I love Lima, a city of flavours, unique experiences, valleys, parks, beaches, archaeological sites, museums, sports and wonderful people. It all depends on what you are into, but if you visit Lima for the first time, there are some places that will sum it up:
Miraflores Boardwalk (Malecon)
Approximately 10 km of walkways and parks along the cliffs high above Costa Verde, Lima’s coast. Statues of famous Peruvian artists can be seen along the walkway. Love Park (Parque del Amor) is one of the major attractions due to its design inspired by Gaudi’s style. Walking, jogging or biking, Malecon is the prime spot for ocean views. North of the Love Park is the taking-off point for parasailers. If you’re lucky enough and get a sunny beautiful day, you can try 10 minutes tandem paraglide.
Larcomar Shopping Centre
The only shopping centre located on a cliff with a spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean and in the heart of the Miraflores district. Open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, with 70 shops and 17 restaurants, the mall is an attraction due to its location. The shopping centre is all created to maximise the splendid view. There are souvenir shops, local and international brands, but the shopping experience is second to the unique location. Up and down the escalators doesn’t have anything to do with shopping, but with trying to find the best spot to take a picture. After 10-20 minutes of walking around inhaling the salty breeze, a stop to Tanta restaurant is a must. They serve beautiful and safe to eat local cuisine (international too for the conservatives).
20 minutes walk from Larcomar, on Avenue Jose Larco, Kennedy Park is the heart of Miraflores. A meeting point for locals and visitors, the park became a natural shelter for cats and kittens who wander throughout the green area. Painters, young artists, dancers and bands can be found daily in the park. Surrounded by restaurants, cafes, bars, clubs, banks, shops and all bus routes, Kennedy Park is the heart of Miraflores.
In recent years the park has also become the main station for Mirabus, a city sightseeing service that connects several tourist spots throughout Lima – departing from and arriving at Parque Kennedy.
With a reputation as the bohemian district of Lima because of its bright buildings, beautiful street art, and charming streets, Barranco is a must. Casual delicious restaurants and best cafes in town, for a fraction of the prices in Miraflores, with eccentric museums, bohemian boutiques, the art deco architectures and best murals in Lima, anyone can find something here.
A walkway to the sea that runs through Barranco, called the Bajada de los Baños is crossed over by the Puente de los Suspiros, or Bridge of Sighs. Legend says that those who set sight on the bridge for the first time are going to be granted a wish, if they can cross the 30 metre length without taking a single breath. On the far side of the bridge is a park with a statue of Barranco native singer and composer, Chabuca Granda.
Historic Centre of Lima
Despite being damaged by a series of earthquakes along the years, the historic centre of Lima is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Main Square or Plaza de Armas, is the birthplace of Lima, as well as the core of the City of the Kings. It is surrounded by the Government Palace, the Cathedral of Lima , Archbishop’s Palace, the Municipal Palace and the Palace of the Union. Daily at 11:45 a.m. at the Presidential Palace you can see the changing of the guard or you can visit the Palace.
Not for the faint-hearted, the Inquisition Museum could be on the list, alongside the Catacombs of the Monastery of San Francisco. The catacombs, where over 30,000 people were buried until 1808, were only discovered in 1943 and it’s eerie to wander through the silent, claustrophobic crypts filled with human skulls and remains. Open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. it costs S/.10 (approximately US$3.20) for adults and S/.5 (US$1.60) for children and includes the guided tour of 60 – 90 minutes.
There are affordable cafes and restaurants, and some of the city’s oldest bars.
Magic Water Circuit
If you still have energy after your day in Lima’s old town head to the Parque de la Reserva, Block 5 Avenida Petit Thouars, for a delightful water and light show which takes place every evening after sunset at 7.15 p.m., 8.15 p.m. and 9.30 p.m. For S/.4 (approximately US$1.25) you can enjoy a series of 13 interactive fountains spread throughout the park where water, music, light and laser images combine to take you on a magical journey. This park is packed every night with just as many locals as tourists and is a favourite spot for unique Instagram photos.