Written by: Gillian McLaren


If you are visiting any of the popular destinations of Peru, it’s well worth spending a few nights in Lima. Worth it before you head on to Machu Picchu, the Amazon, or wherever your traveller’s heart is taking you. Consider staying at Casa Republica, an intimate boutique hotel in a renovated 1920s mansion. Colorful Peruvian paintings decorate the walls, and a huge, antique light fixture dominates the entrance hall. The stately hotel is located in a charming, quiet street.

After the 10-hour flight with Latam Airlines from Johannesburg via São Paulo, followed by a five-hour hop to Jorge Chávez International Airport in Lima. It was heavenly to take a shower in my suite before being ensconced in crisp, white sheets on a king-sized bed. With blackout curtains to defy the daylight, I wake refreshed.

Breakfast is served in the courtyard, on a comfortable sofa, beneath a stone-coloured umbrella. The lavish buffet includes a selection of freshly baked pastries, yoghurts and cold-pressed juices, cheeses, cold meats and fish, as well as the best olives I’ve ever tasted. Eggs are made to order. Try the salchicha de huacho. This dish is a Peruvian treat of scrambled eggs with artisanal sausage. A selection of uniquely blended leaf teas is available. It’s a spread that will give you the energy you need to explore the neighbourhood’s art galleries.

During my morning stroll along the cliff tops of the Bay of Lima looking out to the Pacific Ocean — I watch residents walking their dogs and fitness enthusiasts running and exercising in pretty parks. Over three days, I explore the surrounding area. I enjoy superb meals in charming restaurants, and try some street food, alongside friendly locals. It’s a much-needed stop-off, and a destination worthy of a visit itself.