Visiting Lima

Inside info

Lima, the capital of Peru, is a huge city with a population of almost 9 million and is one of the largest financial centres in Latin America. It was named the ‘City of Kings’ when it was founded in 1535 by Francisco Pizarro, a Spanish conqueror. Its historical sites, wonderful selection of museums, friendly people and great dining and nightlife make the city a great place to visit.In October, the patron saint of Lima, ‘Lord of the Miracles’, is celebrated with festivities taking place on the streets. Tens of thousands of people dress up in purple tunics, singing hymns and burning incense and a life-size replica of Jesus is carried on an altar. During this period, the streets are filled with vendors selling local dishes and desserts and bullfighting is also held in the Plaza de Acho bullring. Well known bullfighters from Latin America and Spain take part in this festival.A great starting point to discover Lima is at the Plaza de Armas in the centre of the old town. From Monday to Saturday at 11:45am, experience the changing of the guard which takes place just outside the ‘Palacio de Gobierno’. Less than 50m away is the cathedral designed by Francisco Becerra which houses the Museum of Religious Art and Treasures. The museum contains paintings from the 17th and 18th centuries and some of the choir stalls have beautiful wooden carvings by the Catalan artist Pedro Noguero. Visit the ruins of Huaca Pucllana in the Miraflores district of Lima which was a cultural and religious site built in 400 A.D. The earliest residents traded and gathered at Huaca Pucllana for 300 years and the site was abandoned in 700 A.D when the area was conquered by the Wari empire. This site was opened to the public in 1984 and excavation is ongoing. Climb to the top and admire the panaromic views of Lima and discover how intricate the ruins are. The ruins are lit up at night and you can enjoy the view whilst having a meal at the ‘Restaurant Huaca Pucllana’ situated next to the ruins. If you are looking for something different then why not go on the ‘Lima Market and Pisco Sour Lesson’ tour? The starting point for this tour is at the Virgen Milagrosa Church in the Miraflores district and the guide will tell you all about the history of the church and the Kennedy Park nearby. The next stop is Surquillo Market to experience the bustling local atmosphere. Test your Spanish skills by purchasing the ingredients needed to make a ‘pisco sour’, Peru’s most famous drink. Then with the rest of the group, head off to a hotel in Miraflores for a ‘pisco sour’ lesson. At the end of the lesson celebrate with the rest of the group with a toast of your own home made pisco sour!

Travel review

I lived in Brazil for a year and during my time there, I took the opportunity to visit Peru and Lima was one of destinations. I enjoyed my stay there but don’t expect to see much sunshine as the city is foggy and overcast for a good part of the year. I had no idea where to start exploring when I arrived so I went on a guided tour with Lima Walks. Our guide, Ronald was very knowledgeable and took us to the most interesting districts of the city historically speaking. The walk lasted about 3 hours and was a fantastic way of appreciating the architecture of the city which wouldn’t have been possible if I had wandered around the city on my own. If you get the chance, go to the Parque Reserva which is a large park made up of at least 13 fountains colourfully lit up. The entrance fee was only 4 soles which was nothing at all. The best time to go is obviously at night when the fountains are lit up and they ‘dance’ to music. I especially enjoyed walking under the water bridge and the highest fountain in the world at 80 metres which holds the Guinness World of Records. A great restaurant I found during my stay was the Punto Azul in the Surco district of Lima. It specialises in seafood and serves excellent ‘ceviche’ (fresh, raw fish marinated in lemon and lime juices with chilli peppers). I was also curious to test the ‘tacu tacu’ which is a popular Peruvian dish made up of fried rice and beans and topped with a steak and served with onion salsa which was original but not the nicest thing I had ever eaten. The service was efficient and friendly and the prices very reasonable.All in all, not a bad little trip, a great destination to go to for a couple of days.

Did you know ?

Lima is shrouded in fog seven months of the year due to the Humboldt Current and it receives very little rain, so don’t expect too much sunshine here.

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