rise, we made our way back to the crater rim, and we could finally take in the panoramic view of the world’s largest highly acidic lake! The lake is turquoise-blue as a result of its extreme acidity (with a pH of almost 0), with high concentration of hydrochloric acid. The hydrogen chloride gas emitted from the volcano reacted with water to form hydrochloric acid.  During the day, although the electric blue flames are obscured by sunlight, the views of the whole caldera and the acid lake with the sun rise as the back drop are stunning and the surroundings are worth exploring!

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The trees are all bare due to a fire some years back. As I walked past these tree skeletons and observed the unique landscape, I felt like I was entering an enchanted forest!

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Finally, we decided to head back to the parking area! The walk down is, as expected, much easier than the walk up. You will pass by the cafe where the nature toilet is, and where your guide obtained the gas masks! Do note that coffee and tea is sold at the cafe at a higher price, to account for the cost of transporting the ingredients AND transporting water up to the cafe! According to my guide, there is no electricity supplied to the cafe, and all hot water is prepared by boiling water over fire and storing them in thermos flasks! Then again, it is nice to take a well-deserved rest and listen to the cheerful conversations among the guides, while sipping a warm cup of coffee or tea :).

The usual itinerary which follows would be an 8 hour drive back to Surabaya, with an optional visit to the shopping centre – Tunjungan Plaza Surabaya.

However, my friends and I opted to go to Coban Sewu and Goa Tetes Waterfall instead! On the way there, we stopped by for lunch and this was THE lunch where we had THE Ayam Soto :P.

Do note that opting for this would mean additional time and cost involved. The drive to the waterfall took approximately 6 hours, the trek itself took approximately 3 hours, and the drive back to Surabaya took approximately 3 and a half hours. Further, an additional cost of 250,000 IDR is payable to your driver and guide to cover petrol, local guide, and food cost. Nevertheless, we all agreed that it was well worth the time, energy and money spent!

Tip: You will have the opportunity to get wet and swim in waterfalls so do remember to wear wet attire. Sandals or shoes are highly recommended!

The descent down to the base of the waterfall included climbing down wooden steps, ‘belaying’ down tyre ropes’, walking across steel planks, installed by the locals to make the place a safer tourist attraction. As we reached the base of the waterfalls, we were surrounded by cascading waterfalls for 270 degrees of our view~ and this is just the beginning!!! 😀 Here, I shall let the pictures do the talking 🙂

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We managed to complete the trek and reach the parking area before sunset! (Hurrah!) The guide’s family prepared mee goreng for us which was really delicious~ and we were headed for our 3 hour drive back to Surabaya.

It was truly a fruitful day, and a perfect way to end our trip 🙂

For more information on our guides and travel tips, read our first entry here.

More about our guest blogger

Yumi is a full-time lawyer who enjoys travelling to remote places and going on hikes. She is an advocate of solo travel and loves interacting with locals. To get in touch with her, email her at: bongyumi92[at]gmail.com 🙂

< Previous: Day Two – Mount Bromo and about

Day Two: Mount Bromo and about

*This is a guest blog entry. For more details on our guest blogger, please scroll to the end of the entry!  

[This is part 3 of a series of 4 entries for my 4D3N trip to East Java, Indonesia. For my previous entries, click here and here.] 

Itinerary for the day

Bromo Sunrise -> Bromo crater -> Lunch -> Ijen View Resort Hotel -> Massage -> Dinner

Rise and shine as we begin our second day by setting out in our four wheel jeep drive to the view point at Mt Penanjakan on the rim of the Tengger caldera, in hopes of catching the sunrise and the mythological landscape of Mt Bromo and Mt Semeru coloured in orange hues by the first rays of the sun. Mount Bromo is named after the Hindu God of Creation, Brahma, and aptly so!

The drive up to the view point is in pitch black darkness and it is amazing how the drivers, armed with just their torchlights to survey the surroundings, can figure the right path to the view point. The only things we could see were the cars moving ahead of and trailing behind us.

We reached the viewpoint at approximately 4.00 am but the area was already bustling with tourists camping at the better spots waiting for the sunrise, and vendors renting out down jackets at 10,000 IDR for those who were inadequately dressed for the weather. For us, the sunrise was at 5.36 am – our guide presented us with 2 options: (1) warm ourselves with a cuppa coffee before heading over to the viewpoint; (2) head over to the viewpoint to secure a good spot. As I was planning to take good photographs with my tripod and DSLR, I decided to head over early to find a good spot to position my tripod.

For those who are avid photographers with tripods, I would suggest heading over early as the good spots are snapped up pretty quickly. As there is comparatively (to the city) less light pollution, you can gaze at the stars, attempt to take photographs of the milky way, eavesdrop on the conversations of strangers, and even catch a glimpse of a shooting star or two (as I did :D) while waiting for the sunrise!

As the sun began to rise, we witnessed the spectacular change in the colours of Mt Bromo and Mt Semeru – from greyish brown to bright orange. We were frantically alternating between taking photographs of the sunrise to our left, and of the active volcanos to our right. The mountains looked so surreal, as through they were amidst the clouds, but in actual fact, what seemed like clouds was merely a layer of fog above the ground (which was clearly visible to us the previous evening!)

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As our guide wanted to bring us to different viewpoints before the crowds started dispersing and heading towards these other viewpoints as well, we reluctantly left the first viewpoint, but the subsequent viewpoints did not disappoint, and allowed us to soak in the panoramic views of Mt Bromo and Mt Semeru basking in the morning sun rays from different angles.

Our guide then drove us to Love Hills (named as such as lovers frequented the place) for another photograph opportunity with Mt Bromo and Mt Semeru as the backdrop.

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Tip:  The temperature is cold (approximately 10-15 degrees) but not unbearable, as there is no wind chill.

Next, we were driven to the parking area (where the fog lies), where we would begin our trek to the base of Mt Bromo, and up 245 steps of stairs to the rim of the Mt Bromo crater.

You have the option of getting to the foot of the 245 steps of stairs by foot, or on the back of a horse. Personally, I would recommend walking but it is your choice to make.

The trek through the fog is approximately 10 minutes; the trek up the crater to the base of the staircase (where you would dismount your horse if you choose to ride one) takes approximately 15-20 mins; thereafter, the 245 steps of stairs is the last obstacle between you and your view of the volcano from the rim of the Mt Bromo crater.

Walking through the “Sea of Sand”, I felt like I was walking through a sand storm. Visibility was only approximately 5 metres!

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As we started trekking from the base of the crater, the ashes started to irritate our respiratory tracts and we had to wear our surgical masks.

Finally, we reached the base of the 245 steps standing between us and our destination. Tourists had to dismount their horses here. At the base of the 245 steps, there were locals selling snacks (to recharge) and selling offerings as well! Notice how one photo appears very foggy while the other is super clear – this is how fast the surroundings change!

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This is the first time I have seen the inside of an ACTIVE volcano and it was magical with endless streams of smoke billowing from its main vent.

Tip: Bring surgical masks to protect from the ashes.

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Finally, we were ready to head back to our accommodation for some breakfast, to check out, and begin our 6 hour drive to Kawah Ijen area. Now is the time for you to catch some sleep! (because your next day begins at 11.30 pm on the same day)

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We arrived at Ijen View Resort Hotel at 3.30 pm. As it was ‘free and easy’ time, we decided on treating ourselves to a javanese massage, to prepare our muscles for the strenuous day ahead. The massage room is a little old and musty, so it might be a better idea to request for the massage to be done in your hotel room.

Tip: Remember to have a hearty meal because it will have to last you while you are awake from 12.00am to 8.00am the next day. Bring snacks if you think you cannot withstand the hunger. Although i didn’t feel hungry until i reached the bottom of the Ijen crater because, as my friend described, it was my fight and flight response – my body was too tense and too busy concentrating on not falling off or slipping, it forgot it was hungry.

Stay tuned for my next entry, where I bring you to the legendary blue-flamed Ijen Crater! 🙂

More about our guest blogger

Yumi is a full-time lawyer who enjoys travelling to remote places and going on hikes. She is an advocate of solo travel and loves interacting with locals. To get in touch with her, email her at: bongyumi92[at]gmail.com 🙂

< Previous: Day One – Trekking the Madakaripura Waterfall

Next: Day Three – Trekking Kawah Ijen, Coban Sewu and Goa Tetes Waterfall >

Day One: Trekking the Madakaripura Waterfall

*This is a guest blog entry. For more details of our guest blogger, please scroll to the end of the entry!  

[This is part 2 of a series of 4 entries for my 4D3N trip to East Java, Indonesia. For my previous entry, click here.] 

Itinerary for the day

Airport -> Lunch -> Madakaripura Waterfall -> Cafe Lava Hotel at Bromo

Our first stop for the day was Madakaripura Waterfall. The waterfall is named after a great prime minister Gajah Mada, who was a vital character in unifying Indonesia. Legend has it that he eventually chose this place as his final place for meditation, before vanishing spiritually and physically. Also known as the eternal waterfall, it endlessly pours down rains of blessings on those fortunate enough to walk under it! Today, the tradition perseveres and locals visit this place to pay their respects and pray for their blessings.

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Getting to the site of the waterfall was a new experience for me! From where our driver parked the car, we had to pillion ride on 2 different motorbikes (as there are 2 gantries) before we reached the starting point of the actual trek. The rides are pretty short (not more than 5 minutes each) and exciting for someone who hadn’t ridden a motorbike before.

The trek can be split into two parts – the dry and wet sections.

For the first part, we walked on proper wooden walkways/ discernible gravel roads alongside the gentle stream that flows from the waterfall. This was a pretty easy walk, lasting about 30 minutes, with little/no elevation. Then, you will reach a point where used raincoats are strewn over a large rock (please dispose of your disposable raincoats responsibly). This is where you should gear up for the wet section – wear your raincoats, keep all valuable items, take out your waterproof action cameras etc.

For the second part, we had to trudge through the streams with water levels that are knee deep (with reference to the knees of a short person) to get to the site of the main waterfall. You will then pass through sections of the waterfall raining down on you, and after approximately 5 minutes, and bouldering over a cluster of rocks, you will be greeted with the spectacular sights of the Madakaripura Waterfall :D.

 

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Pictures will not do justice to portray the grandeur of the waterfalls (as they never do), but a video, or a vertical panoramic photo might come close 😀 Our guide was really enthusiastic in taking panoramic photos for us.

While some blogs and websites suggest that you can swim in the waterfalls (and I did wear my swim suit just in case), my guide advised against it as it is dangerous, and it would be difficult for them to help us if we do get into any life threatening situations. However, it is ultimately up to you to perform your own risk assessment and decide if you think it’s safe enough to swim! (although I would think it only right and courteous for you to consider the advice of your own guide, since he would feel responsible for your safety).

While it might seem the position where I am standing (behind the waterfall) is shallow, IT IS NOT. As my feet felt its way around in the water to get to where I was standing, other than the rocks I stood on, my feet could not find the ground in the water surrounding those rocks.

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If you do want to swim in a waterfall, please see our trip to the Coban Sewu and Goa Tetes Waterfalls on Day 3 :D.

Some useful tips!

  • Attire: You will need a poncho. (You can always buy a disposable poncho on site and contribute to their economy). You might want to wear knee length/three-quarter pants if you do not want your clothes getting wet. Please change into slippers or sandals (sandals are highly recommended) unless you don’t mind getting your shoes soaked on the first day of your trip.
  • Photography: At the main site of the waterfall, the cascading waterfalls will feel like fine rain and your phones might get a little wet, but you can still use your phones to take pictures (as we did). If you are not comfortable with your phones getting a little wet, either bring a waterproof camera (e.g. GoPro), a waterproof jacket for your phones, or you can purchase a waterproof jacket for your phones at the entrance to the trek. It is possible to bring your tripod and DSLR to the main waterfall if you are an avid photographer, as the trek there is not difficult. However, do remember to give adequate protection to your DSLR against moisture, and try not to fall into the streams on the way there – otherwise, it would be better not to bring it.

Next, we headed to our accommodation for the day at Cafe Lava Hotel at the Bromo area. Our guide was really hospitable and he offered to bring us around the village after we checked into our accommodation.

The village is a small village and there isn’t much to see (or eat), except for the view of the Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park with the sunset as its backdrop. Notice that in this photo, the terrain is visible – KIV this as you will see later, the terrain is no longer visible at sunrise as it is hidden amongst the “clouds”!

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With the sun setting and the fog settling in fast, we decided to head back near our accommodation to fill our bellies, and get ready for an early start (3am) the next day.

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Stay tuned for my next entry, where I bring you to Mount Bromo! 🙂

More about our guest blogger

Yumi is a full-time lawyer who enjoys travelling to remote places and going on hikes. She is an advocate of solo travel and loves interacting with locals. To get in touch with her, email her at: bongyumi92[at]gmail.com 🙂

< Previous: 4D3N East Java, Indonesia Overview

Next: Day Two – Mount Bromo and about >

4D3N East Java, Indonesia Overview

*This is a guest blog entry. For more details of our guest blogger, please scroll to the end of the entry! 

This time, we (me and 2 friends) headed to East Java of Indonesia, to see the famous Kawah Ijen, which flames burn electric blue every night. To give you an overview, here is a breakdown of the basic things you’d need to know before you embark on the trip 🙂

Cost
I spent a total of SGD650 this trip (all inclusive – air fare, tips and souvenirs). The breakdown is as follows (per pax):-

  • Basic Tour*: 2,500,000 IDR
  • Trip to Coban Sewu and Goa Tetes: 250,000 IDR
  • Flight: 150 SGD
  • Massage: 100,000 IDR
  • Additional Baggage on flight back to SG: 400,000 IDR (because i was forced to T.T)
  • Food and all other expenses, including sim card, tips to driver and guide: approx 480,000 IDR
  • Souvenirs: spend your remaining money

*Please note that as this is a private tour, the price of the tour per pax may vary depending on the no. of pax for your trip. The cost reflected would be a good estimate if you are travelling in a group of three, like I did. 

Is this trip for you?
The trip was amazing but it’s not for you if:

  • you are looking for a relaxing holiday;
  • you feel tired after climbing 1-2 flights of stairs;
  • you cannot get used to odd waking hours (you’ll be setting off in the wee hours of 12 am and 3 am each day 😮 and your sleep cycle will be thoroughly disrupted)

Mobile data connection
For those who cannot live without data connection, remember to inform your guide that you need to get a sim card and they will get it for you on the way to your first lunch destination! I got the SimPati card – 12 GB with no minutes or SMS, for 55000 IDR (approx S$6).

Food
Food was not the highlight of the trip, especially since we went during Ramadan (the Muslim Holy Fasting Month) and most of the shops were closed. However, the most memorable meal I had was the Ayam Soto, which is chicken soup on rice. The shop basically sells only that…and keropok, a simple but yummy flavoured cracker! it’s humble fare but the soup was so flavourful and unforgettable!

Other local foods you might want to try are:

  • Snake Fruit: i like it 🙂
  • Bebek Ijo: Green Chili Fried Duck with rice (similar to Ayam Penyet)
  • Avocado Milkshake, which is supposedly drizzled with chocolate, but I didn’t get to try it as it was sold out/not available everywhere I went

Pictorial overview
Below is a flow chart of our whole itinerary to give you a general overview:

overview

Tour guide details

I would strongly recommend my tour guides, who were nothing short of amazing. Their details are provided below:

Where we booked our tour DEHA TRANS TOUR SERVICE
Jl. Sebaung No. 157 Probolinggo East Java Indonesia
www.dehatrans.com
Guides Dosi and Jan (together with a local guide for each attraction)
Contact details Mobile/WhatsApp +62-822 344 535 60
Line ID: dosiy
Email: dehatrans_tour@yahoo.com
Phone Office (+62335)613953

Additional airport information and regulations

While the Surabaya airport is pretty new (and perhaps precisely because it is new) there is nothing to shop once you check in. Ideally, if the opportunity arises, I would recommend buying all your souvenirs during your trip. However, if the opportunity does not arise and you have pinned your hopes on settling your souvenir obligations at the airport, I would recommend buying any souvenirs in the shops at the public area first before checking in. The shops selling local souvenirs in the public area are larger with more variety as compared to the same shop in the departure lounge.

Also, if you are bringing a tripod, PLEASE note that if you are planning to hand carry your tripod, there is a possibility that you might be asked to check in your tripod for your flight out of Surabaya! I had planned to travel on a budget and had not purchased any check-in baggage, and was stopped at the security checkpoint and asked to check in my tripod.

Apparently, as explained to me by a very patient and helpful airport staff, this requirement is pursuant to Indonesian law, but notice is only given in Bahasa and tourists who do not understand Bahasa have no means of being made aware of such a legislative requirement. To err on the side of caution, it would be prudent to just check-in your tripod.

All right, it’s time to start on Day One! Stay tuned while I pen my next entry! 😉

More about our guest blogger

Yumi is a full-time lawyer who enjoys travelling to remote places and going on hikes. She is an advocate of solo travel and loves interacting with locals. To get in touch with her, email her at: bongyumi92[at]gmail.com 🙂

Next: Day One – Trekking the Madakaripura Waterfall >