For the Love of Lima

I last visited Peru a couple of years back and I truly loved the country. I went in the dead of the British winter, which for Peru was the middle of summer. Fortunately, I was staying in Lima and, whilst it was very humid, the temperature did not go over the mid-30s in the city, which is quite typical for that time of year.

Lima itself is something of an eclectic city; a healthy mix of colonial architecture, which proudly shows off the Spanish origins of the city, surrounded by modern tower blocks which give Lima a more modern-day atmosphere. The Spanish architecture is stunning; buildings with the most intricate façades, arched doorways and closed balconies made in deep oak which provide a stark contrast to the neutral colour.

Archbishop’s Palace of Lima © Ms643

During my time in Peru I stayed in Miraflores, a district south of downtown Lima which is a popular area for tourists and locals alike. The district is one of the most cosmopolitan; full of cafes, pubs, restaurants and a large shopping centre for anyone wishing to indulge in some retail therapy. Staying in this district meant I was spoilt for choice with restaurants and it was during my stay in Miraflores that I had the chance to sample plenty of Peruvian foods. The Peruvian food was exquisite and offered lots of fresh fruits and vegetables (allegedly Peru is the only place in the world with two asparagus seasons). The choice of potatoes was incredible, with yucca potatoes and sweet potatoes, as well as purple varieties, meant that there were never a shortage of carbs on the plate. The cuts of meat were rather different to the British cuts of meat, with spiced meat and even heart meat available in certain restaurants. A personal favourite of mine was a dish called Ceviche — a traditional Peruvian meal of raw fish cooked in lemon juice. It’s delicious and I would recommend that anyone visiting Peru should give it a try!

Just 40 minutes to the south of Miraflores there are a number of beach resorts with private beaches and big houses. Asia Beach is one I would recommend visiting; famous for its waves and soft white sand, Asia Beach is the perfect location to ride the surf! Or if you are in need of some relaxation, rent a house in the complex and you will be given a marquee at the beachfront along with a waiter who will serve beers and food, such as tamales — leaf-wrapped sticky rice with meat and spices — perfect to eat whilst soaking up the sun. Inside the complex are shops, cinemas and even bars and clubs. Asia Beach also boasts some impressive dunes. Here is where people rent quad bikes and race up and down the hills. While being by the beach can often be a quiet affair, doing so in Peru is often very social and there is always something to do.

Miraflores coastline © Robert Luna

But my time in Peru cannot be defined by a shopping trip in Miraflores, a plate of Ceviche, and sunbathing on Asia Beach. Lima offers much more than this, and Peru is renowned for its ancient Incan pyramids. There are a large number of archaeological sites around the city, with the main one being the Huaca Pucllana. There really is something special about watching the sun slowly dip below the city’s skyline, from the top of a pyramid, built thousands of years ago. Regardless of whether you are a history buff or not, the Incan pyramids are a must see and serve as a reminder of a culture which is gone but never forgotten. With such interesting surroundings, welcoming people and rich history, I highly recommend Peru, specifically Lima, to anyone looking for a city/beach break.