Peru was one of our most anticipated destinations. Verne had already been to Machu Picchu, so we decided that we should take some time and get to know the rest of country a bit better. Lima, Arequipa, Puno, Cusco and Machu Picchu were our picks, and we’ll be telling you all about these in the coming posts. But let’s talk about Lima first!
We had googled a couple of things about Lima, and truth to be told, we weren’t super excited with what we read. When in a new city we like to wander around, and “get lost” in the streets. This is not an easy thing to do in Lima. Much like São Paulo, there are super nice and safe places, but you also easily end up in less inviting areas.
In terms of architecture, Lima is very diverse, with buildings spanning from different eras and influences, coming from pre-colonial times to more recent Art Deco influences. However the frequent earthquakes have greatly contributed for the disappearance of older buildings, and with the exception of the downtown district, most of Lima’s architecture is very recent. From the forty three districts in Lima, Miraflores and Barranco are probably the nicest, with their commercial and bohemian vibes. However, there’s almost an artificial feel to them. Every step you take there’s a “serenazgo” (unarmed police) and cameras everywhere. It’s probably safer than a Swiss bank!
Still, these are pretty good places to just hang around, go down to the beach and check on the surfers, or take a paragliding tour over the city.
I guess we only felt in touch with a more “real” Lima in downtown, when visiting Plaza Mayor and all those majestic colonial buildings, built in the usual Spanish way: Religion, Justice and Government all facing the main square. Lima’s Plaza Mayor has a unique and delicious feature: on July 28th the date of the independence from Spain, the fountain in the middle stops pouring water and starts pouring pisco! If you’re planning a trip to Lima, try to make it on that date 😉
One thing you need to get used to in Lima (and in the rest of Peru) is that Peruvians love their car honks. They’ll honk for pretty much anything: to signal a stop, turning right, left, say hello, say goodbye, ask if you want a ride, and basically whatever else is on their minds.
Talking about cars, we’re now taking off to Arequipa, in a 17h bus drive… It’ll be a honking nightmare 🙂