We planned at trip to Peru with my son and grandson, specifically to go to Cusco and Machu Picchu. But first, Pat and I stopped in Lima.
We arrived in Lima, Peru, late night on the June 11 – getting to our hotel (Hotel El Carmelo Miraflores) after midnight. We’re here for only 4 nights, before heading to Cusco for the second half of our trip.
Wednesday, 12 June
The good thing about our hotel was its location only a few minutes walk to the cliff overlooking the beaches and the Pacific Ocean. Lima has a park system running for a long way along this cliff – Malecon de Miraflores. There is also a lighthouse close by and sculptures. Before breakfast, our first morning, we headed to the portion of the park system know as Parq del Amor, not knowing that the walking tour we had signed up would start in exactly this spot.]
Before leaving the U.S.A., we found a private walking tour of Moraflores and the surrounding area. Miraflores is a district in Lima and is popular with expats. Our tour, “Private Walking Tour in Miraflores & Barranco”, was booked using points from one of our credit cards, although the tour was registered through Viator. Back at the hotel, our guide met us at 10 AM.
Our tour guide, Enrique Junchaya Aparcanan, first took us back to the Parq del Amor, where he pointed out and explained how the area was designed similar to Barcelona’s Parc Güell, designed by Gaudí. Although we didn’t make it to the Parc in Barcelona, we could see the similarities to Gaudí’s work. As you can see in the photos below, the area is dominated by the sculpture, “The Kiss”. Also, the views over the cliffs are really nice.
We then crossed the Villena Rey Bridge, over a road to the beach area from one of the higher areas of Miraflores. Along the walk, Enrique answered many of our questions about Peru and the Lima District, of which Miraflores is a part. We got to explain to our guide why there was a statue of Paddington Bear along our walk, as Enrique was unaware that in the book, Paddington is from “darkest Peru”. The statue was donated by the British Consulate.
It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed the walk toward the Barranco area, best know as Lima’s bohemian and artistic area. We could certainly see a difference from the area around our hotel in Miraflores.
Our first stop in Barranco was the Dedalo Art & Handicraft Store. This store is made up of many rooms with different themes in each. In the back patio area is a cafe, where we stopped for coffee and hot chocolate. We also passed a high end shopping center, Larcomar, that was tucked into the cliff and under the road. It was filled with interesting restaurants. We decided to return here later on and check them out.
Our next stop was the Bridge of Sighs – supposed to be a romantic spot where you are granted a wish if you are able to walk across the bridge while holding your breath the whole way. It maybe me, but I saw nothing particularly romantic here. Maybe in the evening it would be different.
After we crossed the Bridge of Sighs, we walked to the Parque Municipal de Barranco, where Enrique left us. Before he left us, we arrange for him to give us a walking tour of the downtown old city of Lima on Friday. On his recommendation, we decide to have lunch at Rustica on the park. We had a very good buffet lunch, that included Arroz con pollo, Chanfainita, Papas Rellenas, Sangrecita de pollo, Chicharrón de pollo, Tamalitos Verdes y Criollos and Ceviche mixto. All delicious.
Our next stop was the Barranco Beer Company, not far from Parque Municipal de Barranco and on the way back to our hotel. We enjoy searching our local breweries wherever we travel.
Thursday, 13 June
The next day, our goal was to get down to the beach. The way down is relatively easy; the way back, not so easy. One problem is that there are only a few ways to get down, so if we walked very far we’d have to return to the place we went down. Once down to the walkway along the beach, we had to pass many tents providing surf lessons, boards, wet suits and other surfing stuff. There were many people surfing in the cold water, all in wet suits. We were not tempted at all to join in but were impressed by the enthusiasm of the surfers.
Once we made it back to the top of the cliff, we walked to Larcomar shopping mall for lunch at Pardos Chicken. Pat had a drink made from purple corn – Chicha Morado. At Pardos Chicken the drink is called Chicha Pardos.
On our way out of the mall, we passed a pop-up that was serving local craft beers. We had to stop to investigate and taste some of the product.
We left the pop-up and walked to Huaca Pucllana, a pre-Incan complex in Miraflores. We arrived just in time for the last guided tour of the ruins done in English. The site was built around 400 A.D. by the Lima culture and was largely abandoned after the Wari invasion in 700 A.D.. The tour included some initial time in a small museum that showed some of the artifacts found at the site.
Friday, 14 June
On Friday morning at 9 A.M., Enrique came to our hotel to lead us on a tour of Lima city. We took an Uber to Plaza San Martin, where we started our walking tour.
We then headed off on our tour, with the first stop being Iglesia de La Merced, originally built in 1541.
All along our walk we enjoyed the architecture:
Our next stop was the Museo del Banco Central de Reserva del Perú. This museum is small but had some interesting exhibits, including Incan jewelry and Peruvian money.
From the museum we headed to the Plaza de Armas de Lima, the main plaza of Lima, where we were going to see the changing of the guard at the Presidential Palace. Unfortunately, because of planned protests in the area, the square was closed to visitors. We did get to see part of the changing of the guard, but from a distance and a bad angle.
We then went to the oldest bar/restaurant in Lima, where we enjoyed a short rest and some good coffee.
Our next, and final, tour destination was the Baroque-style Roman Catholic church and monastery with a prominent library and underground catacombs – Basílica y Convento de San Francisco de Lima. Unfortunately, for most of the time inside, photography was prohibited.
Enrique said farewell after the Basillica and Pat and I decided to find Chinatown, what we determined to be a short walk away. On the way we passed a labor protest being held on the sidewalk across from the Museum of the Inquisition and Congress, where there was some kind of fair being held in the plaza in front of the Museum. We have no idea what the purpose of the exhibits and dancing was. We did enjoy it though.
We made it to Chinatown, had lunch and left without exploring further.
We walked back to the hotel with a stop along the way for pizza.
Saturday, 15 June
Today we flew to Cusco, where we will meet David and Justin and Sunday morning.