Traveling to Lima, past and present of an extraordinary city

Traveling to Lima, past and present of an extraordinary city

Picture of the plaza de armas on my last traveling to lima

Traveling to Lima

when traveling to Lima, visitors will find a vibrant city working to attract more visitors. After been through a long period of economic downturn back in the 80’s, Lima has been transformed into one of the main tourist destination points in South America.

The capital of Peru was founded by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro back in 1531. Lima was a rich valley surrounded by religious ceremonial pyramids. During the conquest Lima was known as ‘the capital of the Kings’ for its strong connection with the Spanish Kingdom. The conquistador Pizarro set up his house in the Rimac valley which is now the governmental palace.  The major square or Plaza de Armas from which most of the official buildings are seen nowadays started its construction in 1535 .

During the 17th century Lima becomes the center of the trade between Americas,  Europe and the far East.  By 1687 a powerful earthquake destroyed the whole colonial city which coincidentally suffer also a slow downturn on its commercial trade having an impact on its prompt restoration. Eventually Lima regained an outstanding beauty as a result of the efforts of  Viceroy José Antonio Manso de Velasco.

After the Spanish independence in 1821,  public buildings were built with a distinctive and modern European influence and continuing its development outside the central city. By middle of the 19th century Lima was an opulent city and considered the pearl of South America until the country entered into war with Chile in 1879-1883.  Lima city was looted, and most public buildings were destroyed, railway systems sacked as a result in losing the war.  Places in Lima that we visit on this days such as Miraflores and Barranco facing the ocean pacific were burned by Chilean troops so most of its charm were lost.

After the war, the city had an urban renewal which it went during 1890 up to 1930 time in which Lima grow on other districts.  A similar situation in urban development happen with its inhabitants during the 1960 and 1980s so new districts were created to full fill housing needs.

Nowadays, Lima is a metropolis holding around 10 million people and has grow in several districts very distinctive each other from the former colonial era to a modern approach.

A legacy beyond the Inca

Peru has a legacy before the Incas arrived to this land and you will notice across all its territory. There are monuments, temples, fortress mostly in ruins that belong to cultures well beyond the Inca (3,000 BC).

In Lima, there is a pyramid in Miraflores named Huaca Pucllana (700 AD) which it gives you an idea on how this native settlers were living near the coast line.  You can also visit the vestiges of pre Inca ruins in Huaca Mateo Salado (750 AD), border with the districts of Pueblo Libre and Lima centre.  Pueblo Libre holds two important national museums which you must see at some point, The Museo Nacional de Arqueología, Antropología e Historia del Perú, and Museo Larco.

One the most notorious temples for its size which is not far from Lima is in Pachacamac near the coast line.  It is worthy to visit the local museum as they currently exhibit the textile and artifacts of different cultures for the interest of travelers on Peru ancient past.

Places to visit when Traveling to Lima

You can join a sightseeing Tour of Lima and spend a day or two before embarking out into your final destination.

Either way you can choose visiting first the central colonial town or if you are near the coast line in Miraflores, get to know its area.

Traveling to Lima colonial side:

Like most travelers you should visit the main mayor Square or ‘Plaza de Armas’ where you can see the Presidential Palace and the changing of the guard everyday at 12 noon time. From this point you will also see most public buildings such as the ‘Cathedral’ and the ‘Mayor’s house’.  By the time Lima was founded, several churches were built because Christianity has an important role to play in the public life on the new colony.  Churches to visit ‘San Francisco Church’ with its impressive lattice dome. The catacombs below the church were once part of Lima’s cemeteries and contain over 70,000 bodies.

‘Church and Sanctuary of Saint Rose of Lima’  Bring fresh batteries and an extra memory card for Your camera because this cathedral will astound you with the designs of the different altars, catacombs and the “behind the scenes” where the priests stored their garment.

There are many examples of traditional colonial architecture to admire when traveling to Lima including most churches such as:

  • Church of the Nazarene
  • Church and Convent of Santo Domingo
  • Convent of the Descalzos
  • Church and Convent San Pedro
  • Church la Merced
  • Church San Agustin
  • Church of Jesus, Maria and Joseph
  • Church of San Sebastián

Lima’s colonial building have been converted into offices so you might not have a direct access to it. You can overview the ‘National congress’ or parliament house and next to it visit the ‘Inquisitor house’. Also it is worthy to walk around the ‘Chinatown’ or Barrio Chino, where you can enjoying a Chinese style meal.

Places to consider also visiting when traveling to Lima are  the ‘Hotel Bolivar’ opposite to Plaza Bolivar and if you have some time in being adventurous enough, you can head to the top of ‘Cerro San Cristobal’ and have a panoramic view of the whole Lima metropolis.

On the way to Miraflores, you will find the Magic Water Circuit, the Magic Water Circuit has the Guinness Book record for the largest fountain complex in the world, displaying 13 distinct fountains and many are interactive.

As Miraflores district is facing the sea side, you can walk to the Costa Verde marina, to enjoy a view of the beaches and the paragliders. Following the marina you will get to ‘Barranco’, the traditional artists’ town, surrounded by beautiful places such as the “Puente de los Suspiros” and bohemian bars and restaurants.

Outside Miraflores and Barranco there’s still a lot of Lima for some sightseeing:  for example, Pueblo Libre, another historic district, with traditional houses, as we mention their  museums,  have a lovely little places like its own Plaza Mayor.  You will find good places to eat and its classical tavern Queirolo to savour good selected wines and food too.

After traveling to Lima you can reach other sites in different regions of Peru to discover unique sites such us:

•    The Peruvian Amazon – Head out into the untamed Peruvian Amazon. Travel by boat and canoe with bungalow lodgings provided on the river’s edge and in the jungle. Wooden walkways take you into the heart of the rain forest to see huge centuries-old trees, caiman, turtles and many beautiful exotic birds.

•    Lake Titicaca – Located on the Peru-Bolivia border, Lake Titicaca is the South American continent’s largest lake. Its shores are home to many indigenous people whose cultures you can explore against the backdrop of the lake’s azure waters. The islands of Lake Titicaca have many archaeological ruins and several villages that are still steeped in the Inca culture.

•    Machu Picchu – Called “the Lost City of the Incas” Machu Picchu is a wonderfully preserved symbol of the great Inca civilization. On Machu Picchu tours you can explore the ruins’ palaces, baths, temples and storage rooms. For many, the tour of the Temple of the Sun, which is built atop a pure granite rock and marks the highest altitude within the Lost City, is truly the high point of their visit.

A popular starting point for many Peru tours Cusco is just 80 km from Machu Picchu. Cusco to Machu Picchu day trips get you there in comfort and style. You spend the day exploring the ruins and learning about them from your friendly and knowledgeable local Peru travel guide.

Set out from Lima or Cusco on a multi-day Inca Trail hiking adventure. It’s the perfect way to reach Machu Picchu! Along the way you get to view many other Inca ruins and breathtakingly beautiful scenery.

Once you are in Peru, making it to several of the other South American countries is super easy. Consider booking a multiday tour package that includes stops in Peru.

Machu Picchu Tours – Discover The Secrets And Treasures Of The Lost City

panoramic picture of Machu Picchu

The beautifully preserved ruins of the Inca city of Machu Picchu lie high in the eastern mountains of the Andes in Peru. Machu Picchu sits proudly as one of a handful of Inca sites kept hidden from the Spanish in the sixteenth century. It was spared their destructive plundering and rediscovered in 1911 by Hiram Bingham, a Yale University lecturer and amateur archaeologist.

There are numerous Machu Picchu travel deals to choose from that will allow to explore Peru with an itinerary that takes in several of the world famous attractions that this South American country holds, including the enchanting Machu Picchu site. Your choices for Machu Picchu vacation packages will include a single-day tour to the ruins or multi-day options that take you to other historic and scenic Peruvian locations.

In Peru’s capital, Lima, the past and present blend to create an unforgettable mix of history and culture that make it a perfect destination for an adventure traveler. Machu Picchu tours from Lima are a definite favorite of travelers. Not only do you visit the Lost City, but you’ll stay in beautifully rustic lodges beside the Amazon River, explore the amazing flora and fauna of the Peruvian Amazon, and visit the historical city of Cusco.

The Sacred Valley is a fixture of most Machu Picchu tours and visitors relish the chance to simply and reverently take in the wonder and beauty of its hilltop Pisac ruins. Lake Titicaca, on the Peru-Bolivia border, is another captivating sight to see on a trip to Peru that allows travelers immerse themselves in the culture of the region’s indigenous people who make their homes on the shores and islands of the continent’s largest lake.

Machu Picchu is about 80 km northwest of the charming town of Cusco and many visitors choose to spend a few days exploring Cusco’s other archaeological sites, mountain biking or enjoying the excitement of whitewater rafting. Machu Picchu tours from Cusco generally begin with a picturesque Machu Picchu train ridethrough the breath-taking Urubamba Valley.

The high altitude of Machu Picchu and the lush surrounding territories makes getting there on foot a favorite of hikers. A true Machu Picchu trip follows the lovely Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, a much traveled route where trekkers can view Inca ruins, tunnels and the diverse landscape as they make their way to the Sun Gate, entrance to the Lost City.

An alternative to this popular route is the Salcantay Trek from Cusco to Machu Picchu, a more scenic and less crowded option for the adventurous. You and your fellow explorers will begin each day before dawn, setting out under the care of your watchful and knowledgeable guides. The majestic snow-covered Salcantay Mountains and the fertile Valley of the Apurimac River form the backdrop as you make you way to stunning Humantay Lake.

You’ll make an early arrival at Machu Picchu to learn about its rich history and take cherished photos of the incredible sunrise over the misty ruins. You may then choose to go for a leisurely stroll to take in each vivid aspect of this once wealthy country estate. Machu Picchu’s three main structures are:

  • the Inti Watana – a well-preserved ritual stone linked to the Inca’s astronomical calendar
  • the Temple of the Sun – built on top of a rock of pure granite and marking the highest altitude within the Lost City
  • the Room of the Three Windows – an east-facing lithic structure thought to be connected to the Inca’s devotion to the Sun

Coined “The Lost City”, Machu Picchu now welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors each year who come here seeking a glimpse of the grandeur and architectural expertise that characterized the Inca Empire centuries ago. Many Machdu Picchu tour reviews characterize it as “breathtaking,” “awe-inspiring,” but you truly have to see it to believe it. A journey to Machu Picchu is like a pilgrimage for history buffs. It is a must-see for those who are determined to visit the most intriguing and inspiring places on Earth.


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