A 1-day stopover in Peru's Capital
Thu 20 Dec 2012 - Thu 21 Mar 2013
During my previous trip to Peru, I spent a couple days in Lima. And from what I remember Lima is certainly a place you should visit while in Peru, but not charming enough to warrant a stay longer than a few days. Yeah, it's safe (only if you stay in the Miraflores or Barranco districts) and there are plenty of nice restaurants, pubs, and cafes, but traffic congestion as well as the noise pollution you find in most big cities are a bit overwhelming. And because Christine and I tend to enjoy smaller cities/towns more (think Baños), we only planned to stay in Lima for a few days.
While eating dinner in Huanchaco one night, Christine and I crossed paths with a couple we had met in Baños the previous month. They were on their way to Huacachina, a small desert oasis lying on the outskirts of a town called Ica south of Lima. We googled Huacachina and discovered that sandboarding and dune buggying are popular tourist activities there. Well, as you may guessed, we decided then to take yet another detourtrim a couple days from Lima in exchange for Huacachina.
Now that we only had 1 full day in Lima, we tried to make the most of our time there. We stayed at the Flying Dog Hostel right in the heart of Miraflores, so everything was within walking distance. After grabbing lunch on the popular pizza street, we walked to the Malecon, a very modern metro center overlooking the western coast of the city and consisting of many North American brands such as Starbucks, Tony Roma's, and the North Face. The coastline here reminds me a lot of rocky shoreline typically found in much of Northern California. Afterwards, we roamed around the area where there are many colonial sites and parks, as well as restaurants, cafes, and other retail stores. I must say though, the McDonald's and Burger King are an eye sore. But I was very impressed by how well maintained and clean this area was. The people here actually properly dispose of their garbage! The smell of urine did not permeate the air along streets where you find bars and pubs. I did not notice much graffiti or defacing of public property. While walking around at night with a camera, I was definitely more at ease here than any other big South American city (i.e. Quito, Guayaquil, Chiclayo). As far as the other parts of the city, we didn't have time to visit so I cant say how or if anything has changed since my visit a few years ago. In hindsight I wished we had alotted more time here. I don't think I gave Lima a fair shake. I guess we'll just have to come back in the future.
Surprisingly a lot of public greenspace
The very happening John F. Kennedy Park at night