When traveling to Peru you will have to pass through the capital, Lima, as this is where the international airport is located. However, do not discount Lima as a destination to visit, the city has much to offer the tourist and if you love your food then some of the best restaurants in the world are located in the city. Over the past 20 years, Lima tourism has grown to new heights. So a visit to this fascinating city should be on your list of must see in Peru.
As in most capital cities, the airport is not located in the best of areas. When you arrive into Jorge Chavez international, the airport is in the Callao district of Lima, you might well want to return home. Do not despair as you might not see it right away but Lima has many hidden treasures for you to discover. When you leave the airport, battle the taxi drivers, all waiting to charge you double, and the traffic, and reach you hotel it will have been worth the journey.
These days most people who pass through Lima stay in the ocean side suburb of Miraflores. The trendy suburb of Miraflores has a totally different feel than most other parts of Lima. Most of the suburb has superb views of the ocean and there is a lot of money been invested to make Miraflores feel different from the rest of Lima.
There are many good restaurants located in Miraflores but also the most expensive. If you love your food then try El Centro, Maido and Cevicheria La Mar and all the fine dining establishments located in Miraflores. It is not necessary to spend a lot of money to find great food in Miraflores or anywhere in Lima for that matter; there are great restaurants at all budgets all over the city. It is a good idea to ask you hotel reception for advice when it comes to restaurants.
Just along the coast from Miraflores is the seaside suburb of Barranco. If Lima had an artsy section than Barranco would be considered it. An attractive part of Lima with many great bars and restaurants, Barranco is the place to be at night. Some of the restaurants have great sea views. These two suburbs are a great place to concentrate your culinary journey in Lima Peru.
Lima features some of the best museums in Peru, to get a good idea of the history of Peru and its cultures visit one of the many museums located around the city. The one you must not miss is the Museo Larco, located in the San Miguel suburb of Lima, the museum features great displays from most cultures, from jewelry to ceramics all labeled and explained, you will need at least half a day to see the museum properly. Located in old Spanish house, the grounds and gardens are beautiful and if you are feeling hungry, there is a restaurant available for lunch. Do not forget to visit the Erotic section of the museum, located in the patio near the restaurant.
Another museum worth a visit is the Museo de Oro located in the Montericco suburb of Lima, the museum has recently renovated, there were some rumors that some of the exhibitions were not authentic, but a guarantee from the Peruvian government that everything is as it is said to be makes a visit to this museum worthwhile.
The center of Lima is full of beautiful old buildings giving this part of the city a European feel, it is a shame that the whole city needs a good wash, but if you can see beyond the dirt, central Lima is a beautiful city. Visit the main plaza, which features the government palace where you will witness every day at 12 noon the changing of the guard, the Mayor´s house, also features Lima Cathedral, where tours are available in English, for a small cost. Although the Cathedral has been rebuilt a few times over the course of its history, the building still features some of the most beautiful artwork and woodwork that you will see in Peru.
Not far from the main plaza is the San Francisco church, this bright yellow church features tours in English daily, take the time to visit the Catacombs located in the basement of the church, with thousands of bones, it is said that this was Lima´s first cemetery. Upstairs a library contains over 25000 ancient Spanish books. See the corridors featuring beautiful Spanish titles imported in the 16th Century from Spain.
The center of Lima also features an area called Capon, which is the Chinatown of the city. Filled with interesting shops and restaurants, if you intend on a visit to this area, take care of your belongings as there can be pickpockets around.
Things that will drive you nuts about Lima are many, for example, the traffic is a nightmare, taking you hours to get just a short distance, the small buses that transports thousands of people every day, dart in and out of the traffic at a crazy pace. The weather especially in the winter months will be grey all day, making the city seem a bit sad, but in the summer, it is sunny and warm. However, all this adds to the character of the city, Lima is a city that needs to be explored to discover its charms, so take the time to find out the treasures of Lima, you will not be disappointed.