Lima has grown to be become one of South America’s newest hubs. It has stunning colonial architecture, great shopping, entertainment and some of the continents finest restaurants. The city is also filled with world class museums and art galleries.
The mansions and churches of colonial downtown Lima set against the modern suburbs of Miraflores, San Isidro and Barranco, make Lima a study in contrasts. The downtown area is crowded, but you’ll enjoy exploring the city’s neighbourhoods, especially the beachfront areas, which have great shopping and dining plus fabulous hotels.
Founded by the Spanish conqueror Francisco Pizarro in 1535, Lima is also known as the ‘City of Kings’. The establishment of the viceroyalty transformed the city into the main political and administrative centre of South America. During this period significant churches, monasteries and mansions were built. The arrival of modernity didn’t transform the historic centre, which is recognised as a World Heritage Site. This fascinating city is a treasure trove of history where you can explore ancient Incan archaeological sites, stroll through the elegant cathedrals and visit opulent palaces dating from Spanish colonial times.
On my recent stay in this busy city, I enjoyed a visit to the pre-Hispanic site of Huaca Pucllana. The site is spread over 15 hectares and is constructed of millions of adobe bricks. It once served as an administrative centre and a pre-Inca ceremonial site dedicated to the God Pachacamac.
Afterwards I enjoyed an exquisite dinner at the restaurant overlooking the impressive ruins.
Another fun night was spent at Amor Amar in the fashionable area of Barranco. Within a walled compound there is a Republican-era mansion featuring an art gallery, open-air bar with trendy pisco cocktails and an outdoor dining area. Here we joined a cooking class and got right into the atmosphere with pisco sours and delicious Peruvian food.
Increased interest in Peruvian heritage, colonial architecture and culinary excellence attract travellers to Peru. Lima, once considered only a quick stopover on the way to Cusco, is now seen as a destination well worth including on your Peruvian itinerary.
This article was published in the Coffs Coast Advocate on Saturday 25 November 2017.