5 Reasons Why Lima Should be your Next Travel Destination
Staying in Lima, Peru is synonymous with rich culture and history. Thanks to its geography, the Spanish conquistadors decided to make the capital of the Viceroyalty where the capital of Peru is located today. Being one of the few flat areas in Peru, this was the ideal place.
Lima was formerly known as La Ciudad de los Reyes (The City of Kings). Even so, the name Lima has always been present, since the origin of this word comes from the Quechua word “rímac”, which means “the talking river”. Legend has it that sitting on the banks of the river, the murmur of the water is perceived as if the water was telling stories.
The Peruvian capital has become over the centuries a great mix of cultures. The largest Chinese colony in the world is located in Lima, with more than one million people of Chinese descent in the country, and more than 200 thousand in Lima. Chinatown in this city is a must-see, as well as many other unique experiences.
1. Experience South American colonial culture and architecture firsthand
Usually, an important place to start is the main square. In the case of Lima, the Plaza de Armas (also called Plaza Mayor) is the heart of the city.
Starting with the Metropolitan Cathedral of Lima, like almost all the main Catholic churches in New Spain, it was built over a temple, in this case, an Incan temple. Its architectural style is baroque, gothic, neoclassical, and romantic, thanks to all the changes it has undergone over the centuries. North to the Cathedral is the Archbishop’s Palace (residence of the Archbishop of Lima), with a very complete religious art museum inside.
Also on the square, lies the Government Palace, seat of government and residence of the president, where the changing of the guard takes place at noon. The Pisco Museum, which is not really a museum, but a bar specializing in this typical Peruvian drink is not to be missed.
2. Connect with the elements: the magic of water
Approximately 5 kilometers (3 miles) south of the Plaza de Armas is the Parque de la Reserva. Of all the parks in Lima, this one is special because of the magical fountains found inside.
With the intention of recovering public spaces in Lima, in 2007 the Magical Water Circuit was created with thirteen fountains, which are supported by the highest technology, water, music, lights, and great amazement mix to create a unique show to connect with this element, even surrounded by the city. A family and romantic walk that can be booked from almost any hotel in Lima, Peru. Especially worthwhile is the show at the Fuente de Fantasia, although it is recommended to visit all the fountains.
3. Birds and Lions of the Sea
Lima is a coastal city, so there are many islands to visit. All have their specialty, but the Palomino Islands have some very special natives: colonies of seabirds and sea lions.
About 5,000 sea lions and many species of birds can be seen in the Palomino Islands, a two-hour boat ride away. The tours usually pass by the San Lorenzo and Fronton islands, and allow swimming for about fifteen minutes, making a return stop at the Cavinzas Islands, where Humboldt penguins and other birds live.
4. Beach and mountain sightings
Like almost every coastal city, Lima’s Malecón has a promenade of parks, bars, and restaurants. It is the favorite place to watch the sunsets, as you can also appreciate the green mountains that surround the city.
Parks, green areas, bicycle lanes, lighthouses, and many other sites to see on this boardwalk. The Parque del Amor (Park of Love), with the sculpture of El Beso (The Kiss) by Peruvian sculptor Victor Delfin, as well as the Parque Chino (Chinese Park) are some of the must-sees on this Malecón.
5. City ruins… In the city
It’s not just anywhere that you have an archaeological site in the middle of the city, surrounded by modern buildings of different architectural styles. Such is the case of Huaca Pucllana. Belonging to the Lima culture, this archaeological site in the Miraflores neighborhood still contains ruins of an ancient civilization.
A 25 meters (82 feet) high pyramid, mainly made of adobe and filled with boulders and sand is the main construction. It’s believed that it was intended for the priests and kings of the city to have control over the water of the river to ensure their power. In Huaca Pucllana you can find a museum about the site, where there are several archaeological artifacts that were found there. Particularly remains of the Wari culture, The Lord of the Unkus, and even those of a sacrificed child.