Ahh, Lima, that dry, sprawling metropolis smeared across the coastal cliffs of west-central Peru. Once home to a South American culture distinctly its own, 21st century Lima is an expansive mixture of modern buildings and ancient architecture, Spanish colonial influence and contemporary Latin American flare, beautiful fountain parks and run-down hillside favelas. It’s true, the pace and feel of this Peruvian powerhouse might rub some visitors the wrong way; after all, in a city inching its way towards 10 million residents, you’re bound to have your share of rough and seedy neighborhoods. But take a little time to explore, and you’ll discover why this mega-municipality is awash with some pretty profound cultural significance.
The Plaza Mayor (also known as the Plaza de Armas) isn’t a bad place to start. Located in the Historic City Center, this beautiful open square of palm trees and fountains provides access to the massive Catedral de Lima and the equally impressive Government Palace Building. From here, interesting works of architecture and history abound. The ancient Huaca pyramids, uniquely situated amongst the sprawl of modern Lima, are a must for those interested in experiencing some pre-Spanish archeology, while ubiquitous houses of worship such as the catacombs of La Basilica de San Francisco offer a more religious take on Limeño culture. There is also a wealth of museums to check out, from the famed erotic archeological exhibit at the Larco to the eerie recreations of torture devices at the Museum of Congress and the Inquisition.
Care for something a bit more open-aired? Then head south towards Miraflores, which can aptly be referred to as Lima’s park district. Take a ride (or a run) along the coastal Malecon and you’ll be treated to some magnificent urban gardens, including the famed Parque del Amor (Love Park). Or just mosey on over to the Magic Water Circuit in Santa Beatriz for what will probably be the most impressive fountain display you will see in your life (seriously). There’s obviously so much more to see and do than can be listed in such confined quarters, so check out our activities and links in order to make the most of a culturally diverse and intriguing Peruvian destination.