Cruise Port Reviews
Average Rating based on 1 Review:
Todd Todd saw things this way:
Much better than it's reputation, August 27, 2010
Reviewer: Todd Todd
Pros: Absolutely the best food in all of South America
Cons: Not attractive at all
Lima gets a bad reputation because for many people it is a short stay on the way to Machu Picchu. There's plenty to do in Lima for one day and two gives you a better idea of the city and the people. Most people will either arrive at the airport, or in Callao at the piers. The cruise port is satisfactory, but you need to go into the old colonial city center to begin to enjoy Lima. The old city center is a traditional square surrounded by the Cathedral, the government palace and other official buildings. The cathedral is standard issue Spanish colonial. The government palace does have tours, but is just a bunch of government offices with a bit of decoration. Just off to the side of the square and down a street is one of Lima's jewels, Casa Aliaga, a family house that has been there and in the family since the time of Pizzaro. Lima Tours can arrange private tours, a must. Near downtown is the convent of San Francisco. Again, Spanish colonial, but many of the rooms and courtyards are beautiful. The catacombs are an unexpected sight. Next door to San Francisco is a church that is falling down. Stick your head in for a sureal experience. Pigeons on the heads of saints, shafts of random light highlight the destruction. The central market is nearby, but don't go without a local and leave all your "tour" gear somewhere else. My favorite site, not to be missed, is the Larco Herrera Museum. Located in a residential area (it was once a house) this museum is a Lima highlight. First go through the museum, it's in two parts. Wonderful pre-Colombian pottery will amaze you. Then, make sure you visit the "stacks." Hundreds of pots. You can get lost in the creativity. In the "stacks" there isn't any fancy lighting, or display, but just the volume and quality is overwhelming. There's also a very nice restaurant on the grounds with outside tables. And, of course where there are tourists there is H. Stern. There's also the National Museum, but there are some small "private" museums in Lima that really give you a feel for Peruvian culture. Contact Lima Tours for arrangements. Out in Barranco, which is probably the one quarter that has a bit of touristic feel, is the Osma Museum in, again, an old home. It's in two parts, one the home, the other the "museum". Colonial artifacts abound, and the house and garden are charming. While in Barranco enjoy the galleries. There are painting, sculpture, and folk art. Peruvian folk art is exceptionally vivid and humorous. Barranco is just above the ocean, the ocean breezes can be cool. Along the cliffs above the ocean are some nice restaurants. One, way out on a point, would be a great place to have a pisco sour, Peru's national drink. But, the real reason to visit Lima are the restaurants. The quality and variety is amazing. Near every site there are restaurants with creative, delicious, and inventive dishes. Seafood predominates with fish and shellfish from the ocean and from the Amazon. Any decent "foodie" website will list a dozen "must go" restaurants. Try to avoid fancy hotel restaurants. The best restaurants are every bit as safe as a fine hotel. If you're already missing a good Chinese meal there are some good, but not great, Chinese restaurants in Lima and you can get Chinese style noodles everywhere. For shopping, the shopping center, Larcomar, hanging off the ocean cliff in Miraflores is a good start. Also, still in Miraflores, there is Petit Thouars Street. At one end of Petit Thouars is one of those huge cooperative market places with a similar place just across the street. Most places start to look repetative, but on La Paz Street there are a few antique shops with truly unique items. And, yes, they will bargain, and you should be prepared to bargain as well. If you liked the Galapagos you might want to take a naturalist trip out to the islands off of Lima. The marine life can be interesting. It's better than waiting all day at the airport for a midnight flight anyway. One last thing, the beaches in Lima are to be avoided. Look at them from a distance if you must, but do not plan on any time sunbathing. First the water is not safe, it's rocky and the water is very cold. However, if you just gotta check it out, the touristic restaurant at the end of the pier ( you can't miss it from Miraflores) is fun and the food is good touristic standard. Then, take a deep breath, enjoy the cool marine air, especially if your next stop is Cuzco.