Lima Peru is a city of contrasts. Desolate industrial districts are right next door to fancy residential areas, and dark alleyways merge into baroque squares and broad boulevards lined with splendid skyscrapers. Blessed with a temperate climate, the city is kept cool by gentle breezes with little rainfall.
Lima quickly became the religious, commercial and political centre of the Spanish colonies, and gold and silver mined in the Andes were the foundation of the city's wealth. There are many grand colonial buildings which remain today despite numerous earthquakes.
To appreciate the natural beauty of this great city, base yourself at the Belmond Miraflores Park. A high quality hotel boasting a beachside location, this will encourage restful nights while you recharge your batteries to face the bustle of the city again the next day.
Lima Cathedral is in the heart of the old city and is one of the most visited sites. Many interesting chapels border the main cathedral and a collection of impressive Spanish oil paintings remain. Museum entry is included in the ticket price, where information is available about the life and work of Francisco Pizzaro, who is buried there. Music lovers should ask about upcoming choir recitals, which can be viewed by the public.
The Museo Larco houses a collection of over 45'000 artefacts, many of which are perfectly preserved and dating back more than 2000 years. The ornate gold and silver jewellery, colourful cloth and shrouds as well as the delicate pottery is beautifully presented. There is also a nice restaurant which provides outdoor seating for a breath of fresh air between all the sightseeing.
Artesanias Las Pallas is a great place to pick up authentic souvenirs. A leisurely walk through the square will take you past a multitude of shops, but this shop in particular is a filled with traditional Peruvian folk art, in a cool urban setting. Whether you are looking for amulets, baskets, pottery or woven fabrics, the owner/collector is always happy to explain the history and origin of the trinkets she sells. Nearby, fashionistas should pick up one of the wonderfully warm Alpaca sweaters.
For an unforgettable culinary experience, go to Cebicheria La Mar. Not only is there a fun and friendly atmosphere with excellent levels of service, but the food is second to none. Try the clam cerviche, the ingredients are fresh and the accompanying plantain and sauces are divine. To drink, have a glass of Maracuya juice or a potent pisco sour and if you have space, then the desserts will also not disappoint.
An alternative is to learn Peruvian history through its food with Lima Gourmet Company. They offer daytime or nighttime small group tours, with stops and nibbles in some of the toughest-reservation restaurants in the city. The owners (Lucas and Sam), love people, food, the social scene and the growing prominence of Lima in the culinary world. He or one of his passionate guides will pick you up at your hotel and immediately expound on the political and culinary history of Peru.
Unless you are a penniless artist or a backpacker, use local guides with insider knowledge to really show you what's what in this incredible city. Trust me, you don't want to miss a thing.
Lima Peru Photos