Before I share our wonderful weekend in Lima, I’m excited to say that I’ve put together my first travel vlog! As a disclaimer, I’ve got a long way to go before my videos will be what I consider well-made, but this was a fun little project, and I hope to make these for all of our travels going forward. So, check it out if you’d like! (P.S. I think that the second half is much better than the first!)
Daniel and I took an overnight flight immediately after work on a Friday. After some delays, we landed in Lima, Peru at about 7am where my aunt and uncle picked us up. We were so excited to have a passport in hand and just explore!
After getting cleaned up at the apartment, we were ready to see Lima! The first stop was the new Paddington Bear sculpture near the Miraflores Boardwalk. As the story goes, Paddington Bear came from “darkest Peru”, so the British embassy sent the statue over as a gift of friendship just one month ago in July 2015.
We were starving from the overnight flight, so the next stop was brunch! We walked over to Larcomar, a shopping center right on the coast, and had a delicious brunch buffet at Mangos in Lima. Look at the view from our table!
We then walked off our brunch by wandering around the city. Lima has a lot of old buildings with beautiful Spanish Colonial architecture.
Our walk took us over to Parque Kennedy, a fun little park in Miraflores filled with locals and cats! Yes, you read that right – there were SO MANY stray cats everywhere in this park. As you can probably tell in the pictures below, these cats are happy and well-fed. They are basically an attraction; it’s popular for visitors to come and take pictures with the cats. I personally thought that they were adorable, but if you don’t like cats, stay away! The park is swarming with them.
After tasting a delicious churro off the street (a MUST in Peru), we caught the tail-end of the changing of the guard at the Presidential Palace. It was similar to the popular changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace in London. The palace itself is beautiful and much more regal than I had expected.
One of my favorite things we did in Lima was a tour of the Church of San Francisco and the catacombs underneath it. They offer both Spanish and English tours. Our guide’s English was a bit tricky to follow, but the tour was very interesting. The building has gorgeous Colonial architecture and houses a fascinating painting of the Lord’s Supper with a Peruvian twist – the meal being served in the picture is cuy (guinea pig)! This church also has an absolutely beautiful library which is home to thousands of historical books Unfortunately, pictures were not allowed in the church, so click here to see a picture I found with a Google search. Those staircases make me swoon.
The Catacombs portion of the tour was fascinating (though not for the claustrophobic!). This was the first cemetery in Lima, and experts say it holds the bones of at least 25,000 people. Walking through the winding, narrow paths of the Catacombs with bones lined along the walls and bone-filled pits looks like something out of a movie . Part of the tunnels were closed off, and according to our guide, this is because some tourists went missing in the tunnels a couple years ago and were never found again. I have been unable to find support for this story, but it gives an interesting, eery effect to the tour!
That evening, my aunt and uncle took us to Barranco, another very nice area of Lima with cute streets, a beautiful plaza where locals gathered, and a DELICIOUS restaurant called Burrito Bar. Those burritos blow Chipotle out of the water, mostly because the tortillas are essentially made-to-order in house.
After church and lunch, we went to tour Huaca Pucllana, an ancient ceremonial center for the people of the Lima culture right in the middle of a busy part of the city. It is estimated that these ruins were built in 500 A.D! These ruins survived several massive earthquakes over the years while the rest of the city was very damaged. Our guide said the ruins were essentially earthquake proof because of the adobe bricks stacked like book and in triangular formations. The tour was a neat little preview into the world of ancient Peruvian ruins, and it is mind-blowing to think about all the other ancient ruins and treasures that are probably still sitting underneath the buildings in Lima. There is little museum that we looked in at the end of the tour. Also, we didn’t eat there, but there is a restaurant right next to the site, so you can eat your dinner while sitting next to lit up ruins in the middle of the city. I think that would be a great experience!
The next stop was The Magic Water Circuit at Parque de la Reserva. The park has several interactive and colorful fountains that are beautifully lit up at night. The only footage I got of Lima in my Peru video was of some of these fountains. My favorite part about this park is that there were definitely more locals than tourists there. After walking through all of the fountains, we stopped and waited for the next water show at one of the larger fountains. The show had tidbits of Peruvian music and dancing projected onto the water and lots of fun colors to watch. It reminded me of the Fountains at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, although I’m pretty sure that the fountains in Lima went higher up into the air!
The rest of the evening was low key. We strolled through a Peruvian grocery store where I picked up a bag of Peruvian coffee to take home with me, then we stopped for milkshakes and watched some TV at my aunt and uncle’s apartment. We had an early flight the next morning, so we did some laundry, re-packed our bags, and went to bed.
Overall, we really enjoyed Lima. This is not a city that requires packing in lots of activities each day. You can enjoy a slower pace which allows you to soak in the culture and architecture a bit more which I really enjoyed. We had a blast exploring the city with family. It was a great start to the trip! Next stop, Puno!