Surprised by Lima...

Trip Start Oct 05, 2012
Trip End Apr 01, 2013

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Flag of Peru  ,
Wednesday, December 12, 2012

General opinion on Lima seems to be very negative. Some of the descriptions I have received from other travellers have labelled it is a ghetto, advised me that taxis are unsafe - even when in one you are likely to get the window smashed by robbers and your bag stolen from you as you sit at traffic lights, and that instead of stopping in Lima I should pass through the city as fast as possible. This is one of the reasons that the original time I had planned to spend in Lima was the one part of my itinerary that got shaved with every new thing I added in. I therefore arrived with only 1.5 days to see as much of the city as possible...

Stepping off the bus in Lima, I felt remarkably fresh for my 3rd overnight bus journey in 5 days. Perhaps in mind only because as I stood waiting for my baggage I was singled out of the crowd by a local 'Embajadores para Cristo' and presented with a leaflet about the Eternal Life. Maybe I looked like I needed rescuing or something, but in reality all I really needed was a hot shower and a nice breakfast so having thanked her, I moved swiftly away so I could get my bag and find a taxi to take me to my accommodation in Miraflores.

First up, I had a wander around Miraflores (nice area, heavily policed so very safe and with lots of restaurants etc catering to tourists and the many Limeņos who live in the modern apartments blocks) eventually finding my way down to the ocean. Although hazy due to the smog, the view along the Pacific coastline from the LarcoMall was very nice. There were also a lot of paragliders who constantly looked like they were going to smash into the apartment buildings but at the last minute would swoop away. Fun to watch, and I'm sure even more fun to actually do!!

I then decided to opt for the 'cheats' way to see a city - the open-top bus tour!! Although a little sterile the route went through Miraflores, past Huaca Pucllana, Parque de la Exposicion, Plaza San Martin, Plaza de Armas and included a tour of the Cloister and Catacombs of San Fransisco. All in all covering a great deal more of the city than I would ever have seen alone in 1 day. The centre especially is really beautiful with lots of restored colonial buildings and well kept parks. It also appeared to be heavily patrolled and therefore felt like it would be secure enough to walk around without a tour group.

Although I had allowed for another 1/2 day, I lost this as exploring time the next day because my hostel would only book a bus ticket for me if I was willing to pay them a third extra as commission on top... Er no, thanks very much - on principle alone I'd rather book it myself!! Unfortunately this meant I couldn't go to either the Mario Testino MATE or the Museo de Art de Lima. I also didn't get to sample any of the world famous cuisine because I was so exhausted after the journey and full day sightseeing that I ate a pretty average meal in the hostel. Next time perhaps ;-)

So all in all, I was pleasantly surprised by Lima and think it is definitely worth a stop if you are passing through :-)

PS. Bus travel from Trujillo - Lima via ITTSA. Very good also, 2 snacks on this service and woken up approaching Lima with hot coffee. Instant, but quite frankly after 8 hours sleeping on a bus who'd care!!
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dishy!! on

Yes I remember it as being smoggy on our half day b4 flying back 2 UK. I think u made the rite decision re timing, stay awake!!

Ma on

The small colourful houses remind me very much of the houses in the old town Funchal, Madeira except the doors on those houses were beautifully painted with murals eg. the Dentist's house featured a face with an enormous mouth of teeth! Some were really beautiful some odd but all very very artistic X

curlsandtales on

D - I think you're right, glad I squeezed in some time but so much to see and do out of big cities which I'd rather focus on...
M - there were so many more which I didn't manage to photograph, but not surprised thy remind you of others. It felt very European and o much nicer than I'd ever imagined. Would love to see the dentists house with the big teeth though - hilarious!! X

Pigwig on

Lima looks really cool and European, shame it's so unsafe.. Maybe another time in a bigger group xx

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