When tourists plan a vacation to Peru they tend to skip over Lima. Instead of planning a Lima vacation they’ll look at Cuzco with Machu Picchu nearby, or the Amazon jungles of Iquitos to satisfy touristic curiosity. Lima isn’t even given a second thought. For tourists Lima is simply used as a stop-off point at the international airport before heading off to the more publicized attractions that Peru has to offer.
There is a fog that hangs over Lima for most of the year which seems to cover the tourist’s eyes from seeing what hides beyond. When a person gets past the smog and the bustle of nearly 10 million inhabitants on its crowded streets, one finds a gem of cultural history going back to times when the Inca Empire ruled the country and afterwards the Spanish conquistadors.
Lima was known to the Spaniards as the “City of Kings” and was the capital city of Spanish South America. The Incas made Lima a major part of their Empire, who had trading routes going from Cuzco to Lima. There are still colonial buildings and remnants of ancient civilizations in Lima. The city also offers a wide variety of Peruvian food, dance, theater, art and culture.
When planning a vacation to Peru consider taking a Lima vacation to experience another flavor of this mystical land.
There are two main areas in Lima that are of interest to the tourist:
Historic Center of Lima and Downtown Lima
The historic center of Lima is a UNESCO World Heritage site which includes a number of things of interest to the tourist. The Plaza de Armas, or Plaza Major (Main Square), is the central focus of Lima. This was a part of the Spanish Inquisition after Inca rule and is now a place to take a stroll and see the magnificent colonial architecture that the Historic Center has to offer. On the four sides of the Plaza de Armas stand the Presidential Palace, the Cathedral, the Archbishop’s Palace and City Hall. For a small fee you can be taken around the Square in a horse-pulled buggy.
Many of the old buildings have beautiful balconies that were once famously used by the Tapadas, the covered women of Lima, who elegantly wore clothing that covered everything but their eyes.
The Iglesia de San Francisco is a remarkable church that is most famous for the catacombs beneath it that hold the skeletal remains of 25,000 people who were laid to rest during the 16th and 19th centuries. No Lima vacation would be complete without a visit. The Museo de Arte has exhibits of ancient and modern Peruvian art.
Take a stroll just off the Plaza de Armas to discover a wide variety of restaurants offering some of the finest Peruvian cuisine, which is considered to be one of the best in the world holding several Guinness World Records. Handicraft stores sell a wide assortment of souvenirs at very reasonable prices and of high quality.
The Plaza de Acho bullfighting …