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Located on the shores of the Pacific, Lima sure does know how to welcome. It has opened its doors to Japanese and Chinese immigrants since the 19th century, and to its oriental traditions that have been combined with the Spanish and the Inca heritage. Lima is a mixed race city that seduces visitors from multiple origins.
In 2017 alone, Lima had 2,860,000 tourists; it currently is the fifth most visited destination in Latin America and the eighth city in the region with the highest tourist growth per year (according to the 2018 Global Destination Cities Index).
Founded on January 18th, 1535, it is one of the oldest capitals in the continent. The colonial period is a protagonist in its historic center, declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1991. It preserves centuries-old buildings such as the stone bridge of the Rímac River (1610), the Alameda de los Descalzos (1611), the Palacio de Torre Tagle (1735) and the House of Osambela (1807).
In modern neighborhoods, pre-Columbian constructions known as huacas are common: 431 sacred sites for the Lima, Ychsma, Wari and Inca civilizations that were declared cultural patrimony of the nation.
For seven consecutive years, Peru has received the award for Best World Culinary Destination at the World Travel Awards, popularly known as the 'Tourism Oscars'. Furthermore, the city brings together unique gastronomic styles.
Specialty: nikkei food.
The fusion of Japanese culinary traditions with Peruvian flavors and ingredients gave way to Nikkei food (which can be translated as 'migrant food').
Some of the most representative dishes of the place are the salmon belly with garlic sauce and lemon butter, and the moriawase sashimi (dish with several cuts of fish and shrimp, such as tuna, salmon, horse-mackerel and shrimp).
Specialty: amazonian food.
Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, head chef, is quite familiar with the Amazonian city of Iquitos. The exuberance of its rivers (where he discovered paiche and riverine snails) and the diversity of native fruits and vegetables motivated him to create ámaZ in 2012.
ámaZ seeks to investigate and spread Amazonian flavors, as well as boosting the culinary knowledge of the indigenous communities that live there. Among the dishes in the menu, the shrimp pacomoto (shrimp tail ceviche, charcoaled with cocona and tomato) and the churos pishpirones (riverine snails stewed with turmeric, spicy chorizo and tapioca) stand out
Specialty: traditional Peruvian food
The motto of the place is 'Burn your tongue and have a laugh'. It condenses the spirit of the restaurant: meat, fish and shrimp dishes bathed in chili hot sauces, which are served by the kilo and designed to be shared. To live up to this goal, the tables are long, inspired by big Peruvian family tables.
Specialty: seafood cuisine.
The place is famous for its ceviche (Peru’s flagship dish). The arequipa rice (mixed with shrimp and a shrimp coral sauce), the ceviche (made with sea urchins), and the corvina cheek (grilled fish with chimichurri, served with capers and crispy garlic) are among its most emblematic preparations.
Specialty: chifa food.
Chifa food is a mix between Peruvian ingredients and the food made by Chinese immigrants.
Titi is the result of this cultural exchange and, seventy years after it first opened, continues to be a family business with three generations of chefs who have inherited dishes such as hacao (wheat starch dough stuffed with prawns), kaylan con carne (Chinese broccoli with meat to the wok in oyster sauce) and the sillao duck (baked duck with crispy skin in soy sauce.
Before the Spanish arrived, the territory of Lima was dominated by diverse pre-Columbian civilizations that governed the valley of Rímac, including the Incas, the most important of all.
These towns had sacred buildings, called huacas, in which they made offerings and sacrifices to win the favor of the gods. Today, 431 monuments of this type are conserved in Lima. This is a tour around five of them.
In 1941 and in 1950 its demolition was ordered to give way to urban projects, but the plan was never carried out. Instead, in 1960 the archaeological site was restored. From the year 200 a. C., this temple was occupied by the Lima, Huaura, Sicán, Chincha and Ychsma cultures.
Two mummies, buried centuries apart, mark the history of this place. The first one dates from about 400 years ago. The second is from the late 19th century and belongs to a Chinese plantation worker who was buried here. The era of splendor of this huaca was between the years 1000 and 1470.
Three pre-Inca civilizations occupied this ceremonial complex between the years 200 and 1570: the first was the Lima civilization, which built the 25-meter-high pyramid; the second was the Wari, that used it as a sacred cemetery. Finally, there was the Ychsma, that offered clay pots filled with beans, corn and cotton. This is the most visited huaca in Lima and has a museum and a restaurant.
The temple was built in honor of the pre-Inca deity whose name in the Quechua language means 'Creator' or 'Soul of the Earth'. The architectural complex includes the old temple (the oldest structure dating from the 3rd century), the temples of the moon and the sun (the first vestiges were found in 1897), the Tauri Chumpi palace, the pilgrims' square and the painted temple.
The financial center of the city (where some of the largest companies have their headquarters) also has theaters, cultural centers, museums, parks and libraries. One way to explore its attractions is through the public bicycle system, which has 50 stations.
Open 25 years ago, this place has a bookstore, a cinema and exhibition halls. Here, works by Fernando Botero, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol and Joan Miró have been exhibited.
In this 23-hectare forest there are 1674 olive trees and approximately 200 different tree species. Birds such as turtupilines, violinists, goldfinches and ducks can be sighted here. In the vicinity of the forest you can find the Chamber Theater, the Municipal Library and the Children's Library.
This was the residence of the Bolivian sculptor Marina Núñez del Prado, considered one of the most important artists in her country. In the house (of neocolonial style, built in 1926), her works in alabaster, onyx and granite are displayed, as well as 137 pieces of popular art, among which the handicrafts of the Peruvian ceramist Mamerto Sánchez stand out.
It was built at the end of the 17th century as the residence of Isidoro de Cortázar y Abarca, the first count of San Isidro and one of the promoters of Peruvian independence. In 1972, the hacienda was declared a historic monument. It currently houses the restaurant Astrid y Gastón, the eighth best in Latin America.
Its altar is decorated with an 18th century Baroque altarpiece, made of carved wood and measuring 15 meters high by 9.5 wide. This temple was originally built in 1937 by the Passionist Missionaries and completely remodeled in 1948 with a neocolonial style.
The Peruvian capital has a deep religious tradition and is the home of some of the oldest temples in Latin America.
Known as the Cathedral of Lima, the building is located at Plaza de Armas. It was built by orders of Francisco Pizarro, founder of the capital, whose remains rest in the church.
The Cathedral is located on the ruins of the Puma Inti Inca shrine and a Cuzco royal palace. Since 1991, the Cathedral is considered a Cultural Heritage of Humanity, as part of the Historical Center of Lima.
Located a few blocks from Plaza de Armas, it is a relic of colonial architecture. This religious complex is conformed by the Basilica and the Convent of San Francisco de Asís, and the chapels del Milagro and la Soledad, also constructed in 1535, shortly after the foundation of the city.
Inside, visitors will find catacombs that have been considered the most important cemetery in Lima during the Viceroyalty. Today, visitors can take thematic tours of these passages.
Originally built in wood, the church hosted Lima's first official mass in 1534, a year before the city was founded.
Its façade carved in stone is a great example of the 'churrigueresque' baroque style from Lima: a variation of this artistic style that is much more overloaded, with finishings including fruits, animals and faces.
As well as the majority of temples in the city, it was greatly affected by the 1678 earthquake. However, it retains its original bell tower.
This church was built in 1578 and has the oldest choir balconies in Lima, as well as the statue of the Virgin of the Rosary. There, San Martín de Porres, the first mulatto saint of America, was imprisoned. Today, the place keeps the remains of Santa Rosa de Lima, patron saint and protector of the city.
Built by the Jesuits in the 17th century, its interior represents the purchasing power and social influence that this community had in Lima.
With a relatively austere façade—contrasting with the richness of the interior—the place keeps an important collection of colonial art. In addition, it's striking arches and altars are covered in sheets of pure gold.
Specialty: fusion cuisine.
Central offers its guests a trip through the coastal, Amazonian and Andean regions of Peru thanks to Virgilio Martínez, its head chef.
Some of Central's most emblematic dishes have been the purple root with mashua (bitter potato), with duck and chijchipa leaves, the Amazonian waters with piranha, arazá and yucca, and the green mountain range with cocoa, chaco and coca.
In nine years, Central has positioned itself as the second best Latin American restaurant, according to the list of Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants 2018, and the sixth best in the world in the recent selection of The World's Best Restaurants.
Specialty: nikkei food.
Lima-born chef Mitsuharu Tsumura studied culinary arts at Johnson & Wales University (Rhode Island, United States); yet, he found in Osaka, the land of his ancestors, the key to Japanese flavors.
This background inspired him to open a Nikkei food restaurant called Maido (which is a Japanese word to welcome) in 2009. Its culinary bet has turned Maido into the best Latin American restaurant (according to the Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants ranking), for the past two years.
Maido's star dish are the short ribs, which are prepared for 50 hours. There is also the tuna salad with quinoa and coriander sauce, and the limpet ceviche with yellow pepper ice powder, corn and avocado.
Specialty: fusion cuisine.
Astrid Gutsche and Gastón Acurio studied at the famous school Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. Upon returning to Lima they opened a restaurant inspired by the most traditional Peruvian recipes, which are deconstructed, mixed and transformed with global influences.
The menu is influenced by the agricultural seasons and the menu changes constantly. Its 2018 spring menu, for example, is inspired by the cultural and ethnic diversity of Peru: it features paracas shells with lucuma gnocchi and amazon sauce, pea-day fishing and suckling pig.
The restaurant (considered the eighth best in Latin America and 39th in the world) works in a house built three centuries ago, declared by the Peruvian Government as a national monument.
Cold starter of mashed yellow potatoes with mayonnaise and yellow pepper, a layer of avocado and a general layer of shredded chicken or tuna.
Typical Peruvian Creole dish prepared with shredded chicken, yellow pepper, black olives, boiled egg and white potato.
Veal loin sauteed with purple onion julienne, red pepper and soy sauce.
Gastón’s name represents Peruvian cuisine, as he is the most important exponent of the country’s traditional food. Acurio dedicates his work to rescuing dishes, products and traditions; as a result, he has turned Perú into a gastronomical destination worldwide. When you try one of his creations, you can taste both craftsmanship and passion, and you can sense the history behind each flavor. Acurio’s culinary bet can be enjoyed in restaurants such as Astrid y Gastón, La Mar, Panchita or Madam Tusam.
It could be considered the national dish. Unlike other types of ceviche, this one is prepared with pieces of white fish, purple onion, lemon juice and yellow pepper.
For one serving:
Domos Art, San Miguel.
Parque Costa Verde, distrito San Miguel.
From february 15 to march 3.
Concierto Arctic Monkeys
Jorge Chávez International Airport, 12.6 kilometers from the city center.
Nuevo Sol (PEN).
21 °C (69.8 °F)
Buses (El Metropolitano): they vary depending on the route and the day. You can check them upon arrival in Lima. Price: 2.50 PEN (0.74 USD) per ticket. Metro: they vary depending on the route and the day. You can check them upon arrival in Lima. Price: 1.50 PEN (0.45 USD) per ticket. Taxis: minimum rate: 8 PEN (2.38 USD).
3-star hotel: 193.66 PEN (57.7 USD) per person. 5-star hotel: 406.57 PEN (121.13 USD) per person.