Lima, Peru - Colonial Metropolis

Vases

Lima is the capital and largest city of Peru. Well over 8 Million people live in Lima out of 26 Million Peruvians. Francisco Pizarro whose remains lay in the Cathedral founded the city in 1535. Lima is a modern city located on the Pacific Coast in a desert. Even though it hardly ever rains here, the city is usually engulfed in fog. People here are very friendly and despite all the warnings I never felt the need to pay special attention to my belongings and I never felt threatened.

Lima is a good place to try some Peruvian cuisine, although after touring the country for two weeks I felt the need for some Ribs at the local Tony Roma’s. Peruvian food can be very good, but you need to get used to some of it.

Lima is also known as the “City of Kings” (La Ciudad de los Reyes) because the foundation was planned for January 6th, Epiphany. Well here is the funny thing. The guy who defeated the Inca built the city. In Quechua Inca means King. So the guy who defeated the Inca unknowingly dedicated his city to them.

Getting Here

You will probably arrive at the Jorge Chavez International Airport. When we stepped out of the customs area, we were greeted by a large mass of people. We were waiting for our pick up, which wasn’t there yet. The whole experience was very disconcerting, as we had not yet learned to avoid the many vendors. In this case it was taxi drivers who immediately saw us as potential fares. It is good to know, that the official green taxi car drivers are allowed inside the airport, while the security guards keep all others outside. So if you are going to hire a cab driver, you should do that inside the airport. Official drivers wear green or blue badges. They have fixed prices so you won’t have to negotiate at your very first day in Peru.

After a couple of phone calls, my fare finally arrived. Thank god my ATT phone was working here.

Another very important aspect to consider: When you fly into Lima at the end of your vacation, make sure you have at least one or two days before boarding the plane to your home country. Our flight from Juliaca to Lima was cancelled. Lan Peru assumed no responsibility, due to the bad weather. A lot of people had connection flights to their home countries with other airlines. As I understand it, this frequently happens in winter. Our machine was grounded in Cusco and never made it to Juliaca.

Busses from Quito (Ecuador) and Santiago (Chile) also arrive in Lima.

Traffic

I strongly advice against renting a car and driving it. Taxis are very cheap in Peru and the traffic is a nightmare. Road marks and street signs seem to be for decoration only. Traffic lights rarely exist and pedestrian lights are unheard off. Drivers have no regard for speed limits and pedestrians. If you cross the street by foot, be extremely cautious. Drivers will speed around corners and honk their horns when they see you. They will never slow down. If they have to swerve around you, they will insult you. I would not want to have to drive in this kind of environment. People cut each other off, swear and honk a lot and are generally very rude drivers. No one will ever let you enter a busy street by waiting.

You can rent taxis for half a day or even a full day and not pay much more than it would cost you to rent a car. You will not have to worry about traffic and you can focus on the sights. The driver usually feels obligated to show you the best sides of  “his” town. Don’t worry, it may seem as if they drive reckless, but I have not seen more accidents than in other countries. They know what they are doing and are exceptional drivers.

There are official taxis and unofficial taxis. Most travel guides recommend using official taxis only, since it is safer. Most of our rides were with the unofficial kind though. We usually went to the front-desk of our hotel and told them where we wanted to go. They then called the cab drivers and negotiated the price for us. It is essential to always negotiate the price upfront since they don’t have meters. Make sure the price is for the total fare and not per person! If you just had a very short ride, it is not customary to tip. If you had the taxi for a sight seeing trip you should give around 10%.

Things to see

Now that we found out how to get around, lets do some sight seeing.

Pachacamac

Sun Temple

About 40km (25mi) south of Lima lies the ancient city of Pachacamac. The best way to get here is by Taxi. The site is very large and is best explored by car (Taxi). You can pick up an English-speaking guide at the entrance or go by yourself.

The city was originally built around 200AD. Since then the site has grown considerably and become one of the largest pre-Inca sites in Peru. The main buildings were constructed between 800AD to 1400AD.

In the 15th century the site became part of Inca territory. The Inca expanded the city once more and build some of the most impressive structures. Among them were Mamacuna and the Sun Temple. The Inca followed a policy of peaceful integration. New territories were allowed to keep their religion and beliefs. The site thus maintained its status as a religious shrine.

With the arrival of the Spaniards came the fall of the city. The inhabitants were putting up some resistance but eventually had to loose. The Spaniards ravaged the city for its Gold and Silver.

The two most impressive structures are without a doubt Mamacuna (the Princess Temple) and the Sun Temple. At Mamacuna, women were educated on how to serve man and become good wives. Only women inhabited the entire structure, which served all important functions to educate young girls on how to worship their husbands. Huh, my head is spinning with the imagination.

Pachacamac

The sun temple is a step pyramid. It is constructed of 6 large steps (or walls). On the top of these walls the temple was built. It is the largest structure at Pachacamac and was built by the Inca as well. In contrast to most Inca structures, the temple is built from Adobe bricks. Those are bricks made of mud and straw.

The Pyramidal Temple was built by the Ishmay culture (1100A.D. to 1500A.D.) The Pyramid was reached by a large ramp from the main square in front of it. Behind the pyramid were stores for food and other offerings.

Pachacamac was a really nice detour and should not be missed. It will take less than one hour from Miraflores to get here and about 2 hours to visit.

We waited a while for an English-speaking guide and then chose to do the trip by ourselves. Our taxi driver could not stand it and called his boss on the cell phone. The boss spoke English and gave us some background information for each structure. On our way back to the city, the driver chose to take a couple of detours to show us some interesting places. He was such a nice guide and found ways to communicate, even though we both did not speak each other’s language. We had a lot of fun with him and laughed a lot.

Convento de San Francisco (Saint Francis Monastery)

Monasterio de San Francisco in Lima

Lima is home to one of the most exciting and spectacular Monasteries. This church was built between 1546 and 1672. Since Lima became a World Heritage, money has been available for the reconstruction of this church. Pigeons and portrait photographers occupy the paved square in front of the church.

Understandably many are drawn here by the morbid fascination of the catacombs. These were used as the cemetery for the whole city until 1810. By then Lima was already quite large. Corpses were put on top of other corpses and once decayed, the bones were either thrown into a well or sorted and stored elsewhere. During our visit we saw bones sorted by body part in large compartments. One particular interesting large well holds the bones arranged in circular patterns (see picture).

Catacombs

Fortunately this church has many more things to offer. The library for instance holds 25,000 books and 6,000 parchments from the 15th to 18th century. Most of them are still in very good shape.

Library

The refectory displays a large painting of the Last Supper by a Flemish Jesuit Priest, painted in 1697. The dish of the last supper is Guinea Pig, as in most of these paintings in Peru.

Saint Francis Monastery    Monastery Garden

The Church is famous for its celing paintings and the many artworks that can be found all across the Monastery are marvelous. The flowers in the garden mix beautifully with the white and yellow walls. Old paintings and colorful tiles decorate all the hallways.

Plaza de Armas

The Plaza de Armas is now named Plaza Mayor. Due to recent renovation projects, it has become another jewel of Lima. The Cathedral, the Presidents Palace and the Municipalidad de Lima enclose three sides of the plaza.

Cathedral

The Cathedral has been reconstructed many times after earthquakes. Next to the entrance is a small chapel that holds the remains of Francisco Pizarro, the conquistador. The Cathedral is far less impressive than the San Francisco Monastery.

Presidential Palace

The Government Palace (Palacio de Gobierno) stands on the site of Pizarro’s palace. At noon, you can watch the changing of the Guards ceremony. Unfortunately, el Presidente was going to give his New Year's speech when were there, so this area was closed to the public. You can visit the palace (free admission), but you probably have to book a tour.

Municipalidad de Lima

The Municipalidad de Lima (City Hall) is the residence of the Mayor of Lima. Its trademarks are the colonial style wooden balconies, elaborate interior and fine library.

Miraflores

Miraflores

Miraflores is a district of Lima. Here you can find Hotels, Restaurants, Cafes, Shopping malls, Embassies and more. It is a more upscale area and relatively safe even at night. When you visit Lima, you should consider staying in Miraflores or Barranco. Barranco is even more beautiful than Miraflores with its colonial and 19th century buildings. It is home to Artists and Writers.

Most other areas should probably be avoided at night, although areas close to the coast between La Punta and Chorrillos should be rather safe.

In Miraflores there is a strong presence of Tourist Police, who make it very safe to stroll around.

If you want to go shopping, consider the Indian Market (see map). Prices here are unbelievably low. We had done some shopping before, but wished we had waited until we could visit this market. Here you can get fine handicrafts, souvenirs, paintings and much more.

Miraflores Map

Walk down Av. Larco all the way to the ocean. You will arrive at Parque Salazar (Number 12 on the map). This is a very upscale shopping center with many good restaurants. We really liked the Tony Roma’s. Here you can dine while you are on top of a steep cliff overlooking the pacific coast.

Museo de Antropologia, Arqueologia y Historia (Museum of Anthropology, Archeology and History)

Mummy

This museum is located in the suburb of Pueblo Libre. Exhibits include some amazing pre-Inca arts like pottery, stonework and textiles, a couple of mummies, skulls, gold and much more. Some artifacts found at Machu Picchu can also be found here and artifacts of Spanish conquistadors. You can easily spend 2-4 hours here and learn about the ancient burial rituals and other skills. Unfortunately most written explanations are in Spanish, so you may want to consider hiring a guide.

Other sights

We only scratched the surface of what is to see in Lima. There are many other things to explore. Here are just a few of them.

Plaza_San_Martin
  • Plaza San Martin (photo). You can walk here on the Jiron de la Union, a pedestrian only street, from the Plaza Mayor. The Plaza is nicely restored and most buildings are painted in a bright white. The garden is very inviting for a relaxed break.
  • Iglesia de Santo Domingo, a church with a pleasant cloister.
  • Colonial Mansions. You can see them anywhere in the historic downtown. Most remarkable are the colonial style balconies.
  • Lima has a couple of nice beaches (Costa Verde) where locals spend their weekends.
  • The Museo de Oro (Gold Museum) lays in the eastern part of the city. It holds the most impressive collection of gold and silver made objects from Inca times.
  • Parque Central. A beautiful park in Miraflores with Artists (see picture)
Parque Central - Lima

Travel Tips

  • I did not consider Lima particularly unsafe, but I did not venture at night outside Miraflores either. Common sense applies just like in any large city.
  • Taxis are cheap, but ask for the price upfront and don’t hesitate to negotiate a bit.
  • Buy gifts at the Indian Market.
  • There are little stands selling water, lemonade, cigarettes and chips, so you don’t have to carry lots of those around.
  • Keep some change in your pockets for these small purchases, so you don’t have to pull out your wallet.
  • Do not parade expensive camera equipment around.
  • Hire taxis inside the airport.
  • Always remember to have a good time.

Credits

Article and Images by Andre Gunther.

Check out his Peru Photo Gallery.

Visit Lima and stay in Miraflores, the touristic district

Miraflores is the touristic district of Lima. The main hotels and attractions are there. The amenities goes from the beach where the surfers enjoy all year, even in winter to archeological site, which is Huaca Pucllana. People also like to wind surf by the reefs of the Miraflores beach.

The best cuisine is in Miraflores. You can find italian, french, japanese, chinnese, arab, swiss food of the best quality. Also the best peruvian food and marine food are in Miraflores. The wonderful pisco sour is everywhere and the real coffe can be tasted in Haiti and 4 D cafeterias.

Shopping in Miraflores is a nice surprise because you will find the larger selection of handicrafts, paintings and antiques of Lima.

The night life is in Miraflores: casinos, discos, dancing, and nice walking through its streets

Finally, staying in a private apartment in the heart of this district can save you a lot of money.

???

miraflores is not really peru, it is america within peru's borders. do yourself a favour and journey into atcual city and meet actual peruvians, not only the rich of miraflores. lima is NOt particularly safe, this can be claimed only if you dont leave miraflores after 6pm, far beyond normal city common sense a level of vigilance is required in most districts aside from miraflores, barranco, la molina and the good side of surco. many peruvians have stories of multiple robberies in lima and as a forigner you are more of a target as you will be judged as likely having money. in the more interesting districts, often the police will not help you or may even be in on the take. thought it best to clear up some if the above whitewash. It si an amazing vibrant city, but watch yourself.

family house in Lima

Hello everyone,
Get to know a different side of Peru by staying with a local Peruvian family in LIma. Ysabel and her family have a house in San Juan de Lurigancho with matrimonial bed ready to be rented to people looking to explore this incredible country.

While staying with the Garcia`s house hold you can check out local sights not mentioned in tour guides, improve your spanish and even volunteer with a local organization if you wish there is no limit to how long or short you can stay for and it cost just USD 140 a week, wash machine and WI-FI Wireless ADSL included.

For more information you can email us at universustravel (at) hotmail dot com

Thanks for dropping by.

I am really looking forward

I am really looking forward to skiing there. It is so very pretty and amazing there. Hopefully I can visit there one day.
Cable Jointing kits manufacturer and Metal oxide surge arrester

Green Power International

Green Power International was established in early 2002 in close cooperation with MWM GmbH (formerly Deutz Power System GmbH).
H2S Scrubber
Power generation mine gas
EPC electrical contractor

Transportation Services

It's like you study the mind. you manage to grasp a lot around this., just like you had written the making your reservation for this as well as a thing. I do believe that you simply may perform having a number of % to help stress the rub down residence a lttle bit, but rather of the, that is exceptional web site. A wonderful study. Brilliant write-up I have discovered this nowadays. For more info visit on Transportation Services

Danner

I recently discovered your blog and still have high hope for this to carry on. Keep up the good perform, their nearly impossible to find beneficial ones. We have added to our faves. As well as the concept of Many thanks. For more info visit on Danner

How do you know all

How do you know all that?
Cheers
Luciana

How do you know all

How do you know all that?
Cheers
Luciana

Love to read the historical

Love to read the historical importance of Lima,Peru. dissertation proposal by dissertation labs

Love to read the historical

Love to read the historical importance of Lima,Peru. dissertation proposal by dissertation labs

Hotel bed Linens

Lengthy ago i discovered your website whilst still being have got large expect this particular to carry on. Carry on the nice execute, their own almost impossible to find valuable ones. We've got included in the faves. In addition to Hotel bed Linens the reasoning behind With thanks.

Self-Advocacy Program

We are definitely looking forward to winter sports generally there. It truly is consequently really quite and also amazing generally there.Self-Advocacy Program Ideally I'm able to pay a visit to generally there 1 day.

great

a great guide for what in or know the city, thanks for sharing

mejores libros electrónicos

electronic cigarette

I am going to be honest here this publish is excellent! I learned a bunch of new, fascinating details. If you could send me your newsletter link, I would be very happy! Keep composing like this, and you will be well-known immediately.electronic cigarette

electronic cigarette

I am going to be honest here this publish is excellent! I learned a bunch of new, fascinating details. If you could send me your newsletter link, I would be very happy! Keep composing like this, and you will be well-known immediately.electronic cigarette

electronic cigarette

I am going to be honest here this publish is excellent! I learned a bunch of new, fascinating details. If you could send me your newsletter link, I would be very happy! Keep composing like this, and you will be well-known immediately.electronic cigarette

electronic cigarette

I am going to be honest here this publish is excellent! I learned a bunch of new, fascinating details. If you could send me your newsletter link, I would be very happy! Keep composing like this, and you will be well-known immediately.electronic cigarette

electronic cigarette

I am going to be honest here this publish is excellent! I learned a bunch of new, fascinating details. If you could send me your newsletter link, I would be very happy! Keep composing like this, and you will be well-known immediately.electronic cigarette

Guts that you write this article

just passing away from your site and found this blog. I must say you have guts that you write this article.
Essay RHN

Thanks combination of

Thanks combination of suitable and useful information and well-written sentences that will certainly entice your sense.There are so multiple comments here that are really entertaining and conducive to me thanks for sharing a link especially for sharing this blog.

Garcinia 75%

Though sticking with the actual Garcia`s house hold you can check out there community places not really mentioned within tour guides, enhance ones spanish and even volunteer having a community firm if you want there isn't a control in order to how long or maybe brief you can remain regarding and it price tag simply just USD 140 every week, rinse unit and WI-FI Wi-fi ADSL bundled. Garcinia 75%

Open Travel Info | Free Travel Guide Community

From right here onwards the procedure is far more than easy.
Consumers are concerned over range limitations, battery
life, availability of charging stations, costs and so
on. As opposed to letting your vehicle is an eyesore and also worse a pollutant, why not enabling it is set to far better use.

I was guessing if you could write a little more on this.

I was guessing if you could write a little more on this. Although it was a superb effort. But, I'd be very grateful if you could elaborate a bit more.

Another good article.

Another good article. I should say this web address is a place where anyone can enhance his/her knowledge. You are giving the best advantage of internet.

interesting

When it comes to Peru, I always thinking of the drug trafficking things happening there. But there's so much more to it, what a beautiful country - E @ TopSureties

The product label ought to

The product label ought to state the chlorogenic acid level see above since chlorogenic acid is that the inhibitor gifts in raw
pure green coffee bean plus