After a year of pandemia, we all thought this would be better, although, even after having some months of good news, we are again trapped with quarantines and travel restrictions.

All we love to share, all we love to do, is in pause. Empty streets gets me thoughtful on the strength we need to have. I consider, not only mind strength, but consciousness of how we should care ourselves, by exercising, by eating healthy, by sharing positive thinking and love.

The dreams are still in our mind; the plans are still in our agenda. Keep it alive, by learning about your longed destination, by making a wish list of your top 10 destinations of your life… and of course, not only travels, but personal goals.

All those who work in tourism, I share with you this frustration of holding on, but with faith and hope that we will soon need to recover. Those streets must be full again with action, energy, voices, warm and joy.

Nature can teach us so many things.  Let us just observe, keep calm for a while and watch how nature interacts, solves, develops, continues a path, or creates a new one if something gets across.  At this very moment we can be tangled up.  We might not know where direction to choose, which decisions to take, if we even should move or not.  Nature must be telling us, hey make a pause!  On the other side, we are so used to the pressure and most of the time worried about timings, we might be thinking in hurrying up….

Last year, the crazy 2020, the forecast for tourism was that all trips that were to be done in 2020 would move to 2021, but now, as we encounter 2021, all trips are now being moved to 2022 or cancelled at all… So… what we should do as tourism professionals? Should we do movements? Plan ahead? Wait?  Get prepared?

For sure, and because our hearts tell us that, people want to travel, explore, discover, and experience.  The thing is that all has been brought to a standstill due to government restrictions, health care, and current conditions.  Let us listen to our hearts and plan ahead, no hurries, no pressure, because it is in human hearts to share, to communicate, to socialize and to interact.  Nature works always finding a way to continue life. We, as humans, will figure out our way, a new way of living, were we will give priority to our feelings, to common benefits, because it is our world and humanity we are saving.

When we start traveling again, my guess, is that, we will raise our consciousness in being fair, in respect others opinions, in learning from other cultures, in enjoying every beautiful moment we are given.  Late connections? Strike in a city? Rain?  Hotel fully booked?  All these circumstances are part of the adventure.  We will untangle so easy by finding alternatives, change our mood, talk to another unknown traveler who soon will come a friend.

 

The world is now a proof against the misfortune we are facing.  Every day is a new challenge in terms of ways of living, helping our community, and courage to be strong toward the loss.  The consciousness of these times is helping our creativity, being empathic, and taking things more easily without stressing on time schedules or redundant commitments.

Under these circumstances, tourism and all the people behind it, are the ones more affected, being the economy with more restrictions to be practiced.  All efforts made by governments and tourism unions to keep strong can remain there, while we only have to wait and of course keep promoting, keeping the voice loud that we are still alive.

What would be the big task we need to work on to keep the good image and promotion of our Peru’s Country Brand?  Is there a good hope on a near future in tourism?  Is it something we can work on from this moment?

Definitely it is something that the government should work on, by having the right alignment of policies in investments, mainly in health system.  Without health, there would be no reliable place and without a reliable place, there would be no tourists willing to visit.  The Minister of Tourism and International Commerce (or Mincetur in Peru) needs to work together with the Minister of Health, as the priority is health.

If the health in the country can be under control, even for visitors, we are ready to receive guests from abroad.  Meanwhile, the private sector, the tourism unions, and every organization having the responsibility of using the Peru’s Country Brand, as Lima Mentor has, should keep working in the good image of Peru, its attractions, Peru’s flavor, color and history.  That’s the target.

The year 2021 started with very annoying news.  The famous coronavirus is having a new strain and again lockdowns and restrictions are being held in different parts of the world. Here in Peru, those who have been working in tourism were really enthusiastic about this starting year, believing seriously that this new year would be better, although after that kind of news, we are now so concerned and disturbed of how we can keep surviving if things are getting worse.

Definitely a new world order begun several months ago, a new way of life, with different targets and life priorities.  Now, I can not think that the world will be back just like the way it was.  Every one of us is learning this process and each of us should start thinking of how we can change the world for better, as far as I can understand, this is happening because we need to do something different.

Probably a new route, a new way of traveling, a new tourism, a new job, task, education, care, etc. Each one from its role can dream about it. Let us dream of a new tourism: (1) Affordable air fares, like we are having now; (2) Reduced number of travelers in each group so that each of the participants enjoy and learn appropriately; (3) Respecting each other’s space and taking care of everybody’s health; (4) Explore new destinations and set the profits to the communities visited; (5) Give a new value to local art and handicrafts; (6) Learn and enjoy the nature of our world by visiting and giving back to protected reserved areas ; (7) make businesses with local entrepreneurs, and so on, we can keep adding more dreams for a new world and new way of tourism that can be ahead of us.

The road ahead is tough and long and we must take one day at a time to scrutinize what would be better, on how we will act and add to this new world where we would need to look after our home and after each other as persons.

 

 

While nobody could believe what a strange year this could be, tourism has hold strong, with faith and hope. In Peru, our international air boundaries were strictly closed since March 15, 2020, and things immediately went to nothing, well indeed, during the weeks after, several travel agencies helped in the arrangements so travelers can go back to their homes safely.  Some months went by and some could just think that it would take a couple of months, but things went from bad to worse, making the situation feeling eternal.

After a couple of months, several friends in tourism started working in different other industries, trying to start a new way of life to generate income. Some others keep up in tourism by designing new routes, new prices, new markets, new packages, new offers and so on trying to attract and keep alive the joy of tourism.

International air routes restarted in October, that is, seven months without international flights, cutting down a big industry in Peru. Tourism in Peru is the fourth economy after mining, fishing and agronomy.  Thus, a big portion of families were out of their regular income, which was hard, in fact, still hard to overcome the situation.  Anyway, right after international flights restarted, some activity tourism began, of course, we just want to keep alive that dream and still have the joy to share Peru to the world.

We are starting a new year, and even we didn’t share any post during 2020, we were always on the loop, surviving and creating new ways, like, we started by designing virtual tours offering online shopping via Amazon.com which was so great to start with.  We closed the 2020 by making one unique real tour on December 29th, after exactly 9 months and a half.  And now new challenges like to face up to the fact that the Government just stated that all international visitors arriving in Peru after January 4th should make mandatory quarantine for 14 days, making another pause in tourism.

Anyway, there are always challenges in our lifes, but the important thing, is that we always learn and improve our ways of living. Let us keep healthy and enthusiastic.

 

Who would believe that a few months ago, when there were missing sport camps, some of them not ready yet, some of them just starting to be built just this year and expecting an average of 70,000 visitors including sportsmen, delegations, press, family and others involved in this big event, would be ready gloriously for its inauguration this last July.

It has already been a week and less than a week left and Lima has successfully been hosting several sport events, marathons along several districts of this big city and 19 venues in this big region of Lima (considering beaches for surf activities, river for rafting activities, golf clubs, etc).  All citizens are surprised as several big avenues connecting the venues have been specially designed for a special lane for the participants.  There have been some reports on little mishaps on some routes and staff not really well trained but the general event is being held very well.

All these guests we are having in the capital of Peru, I am sure, would love to learn and experience the important attractions that can be offered, once the excitement of dedication of commitment in the different disciplines have been gone.

If you have a short time and would love to experience the best, Lima Mentor, as an expert operator, best travel agency and fan of Lima, we highly suggest these tours in Lima:

A 3-hour excursion to the Historic Centre of Lima to appreciate the impressive architecture and learn from the viceroyalty times of Peru. This short tour, as we call it, Cultural City Tour of Lima, focus on the most important monuments and pay a visit to one of its convents and hidden spots in the area.

A 4-hour excursion would focus in the Larco Museum, an impressive private collection of only Precolombian artifacts located in a private and cozy mansion combined with a time in the Historic Centre.

A 8-hour culinary tour would take you to the market to taste the most important flavors of the city, its main endemic fruits and other products, visit the Chinatown, that has given so many influence in our gastronomy, visit a chef to learn how to make ceviche, and finally enjoy the bohemian district of Barranco with its bars, graffitis, and ocean views.

A 9-hour excursion would take you to the most important sites in a chronological visit of our history, including Pachacamac, an important Inca oracle, lunch in Barranco, the Historic Centre and finally the modern Magic Park Water with a show of lights and Peruvian music.

We can also arrange tailor made tours considering your interests and what you are missing. Some attractions that you may visit in your own time and are easy to explore: Parque del Amor with ocean views in Miraflores, the Larcomar Mall offering handicrafts, restaurants and entertainment also with ocean views, the Huaca Pucllana, an archaeological remain in the heart of Miraflores, the MALI museum offering a collection of Precolombian, colonial and contemporary art, among other attractions.

 

Paragliding Lima Mentor

 

Lima is between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes Mountain Range and gives a wide range of opportunities to have fun and feel adrenaline at its best while being safe.

In the coast we can find several surf schools in the area of Miraflores that are available every day.  In the beaches of the south (with better waves), you can book in advance.  Also kayak is available in Chorrillos (near Miraflores).   In the coast of Callao (near the Lima airport), we find the Palomino Islands where there are excursions offered everyday with possibility to swim next to the sea lions (wetsuits are offered as our sea may be cold).  You can book directly this half day activity in this link.

In the air, you can do paragliding both with and without engine.  Suggested to schedule any of these in the afternoon with more probabilities to have the right wind.

There are several biking routes in Lima covering gastronomic stops (tasting different flavors), others covering cultural stops (pre-Inca constructions), and others covering scenery (ocean views and parks). In all these circuits, Lima is pretty flat, so not too much effort.

Near Lima, in Lurin, only 22km south, you find Peruvian Paso Horses that you can rent and ride for hours crossing valleys, desert and beaches.   Also in this area, there is a new restaurant opened by a Belgium franchise that offers dinner (or lunch) served in the sky where up to 22 people elevate in a platform that rises 45 meters offering traditional Peruvian gastronomy with exclusive views of the Historic Sanctuary of Pachacamac, the Pacific Ocean and the Lurin Valley.  Also, this same area, offers rappelling and circuits of 3- 4 hours of trekking around the “Lomas de Lucumo”.  Enjoy nature in this humid area observing the famous “Amancaes flower”, a typical bulbous flower of these areas.

For more adrenaline, head 3 hours south of Lima (around 190km) to arrive in Lunahuana, where you can make different adventure activities including rafting in several levels, canopying and trekking.

To the east of Lima, we head to Huarochiri, this time 4 hours (around 200km, more time as we are heading up to the beginning of the Andes). In this area we trek to the waterfalls of Palacala and bungee jumping.

For buggies and sand boarding, we visit the area of Ica, only 3.5 hours south of Lima in a very good freeway along the desert.   Have fun in the desert and visit the oasis of Huacachina, a sample of this itinerary in this link.  Take advantage and do a brief flight in a small plane to overfly the famous Nazca Lines.

Lima has 44 districts from San Miguel (if you arrive via the LIM airport which is in fact within the province of Callao) to Pucusana to the south; to Ancon to the north; and to the east Lurigancho.  We all call this area as “Lima Metropolitana”.  Outside this perimeter, Lima has other 9 provinces, but we are still in the department of Lima (Peru has 24 departments or regions).  The province of Callao, right next to Lima, has 7 districts.  Lima and Callao are very integrated and can be considered as one city, but each one has its own city mayor and its own traffic rules, procedures and tax collections.  We have posted several recommendations on what to visit in Lima and its musts in the minimum time.  In this opportunity, we will send over our best suggestions to visit in the surroundings.

As a main cultural and archaeological visit the top is Caral, the ancient civilization in the Americas.  This is approximately 180km north (2-hour drive).  Its importance relies on its age, from 5000 years ago, contemporary to the Egyptian pyramids, and where you can appreciate how it is conserved, its architectural complexity, and the way how they were organized socially. The way we suggest in our full day, combines it with Lomas de Lachay which is a protected natural area and visit of a small town, Huara, where the Independence was declared for the first time.

If you go for adventure and sports, we highly suggest Lunahuana. This valley is located approximately 190 km south of Lima.  You need to go first directly 150km south in the Panamerican highway and at this point make a left to enter the valley into the Andes. Lunahuana offers possibility of rafting, canopying, mountain biking, and rappelling.

For a nature escape, we recommend the Palomino Islands, which are located in the province of Callao, only 20km north of Lima.  It is a smaller version, and of course, different, from Ballestas Islands in Paracas, department of Ica. It is a 3-hour excursion from its port where you would be able to observe mainly sea lions and sea birds and you have a chance to swim with the sea lions.

For an art escape, the direction is Callao Monumental. This area has been given its recognized value after several efforts of private organizations and last city hall mayors to empower its young citizens and show the positive and assets of this neighborhood.  You can appreciate its well-crafted architecture, from the early 1900s, graffitis of recognized urban artists and diverse new gourmet options for lunch.  The idea is to collaborate with local young neighbors and that this area can emerge thanks to culture.

Other suggested full days around Lima may include Pucusana, a beautiful beach with options to observe dolphins and sea birds in boat excursions (57km south of Lima) for birdwatchers, this may be combined with Pantanos de Villa.  Another option is the Landscape Reserve of Nor Yauyos-Cochas, this is 321km from Lima to the southeast, for this you would need at least one night in the area to observe its canyons, lagoons, forests, snow-capped mountains .   A mystical destination is Marcahuasi, 37km to the east of Lima, known as a magnetic and energetic center, perfect for meditation and relaxation lovers. Finally, but not at last, the beautiful towns of Azpitia, a nice pisco producer valley and Antioquia, a colorful town resembling retablos or altarpieces with frescos of flowers in all houses.

If you would like to experience Lima with its shiny sun, our summer is from December to March, in these months, we can appreciate and get the wonderful splendour of sun. The rest of the months are foggy. During summer, weather can get the highest temperature of 30 C or 86 F, but sensation is always higher.  Sometimes, even in summer, sun is appearing after 10am due to our usual fog.  During winter, our average temperature at daytime is 57 F or 14 C.

If you would like to experience a traditional festivity or activity, Lima is well known to have one of the biggest processions in world.  In October, the Lord of Earthquakes, or Lord of Miracles or “Señor de los Milagros” in Spanish is honored in processions around the Historic Centre of Lima, starting from the Iglesia de las Nazarenas. It is a miraculous image that was painted during the colonial times  (mid 1700s) and since then it has survived several big earthquakes and parishioners pray to it faithfully.  The exact dates of the processions change every year, but mainly they are during the first week, mid-month and by the end of October.

If you prefer to avoid traffic, my very best advice is to coincide your visit of Lima in a Saturday or Sunday, you take the most of the city and your time in these days.   If you head to Paracas from Lima (or return), don’t do it in a Saturday or Sunday, as most of Limeans are heading south to the beach.

Avoid visiting Lima in July 28 and 29 as these 2 days are our National Holidays and most of attractions are closed. Also, there is a bit military parade on July 29 that closes one of the main avenues heading to the Historic Centre.   Also during Holy Thursday and Holy Friday (moving dates every year) all attractions are closed and city may be lifeless, restaurants closed… shops closed… all closed…

Monday is the day where most national museums are closed like Pachacamac, Magic Water of Park, Bodega & Quadra, National Museum of History and Archaeology, Museo Pedro de Osma and MATE (these last two ones are private museums).  Larco Museum is a private museum that has the highlight of being open every day of the year with opening time until 10pm (except holy Thursday and holy Friday, Christmas and New Year).

In summer, you can enjoy surf classes in the coast of Miraflores or in the near beaches south Lima (40km south of Lima like San Bartolo). In winter, you can better enjoy paragliding.  Although both activities are available the year round.  Also important to know that our sea is very cold, having an average temperature of 12 C or 55 F.  A year round soft activity in Lima is biking. It is a great way to know several areas of the city. We organize bike tours as well.

Some of the most important events in the city are the “Festival de Cine de Lima” (several awarded films are showing in several movie theaters around the city) the second week of August; “Casacor Peru” (big display of arquitecture and interior design) with flexible dates but for sure during all October; and Expo Café (the biggest coffee fair in Peru) is mid-October every year. There used to be a Gastronomy Fair called Mistura that had fair success during almost 10 years, but it is not going anymore.

 

Lima is getting more and more busy at nights with diverse offers.  If you are coming to visit the cultural attractions and also get to know the nightlife, then, arrive a Saturday to enjoy the best of night and stay in Lima a Sunday for day visits without traffic. If you would like to get to know mainly the night life, then, please, do not visit from Sunday evening to Tuesday evening. Lima is quite silent and dead.

Straightforward, the bars in the area of Miraflores (recommended Huaringas Bar) and Barranco (recommended Ayahuasca) are superb.  Very lively environment and good music, but no dance… If you want to dance, then the spot is Lima Bar within Larcomar Mall.  You can find very young visitors (here 18 and older can drink) up to all those who will always feel young, probably 50s. There is a very curious nightclub just behind the La Tiendecita Blanca in the Miraflores roundabout, called 80s Resto Bar within the Caracol Mall. Only music from the 70s and 80s. Everybody dance!  Wanna feel the local Peruvian “juerga” or celebration? You may want to visit “La Noche” in Barranco http://www.lanoche.com.pe/  Always life rock bands and staying until 3am.  Even Mondays they play Jazz : )  What about New Wave or some SynthPop, IndieRock, 80s and 90s? You would like to visit Kong Terraza Bar, in the Historic Centre, Jr de La Unión 1042, meters from Plaza San Martín.

 

There is a good offer of theatre plays, art, music and dance shows at the Gran Teatro Nacional, you can check the events and performances in the link. http://www.granteatronacional.pe/  The Gran Teatro Nacional is a modern wonderful architecture work done by 2012.  Respectful theatre plays at different stages as La Plaza in Larcomar, the Alianza Francesa and ICPNA (both in Arequipa Avenue) and Centro Cultural Britanico (in Bajada Balta, Miraflores). You can buy and check more events in Teleticket, check the link:  https://teleticket.com.pe/  And of course, lots of casinos! Most of them in Miraflores in Larco Avenue and open 24 hours!

Of course, Lima is well known for its good restaurants, which most of them are closed on Sundays evenings. A cultural activity at night besides the performances is to visit the Larco Museum which is open until 10pm. Everyday including Sunday. For that, we offer this program:  https://www.limamentor.com/tours/huacas-larco-museum-by-night-with-dinner/

More Peruvian flavor:   A “peña” all Fridays, highly recommended and very local:  Don Porfirio, Calle Manuel Segura 115, Barranco, which live music and Afro-Peruvian dances.   Peña del Carajo is more commercial in Catalino Miranda 158, but shows starts midnight. Finally, some restaurants that offer show of Peruvian dances include: La Dama Juana also in Barranco, a show from 8pm to 10pm with Peruvian buffet dinner, we offer this program: https://www.limamentor.com/tours/magical-water-circuit-peruvian-dances/ ; Candelaria also in Barranco and Las Brisas del Titicaca, but this one starts very late with several breaks during until around 2am.

Lots of fun and lots to choose! Enjoy Lima!!