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!!

What a dilemma is the transportation for those who have visited this city, am I right?

If you are visiting Lima for just a couple of nights (which is the minimum fair stay for the wide range of attractions in this city), then the suggestion is to avoid the fuss, and more over if it is your first time in this heavy traffic city.  The best always would be that a local operator takes care of you and you just relax while you catch a good conversation with your driver or guide (by the way, we work with English speaking drivers who can be easily graduated as guides!)

If you are in Lima for business and you are staying for more than 2 days, then, it is a thing that you might think about it, if you have already enjoyed a bit of the adventure in the traffic in other Latin America countries.

If you are thinking in travelling around Peru driving a car, then it might be an option.  Something to take into account are that the distances in Peru are really long and driving into the Andes is quite a challenge.  Probably, it is a good idea if you think in a route along the coast, that route is nice and easy.  Domestic flight fares have now come down and with the entrance to the market of low-cost air companies, it is a great to compare different services and prices, as well as timings.

Driving in the traffic of Lima is a demanding job for those who are used to drive in places where everybody respects the rules. Here you have to be careful if a dog crosses, if some children are playing around, if there is a pothole, if another driver crosses the red and you are in green, if people are getting off a bus in the middle of the street, if the traffic lights are broken, etc…

There are some international car rental companies at Lima airport, and you can notice it is a small offer for such a big city.  Seems like people is afraid about it… and insurance is high because the risks are high.

On another point, and a thing you also have to consider, is that there is no metro system in our city. So far, we have a small route of a metro line covering around 20km which is a very short amount for a big city of around 11 million inhabitants.  A second metro line is in project, but probably ready in minimum 10 years more. There is another transportation system called El Metropolitano also covering other 20km approximately…  These facts make the avenues of Lima very busy with buses and taxis.

In short, if you like adventure, rent a car in Lima or Peru is a good idea : )

 

              Malecón de Miraflores, Lima, Peru

Thank you for staying and explore the capital of Peru!   If you are staying overnight, my best suggestion is to book your stay in the area of Miraflores. From here you can just walk to Park of Love and have the ocean views and the romantic quotes in mosaic tiles.  Very near, just two blocks away, you can find Larcomar, the shopping mall facing the Pacific Ocean with handcraft shops, variety of restaurants, and entertainment.

Walk to the heart of Miraflores, or Parque Kennedy or “the cats park” where you can stroll around and try several Peruvian street food such as mazamorras, picarones, emolientes, butifarras (Peruvian ham sandwich), among others.  About a kilometer away you will find Huaca Pucllana, a pre-Inca archaeological complex with its site museum, pyramid to walk up, an exhibition of endemic Peruvian flora and fauna including the Peruvian dog, llamas, the guinea pig, quinua, Peruvian yellow chili, different kind of potatoes, and much more.

From Miraflores you can either walk (average 2km) or take a cab to Barranco, a wonderful place to allow good time to enjoy its art galleries, coffee shops, ocean views, bars, and main plaza. Barranco also offers the house of Mario Testino, a well know Peruvian photographer with its exhibition in a beautiful Republican mansion; and Pedro de Osma Museum with its private collection of viceroyal art.

For your evening, the place is the Magic Water Park, far from Miraflores or Barranco (around 8 km), thus a cab ride is recommended.  The idea is to visit this park after 6pm when it is already dark to observe the light shows in the water fountains.  There are shows at 7.15pm, 8.30pm and 9.30pm and it is closed only Mondays.

Those are my places where I suggest to visit on your own.  Highly recommended to go with a guide to the Historic Center where there are plenty of monuments, the area is a UNESCO city and preserves several constructions from the colonial times (1535-1821) rich in history, art and beauty architecture.   A guide is important to take advantage of the time there with so many places to visit and focus on your main interests.   A guide would also be good to have at Larco Museum to discuss and have a general view and information of the artifacts observed.

Others areas to explore in Lima either with guide or without, depending on your travel style: Pachacamac Archaeological Site, Pedro de Osma Museum, Palomino Islands, Demonstration of Peruvian Paso Horses, Amano Museum, MALI Museum, Museum of National History, among others.

There are companies renting bicycles if you enjoy riding. You can explore the area of Miraflores, San Isidro (for Parque El Olivar) and Barranco.  There are bike lines for these three districts.  Enjoy Lima!

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!