22
Dec
14

Peru: Bustling Lima


With almost 9 million inhabitants, Lima is Peru’s bustling megacapital.  We stayed in the city just for a few days and blitzed right past it on our way back from Cusco and Machu Picchu but during the short stay it captivated me through its colorful squares and historic buildings (lovely both during the day and at night), its warm people and exotic food.

PLACES TO SEE

Lima’s urban section has a mind-boggling land area of 300 square miles but one should not worry as the city’s main attractions are clustered together on certain areas and they would just be walking distance or a short drive away from each other. As with other big cities, there are dangerous areas that a visitor must avoid. The very helpful and nice cab drivers warned us of the few places that tourists should not venture into especially streets in the city center. The following places that we visited were definitely safe and they were just beautiful.

Plaza de Armas  

It was easy to fall in love with the city’s main square.  On its four sides, are interesting monuments to behold. Also known as Plaza Mayor, Plaza de Armas is at the heart of the Historic Center of Lima, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This was the only site in Lima where I took photos at both day and night.

DSC_0598

The Cathedral of Lima is an immense Roman Catholic baroque church on Plaza Armas’ east side.

 

DSC_0594

It was built in 1564 and it was designed by Francisco Pizzaro who conquered the Incas, founded Lima and whose tomb is inside the church.

 

DSC_0589

The church has undergone extensive repairs twice due to damages from earthquakes.

 

DSC_0610

Adjacent to the cathedral to its left is the Archbishop’s Palace, the residence of the cardinal of Peru and the archbishop of Lima.

 

DSC_0608

Moving counterclockwise from the Archbishop’s Palace, to the north of Plaza Mayor is the Government Palace also known as House of Pizzaro.  It was the house of the government headquarters when erected in 1535.

 

DSC_0597

It is recognizable by the large wrought iron fence that surrounds the building.

 

DSC_4100

At night, the Government Palace is lit up to contribute to the dazzling display of lights around and inside Plaza Mayor.

 

DSC_4121

The whole plaza becomes magical at night with all the structures lighted up and with horse drawn carriages and open trains plying around the area.

 

DSC_4079

This is the Archbishop’s Palace at night.

 

DSC_4091

DSC_4133

To the west and south of Plaza Mayor are the Municipal Palace and Palace of the Union.

 

DSC_4074

At the western side of the plaza in front of the Municipal Palace is the Fountain of Viceroy Garcia Sarmiento de Sotomayor Count of Salavatierra.

 

DSC_4131

A night visit of Plaza Mayor is a must when in Lima.

 

Jiron de la Union 

DSC_4145

Although it has lost its aristocratic charm through the years, Jiron de la Union is still Downtown Lima’s most colorful and most important boulevard.

 

DSC_4136

Located at the Historic Center of Lima it connects Plaza Mayor with Plaza San Martin.

 

DSC_4135

Boutiques and stores for window-shopping, restaurants and cafes for bar-hoppers line up at either side of the street and throngs of people stroll by the lively thoroughfare.

 

DSC_4137

Along Jiron de la Union are classic buildings that still retained their original functions like churches…..

 

DSC_4140

…or those now serving for contemporary use like malls.

 

Plaza San Martin

Walking southwest along Jiron de la Union from Plaza de Armas, one will reach Plaza San Martin.

DSC_4156

The monument at its center was built to give honor to Peru’s liberator, José de San Martín, an Argentine general and the prime leader of the southern part of South America’s successful struggle for independence from the Spanish Empire.

 

DSC_4151

DSC_4157

The Plaza San Martin is surrounded by well preserved Republican buildings influenced by the French architectural style typical in Lima at the beginning of the 20th century. 

 

DSC_4159

Just opposite the square you find the old, famous and most elegant hotel in Lima, the Gran Hotel Bolivar.

 

Church of San Francisco  

Around three blocks walk away from Plaza Mayor is Church of San Francisco.

DSC_0614 DSC_0617

You will pass by colorful buildings and stores along the way.  This is still part of the Historic Center of Lima.

 

DSC_0638 DSC_0619

The Church of San Francisco is one of the best preserved colonial churches in Lima. Most people go to San Francisco, however, for its catacombs. The catacombs were actually part of Lima’s original cemeteries, which were built under churches. Tour guides say an estimated 75,000 bodies are buried under San Francisco alone, and many of the remains are exposed, stacked in strange patterns in circular stone pits. A catacomb tour is not for the the claustrophobic so we did not do this tour.

 

DSC_0633

The church can be easily recognized with the swarm of pigeons on the patio out front.

 

Miraflores/Lancomar

Along the seawalk in the Miraflores district is Larcomar, a multilevel, modern entertainment, food and shopping megacomplex that caters to most tastes.

51938603

Larcomar cannot be easily seen as the entire complex is built into a cliffside, underneath Miraflores — the entrance across the street from the JW Marriott hotel; take the stairs down just before you get to the cliff’s edge.

 

33960968

Larcomar has breathtaking ocean views, which you can enjoy from numerous restaurants offering Peruvian fare, as well as several American franchises serving everything from doughnuts to ribs.

 

 

WHERE WE STAYED

antigua-miraflores-hotel

We chose Hotel Antigua Milaflores, a reasonably-priced, quaint and very charming inn in one of Lima’s nicest suburbs, Miraflores. It is located near Lima’s best restaurants, vibrant nightlife, finest shopping, charming parks and beautiful oceanfront boardwalk.  It is a short 25-min cab ride to the Historic Center of Lima.

 

DSC_4163

DSC_4164

The tasteful decor of the hotel’s ground floor lobbies welcomes everyone into this elegant hotel.

 

 

DSC_0563

At the far end of the hotel is its own restaurant offering a great selection of beverages, breakfast options, Peruvian dishes, coffee and deserts.

 

DSC_0552 DSC_0553

The restaurant is not a bad option if one does not feel dining outside the hotel anymore.

 

DSC_0582

We were given a very spacious Colonial room with charming decor.

 

DSC_0584

I loved the handcrafted wooden furniture and the free and very fast wifi.

 

DSC_0547

The view from our room was the fountain in the middle of a tiny garden. Staying at this hotel was a respite from the generic “glass and steel” hotel experience.

 

 

GOURMET EXPERIENCE

Recently, Lima has been riding a wave of growing fame for its gustatory pleasures. You must not leave Lima without tasting its signature dish, ceviche.

DSC_0560

DSC_0561

Ceviche is a tangy plate of raw fish marinated in lime juice and ajíes, or hot chili peppers. The mouth-watering dish is the star of Peru’s culinary repertoire. Limeños crowd lunch-only neighborhood holes-in-the-wall (cevicherías) for their ceviche fix and the best can be found in Miraflores.

 

DSC_4071

An appetizing ‘lomo saltado’ (sauteed beef tenderloin) is one of the most typical dishes of Peruvian creole food. It is prepared with chunks of beef tenderloin marinated in vinegar, soy sauce, peppers and other spices.

 

DSC_0172

Lima’s cultural marriages – a mix of Spanish, African, Chinese and Japanese – is reflected in its culinary fusion. Limeño cuisine encompasses spicy creole dishes, Nikkei (2nd-generation Japanese), and chifa (a Peruvian twist on Chinese).

 

DSC_0587The long Pacific coast is notable less for its beaches than the endless bounty of fresh seafood that makes it to markets and restaurant tables.

 

10624972_10204999994148131_3529294598348381272_n

Lastly, like Peruvian coffee, Lima was flavorful.  I have to taste it to prove it. Its aroma, acidity and body play in harmony so that no one element predominates at the expense of another. It’s a city shrouded in history, gloriously messy and full of aesthetic delights. Thank God we did not miss it!

 

 

 

0 Responses to “Peru: Bustling Lima”



  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


winairtravel’s posts

Posts by Countries

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 128 other followers

Blog Stats

  • 217,499 hits

%d bloggers like this: