Peru is a huge tourist destination and is full of world wonders and natural beauty – nobody can deny that. However, that’s not to say you should skip Lima so you can fit more of these places into your schedule. Lima is one of my favourite cities I have been to and you would be missing out if you didn’t go. If you’re travelling to Peru, here’s why you shouldn’t skip Lima.
1. The culture
In my opinion, you do not really know a country unless you know its main city. Lima is by far the country’s biggest city and its culture is very different to the culture of the rest of the country. Things are more developed, the transport system is better…things just work better. You might have a completely different opinion of Peru if you skip Lima.
2. The history
Lima was one of the first cities to be established in Latin America in 1535. It is also unique in that the native Americans that inhabited the area before the Spanish conquistadors arrived were able to make an agreement with them which has gone down in history as one of the most peaceful conquers of history. Lima is also home to the very first university in all of Latin America. It is a city with undeniable presence and influence on contemporary Latin America, so it is an important place to go to learn a thing or two!
3. The architecture
Lima surprised me the most with its beautiful architecture that can be found all over the city. From beautiful contemporary buildings in the Miraflores district to elaborate colonial and republican architecture. It has those characteristic colourful buildings of South America but on classic European-style template and it is just gorgeous. Really.
4. The size
Lima is the only city in Peru with more than one million inhabitants and is more than 10 times the size of the next biggest city (Arequipa). This means that Lima is the only place in Peru where you can go to get those city-like vibes. If you are a person that likes checking out cities (like me), then you really cannot go to Peru and skip Lima!
5. The location
It is so easy to pass through Lima on your way through to Cusco, Arequipa, or a neighbouring country. Our route was through Iquitos to Lima to Cusco, then back to Lima before heading to Santiago, Chile. If you are passing through Peru you will find you will probably have to stopover in Lima, so why not make the most of it and spend some time exploring the city?
6. The coast
Cities with coasts are just…better. Better air, better climate, and certainly better views! For me, the beach is so important for a city. I can’t live without a dip every now and then. Lima’s coastline is absolutely gorgeous and there are so many vantage points to enjoy the view because the city is located at 154 meters above sea level. There are so many beaches to chill out, not just right in the city but also some beautiful spots on the outskirts and just outside of the city as well (which make the perfect day trip!). If you skip Lima, you might miss some of the best coastline of Peru.
#southamericatravelcountdown⠀ PERU 🇵🇪 NUMBER FOUR:⠀ ⠀ We went from our hostel this day with a very specific goal: find a park to chill in, and that park had to be 'Parque del Amor' (Park of Love). After a long journey on the city bus and an even longer walk through Miraflores district, we finally found the park. And it did live up to expectations!⠀ ⠀ 📍Parque Del Amor, Lima⠀ —————–
The Miraflores district is a beautifully set up and maintained part of Lima. There you will find flower parks, coastal walks, and heaps of places to relax and watch the people go by. Miraflores is a common tourist spot full of funky hostels and restaurants, but it is best enjoyed if you avoid touristic restaurants and activities and do your own exploring!
8. Historical Center
The historical centre in Lima is not really a centre – it is actually a huge area that used to just be the city itself until it expanded. The historical centre is made up of lots of buildings – colonial and republican – all with their own stories behind them. I would recommend doing a walking tour for this if you are really interested in the history behind it all! As I say, this is a huge and culturally rich area of town and you could really take a whole day to explore.
9. The markets
For those on a budget, Lima is not much more expensive than the rest of the country – if you know where to look! There is an abundance of cheap restaurants, cheap souvenirs, and well, cheap anything in the markets located in the heart of the city. There are so many huge markets dotted around the city, but the one we went to is Mercado de Surquillo, located in Miraflores district. Not only do they have cheap stuff but it is also a great cultural experience!
10. Magic Water Circuit
This park breaks records for being the largest fountain park in the world. The fascinating thing about the light show that they hold there is that every fountain is a completely different show, with different lights, colours and patterns. And it is really massive – just when you thought you had seen it all, there is a whole other side to the park! It is a show like no other found in the world so its definitely a unique experience worth checking out!
The show is held at Parque de la Reserva and is open Tuesday to Sunday from 3pm to 10:30pm. For obvious reasons, it’s better to go there after dark but do expect there to be queues! The cost to enter is only 4 soles so its a very affordable evening out.
In all honesty, I was very impressed by Lima’s layout and development. Compared to most other cities in South America, it is clean, the climate is good, and it is a very pleasant and safe place to explore! I’ve chosen to write one of my first blogs about this city because it really took me by surprise and I thought I should share with everyone that this is definitely not just a stopover place – you are missing out a lot if you skip Lima! But then again, I am the kind of person who loves discovering decent cities, so if you really really prefer to be scurrying ancient ruins and chilling on mountains thousands of levels above sea level, I understand as well. If you have time for both, even better!
Have you been to Lima? What did you think of it? If you are planning on visiting Lima, feel free to hit me up for any advice or insight.~