Peru & Chile in 11 Days – Part 13 – Full Day in Lima, Peru

Our Itinerary:

Baseline Expectations

I didn’t want to go to Lima.

Nothing personal against Lima, I am just not a huge fan of big cities.  There’s something about the crowds, the congestion, the pollution that makes me want to run from, not towards an urban setting.   Which is why when Mr. Travelbypoints included Lima in the itinerary of cities we would visit in South America, my initial reaction was a little warmer than mere apathy.  In fact, it was a very eloquent, “Argg!  Do we have to??!!”

Nonetheless, Mr. Travelbypoints’ determination to check as many cities off his master list prevailed and Lima wound up being the 5th destination in our 7 -city tour of Peru and Chile.

We arrived fresh from our short excursion to Lake Titicaca, where we had managed to be both underwhelmed by the touristy Uros Floating Islands and equally enchanted by the rustic beauty of the Sillustani Ruins at the tail end of our trip.  Bookended by these two very different experiences, our expectations for Lima were reset at zero – a true blank slate.

Actually, that’s not entirely true.  I arrived in Lima with one additional piece of mental baggage – a slightly irrational fear of Lima’s fleet of renegade taxis.   Prior to our trip, I stumbled onto an online forum touting the importance of being alert to illegal taxis that would whisk unsuspecting tourists to some deserted road and relieve them of all their belongings.  It probably didn’t help that we arrived in Lima in the thick of the night and felt slightly dazed from a full day of sightseeing and travel.  My imagination was on high alert as we entered the waiting area.

I needn’t have feared.  When we emerged from customs, we were greeted by the welcome sight of a bright Taxi Green kiosk (listed as a reputable taxi service in my research) and five minutes later we were aboard the car and well on our way to the hotel.

It was an efficient start to our 24-hour visit to the bustling capital city of Peru.  First stop – hotel and sleep.

Lima in a Day

The modern capital of Peru is known for many things, but at the top of the list are invariably “Food” and “Fog.”  We had our share of both as we spent a full day touring the city on foot before catching our red-eye flight to Easter Island later that evening.

Here are the highlights from our Lima-by-Foot tour, led by the ever intrepid Mr. Travelbypoints: 

Walking Trail Overlooking Beach

Mosaic Window

Beach at Miraflores

Larcomar Shopping Center

Old Town Historic District

Colorful Colonial Style Architecture

Monastery of San Francisco – Catacombs

Ceviche Dinner

National Drink of Peru – Pisco Sour

 

Leaving Lima

After a full day of touring both the historic and modern centers of Lima, we hightailed it back to our hotel, grabbed a quick ceviche dinner and shower and then made our way back to the airport to catch our red-eye flight to Easter Island.  Our sojourn in Lima was pitch-perfect – colorful, tasty and short – and a great set-up for our next rustic destination – Easter Island, the most remote inhabited island in the world.

Catching our Red-Eye Flight to Easter Island

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  • Jennifer Lynn

    That ceviche platter looks divine! I can not wait to read about your upcoming Easter Island excursion. Signed, Enviously in the City…

    • http://www.travelwhimsy.com/ Prana

      It was good! We can’t seem to find something similar back here in the states.  Thanks for stopping by, Jennifer!

  • americantaitai

    Hi Prana!  Can’t wait to read about Easter Island.  Sounds like you guys made the most of your whirlwind tour of Lima.  Love the juxtaposition of the Tony Roma’s in the mall vs. the historic colonial buildings in Lima.  :)   

    • http://www.travelwhimsy.com/ Prana

      Americantaitai – so glad you stopped by!  Yes, Easter Island was definitely one of the key, unexpected highlights of the trip.  I have a special place in my heart for Tony Roma’s.  Still remember how excited I was to see one in Hong Kong when we first arrived as fresh faced analysts (many, many moons ago).  

  • http://www.holidaygogogo.com/ Simon Lee

    I am Asian and have not been to Chile or Peru before, the old town historic district is a very nice place as i can see from the picture, could you share more on your experience in this place?

    Thanks,
    Simon

    • http://www.travelwhimsy.com/ Prana

      Hi, Simon!  Given our limited time in Lima, we spent most of the late afternoon walking through the streets of the old town, grabbing a quick snack at a local road-side eatery and making our way to the San Francisco Monastery to join a last minute tour of the catacombs.  The general ambiance reminded me of walking through the old streets of Shanghai or Bangkok at some points.  Great architecture, narrow cobblestone streets, lots of pedestrians and humid.  We were told that the old town is a great place to visit during the day but a place to avoid at night for safety reasons.  Hope this helps!  Thanks for stopping by, Simon!

      • http://www.holidaygogogo.com/ Simon Lee

         Hi Prana, thanks for sharing, this give me an insight of this street, i used to travel to Trier before and walked a similar street, hope to get a chance to visit Lima in the future, i like to explore building with beautiful and historic architecture:)

        Simon

  • http://www.YoungAdultMoney.com/ DC @ Young Adult Money

    Those are some great pics!  After touring Lima, would you say it’s a must-see or something that can be left off the list?

    • http://www.travelwhimsy.com/ Prana

      Thanks, DC! The short answer is if you’re a fan of big cities, Spanish Colonial architecture or fine dining, Lima should definitely be on your list.  My tastes tend to skew towards the likes of national parks and rustic settings, so Lima wouldn’t necessarily be on my must-see list.

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  • Joel Rosenbaum

    Did a day ourselves — skipped Miraflores for Museo Larco (awesome). Cab to the airport was hairy. Very dodgy neighborhoods en route.

    • http://www.travelwhimsy.com/ Prana

      I recall the same feeling en route from the airport to the hotel.  My husband thought I was being paranoid, but I was definitely relieved when we finally pulled in front of the hotel.