Wow, is Lima a busy city! It is a busy, bustling place filled with traffic congestion problems and what must be the world’s worst drivers. Honk, honk, beep, beep. The sounds of the city are nearly constant. Exhaust fumes from the traffic hang heavy in the air. Fully a third of Peru’s population lives in Lima. Can you tell I’m a country girl and used to the peace and quiet.
I’ve heard the reports of nightmarish long lines through immigration at the Lima airport. My plane landed around 10:30 pm, and it took until after 1 am for me to be settled in my hotel room in Miraflores. 45 minutes of that was the car ride to the hotel. That wasn’t too bad, but after a long day of travel, I was about ready to fall asleep standing up in line.
A stay in Lima’s better neighborhoods will almost inevitably include the convenience of being close to any number of shops, restaurants, parks and within walking distance of the beach. If you like to save money on eating expenses, they have very affordable hotels with apartment like suites so you can prepare snacks for yourself in your room. My room was so comfortable, I found myself quickly falling asleep at the end of the day in spite of all the noise outside. But food is one of the things that Lima does best so don’t miss the opportunity to get out and sample the various dining experiences.
Lima has many museums to be explored, charming parks, impressive old world architecture and intriguing archaeological sites. My 5 day stay was much too short to experience it all. Built in the 5th century, the site Huaca Pucllana lies in the Miraflores district and makes for an easy stop while staying in Lima. Have a taste for the morbid and macabre? Be sure to visit the catacombs under the Convent of San Francisco. Sadly, photos aren’t allowed. A visit to the much touted Bridge of Sighs in the Barranco district is obligatory for guests. The personality of the bohemian Barranco district is enchanting to discover.
It was about an 8 block walk from my hotel to the coast and the famous Larcomar shopping mall. I ate there twice during my stay with views of the surfers playing in the water and paragliders flying overhead. I could see the Pacific from my hotel room and at one time, noted 7 parasails in the sky from my room. Skies remained overcast throughout my late fall visit and I was denied the enjoyment of a Pacific sunset from my balcony while there.
The high end shopping and polished parks near where the tourists stay, contrast sharply with other parts of Lima. Venturing into other districts paints a different picture of what life is like for many citizens in a country where the average income is around $600 per month.