Crowded, grey and noisy, yet sophisticated, young and vibrant. This is Lima. One city, two souls. A place where the elegant colonial architecture mixes with simple yet colorful houses on hills and where modern skyscrapers hide the sea of brick houses of working-class neighborhoods.
If you are in Lima and only have 24 hours, here are a few tourist attractions you cannot miss out on:
1. Downtown Lima
Lima’s historic center was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco and the main attractions are within walking distance from each other.
You can start from Plaza San Martin, a beautiful Neocolonial public square and one of Lima’s most iconic sites. From there you can walk along Jirón de la Union, a commercial pedestrian street that still bears the signs of its aristocratic past. This street will lead you to Plaza de Armas, Lima’s colorful central square, home of the Cathedral and the Government Palace, among other prominent institutions.
Also, three blocks away from the main plaza, there is the Government and Inquisition Museum, where you can delight your eyes with skulls, human bones and replicas of torture devices.
Don’t miss Alameda Chabuca Granda, a small park along the Rimac river, that offers a panoramic view of part of the city and of Cerro San Cristobal.
2. Park Kennedy and Costa Verde
If you love cats, you have to visit Park Kennedy, a beautiful small green area in the modern neighborhood of Miraflores, where countless cats tag along locals and visitors.
Go seven blocks East and you will get to Costa Verde (Green Coast). Enjoy the ocean breeze, go for a stroll around Parque del Amor (Park of Love) and have an ice-cream at Larcomar, Lima’s fanciest mall.
This is Lima’s bohemian neighborhood, located on Costa Verde, just South of Miraflores. Barranco features elegant casonas (Colonial and Republican-style houses), a wide variety of bars and restaurants and many street artists ready to entertain you.