Bolivar Hotel Plaza San Martin

I cannot say “book my hotel in Lima”, as of today, there are so many options in the market.  You can arrange rooms or shared accommodation for even one night stay in several websites.   Lima is a big city of circa 11 million people and very spread as well covering 800km2 of urban area (in the outskirts of the city there are 180km2 of cultivation area and 1800km2 of mountain area which is unable to be urbanized or to be cultivated)

Saying that, you have to look carefully where you would like to stay, considering there is only one big airport in one of the extremes of the city (north coast, in the province of Callao).  Also, please note, that to enter the city from the airport it takes almost 1 hour to any point that is not Callao.   My best suggestion is to avoid entering the city twice in a trip.   Stay and enter Lima once you arrive in Peru, and when you have ended your visits all around Peru, try to book your last flight back into Lima so that it connects with your flight back home, and if this last flight doesn’t fit into a connection, stay in any of the two hotels that are in the airport area: either the Wyndham hotel inside the airport or the Holiday Inn Lima Airport Hotel which is just outside, but hotel offers free shuttle to/from.

Let’s move on… any area can have a specific reason to stay.  Coming to Lima to surf?  Book apartments (online options) in Punta Hermosa, the best waves in the city.  Punta Hermosa is almost 50km south of the Lima airport.  Punta Hermosa also offers rent of boards and surf classes.  Coming to Lima for party?  Book home stays or backpack hostels in Barranco.  There is a nice activity going on in this area, from bars to night clubs with live bands.

On a more serious mood?  Coming to Lima for business?  Of course, the place is San Isidro for accommodations with all the required facilities for a business trip.  The financial district where most of the government bureaus are located together with big company’s buildings.

Ok, general visit to Lima?  Wanting to get to know the flavor of the city? The gastronomy? Shops, ocean view? Parks? Walking area?  Miraflores is the place. Miraflores offers almost the 70% of the hotel offer including deluxe options, 5-star hotels, 4, 3, 2… and so on…

Barranco, the bohemian district which I mentioned for party, is also place for the nicest boutique hotels in Lima.  This special offer includes premium service, comfort and elegant stay near art stores, galleries, private art collections and cozy coffee shops.

What about staying at the Historical Centre of Lima?    This area has the privilege of having the first 5-star hotel back in 1972, and then also the very first elegant hotel in the heart of the historic area back in 1924.  Things have changed along the years… mainly during the terrorism years (1980-1992) in which this area was totally abandoned.  The resurgence of this area has started almost 5 years ago, when several private international companies are betting for this area to rise. I consider it a good plan and with very good potential.  So far, there are no boutique or recommended hotels, although there is an offer.  Security can be an issue mainly if you walk at night.  There are nice plans of opening boutique hotels or nice stays, but so far, only regular hotels… Who would like to start a hotel here? Because the area is so rich in history, in heritage, in sites, in culture, in churches and convents, and in gastronomy!

 

Rimac is one of the 43 districts of the city of Lima and it is next to the Historic area which is a World Heritage Centre by UNESCO.

Eager to be explored, Rimac has been embellished even more since 2015 when it became a member of the Organization of World Heritage Cities, a group encouraging co-operation and exchange of expertise to conserve and manage the member cities.   The next General Assembly will be held in Rimac this coming May 2018.  The Mayors of the 300 cities in the World Heritage Cities members will meet here.

Rimac will attract more when the project of a cable car at the San Cristobal Hill will be done. This is a project that has been on the table since 2007 and there are mutterings that it will be ready by the end of 2018.

Rimac has several rich historical sites, streets, and monuments that make a very worthy visit to do.   To highlight the most important ones, and in my point of view, the most representative of the district is the Convento de los Descalzos done by the end of XVI century. It is very well maintained and keeps much of the furniture, decoration, art, household furnishings and where you can revive the viceroyal times.  Together with the Convento de los Descalzos, Rimac has one of the most elegant walking streets in the area, Jr. Trujillo, with colonial balconies and the smallest chapel in the world, Nuestra Señora del Rosario, with 8 meters width and 12 meters long, it is part of the San Lazaro Church, only half walk away.   Jr. Trujillo takes you directly to the bridge that crosses the Rimac River taking you behind the Government Palace.

The Alameda de los Descalzos is an elegant avenue constructed in 1611 by Viceroy Juan de Mendoza y Luna, Marquis of Montesclaros. Together with Paseo de Aguas which was constructed in 1770 by Viceroy Manuel de Amat y Juniet.  The Alameda de los Descalzos has 6 small sculptures and other big 12 marble sculptures that are related to the zodiac and the Greek gods.  In 1856 it was refurbished with the installation of a wrought-iron fence imported from England and large entrance gates.   This together with marble benches and gardens with beautiful flowers, makes it a urban beauty in the area. The Paseo de las Aguas is very near the “Plaza de Toros de Acho”, bullring built in the colonial times. The park has a big arch as an entrance, gardens, and water fountains.

Finally, in the Alameda de los Descalzos there is a new great spot to have the best of Peruvian food, in a house that was owned by Viceroy Amat y Juniet.  The place has been carefully refurbished during two years following the requirements of being in a protected area.  Casona Amat has recently opened their doors to close the circle of the great attractions in the district of Rimac.

 

Sources:

https://www.wmf.org/

https://www.ovpm.org/

          Casa Prado, Private Colonial Mansion in Lima

 

Before the European arrival, Lima was inhabited in small settlements all around the territory.  The best evidence are  the “huacas” which few of them can be visited as of today.  Some of the colonial constructions were built over these previous buildings.  It was then the beginning of a big city that now is surrounding almost 10 million inhabitants. The Spanish conquerors found Lima a good place to establish it as the capital of the Viceroyalty.  Most of the heritage we have from those times are in the Historical Centre and now the heart of the country’s power, meaning the Government Palace, the Congress and most of the ministries are located in this area.   Saying so, several Spanish families lived in the lap of luxury around this area.

During the mid 1600s Lima was growing fast and “solares” or lands where allocated to build properties.  In this opulence and growth, a house now known as Casa Prado was built in what today is Jr. Cuzco.  Several families have occupied this property including direct contacts of the viceroyalty.  During the early years of the Republican Times (mid 1800s), diplomatic personalities also occupied this place.  Years after, it was owned by the Prado family who presided over the government. Today, his descendants are in charge of this hidden gem.

After several years of being closed and with no use, Lima Mentor has made contact in order to open the doors to those visitors who would like to admire and appreciate the value of the history and heritage shown in this place.  All the patios, rooms, lounges, and halls are intact as per the first construction back in the late 1600s or early 1700s, same as the furniture, mirrors, paintings, frames, beds, tables, lamps, and bathrooms.  It is an unmeasurable experience to get into such a home and to get to know details of part of their family such as printed photography or usage of rooms for big parties, part of the Lima rich history.

There are other unnoticed homes like this in Lima.  If you walk and pass by Casa Prado, you would never notice, as you would never imagine how many hidden places can be in the city of Lima.  There are similar houses with this rich heritage and importance as Casa Aliaga, next to the Government Palace and Casa Osambela, next to the Santo Domingo Convent, places that can also be leaded by one of Lima Mentor guides.  The viceroyalty of Lima was one of the richest places in America during the XVI and XVII centuries and there is plenty to show and to recognise.

 

 

 

 

This wonderful movement from one place to another, the magic of tourism, the enchantment of knowing other cultures, the fascination of giving and receiving turn us all into people who realizes we are different.  Today we are celebrating!  And who is we?  We are all travelers, those involved in creating experiences, hosts around the world, those in charge of transportation, those sharing culture and those learning.

My best regards from Lima, Peru, South America, to all the world.  Thank you if you have already visited this city and you are welcome to visit it anytime.  We are a welcoming city and we are working to improve infrastructure so you have a better and pleasant stay and time in Lima. How?  For the 200 anniversary of Peruvian Independence, the international airport in Lima would be enlarged, permitting more coming flights and more connections between the largest cities in Peru.  Peru has nice beaches and archaeological heritage in the North, the Amazonas river and its jungle, the imposing Andes with its Inca heritage, the Andean plateau with its Lake Titicaca, and countless wonders that Peru can offer.

Tourism has now turned the second largest industry behind mining making up 3.9% of the Peruvian gross domestic product (GDP). We have a constant growing number of travelers coming into Peru. Last year it was 3.5 millions travelers visiting Peru and we expect to receive 4 millions this year 2017, numbers given by Mr. Eduardo Ferreyros, Peruvian Minister of Foreign Commerce and Tourism.  The challenges are more than numbers, we need to give quality services meaning more train schedules to Machu Picchu, the highlight of Peru, good roads, order in the visits, limited numbers of visitors in periods of times, infrastructure, regulations of authorized operators among other laws.   These are challenges we all need to work on for 2021, when we celebrate our 200 years independence.

Tourism is an industry where I cannot find any cons and where most can get benefits. Tourism can help developing a sustainable world giving growth in economic, social and environmental dimensions.

Happy World Tourism Day to Everybody!

 

 

 

July is still affected by several riots, manifestations, strikes, disorder… originated by teachers from public schools and also from doctors from public hospitals… Demands and complaints are valid for those who feel that the government is not supporting them nor fullfilling their promises.

These events are not new. Every year or every other year we experience this. In Peru we are not yet realizing how important are the teachers for a good education or the doctors for healthy children and population.  And we, the people working in tourism, have to deal every year in changing programs, re-organizing itineraries, deleting everything to arrange it all again… not to tell all the costs involved in the destructions that these people are originating.

There are travellers with very good mood about changes and who have the positive energy in just saying that it is part of the adventure; but of course, some of the travellers feel the discomfort of awaking earlier to go the train station before the protestants block the roads and rails.  Different moods can be felt after waiting for more than 5 hours at a station to try catch the train if these people allow it. Guides and those facing the trip arrangements have to deal with very positive attitude and compensate in unimaginable ways….
After working in tourism for more than 20 years, this is so familiar to me… and to tell the truth, I have seen much more travellers with good attitude than those complaining. I would not like to send a message that we will like to continue in this unfairness.  Every citizen in each region should know and realise what is best for their community and I am pretty sure, they know that while they are demanding something, they are damaging their own community.  Peru is a country that is still developing in several ways.  We all hope that for good, the circumstances improve.
For those planning a trip to Peru, be prepared in experiencing a strike, or some time waiting, or some last minute change, or walk during a couple of miles from airport to your hotel.  Our tip: bring with you your flexibility and adventurous part : )  Just a thing that should be clear, here you are safe.  Either your trip to Peru with or without changes in your itinerary, you will feel the Peru flavour.

 

Thank you for considering a visit to one of the most important capital cities in South America, and the entrance to several great destinations in Peru. If you are stopping in Lima, give it a chance.  Probably you have received several mixed thoughts.  Of course, my point of view will go along the positive side.  Please, visit Lima, and your reply after it, will be “Thank you for your advice”.

I am sure, that if you are on a cultural trip to experience the Andean world, the ancient civilisations, the wonders of the jungle, and history of this land, you may not be thinking in Lima. Sure, Lima is nothing related to this. It is a big city where you might experience a chaotic traffic and big buildings as any modern city.

But what makes it special?  Why should I bother visiting Lima?  My best recommendation is to visit Lima when you just arrived the country. It is a great introduction to the Peruvian society, economic growth, cultural quirks and multiculturalism.  From here, and after understanding a bit of this, you can move on.

Now, in order not to make it larger for the answer… Allow at least 4 hours to enter the city if you are making a connection. Come on! Don’t stay at the airport!  Make it worthwhile either visiting the Historic Area which is protected and declared a World Heritage by UNESCO or one of its museums, either the Larco Museum or the National Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.   If you have 6 hours… mix the Historic Centre and one museum…. Hey! Allow a full day and stay in a wonderful hotel in the area of Miraflores, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and enjoy the Peruvian gastronomy, mixing your visits to the Historic area, a museum and one of the 200 Pre-Hispanic archaeological sites in the city! Pyramids of more than 2,000 years next to the modern apartments.

Of course not, a full day is not enough.  Stay two nights and enjoy the Bohemian district of Barranco where you can visit one of the best coffee laboratories to try the exclusive Peruvian coffee and more, learn how to prepare handcrafted bread.  Peru is proud to have several bread types which are pleasures for the senses.  So, my general recommendation, stay at least two full days to explore this city which is mixed with ancient heritage, traditions, good food, and experiences that will enhance your visit to Peru.

 

 
In Lima we have the honor of having the 5th, 8th and 33th best restaurants in the world.  Should we really have to book one of these to enjoy the great food we offer?

I talk constantly with travelers around the world that visit Lima and book one of these restaurants and I have mixed feedback: half say they where superb and spectacular, 25% of them say it was just fine and 25% rated them as really bad. I consider that a lot of that has to do with their expectations… as if you are aware you are visiting such a high recognized place, then, it should be an amazing experience in food and service.

Please, be aware that all Peruvian chefs have access to all the natural wonders of ingredients we can count on to cook delicious meals without the need of presenting them in a gourmet style.  There are several places in Lima, without need to be in a list, where yo can just stop by and enjoy. A usual tip: check if there are busy tables, an easy proof that it is a good place.

The market is a location where you can get to know the flavours of the several endemic fruits we produce, and to taste them in its natural phase, is wonderful. In Miraflores, if your hotel is around, I suggest: El Pez On and El Punto Azul for seafood and good ceviches. For creole food, I suggest: Las Brujas de Cachiche and Rincon Chami. For sushi and Peruvian-Japanese: Edo Sushi Bar; for Peruvian-Chinese:  Wa Lok… for Peruvian sandwiches and natural juices: La Lucha (in Larcomar and Parque Kennedy in Miraflores)…  if you need more recommendations.. list can be unlimited… explore the city and follow your instinct…

On the other side, if you would like to enjoy the gourmet restaurants in the list, please, book them in advance (month early to your visit). I have visited them as well, and I cannot deny the experience and proposal of each chef was really creative, innovative, elegant, delicious, and wonderful. I am sure I can give more adjectives if I would have more vocabulary.

Bon appetite!

You should proof yourself.  Is not only that its top restaurant, Central, has been in the last 3 years within the World 50 Best Restaurants; this year, Maido, in the 8th; and Astrid & Gaston in the 33rd place… but you can also go to any recommended restaurant in Lima and you can still have a great experience in your lunch or dinner, or, even in your breakfast at your hotel.
How, in the last years (about 10?), we have grown so far? Our food was not discovered? It seemed to. Peruvians are happy to thank Mr. Gaston Acurio for this achievements, as he was the leader of this movements when he moved to Paris to have culinary studies at Le Cordon Bleu. Once back, he developed the Peruvian ingredients with all new tendencies and glamour to offer the Peruvian dishes at a higher level. More chefs of course learnt and were involved after that.
Another big social movement involved in this culinary and restaurant stuff was all the process in having our ingredients grown in remote areas to arrive in a restaurant in the capital of Peru, Lima.  Peru is a very diverse country with difficult geography making transportation and logistics a big issue. All the farmers and workers involved in this chain were now moved to the big scene, and not behind… That also made all the population to move eyes and see the whole activity, acknowledging that there are several personalities in the process.
If you do not get a table confirmed at Central Restaurant, do not be dissapointed!  Lima and in general all the cities and towns in Peru have plenty of top qualified restaurants that I am sure you will be more than satisfied.  We are the mentors not only in Lima, but in all Peru, as we have visited most of the restaurants and hidden places to suggest the best.  As we are pretty sure that Lima is one of the best Food Cities in the World, we offer the travelers experiences including visit of markets, visit of towns to taste local deserts and traditional recipes, encounters with chefs, and getting to know more why Peruvian food is every day more and more recognised. 
 
I live in Lima and cannot stop trying different restaurants and new options to always suggest my guests, this includes a good coffee shop (the best ones are those offering grains brought from the Central and Northern cloudforest of Peru, areas like Cajamarca and Amazonas), the best cevicherias (for sea food), the best sushi bars (Lima is known as the best city to have sushi in South America), the best place to have a traditional Peruvian restaurant (with fried sweet potatoe, tamales, deep fried pork, etc), and so, on, I will not stop..
 
If you don’t like museums, archaeological sites, historic sites, cultural exhibitions, historic heritage, ocean views, architecture… you can still visit Lima for several days to enjoy its food!