Lima Airport. We arranged a taxi through the hotel beforehand. Although $38 charge is too much expensive, I believe 50 sol. should be more than enough to call a taxi at the airport, but because all the reviews we read told us that Lima is not very safe, we decided to stick with hotel’s arrangement. To our surprise, we saw quite some people walking on the streets and they were normal pedestrians, maybe because it’s weekend and Lima’s night life is active. we started feeling that Lima’s safety might not be that terrible.Our flight is scheduled to arrive at midnight. Because of the delay, it was 2am when we got to
We lived at Radisson Hotel. It is well located at the center of Miraflores district. The next morning, it was so cloudy and seemed going to rain, but people working in the hotel assured us it would be fine and Lima’s weather is always like this. The hotel’s breakfast had some tropical fruits that were new to us – the long one is Tumbo，the round one might be called Lulo。
After breakfast, we took a taxi to the center of Lima. The driver offered us a short tour of Lima city, including the adobe pyramid ruin, Huaca Pucllana, and a quite high-end residential area. Lima started looking like a capital city only after we reached the main street.
Lima’s main square is similar to other colonial cities, and they are all called Plaza Mayor or Plaza de Armas. As we walked into the plaza, we saw the crowds gathered around the entrance of La Catedral and an array of youths in the colorful costumes, dancing and playing the traditional instruments, matching towards the cathedral. Soon after, a limo, escorted by the policy cars, stopped at the cathedral. The person in the car, surrounded by his guards, waved to the crowds and walked into the cathedral. It’s Sunday, it must be some VIP attending the Catholic Mass. Because of that, visitors were not allowed to enter the cathedral, but the parade and the crowd didn’t leave. People were taking pictures, having rest and some groups kept on practicing.
Francisco Pizarro was a Spanish conquistador. In 1532, in an act of great treachery, he captured and later killed the Inca emperor. He eventually conquered the Inca Empire and founded Lima to replace Cusco as the new capital of Peru. The constructions in Plaza Mayor mostly use the bright yellow as the wall color, but the most distinguish feature is the closed balconies with delicate carvings.
A few blocks away, it’s Monastery of San Francisco. It was also built by Pizarro. The whole sites were approximately one eighth the area of the city at the time of construction. It was the largest in the New World. The church is in the striking yellow and white color. It was celebrating a Mass when we got there. The convent at the side has a beautiful garden. Its library collects more than 20,000 original religious books and scripts. The most interesting is the painting of the Last Supper, in which the main course is a guinea pig. Although regarded as pets in other countries, guinea pigs have been integral to Peruvian life since they were domesticated 4000 years ago. They are mostly consumed as food and religious worships.
Coming back from the city center, we planned to have a lunch at Astrid y Gaston, which is rated as the No. 1 restaurant in Lima in TripAdvisor. It’s closed on Sunday. The taxi driver took us to another sea food restaurant, Alfresco. The ambiance was nice. It was enjoyed by both locals and travelers.
After the big meal, we walked to the Lima’s seaside. Miraflores is Lima’s commercial hub. Most of shops and hotels are located here. It is very tourists friendly. It only took us 10 minutes to walk from our hotel to the park at the clifftops. From here, you can overlook the Pacific Ocean. The park offers activities such as skateboarding and wind gliding.
Walking another 15 minutes along the cliff, we came to Larcomar. It is a shopping mall carved into the cliffs. Consisting many shops and restaurants, this might be the most modern place of Lima city.
Coming back from Larcomar, at about 6pm, it started getting dark. We walked further to Miraflores’ central park, Parque Kennedy. The park is surrounded by restaurants and bars, including Starbuck, MacDonald and Kentucky Chicken. At one side, there is a church called Iglesia de la Virgen Milagrosa. Around it, it is a pedestrian street where artists often set up their easels to show off their works. The park is a popular gathering place for locals, especially at the small amphitheater, which is transformed to a dance arena on every Sunday night.