Colonial Lima - The capital on the coast

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Of all the colonial cities in all of the Spanish colonial countries we've visited Lima is by far the most impressive. It bleeds Spanish culture. With no regrets I'll even say I prefer Lima's historic centre to Mexico City's. It's big, vibrant and there's no shortage of character. It actually has buildings in every shade of Amarillo you could dream of with architecture you could photograph for days.  



The Plaza de Armas is bursting with life, contrasting cultures and a temperature that almost sweeps you off your feet. I use the word contrasting but neither of the cultures in Lima are clashing, it's more of a rich combination of two histories that slammed together hundreds of years ago and are still figuring out how to merge. I say this because you can't walk 3 meters through the colonial streets of Lima without hearing or seeing the word Inca.


Lima at a glance

 ✓ Language: Spanish

✓ Currency: Peruvian Sol

  Restaurant food: $5-$15 - A wide range of restaurants to suit all budgets

  Restaurant food: Menu del Dias - Widely available 

 Drinking: Cerveza $1 Pisco Sour $3-$5

 ✓ Where to stay: Loki Lima or PuriWasi Hostel Lima

✓ Must see: Visit Pizza Street, Walk the promenade, visit the gold museum

All prices in US Dollar


La-La-Lima

Lima's colonial centre can be compared to the Zocalo in Mexico City and many other grand historical Latin capitals. Lima thriving historical centre is mixed between the pedestrian streets of Granada, Nicaragua and the shaded shopping areas of Mexico City. Lime is a grand centre for a grand capital and no visit to Peru is complete without spending some time here the heart and soul of Lima.

Cheap flights to Lima, Peru

Travellers can arrive easily to Lima overland or via air travel. Cheap flights to Lima are not unheard of and although flights within Latin America can be pricey I use Sky Scanner to find all my cheap flights. For cheap flights to Lima Peru click here to compare. Remember when looking for cheap flights the more flexible you are the better.

The best time to visit Lima, Peru

The best time to visit Lima, like any destination, is entirely up to you. Many would say the best time to visit Lima is during the Peruvian Winter and Dry Season as it is better known as. Many people often refer to the Dry Season in Latin America as the best time to travel to Peru and neighbouring countries but it is also the peak season as many travellers also decide this is the best time to visit. If you are looking to have a chaper experience then the best time to travel to Lima is the Wet Season and the Off Season when there are less tourists.

The Historic Centre of Lima, Peru

To make the most of your time in Peru head straight to the historic colonial centre. Arrive in the Plaza de Armas at midday for the changing of the guard, a performance purely for tourists but purely worth a watch. Don't be a hero, wear a hat and plenty of suncream because the sun is intense, Lima is a hot and populated city the temperature here often catches people off guard.

Plaza de San Martin named after one of Peru's revolutionary icons is the second of the grand plaza's in central Lima. It shocked me to see no increase in the price of the 'Menu del Dias' around the plaza. Only 10 Soles for two courses and a drink, who can argue with that?

Menu del Dias are an absolute life saver in Lima and Peru - almost all come with a drink and in the historic centre most even come with a rooftop view


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Bright and Yellow Lima, Peru


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Lima's incredible historic centre

See what I mean about the yellow?

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Lima, Peru, Capital, South America, Inca, Travel, travel blogger, travelsandmore

Lima, Peru, Capital, South America, Inca, Travel, travel blogger, travelsandmore
Plaza de San Martin, Lima, Peru
The one thing that stood out to me about the historic centre of Lima is the absence of a large crowd. You tend to find in popular zones in large cities there's an overwhelming feeling of overcrowding, this isn't the case in Lima, making long periods of time in the central zone much more enjoyable. Perhaps it's the sheer scale of the city or the heat that keeps large groups from clogging up the historic central zone. 

Miraflores, Lima (and Pizza Street)

Although the historic centre of Lima is undoubtedly the most impressive part of the Peruvian Capital we chose to stay in the popular Miraflores. Miraflores is a quirky and purpose built area with one of the fast food big 3 on every corner. 

Miarfloreas is similar in atmosphere to the Zona Rosa in Medellin, Colombia. A vibrant, young and fun neighborhood that attracts Europeans and South Americans alike.

Research informed us of a very special street described by previous tourists visiting Lima as 'Pizza Street'. Reading this only made me more fond of Lima and the area of Miraflores. The Miraflores district of Lima is home to a selection of backpacker hostels, mid-range casa's and more upmarket spots so whatever your budget there's a home for you. Miraflores also boasts a wide selection of restaurants with various cuisines catering to various budgets and there's always a Burger King within walking distance if you fancy it. Ideal for those on a strict budget. 

Pizza Street doesn't just offer Pizza, there's a range of other cuisines an Irish pub (obviously) and even a couple of clubs. 


Pizza Street is a must visit in Lima - even if it is a little over priced compared to the Menu del Dias available 


It turns out that Pizza Street is a bit of a rip off when there's set menus available a few blocks on. Expect to pay between 7 Soles and 19 Soles for the Menu del Dia. Price doesn't always reflect quality, some of the cheaper ones are actually much tastier! Look for an Almuerzo which means lunch.

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A standard second course of a set menu - Veggie options are hard to find in South America I'd give my meat to Jamie
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Jamie's dad - The photographer at work
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A walk by the ocean at sunset 
Lima, Peru, Capital, South America, Inca, Travel, travel blogger, travelsandmore

Lima is a Peruvian must visit - Similar in vibe to big Mexican cities like Oaxaca City or DF

Cat Park, The beach and more Miraflores

Parque Kennedy is the Central Park of Miraflores and is often referred to as Cat Park. You don't need to be a genius to figure out why. Its always busy and occasionally you can catch some shade and play with a kitten. The bus tours to the historic centre of Lima leave from just outside Cat Park. You can also find Pizza Street directly beside this famous Lima landmark. 

The walk down to the ocean and along the Malecon I couldn't recommend more. Lima is home of  lots of great sunsets and the strange ocean walk promenade makes watching the evening surfers and sunset much more of a unique experience.

The whole of the Malecon area in Lima is extremely well kept and verging on superficial, but it's policed and safe and kind of peaceful. The beaches in Lima aren't worth a thought but the waves are dangerous and fun to watch. 


Miraflores, Lima, Peru
We were lucky enough to visit a restaurant along the end of the pier closest to Miraflores. La Rosa Nautica has some impressive views and some even better Pisco Sours. Sitting watching the Inca Turn's dart around outside the window it's a wonder the restaurant isn't called The Inca Tern. 

Jamie's dad's visited coincided with our time in Lima and we were able to spend some time here with him. We were able to visit a lot of places that wouldn't have crossed our mind thanks to Jim's research oh yeah and he also made me write that part about the Inca Terns. 

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The pier and restaurant La Rosa Nautica - Stop by for a Pisco Sour or two
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Cat Park - Parque Kennedy, Lima

Stuck in traffic in Lima - get used to it

This is an odd point to make but traffic in Lima is the worst we've encountered its worth mentioning this because we spent a lot of time annoyed at the roads. Be strategic in your travel times. 

We took a city tour bus with Mirabus from just outside Cat Park in Miraflores that became unbearable due to the heat and traffic. Tickets for the tour can be bought on the bus or just outside at one of the many ticket offices. I will warn you though, sitting on the rooftop of an over-packed open top bus in the midday sun is frustrating but in gridlock traffic its worse. 

Once you're in the centre of Lima everything is in walking distance, this is probably a better way to see the city, I wouldn't recommend a bus tour for this reason as you spend more time stuck behind other cars and public buses than you do seeing the city. Taxis to the historic centre of Lima are just as effective and are much cheaper. 

Briefly visit the Gold Museum, odd as anything but lots of impressive artifacts. Almost too much to see at once, that along with a trip to the history museum are must dos in Lima. Add them to your list and don't be too freaked out by the World War Two artifacts in the Gold Museum 

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No photos at the gold museum 

Inca Kola - The drink of the gods

Finally, I believe I've saved the best until last. Perhaps the only reason to visit Peru and Lim is this, Inca Kola. Inca Kola is the sweetest most refreshing and mind-numbingly-good beverage available to mankind. This sweet yellow heavenly creation is widely available in Peru and I'm not sure where else. So I'll be heading the 'Bring Inca Kola to Britain' campaign. 


One last Pacific sunset - Until next time


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3 comments

  1. The pictures say it all. I am so tempted to visit this place. Lovely article

    ReplyDelete
  2. Looks beautiful. It's funny how every colonial city has its Plaza de armas.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you for your comments! Glad you liked the photos, Lima is stunning. I'm so lucky to have spent an entire week here.

    ReplyDelete

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travelsandmore was originally just an outlet to document my travels. It turned into something much more and now its more of an obsession for me than anything else. Thanks for stopping by. Don't forget to subscribe, I'll only ever send you my latest travel related blog posts right to your inbox.