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CUISINE

One of Lima’s major attractions is without a doubt its excellent food, which is currently among the top South American contenders. Lima cuisine is a legacy from Pre-Hispanic and Colonial culinary experiences, which were subsequently combined with the best of European and Asian trends. The secret of its success seems to reside in its freedom to explore new flavors, to mix ingredients, to recover once forgotten components, and to transform intelligently all the flavors Peru has received from other countries, thus creating an original product.

Undoubtedly, Lima is the Tower of Babel of the palate, a capital of good taste in which you can find delicacies from squid ink risotto for dinner to a traditional cebiche in some of the city’s famous huariques (a small, cozy restaurant) at lunch time. The City of Kings (Lima) is an Eden for gourmets and fine food lovers, and you must visit it with the fork in one hand.

Besides the classic five fork restaurants specializing in fusion or Novo-Andean cuisine, we recommend you try restaurants serving Nikkei (Japanese), chifa (Chinese), seafood (represented mostly by a selection of first class “huariques”), and traditional Lima or Creole cuisine, the latter where desserts are extremely delicious. We are positive you will run out of time before gaining at least an initial impression of the marvelous food you can taste in this city.

HISTORICAL CENTER

We highly recommend taking this sightseeing tour at noon on a clear summer’s day. Enjoy a cebiche at one of the city’s huariques and head towards Lima’s Main Square to visit the Cathedral and the Museum of Religious Art; then on to the San Francisco Church and its catacombs, the Osambela House, San Agustin Church, and lastly San Martin Square, toasting the success of your Colonial escapade with a Pisco sour in the traditional Bolivar Hotel.

RAFAEL LARCO HERRERA MUSEUM

It is an emblematic cultural space in Lima that exhibits an exceptional 3000 year panorama of Pre-Colombian Peru. Thanks to the enormous commitment of its current administration, the museum was reopened in September 2010, and its exhibition area is now twice what it used to be: from 800 m2 to 1600 m2. Among its permanent exhibits are the Gold and Jewelry Hall, featuring artifacts that highlight the skills of Pre-Hispanic master craftsmen and that were offered to their gods. It also boasts an interesting collection of erotic figurines (huacos eroticos) that depicts different aspects of the Andean sexuality before the Spanish Conquest.

MIRAFLORES

Lima’s tourist district par excellence, where the city’s best hotels and restaurants are concentrated. Every sightseeing tour should start at Parque Central, formed by two other parks: 7 de Junio and John F. Kennedy, where diverse cultural activities frequently take place and it is possible to taste some of Lima’s typical dishes and desserts. This large park, surrounded by cafes and restaurants, is where we find the Medalla Milagrosa Church, built in 1939, and also de Neo Colonial City Hall.

The extensive waterfront following the curve of the Miraflores Bay is one of this district’s main destinations, dotted with small parks and ideal for long strolls during summer time. Some of the different ones you will walk through are the Alfredo Salazar Park (close to Larcomar, one of the most important malls in the city), the Parque del Amor, Maria Reiche Park, Intihuatana Park, and Antonio Raimondi Park.

As evidence of this area’s extended human occupation, Miraflores plays host to the Huaca Pucllana or Huaca Juliana archeological site (a Pre-Incan temple). Due to the tremendous work put into preserving this monument, it has become a model for conserving and developing Lima’s other historical landmarks.

PACHACAMAC AND LURIN

Pachacamac is one of the most important Pre-Hispanic ceremonial centers along the Peruvian coastline and location of the most prestigious oracle in ancient Peru. It was built of mud bricks by the Ichmas, and the Incas at the height of their power decided to maintain it and even to enlarge it due to its great influence. The tour includes the Urpi Wachak Temple (named after Pachacamac’s wife), Temple of the Moon, Pilgrims Plaza, Chieftain’s House, and Painted Temple (in a state of disrepair). The Lurin Valley, where we find Pachacamac, boasts many restaurants that specialize in Peruvian cuisine. You can also visit area horse farms to see the Peruvian Paso horse up close. A perfect half-day trip.

LUNAHUANA AND THE NOR-YAUYOS RESERVE

The Lunahuana Valley’s main attraction is adventure sports, like rafting and mountain biking, yet you can also simply rest and relax in the country surrounded by apple, peach, ice cream bean trees. Other attractions include its modern hotels and fine restaurants, and nearby there are interesting sites, like the Incahuasi (House of the Inca) archeological site and the traditional town of Catapalla, which has a hanging bridge and very good wineries; we suggest trying their pisco brandies and wines.

The best part of the Lima’s mountainous region is located in the Province of Yauyos. A panorama filled with quiet turquoise springs surrounded by mountains that stretch to the horizon, merging into the blue sky. The main highlights here are the villages of Huancaya, Vilca, Vitis, and Tanta, all of them located on the banks of the Upper Cañete River, which at this height becomes an endless series of ponds and waterfalls of turquoise water. Mullucocha Lake and the Escalerayocc Inca trail, located at the foot of beautiful Mount Pariacaca, the region’s guardian peak, are very close by, and you reach them on the 2 day trekking route.

CARAL

At the same time Egypt was flourishing on the banks of the Nile River 5000 years ago, a culture similar in complexity started to blossom in Peru, where archeologists have found remnants of the oldest civilization in the Americas. According to Dr. Ruth Shady, Caral is the cradle of Peruvian civilization and the seat of its first government. It was occupied around 3000 B.C. by people with such a highly developed culture that our existing time had to be redefined.

From above, a large circular plaza dominates the landscape. And what seems to be hills surrounding the valley is, in fact, pyramids eroded by wind and weather. It is believed that 3000 to 3500 people lived in this nearly 65 ha district, farming, fishing, making everyday objects, and trading with other cultures in the region. One of the most important activities of this mysterious ancient civilization is the use of fire in rituals. Because they lived in a desert, the people might have burned offerings to their gods, asking for mercy or for good harvests.

Given the significance of this site, the government created the Caral-Supe Special Archeological Project (PEACS) in 2003, purpose of which is the recovery and promotion of this site. PEACS regularly organizes 1- to 2-day all included trips to the city (great for families), which includes visits to Caral and other surrounding places of interest. The service is excellent and highly recommended for long weekends.

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