Things To Do In Lima
Lima, the capital city of Peru, lies in the middle of its coastline -- often nearly hidden under a cloud of smog. The Peruvian Current, a cold ocean current from the Antarctic, dramatically reduces rainfall that could help to clear the severe pollution in this area. Nonetheless the city has much to offer. The Magic Water Circuit is a public park with 13 different fountains; each one more attractive than the other. The water show is spectacular with its laser projections in the air. Central downtown Lima breathes Spanish colonial heritage; it is beautifully restored with many museums, impressive churches and monasteries, and it becomes even more lively and animated after sunset.
When To Go To Lima:
The best season to explore Lima is between December and April, the height of the summer season. The daytime temperatures during this time usually range from 64 to 78 degrees. Skies are for the most part without clouds throughout the daytime, although there are periodic foggy days. If you choose to visit Lima during this timeframe, you will be able to enjoy the breathtaking and brilliant sunsets for which Lima is famous. There is a considerable measure of beach action throughout this season; with the best sunny shores can get somewhat crowded because of numerous travelers.
Winter occurs from June to October and brings windy conditions, dark skies and high humidity in addition to chilly temperatures; this is considered the low season. The normal temperature registers at 60. Cloud cover keeps the city gray for a week or more at a stretch -- or the thick foggy mist known as "Garua" spreads all over the city making it a lot less engaging for visitors. However surfing on the occasional less-overcast day, and viewing bullfights are both famous attractions throughout the winter season. Hiking in the mountains is also more prevalent during this time, at least on days when visibility is more than a few feet.
Here is a list of the top things to do when in the city of Lima:
The Museo Larco is a nice museum with an impressive collection of ceramics. You can spend a maximum of three hours inside the well-loved museum in Lima and be amused by the huge number and variety of ceramics. Taking pictures is allowed and the gift shop offers cheaper souvenirs than you will find in the market. The museum itself is incredibly liked because of their collection of artifacts from the Inca and pre-Inca period -- examples like the "soapstone case," Peruvian pottery, and objects that dwell on the subject of sex/fertility.
It is surrounded by a preserved botanical garden that leaves an impression of being in a other-worldly place. The gift shop sells silk scarves and items made with alpaca in good quality and vibrant colors. With children, especially the young, the visit might be a bit tedious, but it could be just perfect for a romantic outing. Among the flowers and gardens the site also includes a fine-dining restaurant that serves delicious Peruvian dishes.
Magic Water Circuit
It is highly recommended to come here in the evening when everything is illuminated and one of the fountains appears on a huge screen in different images accompanied by music and dancing water. The place will definitely stand up to any of the waterparks or fountains in the world. Different places have their singing, dancing, and flowing fountains -- all different from each other and each with its own personality -- but the Magic Water Circuit show in Lima is equally beautiful with its own special water play, music and color. You can combine a cultural program and entertainment, and create some of the most wonderful memories in this park.
Naturally, it is better to go there in the summer (December-April), because you can get wet and refreshed in just a matter of minutes. Located at the Parque de la Reserva, you can plan a stroll in the park and cap off your day with the magical fountain show in the evening. The scheduled show starts at 7:15, is repeated at 8:15, and the last one is at 9:30 pm. It highlights a total of 13 fountains that are all different, and the highest waterspout reaches up 262 feet. Of the longest fountains, the one that's 394 feet is featured during the evening performances. Watch the waters dance as excerpts from Waltz of the Flowers and Swan Lake -- and Peruvian folk dances -- are being played. The fountain spectacle is listed in the Guinness Book of Records.
Centro Commercial Larcomar
In practical terms, the Centro Commercial Larcomar is the most-frequented shopping mall and has a food court in the center. Most of its restaurants are all situated on the balconies and patio, with stunning views of the ocean. The shopping center of Larcomar Center was built in the rocks (perched on top of a cliff) located right along the coastal shore; entrance must be made from above and then you descend through the complex until you get closer to the ocean. Enjoy a nice dinner with a view as you relish some delicious food.
A lot of young people here prefer to linger at the cafes. There is an awesome observation deck and after you watch the sun go down you can enjoy shopping for European and western brands of clothes, gadgets, and accessories. The mall has a large multiplex cinema, theater, nightclubs, and enough parking spaces to accommodate all guests. The mall has commercial activities at its core, with Peruvian handicraft shops featured, and of course the backdrop of the spectacular Pacific Ocean.
The Miraflores area offers bus tours but you can also go by taxi. It has very good selection of restaurants and cafes for every taste and pocket. It also has good places to shop (clothes, jewelry and souvenirs in general). It is definitely the best neighborhood in Lima -- clean, little traffic, safe, and with a splendid view of the sea. It is one of the 43 districts of Lima, and is the city's most modern, popular, and elegant. In fact it is in stark contrast to the atmosphere of the little village of downtown Lima that is about 22 miles away.
To reach Miraflores, ask a taxi driver to take you to the Plaza San Martín, the center of Lima. In fact there is everything in Miraflores, parks, avant-garde skyscrapers, luxury villas, and a huge shopping center with the "Parque Alfredo Salazar" overlooking the Pacific Ocean. You will find shops with major global brands, escalators, restaurants and cafes where people gather especially on weekends. Paragliding enthusiasts often operate from here and do not be surprised to see one hover above your head with confidence.
Huaca Pucllana (Juliana)
The Huaca Pucllana (Juliana) is unusual because the location of the ruins is right in the city center of Lima. The contrast of old and modern gives a special charm to the place. It offers guided tours in English or Spanish. It has toilets, a beautiful restaurant and a souvenir shop. The site is well cared for and very interesting, rich in history and refers back 1600 years ago to the earlier culture of Lima.
The adobe ruins are located in the heart of Miraflores and it takes just $4 to have a guided tour of nearly two hours with very friendly guides. The view of Lima from above is truly breathtaking. The remains of the mud bricks give the city a unique aesthetic, especially if you take advantage of the evening hours -- the site looks more dramatic with the lighted modern buildings behind it. This archaeological site is a place of rest and leisure where you can also learn a lot about the history of the city, the country, and the continent.
Plaza de Armas (Plaza Mayor)
The Plaza de Armas (Plaza Mayor) is located in the heart of the historic center surrounded by monumental buildings of the colonial period such as the Government Palace, the Cathedral of Lima, Peruvian House of Literature, Parque de Bandeira and the Archbishop's Palace with the famous shops of wood and other old city buildings. Plaza de Armas with its Spanish urban design is the center from which all the streets radiate. It is surrounded by historical monuments (making it cool to shoot pictures of the historic square) and has a very well maintained and pleasant garden. It is the major public space, where people and children surrounded by pigeons wander around pretty yellow buildings.
Government Palace (Palacio de Gobierno)
The Government Palace is a beautiful building that is located in the Main Square in the historical center of Lima. It is well preserved and every day at exactly 11:45 there is a changing of the guards; a military band will perform their own brand of marching drill sequences and choreography to the delight of the amused tourists and spectators.
This former home of the conqueror Francisco Pizarro is the seat of government of the country and one of the most imposing buildings located in the Plaza de Armas. The palace interiors cannot be seen and the entire splendor of the place can only be admired from outside. The view at night is great; the building is very well lit and looks even more magnificent. It is a great place to take pictures and enjoy the scenery of old buildings and roads.
Historic Centre of Lima
One of the top things to do in Lima is to explore the monumental buildings in the center of the city. At the Historic Centre of Lima you can visit the church of San Martin de Porres. Then, proceed to the Plaza de Armas; the central square of the city located a couple of blocks. On the square are the main cathedral and the Presidential Palace.
Also on the square is the Town Hall, with beautiful carved wooden bay windows. In the streets surrounding the square are many imposing office buildings, churches, and theaters. Afterwards, you can tour the Plaza San Martin, in the center of which there is a statue of the general on horseback. In the square around the monument, you can sit on a bench, watch the city life and enjoy the area. Proceeding further towards Miraflores, you can drop by the Parque de Exposicion. The park is very nice with lots of walking areas; there are some beautifully designed reservoirs and several restaurants.
San Pedro Church (Iglesia de San Pedro)
If you walk from the Plaza del Armas one block east and turn into the street of Jirón Ucayali on the left, it is not far to the San Pedro Church (Iglesia de San Pedro). On the way to the church you can also see the impressive Palacio Torre Tagle with its sensational carved wooden balconies. The church was built by the Jesuits in 1638. In one of the towers, the five-ton bell "La Abuelita" can also be visited.
This Roman Catholic church was built during the Spanish colonial years. It is located in the historic center that dates back from the seventeenth century and has 14 altars painted with fine gold or carved wood. Small but interesting, this is undoubtedly one of the most gorgeous churches in Lima. With its majestic architecture, baroque-inspired altar and lovely façade, it is a center of spirituality for the inhabitants of the city.
Church of San Francisco (Iglesia de San Francisco)
The Church of San Francisco (Iglesia de San Francisco) is a sacred religious structure where you see all the pageantry of the Catholic Church. It is a beautiful place with easy access and a reasonable admission fee. The church, although less sumptuous than San Pedro, is very beautiful. The catacombs with 25,000 bodies (most are in a precarious state of conservation) are very impressive and the library with thousands of books (some from the 16th century) is wonderful. This place is said to have inspired the director of In the name of Ros).
You cannot enter the cloister area -- it is home to thirty reclusive monks that have been living there for decades. Be sure to note the lovely patio in the monastery, it is solemn and a great way to spend a quiet afternoon to rest or contemplate. The overall atmosphere inside and outside the church is like being in the Medieval period. For those who love art and know a little about the history of the Catholic Church, don't miss the tour inside the church where you can find the historical works of St. Francis.
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