Under the coastal fog that almost hides and protects Lima’s beauty from the outside world, Peru’s capital city is a delicious mix of pre-Columbian temples and contemporary high-rise buildings. Although Lima may not have the same fame as the tango streets of Buenos Aires or the samba rhythm of Rio de Janeiro, it is covered in history and full of visual delights that are waiting to be discovered. The 43 districts and nearly 9 million Limeños house a city of incredible diversity.
Where else in world can executives go surfing before going to the office or black a round of golf in the financial district?
Once known as the ‘City of Kings’ by the Spanish conquistadores, Lima is unique and combines culture, history and of course the Peru’s famed gastronomy. Built in the desert, Lima which is known as the ‘Garden City’ is second to Cairo as the driest metropolis in the world; so what are you waiting for, keep reading to discover the top 5 things to do in Lima.
♦ Government Palace & Plaza de Armas – Jirón de La Unión (1st block), Downtown
Located on the banks of the River Rimac and facing the soaring San Cristobal Hill, the site of the Government Palace has a special and spiritual Inca history. Even the conqueror of the Incas, Pizarro began constructing the first Spanish palace there in 1535 and since then it has gone through a number of makeovers until its current state as a French-inspired mansion that was built in the 1930s. Occupying the north side of the main square of Plaza de Armas, at precisely noon every day you can watch the changing of the palace guards. Lima’s central square also has the Cathedral of Lima with the adjoining Archbishop’s Palace; Lima’s City Hall of the Municipal Palace and to round off this exquisite square there are some private office buildings.
♦ Larco Museum – Avenida Bolivar 1515, Pueblo Libre
Lima is home to a number of remarkable museums from the Anthropological Museum to the Gold Museum but perhaps the most unique is the private Larco Museum. Situated in a former mansion which in itself provides an outstanding setting, the museum has a diverse collection ranging from 3,000 year old ceramics to textiles and precious metal artifacts. The Mummy exhibition also shows the different ways ancient cultures from around the world including the Incas preserved their dead. Two parts of the museum set it apart from the others in Lima with visitors being allowed into the museum’s store rooms to see the vast array of the collection that’s not on display. The second part is a slightly strange yet special room devoted to erotic archaeological pieces such as ceramic pots with many being destroyed by the Spanish conquerors who were mortified by the explicit depictions.
♦ Pucllana Temple (Huaca Pucllana) – Calle General Borgoño (8th block), Miraflores
Peru’s capital city of Lima as well as being a modern metropolis has a number of historical ruins scattered throughout the city known as ‘huacas.’ One of the main ruins you should be sure to take in is the Pucllana Temple also known as Huaca Pucllana in the up-market district of Miraflores. This collection of adobe and clay structures was once an important ceremonial and administrative center for the Lima Culture society that developed the Central Coast of Peru between 200AD and 700AD. Restorations and excavations continue to take place with artifacts and the occasional mummy being uncovered at the site even today. In the evening, the huaca is beautifully lit up and can be enjoyed from the on-site and romantic restaurant which puts a modern and delicious twist on traditional Peruvian dishes.
♦ El Malecón Miraflores & Larcomar – Malecon de la Reserva 610, Miraflores
A 6-mile stretch of beautiful parks, the Malecón in the Miraflores neighborhood overlooks the Pacific Ocean and is the perfect way to take in the panoramic views and the various statues created by famous Peruvian artists along the way. Make sure to take in the Parque del Amor to see Victor Delfin’s statue of a couple in a deep and romantic embrace with the park having a strong resemblance to Barcelona’s Gaudi buildings. Along this expansive sea walk you’ll see the impressive and exclusive Larcomar Mall which is built into the cliff side and makes for the perfect place to stop-off and take in the breathtaking ocean views. A number of Peruvian fashion designers have shops located in Larcomar and is a great way to experience modern-day Lima and Peru.
♦ Feast on Ceviche – Avenida la Mar, Miraflores
The fame of Peru’s cuisine has sky-rocketed in recent years and Lima is often placed at the center of this food revolution. One dish above all is a must try when visiting Peru, and that is ceviche. Raw fish, hot chili peppers and onions all marinated in lime juice has placed ceviche on the world stage of one of the best and tasty dishes in the world. Paying a visit to Avenida La Mar in Miraflores is a hotbed for some of the city’s top cevicherias as well as serving a range of other succulent seafood dishes. The namesake restaurant La Mar is year on year rated as Lima’s top cevicheria and is the creation of Peru’s food ambassador, Gastón Acurio making it certain highlight and has a deserved place on the list of the top things to do in Lima.