ISDM Blog + News

We are delighted to announce that the 7th International Shared Decision Making conference will take place in Lima, Perú between June 16 and June 19, 2013.

The scientific committee has designated this meeting’s central theme to be:

Globalizing SDM: Pacientes @ the centre of healthcare.

The theme seeks to highlight that shared decision making is a key component of something more global, i.e., patient-centered care, and that its application is only relevant as part of a commitment to care for and about patients.

But also, in using different languages and a technological character, we also seek to highlight the notion that shared decision-making is currently an opportunity afforded at best to very few patients, mostly in high-income countries, and in these, those who are fortunate to have access to outstanding patient-centered care. Thus, our area of inquiry and activity, much to our chagrin, can increase disparities in healthcare that seem so contrary to our values. Furthermore, there are cultural and contextual factors that ought to be understood in order to successfully involve patients in decisions about their care.

In ISDM Perú 2013, we invite investigators and concerned partners in healthcare delivery research and practice to struggle with the issues that arise as shared decision making globalizes in scope (as a component of patient-centered care) and spread (as a component of healthcare everywhere for everyone).

Lima is a dynamic metropolis at sea level, the jewel of South America, illustrating its opportunities and challenges. Our meeting location in Lima will enable us to network, learn, and enjoy each other in a safe and exciting environment in which every detail will be considered.

We will ensure that you will have unparalleled opportunities to enjoy Peru’s rich cultural heritage, marvelous food, and engaging music.

And the time of the year is perfect to travel the country, including the best time of year to visit Cuzco (the capital of the Inca Empire) and Machu Picchu, a UNESCO World Heritage Center.

Safe the date – June 16-19 2013 and mark your maps. The journey to globalizing shared decision-making – towards patient centered care for all – begins now. See you there!

May 21st, 2013

Our sponsor, the BMJ, offers a repository of its best SDM papers

By Victor M. Montori manosin

The BMJ has prepared a repository of its best shared decision making publications to contribute to the experience of its readers and the participants at ISDM2013.

As always the collection is publicly available here.

We thank the BMJ for their contribution to ISDM2013 and its commitments to partnering with patients.

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May 17th, 2013

Winners of ISDM2013 BEST ABSTRACT and Student Travel Awards announced

By Victor M. Montori manosin

On May 17 2013, the winners of the BEST ABSTRACTS for ISDM2013 were announced. Their selection resulted from scoring produced by researchers from around the world judging hundreds of submissions. They gave the following 5 reports BEST ABSTRACT distinction. This work will be highlighted during ISDM2013 in Lima, Peru.


1. Currey et al. Burnout, Buyout, Break-up, and Bicycles: A Mixed Methods Study of Barriers and Facilitators to Integrating Decision Aids in Rural Primary Care.
2. Stacey et al. Cochrane review of patient decision aids for treatment or screening decisions: Update in 2012 reveals 24 new trials for 110 total.
3. Wyatt et al. Fidelity to decision aid usage instructions in five practice-based clinical trials: a patient-level meta-analysis.
4. Agoritsas et al. SHARE-IT: Decision Aids linked to GRADE Guidelines to improve Shared-Decision Making in the Clinical Encounter.
5. Tilburt et al. Do the Ends Justify the Means? U.S. Physicians' Reactions to Using Shared Decision-Making as a Cost-Containment Strategy.

Thanks to our sponsors, two students were also awarded the Student Travel Award to facilitate their participation at ISDM2013 based on the merits of their work. Both were also winners of a BEST ABSTRACT from ALL abstract submission. The winners of the Student Travel Awards ISDM2013 are Kirk Wyatt and Thomas Agoritsas.

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March 14th, 2013

Welcome to the ISDM Community

By Lee Aase, Director, Mayo Clinic Social Media Network LeeAase

We're pleased to announce creation of this community site, which will be available for those attending ISDM 2013 to enhance their experience and also will enable participation by those unable to join in person.

This site will have agendas, discussion groups and live video streams of the plenary sessions. We also will have a Community group for threaded discussions as well as opportunities to form more focused groups.

The site is mobile-optimized for best experience no matter what type of device you're using.

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February 25th, 2013

The architectural beauties of Lima


Dwell has published a nice feature of architectural beauties of Lima.

Enjoy it this way for now, but directly, in person, in June!!


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February 2nd, 2013

Unofficial “gringo” travel advice



An informal guide to Peru from my vantage point


By Wayne Centrone



What follows in this informal “travel book” is a list of my favorite Peruvian places, sites and eateries. This is not a complete list and is constantly changing. In my 20-years of travel to Peru – I have never grown tired of wandering the streets of Lima or enjoying a great steak dinner at one of the cities many fantastic restaurants. Most of all, I have never grown tired of the people of Peru. They are amazing. I hope that you too will give this great country a “chance” and enjoy viewing and touring Peru from the perspective of a frequent visitor

A wise person once told me – just before Lee and I embarked on a trip to Italy – “The best of Italy is found in the small villages and the countryside.” He was right and I want to challenge you with the same thought – the best of Peru is found off the “beaten track” of Machu Pichu and Cusco. The best of Peru is the wonderful Andean people and the cosmopolitan Euro-centric neighborhoods of Lima (one of the world’s great cities).

So go, explore – hike the ancient ruins of the Sacred Valley, scale the dizzying steps of Machu Picchu, partake in the rich treats of the Amazon jungle - but please remember . . . the best that all of Peru has to offer is just a couple of blocks off the beaten path and the tourist rush. The best of Peru is hidden right before your very eyes!

One word of note: Peru is such a tremendously changing environment, in many, many ways. This is especially true for the City of Lima. In the last couple of years I have been traveling to Lima on a very frequent basis (almost every month). Each trip brings new changes. It feels impossible to keep pace with all of the changes. This is both good and bad. Lima has some of the best restaurants in the world. There are new eateries opening everyday and there are older restaurants and bars closing every week. There are massive changes to the city streets and there are amazing enhancements to city services. Yet, these changes and advancements are only felt by a small percentage of the population. If you choose to get outside of the “tourist” areas you will find a very different kind of Peru. A place where people struggle to meet their daily life needs - a place where poverty is almost stuck in communities. There is hope. More and more investment is being directed toward “leveling” the economic playing fields in Peru. More Peruvians are involved in volunteer and community engagement activities and more change is making its way into every level of Peruvian society.

Whatever Peru you choose to visit, please take a moment to get off-the-beaten track. Take the time to view all of Peru – because there is beauty and splendor all around!

A word about this travel guide: This document is a work-in-progress. There are spelling errors, pagination issues, and inconsistency writing styles. My apologies. I have cobbled the material together over many years and often times will make “spot updates.” Someday I plan to fully review the material and actually print a travel book; but for now, please know that this is not a perfect product. However, with that said - you can help me to keep this “travel guide” up-to-date. Please send me any information you have about the places you visit. Send me updates from restaurants you like (and don’t like) and keep me posted if a place I recommend is no longer in business. You can reach me anytime at:

Okay, with all of that said . . . the best of Peru is a hidden gem awaiting your exploration!


I can’t start a discussion about Lima without first mentioning the obvious . . . Lima is one of the most misunderstood travel destinations in the world. For many of you that statement will ring with an air of truth. Heck, your U.S. travel agency probably told you to only spend one night in the City of Kings. Well, I am here to tell you – they are wholly wrong. Lima is one of amazing places to travel anywhere.

The wonderful city of Lima that people travel in today is not the same Lima where I originally traveled 20-years ago. It is a ultra-modern, very urban and sophisticated city with one of the top “foodie” scenes in all of Latin America . . . and thanks to the famous Peruvian culinary expert and chef Gaston Acurio (ón_Acurio) - Lima is one of the top food destinations in the world.

For whatever reason, the city of Lima has received a rather bad “rap” among international travelers visiting the country of Peru. Well, I am here to tell you – they are wrong! Lima is a marvelous city of beauty, wonder and excitement. Lima is one of the gastronomical capitals of Latin America and boasts some of the most exquisite colonial and pre-colonial architecture in the world. The downtown (Rimac area) is a UNESCO World Heritage site – and the burgeoning communities of Miraflores, San Isidro and Surcco offer some of the most magnificent “people watching” and walking tours in the world. Give Lima a chance and I guarantee you will not be sorry.

Let me diverge for just a moment. Without a doubt the first question I am always asked regarding Lima is – “what will the weather be like?” The answer to that question is quite simple – winter. Many people venture to Lima at the end of the “wet” season in Latin America (North America’s summer and Latin America’s winter), and the weather in Lima will be humid and cold. Expect daytime highs in the range of 45-55 degrees Fahrenheit. Evening and early morning temperatures can be quite variable – so pack clothes that you can layer. I advise everyone to have a windbreaker and a fleece top. This will allow you to be ready for just about any change in the weather.

Rains in Lima are non-existent. During the months from June to August the streets are dampened by a drizzle of extremely fine and thin rain, called Garúa in Spanish. The presence of clouds and mists moisturize the hills close to the Pacific Ocean during the winter months. The drizzle, however, is only present in a 50-kilometer long radius around Lima. In the rest of the coast the weather is of a rather desert type. It never rains and it is warm all year round.

The annual average temperature is 18.2° C (64.76° F). In the summer (North America’s winter) it climbs up to 28° C (82.4° F) and the air is moist and sticky with humidity. In the winter months it drops down to 13° C (55.4° F) and there is a crisp, humid nature to the air. The season with the highest humidity is from June to September.

Okay – now back to more important information about your stay in Lima and the historical context that makes this city so intoxicating. The City of Kings, as the early Spanish called Lima, sits on the banks of the Rímac River, at 154 meters above sea level, with the Andean Cordillera to immediate east. Lima is a capital that has long outgrown its boundaries. A town originally designed for tens of thousands now accommodates millions – over one third of the country lives in the city limits. As Peru’s economic powerhouse, Lima attracts over one thousand newcomers from the provinces, every week, drawn by the dream of finding work and relative security. Shantytowns (Pueblos Jovenes – areas of invasion by massive immigrations from the rural parts of the high sierras) continue to grow outside the city and the upper classes have abandoned the city center for the seaside suburbs of Miraflores or San Isidro and the cloistered communities of Monterico and La Molina. With their skyscrapers and international banks, these are now the main business centers, while the nearby Barranco is a hub of Lima nightlife.

The population of Lima features a very complex mix of racial and ethnic groups. Traditionally, Mestizos, Peruvians of mixed Spanish and Amerindian descent, have been the largest contingent, making up much of the middle class. However, political and economic instability of Peru during the latter half of the twentieth century created unprecedented poverty and violence in the towns of the countryside Andean or highlands, forcing hundreds of thousands of peasants of full- blooded Amerindian descendants to migrate to Lima, thus greatly augmenting Lima's population.

Unlike other ethnic groups that live in Lima and only speak Spanish, most of the peasant population that migrated to Lima speaks primarily Quechua or Aymara, rather than Spanish. While a number of Amerindians eventually attain middle class status, others still live in shantytowns, locally known as pueblos jóvenes (young towns). These areas often lack such basic services as electricity and running water. It is expected, that over the next ten years, the population of these shantytowns will compromise between 25-35% of the population of Lima.

Europeans, the economically dominant segment of the population, are mostly of Spanish descent, but there are significant numbers of Italians, Germans and others. Afro-Peruvians, initially brought to the region as slaves, are yet another important part of the city's ethnic quilt. The Peruvian Afro-centric culture features marvelous music, arts and cultural stories. A great place to experience the Afro-Peruvian culture is in the costal neighborhood of Barranco – just a short walk from a hotel in Miraflores (more to come about this great neighborhood).

The provincial government of Lima creates its limits with the communities of Ancash and Huánuco to the north; Pasco and Junín to the east; Ica and Huancavelica to the south; and the vastness of the Pacific Ocean to the west.

Lima is the largest city of Peru (A census in the spring of 2007 estimated the populations of Lima and the port city of Callao at almost 12 million – one of the true “mega-cities” of the world; some statisticians estimate the population to be as high as 15-million; who knows. Suffice it to say, Lima is a big town.). The Lima urban area is Peru's economic center and the site of oil- refining and diversified manufacturing industries. The city was re-founded (as the ancient coastal cultures of the early empires inhabited Lima or Rimac (as the indigenous populations called their ancient citadel) for centuries before the arrival of the Spaniards) on Jan. 18, 1535, by Francisco Pizarro and is the second oldest capital city in South America.

As the center of the viceroyalty of Peru, it was the capital of Spain's New World Empire in the 17th and 18th century. Its cultural supremacy on the continent was contested in colonial times only by Bogotá, Colombia and in magnificence and political prestige Lima's only rival was Mexico City.

Rebuilt several times after numerous earthquakes and natural disasters, Lima reflects the architectural styles prevalent in various periods; much of the city is characterized by modern steel and concrete buildings. Although many streets are narrow and preserve a colonial atmosphere, spacious boulevards traverse the entire metropolitan area. Small squares, statues of national heroes, parks, and gardens are common. The focal point of the city's life is the central square, the Plaza de las Armas. It is dominated by the huge national palace and cathedral. The cathedral, begun by Pizarro and containing what are claimed to be his remains, was almost totally destroyed by earthquakes in 1687 and 1746, along with much of the city.

Okay – so where do you begin? How can you see so much when your travel plans call for only 36-hours in Lima? I think I can help.

Start with a simple walk. Some people like to stay close to their hotel accommodations in Miraflores, while others like to explore all over the city. I am going to give you a couple of suggestions that will allow you to accomplish either of these objectives.

If you are so inclined to get into a taxi – start your first morning with a stroll up Jirón de la Unión, the pedestrian zone that leads to the Plaza Mayor, Lima’s main square (you can take a taxi there from Miraflores where you will more than likely be staying for around 10 soles). Pass modish shops and colorful 200-year-old colonial facades – your stroll will emerge into a wide square surrounded by some of Lima’s finest architecture. This is the spot in which Francisco Pizarro (with the tip of his sword he outlined the current Plaza in the sand- “thus sealing” the fate of the New World) re-founded the city in 1535 (remember – the Peruvian’s declared their independence from colonial rule in 1821 and now celebrate their independence Day on the 28 of July). You will want to tour the gold-leaf altars and paintings of the Lima Cathedral on the eastern edge of the Plaza de Armis; and if you have the time, visit the Church of San Francisco a couple of blocks northeast with its 17th-century convent and extensive network of catacombs (Plaza San Francisco; 51-1-427-1381;

A word of caution – the Plaza de Armis can be a prime “pick-pocketing” area; keep your valuables secure. The confluence of international travelers into the square everyday creates the perfect environment for petty thieves and would be “con-men” to take advantage of your naiveté.

From the city center, walk east a few blocks and a full hemisphere away into the cultural immersion of the Peruvian Chinese community. From Calle Capón, Lima’s Chinatown – you can explore a rich tapestry of a very unique culture. As a product of early-20th-century immigration, Peru has a large Chinese population, a fact observable by the proliferation of Chifa (Peruvian-Chinese cuisine) restaurants all over the city. Chifa is spicier than traditional Chinese food, relying more on seafood and sauces and less on vegetables. One of the best spots is Salon Capón (Jirón Paruro 819; 51-1-426-9286), where you can try steamed langostino dumplings with tamarind sauce (7 soles) and spicy garlic-fried calamari (calamar chiu jin, 28 soles). Afterward, stroll through the pedestrian zone with the classic Chinatown arch on either end, stopping to have your palm read, the smell of sandalwood incense filling the air.

A very distinct architectural mix of colonial, modern and pre-Inca variation makes Lima the perfect walking city. After exploring the downtown area and the immensely interesting China town, get back in a cab for a late afternoon walk of Miraflores. You can take advantage of your peripatetic tour to build up an appetite for a fantastic dinner. This cab ride back to Miraflores should cost you around 15 Soles – and can have you dropped off on Avenida Arequipa just on the boundary between Miraflores and San Isidro. Make certain you have the address for your hotel – this will be your “Saving Grace” in the event you get a bit lost.

By far one of my favorite things is to walk in all of Lima are the vast Boulevards and “off the beaten” track streets of this magnificent city. If you are interested in a real walking tour – try starting from Miraflores (more than likely where your hotel is situated) and walk along the Costa Verde to the community of Magdalena (the round trip is about 15 kilometers and has you stepping into a kaleidoscope of beautiful costal vistas and wonderful architecture). If you are really daring – head in the opposite direction and walk south along the Costa Verde bluffs to the bohemian community of Barranco. If you stay along the bluff until you arrive in Barranco and then head into the neighborhoods to meander along the streets – you will be in for a great treat; as the architecture is exquisite colonial style and has an almost mystical feel to it.

If Miraflores is Lima’s Upper West Side, then Barranco is Greenwich Village. Home to Lima’s bohemian upper crust like Mario Vargas Llosa, this onetime summer resort neighborhood is filled with art galleries, European style parks and pubs. From the marigold-studded Plaza de Armas, walk west down to the Bridge of Sighs, an old wooden bridge over a bougainvillea-lined walkway that when accompanied by guitar players and women selling single roses, manages to be both touristy and romantic (a great place to venture in the late evening hours – when street vendors selling Anticuchos (skewered beef hearts that are BBQ’d on an open grill) and Peruvian Chicha are lively and filled with Old World charm. Wind your way over to the Lucia de la Puente gallery (Paso Sáenz Peña 206A; 51-1-477-9740;, in Barranco, which has contemporary art exhibitions like an Incan ruin reconstructed out of old computer keyboards, changing monthly. Barranco is a truly unique part of Lima and a great chance to see what the “artistic” class of Latin America is doing with contemporary medium in art.

One of my favorite walking tours is through the neighborhood of San Isidro – immediately adjacent to the north of Miraflores. Take a walk along the tree lined “Olive Park” (ask any Limeno where “Olive Tree Park” is and they will point you in the right direction) and you will see the traditional lives of the wealthy Limeno’s unfold before your eyes. Here – in the heart of one of the wealthiest communities in Latin America is a world that many never experience. You will see the truly wealthy walking with their beautifully coiffed dogs – as their maids walk in-toe 2-3 meters behind (a waiting their ever instructions). You will see a world that is very far removed from the Peru and Lima where I spend most of my time – the poverty and grim of the Pueblo Jovenes. And, you will catch a glimpse of the huge divide that exists between the “haves” and the “have nots” of Peru.

Okay – please do not be discouraged by this rather “sobering” experience for this is one of the things that I truly respect about Lima. Lima is a city of dramatic contrasts and huge divisions. It is a place that fully demonstrates the open clash of the many levels of our global societies. In Lima people do not run from, or hide the many layers of wealth and poverty – they just live in it. Take sometime to venture off the tourist path. Take sometime to visit the neighborhoods where “working people” live. Get to know Peru from the vantage point of a Peruvian. Believe me – you will not be disappointed with the people you meet or the food you enjoy.

Getting back to a “tourists view” of Lima -

Besides the numerous palaces, the central Plaza de Armis cathedral, and the numerous churches, including the monastery of Santa Rosa with the relics of St. Rose of Lima, Lima contains many notable public buildings including the National Library, founded in 1821 by José de San Martín, and the University of San Marcos, founded in 1551. The library, which once contained priceless documents of the Spanish Conquest and rare European books, was looted by Chilean soldiers during Chile's occupation of Lima (1881–83) in the War of the Pacific. The Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos de Lima is one of the finest in South America; there is also a Catholic university a modern center for higher learning with a multitude of programs and opportunities.

Not far from the city center are the pre-Inca ruins at Pachacamac – a must see tourist site for any would-be archeologist or anthropologist. It is a great place to take a cab and meander on your won – or get a guided tour and really immerse yourself in the antiquities of the region. If you want to take a “guided tour” with a former university history teacher and taxi driver – call HBI’s Lima staff person Dr. Daniel Bueno Rojas and ask him to help you arrange a guided tour with “Pepe Pedro” through some of the best indigenous locals of Lima. The cost of the day long city tour is variable – but generally it is best to pay between $50-60 USD. Pedro and Daniel will take you to some of the best “off the beaten” track spots of Lima – places that many tourists never go. You can contact Dr. Daniel at: or 988 003 187 (Lima cell phone number).

Pachacamac is an ancient site of splendid ruins of a walled Native American settlement. The site is located about 25 mi (40 km) SE of Lima in the Lurin Valley. This site, which contains a number of pyramids, was considered one of the most important religious monuments by the indigenous people of the central Andes. Spanish historical records, along with extensive archaeological research at the site, have served to clarify its history and significance. By the Early Intermediate period (c.A.D. 200–600) this site contained at least one pyramid, a cemetery, and a polychrome fresco of fish. The Huari Empire, based in the south central highlands of Peru during the period A.D. 600–800, gained hegemony over the central coast of Peru and sponsored construction at Pachacamac, probably turning it into a major Huari administrative center. Numerous Huari-influenced designs appear on the ceramics and textiles of this site's large cemetery.

After Huari's collapse, Pachacamac grew in size, eventually covering c.210 acres (85 hectares). During this late phase (c.800–1450), the majority of its architectural compounds and pyramids were constructed. The primary architectural unit is the walled enclosure containing a stepped pyramid, storage structures, and patios. The site is organized around two perpendicular avenues, aligned with the cardinal directions, which cross one another at the center of the site. Historical sources indicate that in the 15th cent., the Rimac and Lurin valleys formed a small polity known as the Ichma, which established an alliance with the Inca. Following the expansion of the Inca Empire, Pachacamac became an important Inca administrative center, while maintaining its status as a religious shrine. The Inca built five separate complexes there, including the Pyramid of the Sun and the Mamacuna. The latter contains fine Inca masonry in its entrance gate, a rarity on the coast.

The Spanish conqueror Francisco Pizarro heard about Pachacamac from the Inca, while holding the Inca King Atahualpa prisoner at Cajamarca in 1532. He promptly sent an expedition to sack the center. The Spanish conquerors seized a large amount of silver and gold from the site and destroyed an idol. Spanish accounts indicate Pachacamac was one of the holiest shrines in the central Andes. The site's name derives from the Quechua term for the coastal deity, Pacha Camac [he who vitalizes the universe]. The main temple at the site was dedicated to this deity and held a famous oracle. Pilgrims traveled to the center from great distances, and its cemetery was considered sacrosanct. The site of Pachacamac has been preserved, and one of the Inca structures, the Mamacuna, has been reconstructed.

Many visitors to Peru rank a trip to the Pachacamac archeological site as a highlight of their trip. For me, the best times in Peru are spent watching the people; and the people of Lima are a very unique and delightful group. Thanks to an increase in tourism, Lima has undergone a major face-lift. An architectural refurbishing of the city's center has restored of the colonial look that has distinguished Peru's capital. But the urban renewal never reached Lima's shantytowns that line the city's perimeter.

Built atop one of the world's driest deserts, this is not an easy place to live — yet it is home to half of Lima's population. Most are unemployed migrants forced from the remote highlands of the Andes — the very land Pizarro exiled their ancestors to nearly 500 years ago. Most importantly – Lima is also the best place to try the wonderful Peruvian cuisine, which has a huge variety of ingredients from coast, mountain and Amazon regions. The cold sea current in front of Peru's large coast makes the sea very rich in fish and seafood, which have a great taste due to the special plankton they eat. Fish and seafood restaurants are therefore the best, and not expensive.


The Neighborhoods of Lima: Lima city proper is generally considered to be comprised of the densely-populated neighborhoods – each with their own personality, people and culture. There are some thirty central districts of the Lima Province. Each district is headed by a mayor, although the Metropolitan Lima Municipal Council (Municipalidad Metropolitana de Lima), led by the mayor of Lima, also has authority in these districts, including the thirteen outer districts of Lima province. The neighborhoods that make up these unique districts is where the true “Lima experience” can be had. Don’t be afraid – get out and enjoy the city and all of the possibilities.


The historical downtown of the city is located in the Lima District, which is locally known as Cercado de Lima. This is where most vestiges of Lima's colonial heyday remain, as well as the Presidential Palace and the Metropolitan Lima Municipal Council.

The neighborhoods of Miraflores and San Isidro are among the wealthiest in the city with most of Lima's upscale hotels and other tourist destinations located in them. The latter district is also an important financial center that is nowadays far more important in Lima's daily business life than the Cercado. The districts of La Molina, Monterico (by far the wealthiest of the Lima “new generation” neighborhoods), San Borja and Santiago de Surco offer quieter, residential areas.

Barranco, not far south of Miraflores, is known as a bohemian neighborhood and has earned recognition for its population of writers and intellectuals. Barranco is also home to a famous historical bridge and a multitude of fantastic artisans and night clubs.

The most populous districts of Lima lie in the Northern and Southern ends of the city. Their population is comprised principally of immigrants from other regions of Peru. Many of them are poor people of indigenous origin who arrived during the mid and late twentieth century after being displaced by terrorism, agrarian crises, and general economic frustration. These peasants invaded the vast desert areas and hillsides in the districts of the Cono Norte and Cono Sur areas, populating new slums known as pueblos jóvenes. The majority of the people living in the Pueblo Jovenes communities of the northern cone are desperately poor, and live in slums with no electricity and running water; although the area has seen significant improvement in many areas in the past 5 years.

I do not recommend that you venture to these sprawling peri-urban slums alone. If you are truly interested in experiencing the “other” side of the City of Kings – contact me and I can help to connect you with a trusted guide. You will not be disappointed with an “insiders” tour of the city– but keep in mind, this is not the Lima of the fancy shops and “first world” cafes and restaurants. This is an entirely differnet Lima that is a “clash” between the burgeoning wealth of this beautiful city and the desperate poverty that traps nearly 50% of its population in oppressive conditions. You can contact me at

Now for a few places to consider wetting your whistle (i.e., getting a drink) or filling your hungry gastrum (i.e., getting something to drink). I have tried to outline the places I like best, but I am certain some Limenos will disagree with my selections. If you run into “better” places, please let me know. This document is a work-in-progress and your input is critical. Thanks!




1) Arabica Espresso Bar: Recavarren 269 in Miraflores (phone: 242-2943); the absolute BEST espresso pull in all of Lima.

2) Café Z: Corner of Jose Galvez and Malecon Balta in Miraflores at the very southern end of the Parque Kennedy. This is very much a “gringo” coffee shop, and that is okay because the coffee is Peruvian and great. Expect to pay American prices.

  1. 3)  El Bodegon: 199 Ca. Tarapaca (on the corner of Ca. Atachualpa and Ca. Tarapaca). A great local hangout with lots of Limeno ambiance.

  2. 4)  Gustos: 3397 Av. Petit Thouras (corner of Chinchon)

  3. 5)  Fuente de Soda: Located on the corner of Ca. García Calderón and Ca. Coronel Inclán

  4. 6)  MY FAVORITE - 4d Heladeria Italiana: 621 Independencia (Miraflores); THE BEST ice cream in Lima; this is Lee’s absolute favorite place in all of Peru.

  5. 7)  Italo: The best Italian cookies and pastries in all of Peru; Located on the corner of Ave Salavery in the neighborhood of Magdalena.

  6. 8)  FANTASTIC – La Bodega de la Trattoria (General Borgoño 784; 51-1-241-6899); the casual wing of La Trattoria, run by the South American television dessert diva Sandra Plevisani

  7. 9)  GREAT COFFEE - Café La Maguina: 323 Calle Alcanfores (Miraflores); a hip, bohemian café with coffee, drinks and a fun “urbane” environment.

10)Gloria Jean’s Coffee: Avenida Benevides, Block 17 (directly across from the Starbuck’s); don’t let the name sway you [I know, it is a bit funky], the place is

11) Holly’s Coffee: Avenida Benevides, Block 12 (literally 2-blocks off the via

Expressa in Miraflores as you head into the neighborhood of Surco); this place is a

local hangout and a wonderful people watching spot.
12) Sofa Café: Jr. Centenrio and Avenida San Martin (Block 4); A brand new eatery in

the Baranco neighborhood along the coast; you can find great “lonche” (late afternoon snack food; a word about Peruvian’s and their eating schedule – the biggest meal of the day for any Peruvian is what we call lunch. For most Peruvians, breakfast is a simple meal of bread, tea and juice. Lunch or almeuerzo is a giant three-course meal that is always started with a wonderful soup. A late afternoon snack (sometimes called bocaditos or lonche) is often eaten at 5-7 pm. This “snack” consists of a light sandwich, a piece of cake, and a coffee or tea beverage. What we in the western world called “dinner” is often another very light meal for Peruvians and almost always taken at home.)

13)Gourmet Market: Are you craving the “trappings” of western culture – San Peligrino water, Swiss chocolates, fine California wine . . . well, there is a market (located right next door to the Sofa Café – and they have it all. It is, however, a bit expensive.

14)La Casa Alfajor (Av. Conquistador and Conde de la Monclova): Everything alfajor. This place is an alter to almighty sweetened, condensed milk!


  1. 1)  Querolo (Corner of Av. Gral Manuel Vianco and Sucre in the neighborhood of Pueblo Libre; ask any taxi driver – they will get you there): A classic Lima “old school” bar that specializes in Pisco drinks. A really fun place to hang out and people watch.

  2. 2)  Bar Bolivariano (Block 5 on Sucre Street just across the street from the Norky’s Chicken Restaurant in Pueblo Libre): Another Lima institutions that will transport you back in time. The place is almost a vestige of a by-gone era. A must visit location.


3) Hotel Maury (downtown Lima just off the Plaza de Armis; ask anyone who is local and they will point you in the right direction): Supposedly the home of the original Pisco Sour. Who knows? One thing I know for sure – they can make one mean Pisco Sour.



  1. 1)  Menu: on the corner of Calle San Martin and Calle Porta (292 Porta) in

    Miraflores; this is a great place to get a “menu” lunch for about 8 soles (less than $2.50 for a three course meal with drink); “menu” restaurants are places that cater to business lunch diners; they will have set menus with a meat, fish or fowl preparation. This place is FANTASTICO!

  2. 2)  Glotons: a chain of inexpensive “local” eateries in Lima; the closet one to the tourist hotels is in Miraflores just off of Avenida Angamos.

  3. 3)  Restaurante Beiingolea “Kahlua”: 185-B Av. Porta (Miraflores) (fantastic – and VERY inexpensive; an entire 3 course meal for 2 dollars)

  4. 4)  Mama Gula: 533 Calle Dos de Mayo

  5. 5)  Las Gaviotas: 408 Ca. Juan Fanning (Cevicheria – one of the best)

  6. 6)  Entre Amigos: 2556 Av. Arenales (corner of Av. Gra. Trinidad Moran)

  7. 7)  Norky’s: All over Lima; they have the best rotisserie chicken; Norky’s is a

    “hit or miss” – and when it is a “hit” it is well worth it!

  8. 8)  Italo: The best Italian cookies and pastries in all of Peru; Located on the

    corner of Ave Salavery in the neighborhood of Magdalena

  9. 9)  Bimbo’s: Bimbo's is the Peruvian equivalent of McDonald's. The menu is similar: hamburgers, fries, shakes, etc. You can find Bimbo's all over the city

    of Lima.

10)Pardo’s Chicken: corner of Ave Benavides and Grimaldo del Solar in

Miraflores; great, cheap food
11) Sabor y Saber (Sandwiches and Snacks): Corner of Ca. Victor Fajardo and

Calle Bellavista.
12) Bagueteria Don Mario’s: Corner of Avenida Perrez Arainibar and Avenida

Salavarrey; cheap, good coffee, cakes and light meals. An “old” Lima

13) MY FAVORITE - Don Tito’s (chicken grill): Ave Aviacion and Ave Borja

Sur in the San Borja neighborhood; this place is great! This is the best pollo al

la brasa in all of Lima.

14)Trattoria Doris: Corner of Avenida Brasil and Avenida Javier Prado in the neighborhood of Magdalena; a pasta and pizza joint for locals only.

15)Corralito: Corner of Jr. Grau and Avenida Brasil in Magdalena; this is a traditional steak and chicken "La Parridilla.”

16)FANTASTIC SEAFOOD – Plato Hondo (Near ENACE in San Borja; across from Oechsle department store off of Av. Angamos): A little “hole in the wall” seafood (Cevicheria) restaurant owned by a former surfer. Wonderful place.

17) La Folie Café (in the neighborhood of Surco – just off of Ave. Angamos): A great place for a snack and a later afternoon pre-dinner lunch.

Last Updated: January 2013


18) Laene: 220 Av. Dos de Mayo (moderate to expensive – and very good) 

19)La Mas Antigua: 401 San Fernando (Miraflores) (a great place for pizza, sandwiches and local surprises; fusion food)

20) Las Tejas: 340 Diez Canseco (Miraflores) (good for a group meal due to the large seating capacity)

21)Da Luciana il Ristorante: 330 Francisco de Paula Camino (an elegant, expensive authentic Italian eatery; very good)

22)MY FAVORITE - La Carreta: 740 Av. Rivera Navarrete (San Isidro) (excellent steaks and a beautiful local atmosphere; there will not be a single gringo in the place)

23)Junius: Corner of Ave Jose Pardo and Ca. Independencia (a good place for Bebedos (drinks) and light fare)

24) La Tranquera: 285 Av. José Pardo (Miraflores) (great steaks)

25)Rodizio: Faucet Avenue 2000; A great churraqueria (steak house) near the 

26) GREAT CEVICHE - Restaurante Caplina (Ceviche – one of the best in the city): 793 General Mendiburu (Miraflores), telephone number: 222-3992; the owners name is Fernando Pacheco and is the brother of one of my patients in the United Status (Hugo)

27) El Embrujo: 536 Calle Berlin (Miraflores), telephone number: 242-1022; a tradicional resturaunt with a buffet style meal offering; great for large groups.

28) THE ABSOLUTE BEST Lomo Saltado in Lima - Jose Antonio: Jr. B Monteagudo 200, San Isidro, telephone number (51-1) 2640188;

29) CHIFA - Fu Sen: 702 Avenida Javier Prado at the corner of Jr. Trujillo; this place is a classis Chifa restaurant – big, bold and a bit gawdy. You will really enjoy the atmosphere (over three floors of dining space) and the food.

30) Resturnate Pastipan: Avenida Alfredo Benevides (Block 48) in the neighborhood of Surco; this is a great place to get a snack or a light meal with fresh salads and safe juice drinks.

31) Mavery: Avenida Ejercito just past the ovolo in Miraflores; a pub-like restaraunt where you can get a decent meal.

32)Canta Rana (Barranco); great food and good prices - 22 soles including drink.

33) FANTASTIC - Samantha: Comida Criolla: located on Av Jose Pardo, one block away from the Ovalo de Miraflores, right next door to the Banco de la Nacion; It has no elegance to speak of and is only open for lunch, but is a fantastic place to go for cheap, great Peruvian standards like Asado de res, Aji de Gallina, and Pollo al horno. The day's menu items are posted on the wall on removable strips of paper, the bathrooms are revolting, and sharing space at the cheap linoleum tables is expected, but I consider it one of the best restaurants in Lima. You'll know the place from the yellow banner hanging in the door.


34)Restaurante Danica ( Really great Peruvian-Italian fusion food in the perfect location between Miraflores and Barranco. A fantastic place for really unique food that is not Gaston. One word of caution – they don’t have a great wine menu . . . so bring your own or have a Pisco Sour.

35) Rincon Gaucho: Avenida Almte. and Miguel Grau (Block 16); this is a great Argentinian steak house. It is a bit expensive if you order all of the trappings – wine, courses of meat and accompaniements. However, if you just stick to “non Fred Flinstone” size portions – it is not too bad in terms of the hit on your pocket-book or wallet.

36) THE BEST BURGER IN LATIN AMERICA (maybe) – Papacho: Av. La Paz 1045, Lima, Peru (Miraflores); Seriously – is there anything that Gaston does not do really well?! The guy is a food genius. Papacho is his version of the U.S. diner and it is awesome. The best, I mean this, the absolute BEST French fries in Peru. You really gotta go!

37)Bodega Trattoria Primavera (Av. Angamos and Velasco Astete): A great true Italian find in Latin America.

38) Symposium (on the corner of Ricardo Palma and Santa Luisa [Block 1] in San Isidro): Wonderful place with a late opening at 730 pm. Worth a visit!


  1. 1)  MY FAVORITE - Restaurant Huaca Pucllana: General Borgona 8th Block, Miraflores, 445-4042, web:

  2. 2)  Brujas de Cachiche: 460 Av. Bolognesi (Miraflores) (expensive and well worth a final night out in Peru before flying back to the USA; a great wine


  3. 3)  Nido Inn: 211 Ca. San Martin (great for drinks a lounge to rest and relax; a

    European style boutique hotel that has only just opened [in the last year])

  4. 4)  La Calesa: 255 Manuel Banon (corner of Av. Camino Real)

  5. 5)  Torvile: 295 Manuel Banon

  6. 6)  Blue Resturaunt: 3320 Av. Petit Thouras (corner of Ca. Chinchon).

  7. 7)  Astrid & Gaston (A&G): 175 Calle Cantuarias, Miraflores; the culinary

    genius of Peru’s famous son (Gaston Acurio); the dishes are really unique and fusion in there orientation. People either love A&G or they find the food to be banal and “over-hyped.” For a great review of the restaurant by a real foodie, see:

  8. 8)  Venitucci: Corner of Ca. Italia and Ca. Gral Reca Varren (GREAT Italian provincial food).

  9. 9)  Zeno Manue: Corner of Elias Aguirre and Ca. Dos de Mayo

10) Rafael Resturante: Corner of Calle Ocharan and Calle San Martin
11) Oztia: 143 Calle Bolognesi (Miraflores); part of a new generation of high-end Italian eateries in Lima.

12)Pampa de Amancaes Restaurante: 550 Avenida Armendariz; a bit expensive, but good food.


13) Restaurante Francesco: Malecon de la Marina 526, Santa Cruz, Miraflores; GREAT seafood and Peruvian traditional dishes made with seafood;

14)El Rincón de Bigote: José Gálvez 529 Miraflores; a tradional ceviche restaurant that is really a “hole in the wall.”

15) Mi Causa: This restaurant is devoted to causas and takes the concept to a new level by serving probably 50 different types, including many causas which are served hot.

16) Arugula: Calle San Fernando, 320 Miraflores; great for salads & light lunches.

17) La Gloria: Atahualpa, 201 Miraflores; impeccable. Consistently voted one of the best “foodie” locations in all of Peru and one of the “favorite restaurants in Lima.” Have a Pisco Sour or a glass of champagne in their charming little bar before dinner.

18) Lima 27 (San Isidro just off the ovolo Santa Luisa): One of the highest end places in all of Lima. As a staff person for HBI once said, “this place is so high end that Sheiks eat there.”

19) La Rocca (Just off of Pardo in San Isidro): A very nice Italian restaurant in a very upscale neighborhood.

1) Hotel Ferre Miraflores: Diego Ferre 235, Miraflores, Lima; this is the HBI

TEAM PERU preferred hotel; HBI has a contract at the hotel for a special rate and if you tell the front desk hat you are working with HBI – you too will get the special rate. Telephone number: (511) 446-7276; e-mail:

  1. 2)  Hotel DeVille Inn: Jr. Chiclayo 533, Miraflores, Lima; this is another HBI TEAM PERU preferred hotel owned by the same proprietor as the Hotel Ferre; again, HBI get’s a special room rate and all you have to do is mention your affiliation with HBI to receive the same rate; this is a “lower end” hotel when compared to the Hotel Ferre – but still nice, clean and very centrally located in Miraflores (it is just around the block from Lee’s favorite ice cream shop in all of Lima – 4D); Telephone number: (511) 447-4325

  2. 3)  Hotel Mariel: 240 General Suarez (Miraflores); very nice and clean; in the heart of the tourist area of Miraflores; the staff all speak English; I always stay at the Mariel when I am in Lima; Telephone number: 44-2829

  3. 4)  Manhattan Inn: 168 Jr. Luana Pizzaro (Callao – out near airport); clean, friendly and very convenient for those flying in from Canada and US looking for short stay place in Lima en-route to Arequipa, Cuzco or other areas in Peru; Telephone number: 464-5811

  4. 5)  De Ville Inn: 533 Jr. Chiclayo (Miraflores); clean and neat; do not speak English; Telephone number: 447-4325

  5. 6)  Villa Molina: 341 Terual (Miraflores – on the neighborhood border with San Isidro); a bit out of the way for shopping in Miraflores, and very quite because of this; Telephone number: 440-4018


7) Imperial Residence: 391 Ca. Colina (Miraflores); a bit of a loud spot, and very close to shopping and eateries in Miraflores; only a couple of blocks to the Parque Kennedy

8) Nido Inn: 211 Ca. San Martin; one of a growing number of “boutique” hotels arising in Lima; very nice, and a bit expensive; Telephone number: 447-0175

9) Hotel Regency: 843 Av. Angamos Oeste; cheap, clean and off the beaten track; not a great place, and acceptable for one or two nights if everywhere else is booked; Telephone number: 242-2310

10)GREAT LOCATION AND PRICE: Hotel El Patio: Located on Calle De Canseco, this is a great little place in the heart of Miraflores that is still very reasonable for any budget traveler.

11)La Posada del Parque Hostal: Inexpensive and very accommodating, this small hostal is a great “cheap” place to stay. Located in the neighborhood of Santa Beatriz, the address is: Parque Hernán Velarde 60, Lima

12) EXPENSIVE: Sonesta Lima Hotel El Olívar; The Sonesta chain's top-of-the- line property, aimed squarely at visiting business travelers, is named for the historic Olive Grove Park, which it faces. This seven-story hotel is well located for its clientele, in a peaceful section of the San Isidro business district of the city. The rooms, a step up from the more rustic decor in the chain's Posada del Inca, are quite large, with boldly colored fabrics and beige marble bathrooms. Service is friendly and efficient, and the amenities outdo those of most hotels in the city. The recently revamped restaurant is winning accolades in the Peruvian press, and is an excellent spot for lunch or dinner. Business travelers on a tighter budget who nonetheless wish to stay in San Isidro should also check out the Sonesta Posada del Inca, an easygoing sister property whose guests are allowed to use the pool and excellent gym at El Olívar. It's located just a few blocks away at Av. Conquistadores 490 (tel. 01/222-4373; $105 double

including taxes).


• For international gourmet food, a local well-known chef, Gaston Acurio, has opened his own restaurant, ASTRID Y GASTON, at Cantuarias 175, Miraflores. Phone: 444-1496

• For a wide gamut of dishes, seafood in particular (ensalada de mariscos o risotto con camarones), you can try the COSTA VERDE at Playa Barranquito with lovely oceanfront view. Phone: 477-5228

• Another awesome place for seafood is ALFRESCO, Malecon Balta 790, Miraflores. Phone: 242-8960. They were the ones who introduced the "tiradito" to Lima and have built considerable fame for themselves amongst the “dining populous” of Peru; A word of note – tiradito is very similar to a ceviche.

• For authentic Peruvian cuisine, I highly recommend the JOSE ANTONIO, at Bernardo Monteagudo 200, Magdalena del Mar. Phone: 264-0188. You will not be disappointed with their popular Lomo Saltado, o un buen seco de lomo. (This is my favorite place of all!)

  • Another excellent place for Peruivan cuisine is EL SENORIO DE SULCO, at Malecon Cisneros 1470. Miraflores. Phone: 441-0389. An interesting dish they serve is the huatia sulcana, a family roast recipe cooked with aromatic herbs in a terracotta pot.

  • Another savory treat, MANOS MORENAS, at Av. Pedro de Osma 409, Barranco. Phone: 467-0421. You'll love their yuquitas fritas rellenas de queso, anticuchos, causa con pollo, quinua con camarones, etc. Their desserts recreate classic recipes for suspiro a la limena, volador, mazamorra morada y arroz con leche.

  • For a tasty rotisserie chicken, and the best fries (I swear!), my very own family voted MEDITERRANEO CHICKEN as the best. I know there's one in Miraflores, but I don't have the address--sorry.

  • For coffee or tea, a sandwich & pastries try DELICASS, at Miguel Dasso 131, San Isidro, phone: 221-3309. Or, visit SAN ANTONIO, Avenida Angamos 1494, Miraflores, phone: 421-5575.

  • For ice cream: Try the local brand, D'ONOFRIO available everywhere! (I love bombones de lucuma cubiertos en chocolate). Another excellent treat is 4D, a local Italian Gelateria or ice cream parlor located in Avenida Angamos. Their helado de chirimoya is oh so good!!!

  • If you are inclined to go for Chinese food (Chifa as the Limenos call it): O MEI, Avenida Javier Prado Este 5902, La Molina, phone: 437-0188; PALACIO DE BEIJING, Avenida Benavides 768, Miraflores, phone: 444-3569; PUM KAY, Avenida Benavides 1949, Miraflores, phone: 448-7298

  • The absolute BEST place in Lima for the traditional Peruvian dish of Lomo Saltado: Resturaunte “El Embriljo;” ask any taxi driver in Miraflores and they will get you there for about 5 soles.

  • For great silver jewelry: In the Indian Market of Miraflores, see Gladys. Just ask one of the shop vendors where “Gladys’” stall is – they will kindly oblige.


  • Plaza de las Armas is the main square of downtown Lima and the site of Francisco Pizzaro’s proclamation that he would “make the capital of the new world for Spain.” The central plaza is the “show piece” of Lima and one of the best preserved central plazas in all of Latin America. Situated in the plaza is the seat of power for Lima (the provincial government – and perhaps the most powerful element of the governmental structure in the whole country), the Basicilica of the Catholic Church, the home of the Cardinal of Peru (Juan Luis Cipriani), the Palace of the President of the Republic (Alan Garcia) and one of Peru’s most exclusive men’s clubs – where it is said most of the business of the country takes place; truly the central square of Lima is the seat of power for all of the nation).

  • Museo de la Nacion, along Av. Javier Prado; really a great collection of art and national treasures.

  • Museo Larco Herrera, archaeology, in the Pueblo Libre borough. Popular thanks to its ample collection of erotic pottery from the Mochica culture.

  • National Museum of Archaeology and History, also in the Pueblo Libre borough, quite good and very didactic; the area surrounding it is worth a walk.

  • Museo de Oro del Perú, Alonso de Molina 1100, Monterrico. Open mon-sun 11:30- 19:00. Peru's gold museum contains a huge collection of beautiful, if at times gaudy, gold works. The entire museum is in a huge basement vault and covers works from the earliest cultures and forward. Not the best place to learn about Peruvian precolumbian cultures.

  • Museo de Arte, permanent and temporary exhibits of Peruvian art, covering pre- hispanic, colonial, republican and modern art

  • La Iglesia de San Francisco, Fans of colonial churches will be pleased with the architecture of this well-known church in downtown Lima. However, the more compelling reasons to visit this cathedral include underground catacombs featuring hundreds of real human skeletons arranged in artistic patterns, and also a beautiful library with mysterious, oversized books and spiral staircases in Harry Potteresque form.

  • Instituto Riva Agüero, in Jirón Camaná, holds two museums: an interesting collection of popular arts, including masks and costumes from current festivities in the Andean region; and a small but nice collection of archaeological artifacts from Lima sites. The Instituto is housed on a very old colonial townhouse, one of the few of its kind open to the public.

  • Larcomar . It's like a mall (I know!), but it is a great place to people watch and see a beautiful sunset. The discotecs are open Thrusdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and in summer (January and February). Larcomar's principal attraction is its location. It is located in Miraflores, in a high hill in Miraflores over looking the Costa Verde - where you can see the beach while eating or just walking.

  • Shopping – Ripley and Saga Flabella (located in Miraflores and San Isidro, as well as the Jockey Plaza Shopping Mall): These are big Chilean shopping stores (like Nordstroms in the Western US states). There are GREAT buys as South America stores because they often avoid the importation tariffs that make US clothing stores so expensive.

  • Artisan Fare: Finally, a trip to Lima would not be complete without a visit to the Indian Mercado. Located in Miraflores, 2 blocks off Avenida Arequipa (the longest Avenue in Lima) – the market is a treasure-trove of Ameri-Indian handicrafts and textiles. It is a must stop for any foreign traveler to Peru.

  • The new Water Park: The mayor of Lima invested an enormous amount of money in developing a premiere water park in downtown Lima (near the U.S. Ambassador’s home); this is not a “swimming park,” but a park with fountains and water shows. It is a beautiful place to go at night and any taxi driver in Lima will take you there. Simply ask for the “Parque de agua.”



• Beaches and Waterfront


o Ancón
o Barranquito
o Aguadulce
o Los Pavos
o Las Cascadas 

o Las Sombrillas


o Costa Linda


• Museums


o Lima Peru Museums
o Museums in Peru
o Larco Museum in Lima Peru: 45,000 classified archaeological objects o Guide of Peru Museums

  • §  Gold Museum

  • §  Lima Wall Museum

  • §  Museum of the Nation (Museo de la Nación)

  • §  Japanese Inmigration Museum

  • §  National Museum of the Archaeology, Anthropology, and History of Peru

    (Museo Nacional del Arqueología, Antropología, e Historia del Perú)

  • §  Natural History Museum, Lima (Museo de Historia Natural)

  • §  Arts & Peruvian Popular Traditions Museum

  • §  Miguel Grau House-Museum

  • §  Ricardo Palma House-Museum

  • §  Morro de Arica soldiers Museum

  • §  Italian Arts Museum

  • §  Congress and Inquisiton Museum


• Colonial Buildings


o Justice Palace
o Rimac Building
o Governor's House
o Lima's Cathedral
o Saint Lorenzo Church
o Saint Rose of Lima Church
o Congress of the Republic
o Lima's Mayor House
o Segura Theater
o Italian Arts Museum
o Lima's Art Center
o Lima's City Walls Park
o Torre Tagle Palace
o Acho Plaza
o Saint Martin Plaza
o National Culture Institute
o University Park
o Desamparados Train Station
o Rosa Nautica Restaurant
o Perez Aranibar Children House o Naval Heroes Park


• Islands


o San Lorenzo Island


• Amusement Parks


o Lima's Zoo, San Miguel
o Kart Circuit, Magdalena del Mar


o Daytona Park, Surco
o Sports Center, Miraflores
o Apolo (Ice-Skating Park), San Isidro o Lima's Hippodrome, Surco
o La Granja Villa, Chorrillos
o Sports Center, Barranco


• Zoos


o Parque de las Leyendas
o Centro Ecologico Recreacional de Huachipa



Arequipa was founded by the Spaniards in 1540. Arequipa is the second largest city (about 1.2 million inhabitants of the city and surrounding invasion communities) in Peru – but really has a whole differnet feel and attitude than another “second largest city” you have ever visited. It really has style, together with a magnificent backdrop of snowy volcanoes, the cone of El Misti and the Nevada Chachani, both being about 6000 meters altitude. The superb Plaza de Armas with its imposing palm trees is surrounded on three sides by double storied arched colonial buildings and on the north side is the huge cathedral, its twin towers now enshrouded in scaffolding due to their collapse in the 2001 earthquake.

What a great place to rest awhile! You need four days at least, preferably a week, because your trip to see the Colca Canyon will take two days or even more, while shopping and sight-seeing in the city will leave you exhausted. Take it easy and make time to sit and enjoy this ancient city and the beautiful architecture that has stood the many tests of time.

To get a feel of the history, stroll along Calle Santa Catalina. For a whole block a meters thick, stone wall hides the secluded Convent of Santa Catalina, once home to 400 nuns. Now only 20 are in residence, but for 400 years they led a cloistered life cut off from the ravages of the outside world. Tourists can get a guided tour, or you can wander around by yourself, delving into the rustic beauty of a convent founded in 1580 and which has survived many earthquakes since then.

About half the population is officially considered living at poverty level and jobs are scarce. Selling clothes, art work, jewelry, or food is often the only means of income, and while tourists can tire of being pressured to buy, it's worth remembering this. Keep in mind that it may take a woman 3-5 days to hand stitch a sweater of Alpaca yarn.

The City of Arequipa is called "The White City," built from the white sillar rock tossed out by one of the three volcanoes that overlook the crowded streets and cobbled byways. The name “White City” is also inspired by the fact that the sun shines every single day, a sunlit city almost lost in the middle of a severe mountain range. The beauty of the city is truly magnificent. It is a dramatic contrast to the most frenetic pace and massive size of Lima. It is, however, the 2nd largest urban area in Peru and now prosperous enough that smog from the cars mixing with mountain street sand adds an unfortunate brownish cast to what must have been beautiful early light not too long ago. The City of Arequipa is considered the intellectual capital of modern Peru; and boasts many wonderful academics.

Arequipa's much-visited convent is the Santa Catalina 'Monastery' began, in the 16th century, as a convent for the daughters of rich families. At one time, there were over 450 nuns living in it, and in the early days the nuns all had their own servants and held regular parties, enjoying English carpets, silk curtains, porcelain plates, damask tablecloths, silver cutlery, and lace sheets, until a crackdown brought a more severe lifestyle.

The convent is a city in itself, with streets, gardens, and pools inside. The nuns were hidden from view by curtains or other barriers during visits by family or friends, but life there was not likely too grim, as the courtyards and private areas look relatively comfy and spacious. Just a couple of block towards the Plaza is the astounding Museo Santuarios Andinos where you will see the famous "Juanita, La Niña de los Hielos", the 550 year old Inca girl sacrifice found in 1995 by mountaineers in the ice on the summit of nearby Volcano Ampato at 6318 meters altitude. An adjacent volcano had erupted and blown ash to melt the summit snow to reveal this sacrificial site. There she is, kept in a glass case at low temperature, in all her Inca finery, and the museum displays the historical and scientific data associated with the discovery.

Immediately when you set foot into the Plaza you will be besieged by friendly entrepreneurs enticing you to snack and drink at their balcony restaurants. Do not be offended by their rather aggressive tactics. Simply tell them that you are looking around and will decide where you wish to go “a tiempo” (in time). A pleasant spot is up on one of the balconies overlooking the Plaza De Armis – here you can have a “bird’s eye” view of the comings and goings of the City of Arequipa. Don’t expect cut-rate prices or exceptional cuisine from these establishments – but do enjoy the magnificent view.

Along Calle Santa Catalina craft shops and tour agencies abound. You can buy some Alpaca winter woollies, scarves and sweaters – but be aware; most of the items are NOT 100% Alpaca wool. Merchants cannot afford to sell Alpaca made textiles at such low prices – so blends have been created that merge lamb’s wool and Alpaca yarns to make for a “tourist” priced item. If you really want Alpaca, Vicuna or baby Alpaca wool items, it is best to go to one of the Inca Alpaca retail stores located throughout Peru. There is a very nice store in the Patio Del Ekeko center in downtown Arequipa. Remember – real Alpaca and Vicuna yarn is NOT cheap and you should expect to pay between $75-150 dollars for sweaters, shawls and other items.

If you are looking for the “cheaper version” of the Peruvian “Alpaca” sweater – head to the market along Calle Santa Catalina. Regular sweaters cost about US$10 and up. One of the main problems is finding larger sizes for the Western travelers with long arms. Father Alex Busuttil has a “fair trade” business at his Catholic Church in Alto Cayma (see: http://serving-alto- He can have a special made-to-order sweater done in less than 2 days. Expect to pay more (double or even triple) than down in the city – this is a fair trade business and Father Alex wants to ensure that the woman making the textiles get a “living wage.” Lee and I exclusively purchase our items from Father Alex so as to support the mission and the social justice concept of a “fair wage for fair work.” I encourage you to consider the options available to you when you purchase your souvenirs and artesian items in Arequipa.


  • DECENT EUROPEAN FARE - Zig Zag (on Avenida Zela in downtown Arequipa, near all the tourist restaurants): an international restaurant owned by two Swiss; great beef and local produce; a bit pricey.

  • FANTASTIC NUEVO CUSINA: Chi Cha (Calle Santa Catalina 210) – opened in early 2009 by the famous Peruvian chef Gaston Acurio, this place is a first rate restaurant in a beautiful old colonial hacienda. The meals are decadent and very flavorful. Be prepared to pay “gringo” prices – as a meal will run you between $25- 35 (USD – including a pisco sour).

  • REALLY GREAT PERUVUIAN GRILL: Tinto and Asado (Playa Yanuhuara – just next to the northeast corner of the Mirador); this place is fantastic and serves Peruvian, Argentinean, and American grilled meats; the ambiance and atmosphere are first rate and this is a wonderful spot for an evening Pisco Sour as the sun sets and the beautiful lights of the city come out.

  • VERY TRADITIONAL PICANTERIA – La Nueva Palomino (122 Calle Leoncio Prado; telephone number: 253-500); a great local Picanteria (traditional Arequipa food) in the old part of Yanuahura.

  • REALLY GOOD LAMB - El Turko II (Calle San Francisco 315): a Turkish restaurant in Arequipa Peru, go figure; it is, however, great.

  • GOOD ITALIAN FOOD - La Italiana (on the famous San Francisco Street, 303- B): a very good (not great) Italian restaurant in a town bereft of any good Italian food (compared to Lima, where there are dozens of GREAT Italian restaurants).

  • EXCELLENT GARDEN AND PATIO - Sol de Mayo (207 Calle Jerusalen in the Yanahuara neighborhood): a typical Arequipa restaurant that mostly caters to an afternoon meal crowd. Very good and very Peruvian.

  • BEST PLACE FOR A CHEAP LUNCH – El Dollar: Located only a couple of blocks off the Plaza de Armas, “The Dollar” is a great place for an inexpensive meal in a hurry. Go to Calle Jerusalen and look for the yellow doorway; ask a local Arequipeno for directions.

  • GREAT PLACE FOR SUNDAY AFTERNOON LEISURELY MEAL - Costumbres: great Arequipena food in the heart of Yanahuara; I really love this place; it is not a big “hit” with tourists because it is off the beaten track in Yanahuara, but it is GREAT.

  • LOCAL DIVE - Cau Cau II: local food; a great place for a Sunday afternoon,

    leisurely meal.


    excellent rotisserie chicken; there are multiple locations around Lima and you can bet

    that any cab driver knows how to get you to the closet location.

  • VERY GOOD PASTERY SHOP: A great little pastry shop can be found on the

    corner of Calle Sta. Maria and Calle Rivero (Cuadra 3).

  • REALLY GOOD CANDY SHOP: Mi Abuela (Calle Moral 109-A)

  • BEST DOUGNUTS IN AREQUIPA: Los Ricos Bunuelos (Plaza de Yanuhara, 427

    Calle Lima); the Peruvians love to make doughnuts out of sweet potato and yucca flour; they serve they with cane syrup and a small piece of toilet tissue to clean up the mess; they are fantastic, and this little place on the corner of the main park in the neighborhood district of Yanuhara is the absolute best.

  • BEST LOCATION FOR YOGURT: A great place to step back in time and experience the by-gone era of the Drug Store “Soda Fountain” is the “Yogurt Palace”; the shop is located on Calle Mercaderes in the Cuadra 5 (a short walk from the Plaza de Armis)

  • BEST FRENCH FRIES: Kings Broster, a small “dive” in the neighborhood of Yanuhuara and a great place to see the Arequipa that few tourists venture to.

  • BEST FRESCH BAKED BREAD: La Canasta Bagueteria (off Calle Jerusalén)

  • BEST PLACE FOR TRADITIONAL CANDIES: Antojiltos de Arequipa (Off Calle Jerusalen); this is a traditional candy that is made of chocolate, carmel and a nut, raisan, fig or plum; these are delicious candies and the dowtown location of Antojiltos (they also have an airport location) is fantastic.

  • BEST TRADITIONAL AREQUIPENA MEAL: Tradicion de Arequipena (FANTASTIC; but often closed at night; phone before going; this place is so much fun and such a delightful atmosphere with courtyard dining and evening entertainment.

  • THE VERY BEST Traditional Arequipeno meal: Los Guisos Arequipenos (located on Av Pizarro 111 – about 15 minutes cab ride outside of downtown Arequipa); you will not be disappointed in the food and the atmosphere. This is a wonderful place to truly experience typical Arequipeno food at its BEST!

  • BEST PLACE TO WATCH PEOPLE AND DRINK COFFEE: Capricio’s – a downtown location and a Cayma location; both have fantastic cakes and coffees; the Cayma location has a difficult time adjusting the thermostat in the evening hours – and it is forever hot and humid inside the restaurant. Go early!

  • BEST PISCO SOUR IN AREQUIPA: Summit Libertador Hotel, a bit pricey – but really good; ask any taxi driver to take you there from downtown – it is a 2 sole ride.

  • BEST CHOCOLATE: LA IBERICA – no question, there is not even a close second; the “Milky” is a decadent delight; there are four locations in Arequipa (3 downtown locations, 1 in Yanahuara, and one at the airport).

  • BEST PLACE TO EXCHANGE MONEY: “Dollar Shack” – 106-A Calle San Jose; safe, ethical and the best rates; like any money exchange business in Peru – it is always best to ask to see the calculator and re-calculate the exchange yourself – there is a tendency to “miscalculate” toward the favor of the business.

  • BEST PLACE FOR AN ELEGANT DINER (and quite romantic too): La Trattoria del Monasterio at Santa Catalina 309, Arequipa; has been cleaved into the outer sillar (the white volcanic rock that is quarried out of the open pit rock queries in Arequipa) wall of the splendid Santa Catalina monastery, this chic but unassuming Italian eatery -- an excellent spot for lingering over an intimate dinner. It's considerably quieter than the hopping restaurant row just 1 block over on San Francisco. Spilling into three elegant, small, and white-washed dining rooms, it specializes in Italian favorites like risottos, lasagnas, ravioli, and osso buco. For cognoscenti, it features both long and short pastas. The menu was prepared by the hot chef of the moment in Peru, Gastón Acurio of Astrid & Gastón. You'll also find a good (not great) selection of wines, great desserts and really good Latino, attentive service.

  • BEST PLACE FOR A WIDE VARIETY OF DISHES FROM ALL OVER PERU - Ary Quepay at Jerusalén 502, Arequipa is a chef-owned restaurant with a gardenlike dining room under a bamboo roof and skylights, Ary Quepay, a longtime favorite of both locals and in-the-know visitors, specializes in authentic, traditional Peruvian cooking. It's less fancy than a couple of the better-known restaurants specializing in Arequipeño cooking, but the others are on the outskirts of the city, and a tad bit more expensive. Starters include choclo con queso (corn on the cob with cheese), palta rellena (stuffed avocado), and sopa a la criolla (with beef, noodles, and eggs). Main courses are classic: rocoto relleno (stuffed spicy red peppers), adobo (pork stew with ají), and escabeche de pescado (spicy fish stew). There are a number of dishes for vegetarians, and good breakfasts, juices, and milkshakes. In the evenings, there's often live folkloric music.

  • BEST PLACE FOR INTERNATIONAL WINES - Restaurant Zingaro at San Francisco 309 is a colonial place with an open kitchen floor plan (think California chic meets Andean village), where you can try the best trout of the city; and also good steaks and typical “Andean” food; the staff are very nice, and they have a extensive wine list that may be one of the best in the entire city.

  • BEST PLACE FOR AN AFTERNOON MEAL: Cafe Fez at San Francisco 229. Good falafel, good sweets and decent savory crepes. A full dinner (including drink and dessert) costs around 15 soles ($5). There is a small back patio that has sunny and shady spots; the staff is always helpful and nice.

  • BEST CHEAP ARGENTINEAN STEAK HOUSE: El Herraje – 127 Bolognesi Ave; conveniently located near the Plaza de Armas; this is a very reasonable dinner for only a few soles.

  • BEST PLACE FOR REALLY TYPICAL LOCAL FOOD: Picanterria Arequipa – in the heart of the Yanahuara neighborhood, ask a local and they will point you in the right direction.

  • BEST LEATHER GOODS STORE IN AREQUIPA: Pedro P. Diaz (open since 1923); just off of Bolognesi Street (off the Plaza de Armis in the downtown area)

  • BEST ARGENTINEAN STEAK HOUSE: Che Calitas (conveniently located in the same building as El Montenero – a great Peruvian restaurant); just off of Calle Puente Bolognesi

  • BEST NON-PISCO SOUR DRINK: ask any Peruvian bartender for the Algarrobina cocktail; it is made from the sap of a tree found in Northern Peru and it is delicious!

  • Mirado de Chilina: A local Picanterria in the Cayma area that very rarely ahs gringo tourists.

  • BEST PLACE FOR A REALLY FUN EVENING: Las Espadas de Manolo (located on Avenida Delores and Urb. Los Rosales B-6); an Argentina steak house with a really fun local band; be prepared, you will be the only gringos in the place.

  • BEST PLACE (sort of – I say this because the coffee is not great, but the atmosphere is wonderful) FOR COFFEE: Manolo – not exactly the lap of luxury, but a really neat place to sit and watch local Arequipeneans; the cappuccinos are always served with a hint of cinnamon to flavor the drink

  • BEST PLACE FOR INEXPENSIVE CLOTHES: should you run out of clothes on your trip, look no further than the TopiTop store on the Calle Mercaderes (cuadra 2); they have inexpensive cotton clothing that will more than suffice for your trip.

  • WONDERFUL LOCAL ICE CREAM: Ice Palace on Calle Mercaderes (cuadra 3); a local hangout with an old Farrell’s Ice Cream parlor feel

  • BEST SILVER JEWELRY: Ilaria (plateria and joyeria); there are multiple locations throughout Peru, but the location in the “Patio Del Ekeko” in downtown Arequipa is the best; the women at this location are great and all speak some English

  • BEST PLACE FOR TOURIST RELATED GIFTS: Although the prices are a bit more than in the “Indian” markets or on the street, the Patio Del Ekeko is a fantastic series of shops under one pavilion; located just off the Plaza de Armis on Calle Mercaderes – the shops are open every day from 10 am until 9 pm

  • TRADITIONAL MOUNTAIN FOOD: El Mesa de la Pampena (202 Antiguilla); inexpensive, fun and frequented by locals “in the know” for great food; not a tourist spot by any stretch of the imagination.


• BEST PLACE: La Casa de Margott: cheap, clean and centrally located on the main avenue of Calle Jerusalen (number 304); the guys (Andy, Juan and Emiliano) that run this place are wonderful and treat everyone like you are family – you will not go wrong staying in this place, not because of the accommodations (per se); but because the staff is so wonderful; telephone number: 229517, e-mail:; web page:

• Astroga: a small pension hotel in the neighborhood of Yanahuara; very clean and very pleasant; telephone number: 51-54-254270; e-mail:

  • Alojamiento Familiar: Owned by two very good friends of mine (a husband and wife); this small residential “hotel” is about 15 minutes outside of downtown in a very quiet neighborhood; the accommodations are clean and very well cared for: telephone number: 054-251809; e-mail:

  • Casa Andina Arequipa B&B: Clean, moderately priced ($50 USD per night) and centrally located (Calle Jerusalen 601)

  • Sonesta Posada del Inca: Located right in the Plaza de Armis (Portal del Flores 116), nice; a bit pricey for the single rooms at $72 USD per night

  • La Cuesta De Cayma; Located in the quite area of Arequipa known as Cayma on Ave Bolognesi

  • Hotel Arequipa: Another Cayma area hotel with lots of great amenities and a very quite ambiance.

  • Maison du Soleil: A four star hotel “hidden” in the old town of Arequipa. Very charming.

  • Café Piccoli Peccati: Located in the Plaza Campo Redondo (#100) – this is a charming place for a romantic dinner.

  • Restaurant Arthur: Do not let the name throw you off, this place is great. Located in the “old town” on a small, narrow passage (Pasaje Violin, #102), this is a great dinner for two location.


• Monasterio de Santa Catalina: Arequipa's stellar and serene Convent of Santa Catalina, founded in 1579 under the Dominican order, is the most important and impressive religious monument in Peru. Santa Catalina is not just another church complex; it is more like a small, labyrinthine village, with narrow cobblestone streets, plant-lined passageways, and pretty plazas, fountains, chapels, and cloisters. Tall, thick walls painted sunburned orange, cobalt blue, and brick red hide dozens of small cells where more than 200 sequestered nuns once lived. Built in 1579, the convent remained a mysterious world unto itself until 1972, when local authorities forced the sisters to install modern infrastructure, a requirement that led to opening the convent for tourism. Today only 30 cloistered nuns ages 18 to 90 remain, out of sight of the hundreds of tourists who arrive daily to explore the huge and curious complex. Santa Catalina feels like a small village in Andalusia, Spain, with its predominantly mudéjar (Moorish-Christian) architecture, intense sunlight and shadows, silent patios, painted arches, secret niches, and streets named for Spanish cities. In all, it contains 3 cloisters, 6 streets, 80 housing units, a square, an art gallery, and a cemetery. No less an expert than the great Portuguese architect Alvaro Siza called Santa Catalina a "magnificent lesson in architecture." Although the nuns entered the convent having taken vows of poverty, they lived in relative luxury, having paid a dowry to live the monastic life amid servants (who outnumbered the nuns), well-equipped kitchens, and art collections. Today the convent has been nicely restored, although it retains a rustic, contemplative appeal; it is a feast for the senses. Visitors are advised to wait for an informative guided tour (in English and other languages, available for a tip), though it's also transfixing just to wander around, especially before the crowds arrive. Among the convent's highlights are the Orange Tree Cloister, with mural paintings over the arches; Calle Toledo, a long boulevard with a communal lavandería at its end, where the sisters washed their clothes in halved earthenware jugs; the 17th- century kitchen with charred walls; and the rooms belonging to Sor Ana, a 17th- century nun at the convent who was beatified by Pope John Paul II and is on her way to becoming a saint. Visitors can enter the choir room of the church, but it's difficult to get a good look at the main chapel and its marvelous painted cupola. To see the church, slip in during early morning Mass (daily at 7:30am); the cloistered nuns remain secluded behind a wooden grille. Allow a couple of hours to see the convent in all its glory.

• Museo Santuarios Andinos (located at: La Merced 110, Arequipa): this is the Juanita Mummy that everyone knows and loves; Now in a new location south of the Plaza de Armas, the small Museum of Andean Sanctuaries features a collection of fascinating exhibits, including mummies and artifacts from the Inca Empire, but it is dominated by one tiny girl: Juanita, the Ice Maiden of Ampato. The victim of a ritualistic sacrifice by Inca priests high on the volcano Mount Ampato and buried in ice at 6,380m (20,932 ft.), "Juanita" -- named after the leader of the expedition, Johan Rhinehard -- was discovered in almost perfect condition in September 1995 after the eruption of the nearby Sabancaya Volcano melted ice on the peak. Juanita had lain buried in the snow for more than 550 years. Only Inca priests were allowed to ascend to such a high point, where the gods were believed to have lived. Juanita, who became famous worldwide through a National Geographic report on the find, died from a violent blow to the head; she was 13 at the time of her death. Her remarkable preservation has allowed researchers to gain great insights into Inca culture by analyzing her DNA. Today, she is kept in a glass-walled freezer chamber here, less a mummy than a frozen body, in astoundingly good condition, nearly 600 years old. It struck me as a true privilege to observe such a monumental discovery and window onto the legacy of the Inca people. Displayed nearby and in adjacent rooms are some of the superb doll offerings and burial items found alongside Juanita's corpse and those of three other sacrificial victims also found on the mountain. Guided visits, which begin with a good National Geographic film, are mandatory. Allow about an hour for your visit.

• Casa del Moral (located at: Moral 318, Arequipa): An extraordinary mestizo baroque mansion, built in 1733 by a Spanish knight and nicely restored with period detail in 1994, Casa del Moral offers one of the best windows onto colonial times in Arequipa. Named for an ancient mulberry tree -- the moral found in the courtyard -- the home is also distinguished by a magnificent stone portal with heraldic emblems carved in sillar. Handsome furnishings, carved wooden doors, and Cusco School oil paintings decorate large salons, built around a beautiful courtyard, the largest of the colonial residences in the city. Look for 17th-century maps that depict the borders and shapes of countries quite differently from their usual representations today. A second courtyard, painted cobalt blue, was used as the summer patio. Climb to the rooftop for a great view of Arequipa and the surrounding volcanoes. Visits are by guided tour (at no extra cost).

• Climbing Misti: For those who are up for a heavy challenge - and are fit - skip the Colca Canyon Trip and climb up the 19,000ft volcano, El Misti. It is not easy, with a very cold 3a.m. start on the second day of the climb; you will be moving in a Zen like slow march up the scree (volcanic rock that provides little stability for foot placements – think slipping and sliding your way up the mountain) field on the slopes of the volcano, with head lambs guiding the way for the first 2 hours. It is not a technical climb. This is a very satisfying option for those who like a challenge. Be Fit!


TAXI TRANSPORTATION: A note about taxis in the Arequipa area: It has become increasingly important that people traveling to Peru with HBI and Team Peru DO NOT HAIL CABS DIRECTLY OFF THE STREETS. As such, we have collected a list of credible and safe taxis that people can sue to get around. It is the rarity when a person is traveling with HBI that they will need to get their own transporting – but in the event you need a taxi, please use this list.

Milward lives in Alto Cayma and drives on weekends for Turismo Arequipa. 958 862 748
950 372 446

Adan (a very long standing friend of HBI), if not out of town working. 962 861 011

Brigida Ayunta Machaca - Turismo Arequipa - days until around 6 PM 959 339 154

Raul Quispe - Turismo Arequipa -days 6 to 6, lives on Calle F Bolognesi in Cayma Turismo Arequipa 959 390 000, Vehículo V14188? Móvil T18

Froilan - Taxitel, yellow Tico , evenings 958 668 164

Roger Vilca - Taxitel, days, lives in Paucarpata 958 366 569

Edwin Puma Patiro - Turismo Arequipa - days, lives in Cayma 983 794 619
958 431 983


Often referred to as the 'Archaeological Capital of the Americas' Cusco is a beautiful city riddled with contrasts between the indigenous styles and the modern western world. It is these contrasts that have given Cusco its rare beauty. Most visitors are keen to get to Machu Picchu, either by trekking for 4 days along the Inca Trail, or by 4 hours in the train - but Cusco itself has a lot to offer the visitor and most travellers usually end up seduced with this vibrant city and stay longer than first planned.

The first thing that hits the newly arrived visitor to Cusco are the Inca walls; enormous granite blocks carved to fit together perfectly without the aid of mortar beds. Many of the walls were simply built upon during the construction of a new Spanish city. It is a tribute to the Incas that their anti-seismic design has survived the test of time while the Spanish colonial architecture has been rebuilt several times following a wave of earthquakes that have hit the city. Located at an altitude of 3,360m above sea level, Cusco was referred to as the 'Navel of the World'.


The city has a long and interesting history dating back to 1200AD and linked to the first Inca ruler Manco Capac. However the city saw its expansion in the 15th century under the rule of the greatest Inca Pachacutec, who led a drive that spread the boundaries of the Inca empire as far south as Chile and Argentina, and north to include Ecuador and Columbia. This rapid expansion abruptly came to an end on the arrival of the Spanish Conquistadors, led by Francisco Pizarro who, following the murder of the Inca Atahaulpa in Cajamarca, marched into Cusco in 1534 and added it definitively to the realms of King Charles V. This invasion opened the gates to a cultural mix that has left its imprint on every aspect of Peruvian culture, especially in the ancient Andean capital of Cusco.

When arriving in Cusco from the coast you'll immediately notice the thin clear mountain air, a result of the City's high altitude. The first day in particular should be spent quietly relaxing and taking things easy as you gently acclimatize. Plan to spend at least 3 days in and around Cusco before starting any serious trekking such as the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. This is an ideal opportunity to see the highlights Cusco has to offer such as a tour of the City, the nearby Inca Ruins of Sacsayhuaman, Qenko, Pucapucara and Tambomachay and, of course, a day trip out to the Sacred Valley of the Incas including a visit to the traditional Indian market at Pisac, the beautiful village of Ollantaytambo and the small village of Chinchero located high up in the mountains.


Map Café (located at Plaza Nazarenas 231, Cusco in the Casa Cabrera neighborhood (located inside the Museo de Arte Precolombino)) - though the name might seem a bit misleading, causing one to conjure a globetrotter's bohemian hangout, this is in fact one of Cusco's most stylish and elegant restaurants Housed in a modern, minimalist glass and steel box with few adornments other than views of the handsome colonial patio it sits in the middle of -- Casa Cabera, now the beautifully designed Museo de Arte Precolombino -- it places its focus squarely on the food, which is elegantly prepared and presented. Standouts include the sesame-crusted tuna and penne rigate in pisco cream sauce. For diners in the mood for a taste of creative Andean cuisine, the guinea pig confit with rocoto peppers is a daring dish. The wine list is one of the city's finest. As a bonus, the museum is open until 10pm, making it possible to make a dinner and pre-Columbian date of the evening.

Restaurante Illary is the sort of palce with a surfeit of fun, informal, and inexpensive Andean restaurants, but only a couple truly qualify as fine dining. It's probably not surprising that the Hotel Monasterio contains Cusco's most uncommonly refined restaurant. It's also the most expensive in town (tellingly, prices are in dollars), but it is well worth the splurge even if you can't afford the pricey rooms. A glassed-in corridor overlooks the handsome colonial patio of the former monastery, while the main dining room is a series of intimate rooms sumptuously decorated with Cusqueña School artwork, stone arches, and wood-beamed ceilings. Peruvian specialties include alpaca tenderloin with corn, sweet pepper chile, and mint sauce; and duck- and-rice stew with coriander. Nicely prepared international fish and meat dishes dominate the menu, including poached kingfish rolls with shrimp mousse, and rack of lamb with black-pepper crust and tomato marmalade. Service is consistently impeccable, and desserts and the wine list are beyond tempting. If you can swing it for one special evening, dinner either here or at MAP Café is highly recommended.

Cicciolina (Located at Triunfo 393 on the second floor) – the restaurant is upstairs in the same courtyard as the restaurant A Mi Manera is this new and delightfully chic restaurant, which looks ripped from the Tuscan countryside. Enter through a long, appealing, and country-elegant bar, decorated with bunches of garlic, peppers, and fresh-cut flowers. The bar is a great spot for a pre- dinner drink, or dinner itself, if you don't mind the garrulous bar patrons. The dining room at the back, one of the few places in Cusco for true fine dining, is refined, with high-backed chairs, deep red walls, and large antique mirrors. It features a high ceiling and exposed beams. The menu focuses on unusual spices and accents, with a number of adventurous dishes. You might start with escalibada (sweet peppers, onions, eggplant, and tomatoes, roasted with herbs) or spicy barbecued calamari, prawns, and scallops, which is served with a minty rice noodle salad. Main courses include superb, large salads (including a yummy combination of roast beef and vegetables) and very good homemade pastas and exotic dishes like alpaca filet and a Moroccan tagine.

Greens (located at: Tandapata 700, Cusco in the San Blas neighborhood): In the heart of San Blas, on an atmospheric street just off the plazoleta, Greens is one of Cusco's most stylish and romantic restaurants. The intimate and often crowded space has deep-green walls with modern art, an open kitchen, and a handful of candlelit tables mixed with hipster sofas near the fireplace for more informal dining. The soundtrack of laid-back dance beats, the creative and funky menu, and the reasonable prices appeal to a cool young crowd. The decor, presentation, and quality of the food are unusual in most parts of Peru; in fact, Tanya Miller, the restaurant's owner, previously worked in several London restaurants. On the menu, you'll find steak, chicken, and curries, all excellent. Try the beef tenderloin in red-wine-and-onion sauce, served with raisin rice, or the tropical chicken curry with bananas, peaches, and strawberries. On Sunday, the restaurant features a roast of chicken, potatoes, veggies, and homemade apple pie that has become locally famous; it's by advanced reservation only. Happy hour (two-for-one) is every evening from 6:30 to 8:00 pm.

A Mi Manera (located at Triunfo 393, Cusco on the 2nd floor): The Mi Manera is a handsome and friendly little upstairs restaurant -- entered through the colonial courtyard -- on an overlooked little square 1 block from Plaza Nazarenas, this is one of the most relaxed spots in town. It serves excellent, creative Andean dishes with plenty of vegetarian options. Traditionalists should check out the rocoto relleno (stuffed peppers with meat, peanuts, and raisins), adobo (chicken made with chichi and yuca), or the orgía de papas (an "orgy" of spicy and cheesy potatoes). The house specialty is the traditional oven-baked cuy (guinea pig) with stuffed pepper and potatoes (which requires a reservation 3 hr. in advance). There are also homemade pastas, including several with twists, such as the Andean quinoa gnocchi. The wine list is pretty good, but for Andean dishes, the best accompaniment is chicha morada, the chilled nonalcoholic beverage brewed from purple corn. Breakfast is also served.

Jacks: All travelers should have at least one breakfast at Jack's! Amazing atmosphere and a very unique and expansive menu.


El Tio Dario: A nice mix of Peruvian and Japanese cuisine. It is delicious and fairly priced; and best of all – it is not a tourist trap.


VERY EXPENSIVE AND FANTASTIC: Hotel Monasterio (located at Palacios 136, Cusco in the Plazoleta Nazarenas ): This is by-far Peru's most extraordinary place to stay, this beautiful hotel occupies the San Antonio Abad monastery, constructed in 1592 on the foundations of an Inca palace. An Orient-Express and Leading Small Hotels of the World property, the Hotel Monasterio -- converted into a hotel in 1995 -- exudes grace and luxury. As much a museum as a hotel, it has its own opulent gilded chapel and 18th-century Escuela Cusqueña art collection. Located on quiet Las Nazarenas square between the bohemian San Blas district and the main square, the hotel makes fine use of several courtyards with stone arches; one is set up for lunch outdoors, about as beautiful a setting as is to be found in Cusco. Rooms are impeccably decorated in both colonial and modern styles, with large Cusqueña School paintings; the accommodations off the first courtyard are more traditionally designed and feel more authentic.

Niños Hotel (located at: Meloq 442, Cusco): The Dutch owner of the charming "Children's Hotel" says she has a story to tell, and it's an inspirational one. Jolanda van den Berg, in just 7 years in Peru, has mounted a small empire of goodwill through the Foundation Niños Unidos Peruanos: She adopted 12 Peruvian street children; constructed an extremely warm and inviting (not to mention great-value) hotel in the old section of Cusco that puts all its profits toward care for needy children; constructed a learning center and restaurant for 125 such kids; and created a second center with athletic facilities and additional medical attention for another 125 disadvantaged youth of Cusco.

The good news for travelers is that, if you are lucky enough to get a room here (reservations generally must be made about 6 months in advance), you won't have to suffer for your financial contribution to such an important cause. The main hotel, in a restored colonial house just 10 minutes from the Plaza de Armas, is one of the finest, cleanest, and most comfortable inexpensive inns in Peru. The large rooms -- named for the couple's adopted children -- are very nearly minimalist chic, with hardwood floors and quality beds, and they ring a lovely sunny courtyard, where breakfast is served. The ambitious Niños project has now added a second hotel, also in a historic building, and, incredibly, has taken in two more families (totaling 15 girls and another 2 boys). On the same street as the second hotel are four terrific apartments for longer stays, ideal for small families, in the first of the children's learning and day-care facilities.


Hire any of the tours to the Valle Sagrado (Sacred Valley) that will take you to the small towns around Cusco for a day. You will visit some very interesting archeological sites such as Pisaq, Ollantaytambo and the colonial church in Chinchero. If you are really daring – forget the tour guide and just purchase a map from any of the number of vendors in the downtown core. Use your feet, a large pack filled with great snack food, a couple of bottles of water and gusto for adventure to explore the valley. If you start walking from the Plaza in downtown and head up the hills to the ancient ruin of Sacsayhuaman – you can thread your way up the Andean hillsides to a number of great vantage (and vista) points. Take a few Soles with you (leave your valuables behind – you do not want to be an easy target for thieves) – as you may need the money to hire a car for the ride home.

If you are really in shape – you can make it all the way to the Tambomachay (Cavern Lodge). This site is commonly referred to as the 'Baños del Inca' or Inca baths, Tambomachay was a site for ritual bathing. The excellent quality of the stonework suggests that its use was restricted to the higher nobility, who maybe only used the baths on ceremonial occasions. The ruins basically consist of 3 tired platforms. The top one holds four trapezoidal niches that perhaps were used as seats; on the next level an underground spring emerges directly from a hole at the base of the stonework and from here cascades down to the bottom platform, creating a cold shower just high enough for an Inca to stand under. On this platform the spring water splits into two channels, both pouring the last meters down to ground level.

Your hiking adventures will give you a great opportunity to interact with the local people of the region and to see firsthand how ingenious the Inca culture truly was. You will see that the Incas really knew how to get "a room with a view". Some of the sites to visit have the most breathtaking landscapes around – perhaps anywhere in the world outside of the high Himalayas. Get off the beaten track and hike for a few hours. You will be transported in a time capsule. It is breath taking and very physically taxing at over 3,500 MASV. Hiking and walking tours of the area around Cusco is a great way to truly get to know the “real” Andean culture and the wonderful people of the Cusco region.

You can book a tour to the Sacred Valley for USD $25.00 or less (April 2008) and it should include the transportation to a “embarkation point” in a comfortable bus, an English speaking guide and buffet lunch (although – I recommend that you skip on the lunch and pack your own snack food for a nice secluded lunch by your selves in a remote park of one of the ruins; this way you can save your appetite for a really great early evening (before the mad dash of European tourists) diner in Cusco). You must purchase the Boleto Turístico (Admission ticket to several attractions in the Cusco area) separately.

Convento y Museo de Santa Catalina: A small convent a couple of blocks west of the Plaza de Armas, Santa Catalina was built between 1601 and 1610 on top of the Acllawasi, where the Inca emperor sequestered his chosen Virgins of the Sun. The convent contains a museum of colonial and religious art. The collection includes an excellent selection of Escuela Cusqueña paintings, featuring some of the greatest works of Amerindian art -- a combination of indigenous and typically Spanish styles -- in Cusco. The collection includes four paintings of the Lord of the Earthquakes (El Señor de los Temblores) painted by Amerindians. The interior of the monastery is quite beautiful, with painted arches and an interesting chapel with baroque frescoes of Inca vegetation. Other items of interest include very macabre statues of Jesus and an extraordinary trunk that, when opened, displays the life of Christ in 3-D figurines. (It was employed by the Catholic Church's "traveling salesmen," who were used to convert the natives in far-flung regions of Peru.) The main altar of the convent church is tucked behind steel bars.

Qoricancha (Templo del Sol) & Santo Domingo – located at Plazoleta Santo Domingo; the Qoricancha and Santo Domingo together form perhaps the most vivid illustration in Cusco of Andean culture's collision with Western Europe. Like the Great Mosque in Córdoba, Spain --



where Christians dared to build a massive church within the perfect Muslim shrine -- the temple of one culture sits atop and encloses the other. The extraordinarily crafted Temple of the Sun was the most sumptuous temple in the Inca Empire and the apogee of the Incas' naturalistic belief system. Some 4,000 of the highest-ranking priests and their attendants were housed here. Dedicated to worship of the sun, it was apparently a glittering palace straight out of El Dorado legend: Qoricancha means "golden courtyard" in Quechua, and in addition to hundreds of gold panels lining its walls, there were life-size gold figures, solid-gold altars, and a huge golden sun disc. The sun disc reflected the sun and bathed the temple in light. During the summer solstice, the sun still shines directly into a niche where only the Inca chieftain was permitted to sit. Other temples and shrines existed for the worship of lesser natural gods: the moon, Venus, thunder, lightning, and rainbows. Qoricancha was the main astronomical observatory for the Incas.

After the Spaniards ransacked the temple and emptied it of gold (which they melted down, of course), the exquisite polished stone walls were employed as the foundations of the Convent of Santo Domingo, constructed in the 17th century. The baroque church pales next to the fine stonemasonry of the Incas -- and that's to say nothing about the original glory of the Sun Temple. Today all that remains is Inca stonework. Thankfully, a large section of the cloister has been removed, revealing four original chambers of the temple, all smoothly tapered examples of Inca trapezoidal architecture. Stand on the small platform in the first chamber and see the perfect symmetry of openings in the stone chambers. A series of Inca stones displayed reveals the fascinating concept of male and female blocks, and how they fit together. The 6m (20-ft.) curved wall beneath the west end of the church, visible from the street, remains undamaged by repeated earthquakes and is perhaps the greatest extant example of Inca stonework. The curvature and fit of the massive dark stones is astounding.

After the Spaniards took Cusco, Francisco Pizarro's brother Juan was given the eviscerated Temple of the Sun. He died soon afterward, though, at the battle at Sacsayhuamán, and he left the temple to the Dominicans, in whose hands it remains.

The Plaza de Armas (Main Square): The Plaza de Armas (main square) was the centre of Inca Cusco and, still today, remains at the heart of modern Cusco. During Inca times the Plaza was known as Huacaypata (the Place of Tears or the Weeping Square) and was a place of ceremonies and military parades. It has been said that when the Inca's conquered new lands they would bring back some of the soil to be mixed with the soil of Huacaypata, as a symbolic gesture to incorporate the newly gained territories into the Inca empire. The Plaza was once flanked with Inca palaces. The remains of the ancient walls of Inca Pachacutec's palace can still be seen on the north-west side of the square (inside the Roma Restaurant close to the corner of the Plaza and Calle Plateros.

The northern and western sides of the Plaza are now lined by arcades with shops and travel agencies. There are many restaurants, bars and coffee shops with beautifully carved wooden balconies overlooking the Plaza - a great place to relax and enjoy the view.
The Plaza's north-eastern edge is dominated by the Cathedral which is flanked on the right-hand side by the El Triunfo church. On the southeast side is the smaller but more ornate church of La Compania de Jesus with its impressive pair of belfries.



ANCASH: As for other great places in Peru – one of my favorite places is the town of Caraz in the central highlands of Huaraz (see: – in the beautiful district of Ancash. This is a stunning area with broad mountain ranges (like the Alps) and deep blue lakes. I adore the town of Caraz - mostly because there are so few tourists. Getting there can be kind of tricky. You will need to take a bus from Lima to the town of Huaraz. From Huaraz you will need to take a small collectivo to the town of Caraz. The best hotel "Caraz Dulzura" (see: is great (not luxurious by any stretch of the imagination, but clean and very friendly); and it is located right in the Plaza de Armis where the collectivo will drop you off. You can read about our adventures in Ancash at:

IQUITOS: As for the Amazon, I really enjoyed an experience with an outfitter called Explorama. They are very professional and have inclusive packages (see: Keep in mind that you will need to fly to Iquitos from Lima (as there are no roads or water routes). Iquitos is a strange city with a very diverse population and a rich tradition in the rubber industry (don't miss the restaurant that Gustav Eiffel built - yes, the Eiffel of the tower fame). Spend an afternoon exploring the "botanical garden and zoo" (see: The zoo is an interesting anthropological view of the blending of the various cultures of Peru. The best place to eat cheap, good food is a place called "Ari Burger." Yes, they serve more than burgers. Everyone knows the location.

COLCA VALLEY: A great trip is to travel to Arequipa and then make a side adventure into the Colca Valley. Most tourists restrict their travel to the very entrance to the valley – preferring to stay with the sightseeing groups that view the majestic condors. I have found that a great place to stay is in the town Cabanaconde. And, by far, the best hotel is a small boutique place called the Kunturwassi Hotel of the Colca Canyon (see:

The hotel is a fantastic place to base your adventures. The food is superb, and the people are all very informative and helpful (yes – they speak English; in fact, they have a small Spanish immersion school on-site). Day hikes or over-night treks into the valley are easily accommodated from the hotel. I would, however, recommend a guide. By far the best guide in all of the Colca Valley (perhaps all of Peru) is a young man by the name of Pedro Samayani. Pedro is from the Colca valley and speaks (fluently) – English, Spanish and Quechuan. He is a real adventurer and a throw back to the old naturalists. He knows the valley better than anyone and has such a distinct grasp on the culture and language of the Ameri-Indian populations of the region that he can truly immerse you in your experience. Pedro can be reached by e-mail at –

Culture: While it may seem obvious, it is never a bad idea to “overstate” the practical. Peru is a very different culture than the United States or Western Europe. In fact, Peru is a very different culture than other Latin American nations. To gain a little greater insight into this wonderful culture – I have suggested a few “cultural caveats” below. In addition, I recommend that you view some of the websites on the Internet dedicated to cultural diversity and international travel etiquette. One of my favorite websites is

Common Cultural Practices in Peru:

  • Ø  Greetings: Note that men and women shake hands in greeting and parting. Men embrace

    close friends or pat them on the back. Women often kiss one another on the cheek. In is common that when two women are introduced, they will kiss one another. This is often true for men and women (especially when introduced in social, rather than professional, settings). Titles are very important in Peru – greet officials or elders with their title plus last name. Principal titles are: Doctor, Professor, Arquitecto (architect), and Ingeniero (engineer).

  • Ø  Conversation: Expect people to discuss family and occupation as soon as they meet you. Expect people to stand much closer during conversations than in the U.S. or Canada. Don’t back away or others will feel offended. Ask advice on sights to see and places to eat – Peruvians (Limeno’s) are very proud of their country and will enjoying talking to you about the best places to indulge in local restaurants (Comida Criolla). Don’t make any remarks about Peru’s government, even if you hear complaints and criticisms. In addition, do not make negative remarks about Lima – which has changed considerably in the last 10 years since well-to-do urbanities starting moving to the suburbs. The city is experiencing a cultural and physical transformation under the former Mayor (Dr. Luis Castaneda Lossio) – you are welcome to comment on the new, modern by-ways and urban parks. Limeno’s will appreciate your interest in their city.

  • Ø  In Public: Expect a very warm and inviting greeting in Peru. Foreigners are considered very special people. If you need directions, expect to ask several people before you find where you are going. Even if they don’t know the correct directions, people will pretend that they do – to save face. Don’t be surprised if you see women walking arm-in-arm with other women or men with men – and don’t be surprised in a person of the same sex takes your arm. To beckon someone, wave your hand back and forth while holding it vertically, palm facing down. If you need to use the bathroom, go into a restaurant. It does not matter that you’re not a customer. Don’t put any toilet tissue into the toilet. Put it in the receptacle next to the toilet.

  • Ø  General information: Note that you will receive a tourist card upon your entry in Lima. Guard it carefully, because you will have to hand it back when you leave the country. Always carry a “copy” of your passport. Restaurants and businesses may ask to see your passport to use your credit card.

  • Ø  Street Knowledge: Be very careful when crossing the streets. Cars do not respect the rules of the pedestrian. Be aware that pickpockets are often looking to target groups of tourists. Carry most of your money in a travelers pouch or your front pockets. Do not drink the water from the tap in Lima – anywhere in Peru. The city of Lima has (for years) reported to the international community that the water is treated – trust me, do not drink the water!

  • Ø  Peru is an enchanting and wonderful environment. Enjoy you’re stay.

    A word about my sources of information: I have compiled this document from personal investigations and many evenings with friends. In addition, I have culled data from Wikipedia, years of conversations, many meandering walks through a number of little neighborhoods, countless conversations with taxi drivers (they are a great source for local information and culinary advice) and the NY Times travel section. Most of all – I have walked around the lovely cities and towns of Peru and sought out fun and interesting places. PLEASE let me know what your experiences are like. I am ALWAYS open to new suggestions and input. Contact me at:


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November 23rd, 2012

You need more details? How about 16 gigapixels worth of it?


An enormously detailed picture of Macchu Picchu is online here.

As enormous as it might be...believe is not the same as being there.  I know we should not trust our ability to forecast our feelings, but I suspect this picture is just what you needed to think: "got to go to Peru...discuss my latest and greatest insights and thoughts and learn from those of others as smart as I am and then hit this magical spot...I deserve it!"

We will be waiting for you!



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November 19th, 2012

Need a decision aid to come to Peru in 2013?


Nope...we do not have one.  However, this comes somewhat close...(ok it does not really go into the downsides...).

Have fun.

And see you in Lima!!


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September 21st, 2012

Call for abstracts and reviewers



The deadline for abstracts was November 30, 2012, but we have been struggling with a glitch with our registration system. We expect registration to open early December.  Thus we have delayed the abstract submission deadline.  The NEW deadlines are:

  • December 20 2012 for workshops
  • January 11, 2013 for research abstracts for poster and oral presentations and symposia


ISDM conferences are a unique venue for worldwide sharing of knowledge and experiences about shared decision making. This year’s theme seeks to highlight that shared decision making is a key component of something more global, i.e., patient‐centered care, and that its application is only relevant as part of a commitment to care for and about patients. We invite investigators and concerned partners in healthcare delivery research and practice to struggle with the issues that arise as shared decision making globalizes in scope (as a component of patient‐centered care) and spread (as a component of healthcare everywhere for everyone).

The abstract submission process for ISDM 2013 is fully electronic and the deadline for submissions is December 20, 2012 for workshops and January 11, 2013 for research abstracts for presentation and symposia.

Abstracts for poster presentations, oral presentations, symposia, workshops, exhibits, and special interest group meetings that pertain to shared decision making (SDM) are welcome. Please go to our submission website to start your submission process. 

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July 2nd, 2012

Where will ISDM 2013 take place in Lima?


ISDM 2013 will take place in Lima, Peru.  On Sunday June 16 2013, we will gather at Casa Honorio Delgado. This site, an old residential house in Miraflores, is now the southern site of Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia.  We will hold pre-course workshops at this site.


Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday we will move a few blocks away to the Convention Center of the Colegio Médico del Perú (Centro de Convenciones Daviel A. Carrion).  This state-of-the-art facility, including a gorgeous amphitheater, will host our program these days.


At both of these sites we will enjoy the glorious surroundings of Miraflores, a beautiful district of Lima, close to the ocean, to great shopping, entertainment and delicious restaurants and cafes. While there will be space within the convention center to network, we will leave plenty of time for lunch and conversation at a broad array of cafes and restaurants. Miraflores is also home to beautiful parks and to a large number of hotels and hostels for every pocket.

The Convention Center will also be the headquarters of the organization supporting ISDM 2013 and will include desks supporting tours for the participants before and after the conference and for participant's families during the conference.  For more about organizing your trip go to our travel partner's page.

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May 25th, 2012

The Dartmouth Summer Institute on Informed Patient Choice has opened its registration for 2012


Dale Collins Vidal and Karen Sepucha are this year's conveners of the Summer Institute on Informed Patient Choice (Hanover, NH, July 9-11 2012).  This is an annual event hosted by the Center for Informed Patient Choice at The Dartmouth Institute is a great way to meet experts and network with other colleagues in this field.  Dale and Karen say:

On behalf of the planning committee, we are pleased to invite you to the 2012 Summer Institute for Informed Patient Choice. This year's focus will be on measurement of decision quality and shared decision making in practice. There is a need for metrics for shared decision making and the use of patient decision support that are efficient, valid and reliable – and that have been adapted for use in clinical settings. We have carefully planned this year’s agenda to incorporate essential elements of health care delivery science. There will be two and one half days of didactic multi and interdisciplinary presentations by local, national and international innovators focused on this challenging area.

Summer Institute for Informed Patient ChoiceMore information and registration can be found here

This may be helpful for those who are planning to submit workshop, symposia, exhibits, and oral and poster presentations to the 7th International Shared Decision Making Conference in Lima, Peru in June of 2013!

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