When people go to Peru, most of them hope to hike the Inca Trail or see Machu Picchu. Lima is just a pit stop. Just like the rest of the world’s capitals, it’s busy, dirty, and congested. And for foreigners, being alone in a crowded, unfamiliar city like Lima can be scary. But for me, it’s what makes it more interesting. Beyond the grit and noise of the city are sites that would leave you enthralled.
This was going to be our last day in Lima before flying to Cusco so we decided to make the most of it.
On our second day, we explored three locations:
- Huaca Pucllana
- Plaza de Armas
- Parque del Amor
Like the day before, we used Uber to get around and chose Parque del Amor as our last stop for the day, which was fortunately only a few blocks from our hostel.
Located in Miraflores, Huaca Pucllana was a pre-Incan community that dates back to 100 BC. Made from clay pyramids, it served as an administrative site where ancient Peruvians and chieftains would convene and do their religious ceremonies. When Huaca Pucllana was discovered in 2008, they found remains of two adults and one child, who were believed to have been sacrificed.
Since then, Huaca Pucllana was turned into a museum where visitors can see exhibits of ceramics and other artifacts that were also found on the site.
Plaza de Armas
Lima’s Plaza de Armas is probably the most memorable place we visited during our stay in the capital. The whole complex was surrounded by stunning old Spanish architecture painted with bright yellow, pink, and baby blue hues; and wooden doors and balconies with masterfully carved artworks.
Also called Plaza Mayor, it houses the Government Palace which also serves as the official residence of the President of Peru, the Municipal Palace, Palace of the Union, the Archbishop’s Palace, and the Lima Cathedral – both of which you can visit for a price. Inside the Cathedral you’ll find 14 side chapels dedicated to various saints.
But what makes the Cathedral so fascinating is what lies underneath. Apart from being home to the tomb of Francisco Pizarro, the Spanish explorer that conquered Peru, you’ll also find the crypts and remains of the past cardinals – which freaked me out a little bit, to be honest. The path going to the tombs was dark and cold that it felt like a mummy is going to come at us anytime soon (lol).
Parque del Amor
Our final destination for the day was Parque del Amor or Park of Love. It is actually situated on a cliff, overlooking the Bay of Lima which is a well-favored spot for surfers. Throughout the area, you’ll also see mosaics with lines from Peru’s famous poets. The romantic atmosphere of Parque del Amor makes it a go-to place for couples young and old, especially on Valentine’s Day.
After exploring Lima for a couple of days, we reaffirmed our belief that the city has a lot to offer to travelers. Learning about the capital’s rich culture and history was such an amazing experience that I gained a new perspective on Peru.
Stay tuned for my Cusco and Machu Picchu travel blog!