Day 1: Arrive in Lima. We stayed at an Airbnb in Miraflores, and our host gave us the option to book his driver for transportation to and from the airport, which we chose to do since we read Uber at LIM is iffy and taxis can be a ripoff. Our very kind and friendly driver took us to our Airbnb. We walked to Punto Azul for dinner and pisco sours (recommended by our Airbnb host). We split the shrimp risotto which was to die for. Then we purchased snacks at a grocery store nearby and exchanged some money at a Western Union (recommended by our Airbnb host), and hit the hay after a long travel day from Washington, DC.
Day 2: Wake up early for a market tour, fruit tasting, and cooking class with #SkyKitchen, beginning at 9:00 am. Absolutely loved this, as we got to tour an authentic Peruvian market, taste a bunch of delicious and exotic fruit, drink pisco sours, and cook some amazing Peruvian cuisine. We made causa, ceviche, lomo saltado, and picarones. The hosts of the class were friendly and knowledgeable, and we enjoyed chatting with other people in our class from all over the world. When we left class at 2:15 pm, we walked around Lima- Kennedy Park (full of cats, so fun), the coastline, Miraflores Lighthouse (it was fun watching all the parasailers). We grabbed a drink at La Rosa Nautica on the water and then headed to Barranco for our dinner reservation. Before dinner, we grabbed gelato at Blu Gelateria and stopped by Barranco Beer Company for some Pervuian beer. Our dinner reservation was at Isolina Taberna Peruana- HIGHLY recommend. We were looking for a nice place to enjoy Lima's world-renowned cuisine without breaking the bank (at say, Central or Maido). At Isolina, we had the Pan con Jamon de Lechon and the Tallarin Saltada a la Criolla- absolutely fantastic. After a day full of eating and drinking, we headed back to Miraflores for our early wakeup the next day.
Day 3: Wake up early to catch Peru Hop bus departing Miraflores at 5:45 am. First stop was Paracas, where we did a boat tour of the beautiful Ballestas Islands (the "poor man's Galapagos") and saw a ton of seals, starfish, penguins, and other creatures. Next stop was Huacachina to ride a dune buggy and go sandboarding. Absolutely amazing experience to see the desert oasis. The dune buggy drivers are insane and give you a huge thrill. Sandboarding was a blast. I'm glad we went even though I'm not sure we'd want to spend much time in the town, which seemed largely geared towards nomads looking to party (nothing wrong with that if that's your scene!). It was a long day, but the Peru Hop hosts were fun and friendly, and it was a comfortable, cheap way to travel to see what we wanted to see (Huacachina).