10 Great Things to do in the ‘City of Kings’
Peru’s capital city is the wonderful Lima, also known as the ‘La Ciudad de Los Reyes’ or ‘City of Kings’, named by the Spanish conquistador, Francisco Pizzaro back in 1535. Lima has a lot to offer anyone who is going to travel to Peru. From the historic buildings of Central Lima to the hugely diverse cuisine that is available on virtually every street in the city, Lima is a place where you can have lots of great experiences.
Here is a list of 10 great things to do or see when you visit Lima:
1. Plaza de Armas
Also known as Plaza Mayor, the Plaza de Armas is the core of Lima and was where Francisco Pizzaro founded the city and named it the ‘City of Kings’. The plaza is home to many beautiful buildings including the Government Palace, Cathedral of Lima, the Archbishops Palace and the City Hall. Some of these buildings were built as far back as the late 1500’s and showcases the real Lima. A must see when you travel to Peru.
2. Changing of the Guards at the Palacio de Gobierno (Government Palace)
Every day at noon, the guards change at the Government Palace where they put on a ceremony that draws in many tourists and spectators. They have also recently added horse mounted guards of the Hussars of Junin to make it an even more special ceremony.
There are plenty of museums in Lima to keep you busy and entertained for a good couple of days when you travel to Peru. Some of the main museums are; the Museo de la Nacion (Museum of the Nation), which is one of the largest museums in Lima and is home to many artefacts from the start of human occupation in Peru. The Museo Nacional de Antropologia, Arqueologia e Historia (National Museum of the Archaeology, Anthropology and History of Peru), which is the oldest museum in Peru. The Museo Larco, which has an impressive ceramics collection of Peruvian pre-Columbian history. Museo de Oro (Museum of Gold) shows off an impressive gold and precious metal collection and the Museo de Armas with its large arms collection.
4. San Francisco Monastery
Situated close to downtown Lima, the San Francisco Monastery is the most visited church in Lima and is famous for its ‘Catacumbas’ or catacombs. There are an estimated 75,000 bodies from the people of Lima buried under the building itself, with some of the bones still being exposed for everyone to see. There are also secret passageways to explore that were used during the Inquisition, which connected the estuary and the church.
5. Pucllana Archaeological Site (Huaca Pucllana)
An ancient temple of the “Lima Culture” built in its entirety with “Adobe”, an ancient mud brick used by the ancient Peruvian cultures. Located in the Miraflores district, this historical ruin is one of a few dotted around Lima and was supposedly built around 500 AD. There is also a restaurant where you can enjoy ancient views whilst eating a lovely Peruvian meal.
6. Miraflores, El Malecon and Paragliding
Miraflores is one of the most popular tourist hotspots in Lima with a thriving nightlife, stylish restaurants and shops to cater for all. Just a short walk down from the main Miraflores centre is El Malecon, which is full of beautiful parks, sculptures and sea views. If you are feeling like getting an adrenaline rush and are not afraid of heights then why not try Paragliding around the cliffs of Miraflores.
7. Try Ceviche
Even though you can find many versions of this meal all through the Americas, its well known that Peruvian Ceviche is the best, and also is one of the Peruvian food ambassadors around the world. Made with fresh fish, cooked only in the juices of the Peruvian “Pica Lemon” and accompanied with onions, limo peppers (a Peruvian cousin of the chili pepper), Peruvian corn and sweet potato, it is truly an experience not to be missed when you travel to Peru.
8. Drink Pisco Sour in Hotel Bolivar
Hotel Bolivar is located near downtown Lima in Plaza San Martin. The hotel is officially an historical monument that has stunning interiors that will leave you in awe. Another big Attraction of the Hotel is their Legendary Bar, which proudly offers one of the best Peruvian Pisco Sours in town. This famous Peruvian cocktail consists of Peruvian Pisco (distilled from grapes and very similar in some ways to Italian grappa), fresh lime juice, syrup, egg white, Angostura bitters and ice. Known as Peru’s national drink, the hotel’s Pisco Sour attracts everyone from local Peruvian people to Hollywood celebrities.
Based in the Miraflores district, Larcomar is a complex of entertainment, food, drink and shopping that caters for the majority of people. It can easily be missed, as it is embedded in the side of a cliff by the sea. You can enjoy a typical Peruvian meal from one of the many restaurants while taking in a breathtaking sea view.
10. Alemada Chabuca Granda
Behind the Government Palace in the Plaza de Armas, lies Alemada Chabuca Granda. This is a man-made viewpoint that overlooks the Estacion de Trenes de Desamparados (Abandoned Train Station), the River Rimac and Cerro San Cristobal. On this boulevard are 3 amphitheatres that regularly stages traditional Peruvian folk music with many street vendors selling a variety of typical Peruvian food and desserts. Saturday evening is normally the best time to come here or alternatively on ‘El Dia de la Madre’ (Mothers Day), which is a very big day in the Peruvian calendar and is on the second Sunday of May.
As well as the above things to do in Lima, there are many other activities and sights to see, so when you travel to Peru, you shouldn’t just use Lima as a stop off point to go to Cusco and Machu Picchu. Take a few days to explore the wonders of Lima; you will not regret it.