Things to do in Lima
The City of Kings; Lima’s old nickname stemming from centuries ago may not be at place in the same way it was before, but nevertheless once you get to know this city you will feel that the nickname hasn’t been lost completely. Being a large South American capital of a very diverse country, it is obvious that Lima is full of things to do and see. In general one can even say that Lima is an undervalued travel destination and see only as a stopover for people coming to Peru. Hopefully the following lines will make you interested in discovering this amazing, sometimes chaotic city full of history. Following are a couple of lines about the most famous Lima sightseeing places. Don’t take this list as a complete list but as an impression of all the things to do in Lima;
The City centre;
A visit to Lima is never complete without a visit to the city centre; this large commercial and political neighborhood is the historic hart of the city and home to many of the ministries, political offices, the palace of Justice and of course the municipality of Lima. Having suffered years from a bad image regarding safety, the city centre in the last couple of years has undergone a still going on transformation which has energized investment and “cleaned up” the streets. Lima centre is home to some of the most beautiful plazas in Peru and even South America. Outstanding plazas and therefore famous Lima sightseeing place are the Plaza San Martin, named after one of the liberators of Peru and especially the Plaza de Armas, with the presidential palace one side and the Cathedral build on top of an Inca Temple on the other side. The Cathedral is on of the oldest in South America but through rebuilding and reconstructions after earthquakes changed during time. The surroundings of the Plaza are nice streets full of street vendors and buildings out the colonial era. Especially pay attention to the wooden large balconies made with fine carvings. Here you will also find the Santa Domingo Church, building started under Pizarro himself and the most important feature of the church are the tombs. On the other side of the river Rimac, dividing the centre and the next neighborhood Rimac, you can also find one of the oldest bullfight rings on the continent. Close to the national stadium you can find one of the new things to do in Lima; el Parque de Agua, the water fountain park. This park has a amazing collection of fountains, sprays and what have you not where you can walk and run through. Especially after sunset this is a spectacle for the eye as the whole park is decorated with colorful lights, giving the water an even more fascinating aspect.
When going from Lima city centre to the neighborhoods located at the ocean, you will pass through another large district making out the Lima Skyline. This area called San Isidro is the financial heart of Lima, and hence Peru. This is where the banks have their headquarters, investment firms and international headquarters can all e found here. A lot of countries have their embassies also in this area.
Further south you come to the commercial district of Lima, and maybe one of the most famous; Miraflores. With most hotels being located around this area, together with good restaurants and nightlife, it is more than likely that your hotel will be located in this neighborhood. Here you will find Parque Kenneday, the commercial heart of Miraflores, just a few blocks from the coast with nice boardwalks and parks, the most famous the Parque de Amor (The park of Love). You will also find Larco Mar here; one of the many shopping’s Lima has to offer. This mall has plenty of good restaurants with amazing views over the ocean below. The Lima coast is mainly a rock coast, having the beaches down at the water meanwhile the city starts on top of the cliffs behind the beach. This makes that the beaches are reached either by car or on foot by one of the stairways. The down coast, called Costa Verde is recently been renovated and the beaches are attracting people again. Here you can find also one of the most famous seafood restaurants in Peru; The Rosa Nautica. During the day the water is full of surfers waiting for the right wave. This brings us to another activity within the scale of things to do in Lima; Surfing. Lima has no great large waves but does provide constantly good waves, especially for people new to the sport.
Besides Miraflores lies the other seaside neighborhood of Barranco. This more artistic and bourgeois area is where many writers, poets and other artists live and have lived. Having a very nice main plaza and streets with palm trees and plants, this area also provides you with one of the nicest sunsets you may see in Peru.
Besides all this, Lima has so much more to offer; pre Colombian ruins, Inca sites, great shopping, great Lima restaurants and of course the number of Lima museum. Most people may not have the time, but Lima will easily maintain you for days and the number of Lima sightseeing spots is endless.
A center of immigration and centers of the Spanish Viceroyalty, Lima has elaborated the art of incorporating unique dishes brought from the arrival of the Spanish Conquistadors and the receiving of many waves of immigrants: African, European, Chinese, and Japanese. This has strongly influenced Lima's cuisine with the incorporation of the immigrant's ingredients and cooking techniques. For this reason Lima is the culinary capital of Peru and South America. In recent years the Peruvian gastronomy, under leadership from Lima gastronomy, is living a real boost and worldwide recognition for their original look on food and the great diversity of ingredients used. Therefore it is not surprising that in Lima not a weekend goes by without the opening of a new Lima restaurant, serving a new kind of creole food mixed with foreign influences. Good food is not only restricted to the good restaurants in Lima, don’t be surprised leaving a small “menu restaurant” contemplating that that was one of your best meals in times.
Creole cuisine is the most widespread in this cosmopolitan city. The only major international cuisines with a large presence are Chinese (known locally as chifa) and Italian. These, however, have been heavily modified due to a shortage or lack of authentic ingredients on one hand and to the local tastes and likes of the Peruvians on the other.
Following we will give a small over view of the favorite plates of the Limeños;
Anticuchos are brochettes made from a beef heart marinated in a various Peruvian spices and grilled, often sided with boiled potatoes and corn. They are commonly sold by street vendors.
Also frequently sold by street vendors are tamales: boiled corn with meat or cheese and wrapped in a banana leaf. They are similar to humitas, which consist of corn mixed with spices, sugar, onions, filled with pork and olives and finally wrapped in the leaves of corn husks.
The old time and national Peruvian dish; Ceviche. It consists of Andean chili peppers, onions and acidic aromatic lime, a variety brought by the Spaniards. A spicy dish, it consists generally of bite-size pieces of white fish (such as corvina or white sea bass), marinated raw in lime juice mixed with chilis.
Papa rellena (stuffed potato): mashed potatoes stuffed with ground (minced) meat, eggs, olives and various spices and then deep fried.
Pollo a la Brasa (grilled chicken or roaster chicken): is one of the most consumed foods in this country. It's basically a gutted chicken marinated in a marinade that includes various peruvian ingredients, baked on a rotating spit in wood fire oven.
Another well found famous plate; lomo saltado, sliced beef stir fried with onion, tomato, soy sauce, vinegar, chili and served or mixed with French fried potatoes and accompanied with rice.
Abundant in the whole of Peru but especially in Lima are the Chifa’s. These Chinese based restaurants with Peruvian influences you can find on almost any street in Lima and are known for their cheap and large dishes. The food is oriental based but uses many Peruvian ingredients and is adjusted to the Peruvian preferences. A very popular part of Peruvian gastronomy.
Ají de gallina is a bit the Peruvian curry and consists of thin strips of chicken served with a creamy yellow and spicy sauce, made with ají amarillo. The dish is served with white rice and a hard boiled egg.
Chicharrones: a dish consisting of deep-fried and heavily salted pork. There are at least two kinds of chicharrones: fried pork or seafoods.
The abundance of products coming from this country, mixed with the exotic and local influences and cooking techniques, makes Lima indeed a culinary capital and a worthwhile place to learn something about the plates that Peruvians appreciate so much and the proud they prepare them with. For more information, check our Lima restaurant guide or look into our Lima culinary tour.