Published: August 11th 2012June 17th 2012
When you visit somewhere and have low expectations, it is nice to be pleasantly surprised. So when my expectations of Lima were exceeded, I felt we could easily have spent more time there. Part of the reason for wanting to spend more time in this interesting city was that we spent most of our time organising onward travel - two days in fact. It is surprising how much time it takes to organise travel!
We stayed in the premier suburb of Miraflores, which we liked and would recommend to other travellers. Our Hostel ‘151 Backpackers’ was nice. The only aspect we did not like was the staff members’ area was situated in the travellers’ common room and you felt watched and uncomfortable; difficult to describe but other travellers have made the same comment.
We saw billboards advertising a large shopping mall so we looked it up on our map and set off to visit. As we walked towards the spot on the map we could not see it which was bemusing. I checked the map and sure enough we were in the right spot but we could not see it. As the sun was about to set, I said
to Eileen “let’s just go over to the cliff edge on the boardwalk and enjoy the coastal view”. We got to the cliff edge and there the mall appeared below us. The multi-story mall had been set into the cliffs below the road level. It was modern and had a very high design standard; one of the more impressive retail facilities I have seen anywhere.
Miraflores has a nice square, good shopping and a wide range of restaurants. It was nice to be introduced to meals at Peruvian prices which were half the price of Brazilian and Argentinean meals. “Menu del dias” was a good choice for lunch.
On an exploration walk we stumbled across the "Inka Plaza"; a large area where stall holders sell souvenirs many of which are made in China! I bought a cotton short sleeved shirt and Eileen had a good laugh with a man who was selling t-shirts which said "I love guinea pigs ..." and on the back, "fried, baked, grilled, steamed and roasted".
One of the highlights was simply catching a bus. There was a continuous stream of privately owned minibuses, all of which have a conductor hanging out the
door, touting for business and yelling their destination; in our case, Arequipa Street. You wait for a bus then flag one that looks nice because there are some really decrepit minibuses. Peruvians are tiny (vertically challenged by NZ standards) so the space between the rows of seats is set to cram in as many people as possible. Despite not being able to stand up in the minibus, we managed with the space between seats by sitting slightly sideways. In the end, we learnt to wait a few minutes and flag down a small bus rather than the converted vans.
The “Museo de Arte de Lima” was hosting a festival for children when we visited. We were a bit disappointed with this museum’s exhibits but we were not sure if some areas had been ‘adjusted’ for the children’s festival.
On our last night we visited ‘Park of the Reserve - Circuito Magico del Agua’ (magic circuit of water) in the evening which had a series of fountains which are lit up after dark. This was much better than we expected with a wide range of colourful and, in some cases, very large fountains. We think it’s a ‘must do’
for all visitors.
There are more photos below