Autumn in Lima

At the end of our Peruvian adventure, we spent a few days in the capital city of Lima.


Autumn in Lima

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by ShannonBrooke on June 2, 2007

Lima is a girl with a bad reputation. She's going to break your windows, steal your bags, and maybe even put you in the hospital - right? Many people skip right over Lima, getting out as fast as they can to see the rest of Peru (admittedly a fabulous country with much to see). But Lima has grown up and become a sophisticated woman, with much to offer the cosmopolitan traveller.

Lima is one of the best places to see Lima's colonial architecture. This "City of Kings" was built by the Spaniards and retains a Spanish feel, different from Cusco's Andean charms. It has some of the country's best museums, a variety of cuisines, great shopping, and a wide range of accommodations for the budget or luxury traveller. Yes, it's a big city, but with its many neighborhoods, it isn't hard to find yourself at home.

The weather in Lima is similar to southern California. Only the fog indicates that it is now wintertime, as the city remains a temperate climate all year long, with its location in a desert on the Pacific coast. It rarely rains here, and people surf the beaches year-round. The seaside setting is an unforgettable part of Lima.

Lima's museums range from modern to ancient. One museum specializes in erotic pottery. Others show the range of pre-Columbian history with miniature models of archaeological sites. Lima also has an art scene, especially in the Barranco neighborhood. Victor Delfin is the creator of much of the public art, like Parque Del Amor, and he lives within Barranco still.

Lima is a destination for foodies. Some of the famous restaurants include Astrid & Gaston and Las Brujas de Caciche. The little cevicherias serving up Peru's most famous dish, ceviche, are as good as you'll find anywhere in Peru. Fusion cuisine is hot here, and you can find a lot of French-Peruvian and Japanese-Peruvian cuisine. And of course, in Chinatown, you can try Chifa - Peru's version of Chinese food, made with local ingredients.

Lima even has ruins. Adobe pyramids litter the suburbs and Pachacamac, a famous pre-Inca ruin, is only an hour from Lima Centro.

Let's not forget that Lima is a modern city. Big name designers do have stores here and you can see Hollywood blockbusters for a budget price.

In summary, Lima is a fine place to spend a few days while in Peru.${QuickSuggestions} Where to Stay:

The two best neighborhoods for tourists are Miraflores and Barranco. The biggest luxury hotels, the malls, the casinos, are all in Mireflores, as well as some of the city's best restaurants. Barranco is a charming neighborhood on the cliffs, with less traffic and more of the feel of a smaller town. Another location is San Isidro, more geared towards business travelers and definitely requiring a car. Some people also stay in the city center, close to the famous historic sites. No matter where you stay, it's all a cheap cab ride away.${BestWay} Although there are public buses in Lima, most tourists use the taxis that abound in the city. To get a good price, visibly ask several cabbies until you hear the price you want. After they have seen you ask a few people, they will know you mean business. Check on a good price by asking your hotel. Taxis cost more when you are taking them from an expensive location, like Larcomar or an expensive restaurant. Sometimes going around the corner makes all the difference! For safety's sake, ask your hotel to arrange a taxi for you. Always make sure it is an official taxi and visibly note the taxi's id in case there is a problem.

Second Home Peru

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by ShannonBrooke on June 29, 2007

We were lucky to find this true home in the beautiful tree-lined artsy suburb of Barranco. In fact, we liked it so much that we came back after a few days in another city, and cancelled our reservation at the Marriott too.

One, the setting. The beautiful and quirky old home is on the cliff-side, and the sounds and smells of the ocean are ever-present. You can enjoy them from your room's private balcony, or from the sitting room upstairs, or in the multiple levels of the backyard. You can wander around the house and property looking at the amazing art. One of my favorite things to do was look at the waves roll in and watch the surfers on the nearby beach.

Two, the innkeeper and her staff. Lillian is a fascinating and caring person. She will keep you entertained with stories at breakfast, and give you good recommendations for food and sightseeing, including hand-drawn maps. Also, some of our party got sick - she actually accompanied us to the pharmacy to buy the appropriate drugs, and even called some doctors in one case! When we returned to Lima sick, she made available another room even though the hotel's official rooms were booked up. And I met another couple that had loved the place so much, they were able to come back during their stopover between Cusco and home, and were able to spend more time at the Second Home while they waited for their plane. This is real service. The rest of the staff was friendly and helpful, including the two people who they hire to drive people to/from the airport.

The rooms...fantastic! They are beautifully decorated, airy, with lots of light. The beds were some of the most comfortable in our entire Peruvian vacation. Each room comes with a large bottle of bottled water. Provided also are two wineglasses and a corkscrew - this is the perfect place to enjoy a bottle of wine from the nearby supermarket. Even the unofficial room that we got in the 2nd half of our stay was very nice, if lacking some of the amazing features of the upstairs rooms. For example, one room has a large dressing area and separate bathroom. Another room, while the bathroom is actually in the room, does have a large patio to itself.

The breakfast is great, with fresh bread from the nearby panaderia and hot coffee, freshly brewed, none of that instant crap. It's a nice place to take a leisurely breakfast, enjoying your coffee.

The art on the property is beautiful and inspiring. It is fantastic to see an artist's lifework all at once, and have the ability to study his themes altogether in the Peruvian setting he was inspired by. I am a huge fan now of Victor Delfin's art.

Website: www.secondhomeperu.com
Reserve: liliandelfin@gmail.com
Second Home Peru
Domeyer 366
Lima, Peru
+ 51 1 4775021

Paragliding in Miraflores

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by ShannonBrooke on June 29, 2007

When the wind is right, paragliders abound on the cliff-side of Miraflores near the Parque Del Amor. Perufly.com is the most professional of the lot and you can reserve flights in advance on their website. For us, the adventure was a complete surprise. We were having ceviche at a nearby restaurant when we saw the paragliders. As we walked up to watch them, we were asked if we wanted to try it. For only $40USD, you can fly tandem for 15-20 minutes.

It is an exhilarating experience, tailored to your adrenaline desires. My adventurous friend got to go on a "rollercoaster ride," even going upside down. For me, it was thrilling enough to hang out and watch the city unfold beneath me. Words cannot describe the experience, but I can tell you some of what you will see.

You will see rooftop swimming pools and inner courtyards. All of Miraflores will lie before your eyes on one side, and the Pacific ocean, speckled with surfers, will be on the other side. You will soar over Larcomar, and people in the cliff-side cafe will wave up at you, and you at them. People walking along the cliff cheer you on, as your brightly colored balloon sails above them. It is the most unique way to see Lima that I know of.

Museo de la Inquisición

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by ShannonBrooke on June 29, 2007

This is a quick jaunt back to the time of the Spanish Inquisition. Because the museum is free, it is worth visiting. The museum of the Peruvian constitution is also here. You are supposed to get a free guide, but there was not an English-speaking guide when we arrived, so we wandered around by ourselves. In addition, all of the exhibit signs are in Spanish. However, you can make out what things are pretty easily if you do not speak Spanish.

The exhibit includes wax works demonstrating inquisition tortures. You also walk through some old underground tunnels that were once holding cells. The climax of your visit is an actual inquisition chamber.
Museo de la Inquisición
Jirón Junín 548
Lima, Peru, 1
+51 1 427 0365

San Francisco Monastery and Catacombs

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by ShannonBrooke on June 29, 2007

The San Francisco Monastery and Catacombs is the highlight of a Lima Centro tour. We visited on our own and were assigned to a large group with an English-speaking guide. The guide is free with admission and required to see the site.

Although everyone is here for the catacombs, the church and monastery hold many treasures as well. Of particular interest is the religious art, which is unique to Peru. For example, a picture of the last supper shows a guinea pig being served. Some of the older frescoes have been excavated from the early church, and there is much history here. Another interesting place is the monastery's library, full of ancient tomes lining the walls, reminding one of "The Name of the Rose."

The last stop is the catacombs, a winding underground tomb filled with bones. Because archaeologists came to inventory the bones, the bones are now sorted by body type - a bin of pelvises, for example. In one area, the archaeologists created art with the bones, as was done in the French catacombs, a swirl of skulls and femurs. But this was not here originally. You will learn that the catacombs was used for all Limenos for many years, in lieu of a cemetery. Bodies were brought here, covered in quicklime, and soon reduced to skeletons. It was a quick and sanitary way to dispose of the bodies. Over 25,000 people were buried in this tomb. The tunnels of the catacombs may have once connected to the inquisition and other areas in Lima.
San Francisco Monastery and Catacombs
Central Lima
Lima, Peru

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