Voya’s Guide to Peru’s Melting Pot of Inca and Colonial Culture.
Lima is a culturally rich destination where the colonial history and Inca culture mix with modern life. This is a city where the neighbourhoods bustle with locals going about their day to day life, and travellers from all over the world. Explore the neighbourhoods by bike or on foot to soak up the picturesque colonial architecture.
Lima Old Town, Miraflores, and the Barranco District are the nicest histories to explore. Lima Old Town is the heart of the city’s culture and is where the majority of the museums and art galleries are located. The heart of Old Town is Plaza Mayor which is surrounded by what were the most important institutional buildings in Lima. Now, the square is used as a ceremonial centre for religious or military processions and the Independence festivities. Miraflores is a seaside tourist district with plenty of restaurants and nightlife. Barranco is the bohemian district of Lima and is the place where you will find quirky cafes and bars and modern art and culture. It is also a great place to find unique souvenirs. A tour is the best way to see the highlights of these districts and learn some interesting facts and local gems.
If you enjoy history, be sure to visit the San Francis Monastery which is an expansive building featuring catacombs, and a library which holds 25,000 antique texts. The catacombs hold the remains of fraternity members dating as far back as the 19th Century. Put aside at least half a day to explore the Monastery; we would recommend visiting at 9 am, when it opens, to avoid the crowds. Another great place to soak up some history and culture is the Larco Museum which has one of the largest collections of pre-Colombian art. It features ceramic art of the Inca, Nazca, Chancay, Cupisnique, and Chimú cultures.
If you’re more of an adventure-seeker, Miraflores is a popular place to go paragliding. There are a number of companies running paragliding flights starting from 10 minutes long, and many include an SD card with pictures and videos from the flight. The view from the air is absolutely breath-taking.
Lima is a buzzing nightlife destination, with something for all kinds of nightlife tastes. They have a sophisticated restaurant, winebar, and cocktail scene if you crave elegance and sophistication. Ayahuasca is an elegant cocktail bar located in an 1800s historic mansion that offers soft mood music to go along with their extensive cocktail menu. If you enjoy dancing until the early hours of the morning, then Lima has numerous clubs dedicated to certain types of music. Fuga is the best place to party for underground electronic music; it is open until 5 am for a full night of dancing.
The best time to visit Lima is between May and October. The weather is sunny and warm during the day, but brisk in the evening. This is peak season, and you will need to book in advance to get a good deal on hotels. November to April is the wet season, with the most rain falling in January and February.
The official languages of Peru are Spanish and Quechua, which is an Inca language. In Lima, a lot of people will speak English, especially those working in tourism.
VOYA’S FAVOURITE PLACES TO VISIT INCLUDE
Casa Aliaga is a beautiful colonial mansion, one of the oldest in Lima. Even though it has been remodelled following damage by multiple earthquakes, it has stood for 500 years. It is a magnificent example of a lavishly decorated colonial house. Tour the rooms and marvel at the beauty of the magnificently designed mansion.
Malecón de Miraflores is a coastal walk which offers stunning views of the beaches and ocean below. It is a relatively easy walk, not too hilly, and though it is 8km long, you can do just a section or two before choosing a beach to relax on. Do the walk at sunset for an even better view, and then find a nice coastal bar to enjoy a cocktail, such as Lima’s signature cocktail, a pisco sour.
VOYA'S FAVOURITE PLACES TO STAY INCLUDE
The JW Marriott Hotel Lima is a high-end boutique hotel with over two-thirds of its rooms ocean-facing. This means the likelihood of snagging a sea view room is high, especially if you book a higher room type. All of the rooms are high-tech with plenty of power outlets, TVs that can sync to laptops, and Illy coffee machines. The hotel has highspeed Wi-Fi, a spa, fitness centre, and an open-air pool.
The Hotel B Lima is located in one of the prettiest neighbourhoods to explore on foot; it is full of colonial-style houses and colourful cafes and boutiques. The hotel itself is a renovated 20th Century French Mansion. It displays 200 pieces of art throughout the hotel, and the furniture has been carefully selected to mirror the style of the building. All guests are greeted with a complimentary glass of champagne, and there is a rooftop terrace where guests can enjoy a drink with sea views. There is no spa or pool at this hotel, but in-room massages can be arranged.
VOYA'S FAVOURITE DISHES TO TRY
Papas a la Huancaína is a popular side or starter dish of sliced potatoes drizzled with a spicy cheese sauce. Cheese and potatoes, what’s not to like?! It will be on the menu of most restaurants, and can also be found at street food stalls.
A popular dish for tourists with an adventurous palette to try is Cuy, a deep-fried guinea pig on a spit. It is considered a delicacy in Peru and only served on special occasions. However, the popularity of Cuy amongst foodies means that it is now widely available.