Lima, the capital of Peru, was once just a layover for hot-footed tourists on the way to Cuzco and a Machu Picchu luxury trip. Not anymore. You wouldn’t want to miss South America’s gastronomic capital. A destination full of history in Lima’s historic centre, contrasted with new and exciting experiences for all travellers, regardless of your interests or travel style.
Aracari Recommended by Condé Nast Traveller
Of course at Aracari we think Lima is a great destination, but you don’t have to take our world for it. Journalist David Annand recently visited Lima with Aracari and shared his ‘Top Amazing things to do in Lima’ for Condé Nast Traveller magazine.
We love David’s pick of things to do and see in Lima’s historic centre – he mentioned so many of our favourite spots and expert led tours of Peru! The city has a plethora of experiences on offer, for all types of travellers. If you’re looking for adventure and thrills, there’s paragliding over the cliffs of Lima, a great way to take in the views and get a bird’s eye perspective of the city below.
For foodies, David recommends one of our favourite spots in Lima for fusion Amazonian cuisine – ámaZ restaurant. Peru is a mecca for culinary tours, and Aracari organises a fantastic private 10 day Peru with Flavour Itinerary for travellers wanting to taste their way around the country.
David stayed at Autor Estancia, a charming little B&B in the heart of the Miraflores neighbourhood that we love. It’s a hotel with a great location to explore the nearby restaurants and cafés dotted around.
The hidden treasures of Lima’s historic centre
David also enjoyed a tour of the best of Lima’s historic centre including a visit to Casa de Aliaga, the oldest colonial house in Lima, and possibly in all of South America.
Rich in history, art and gastronomy, Lima’s unique cosmopolitan nature is the result of a melting pot of different cultures and ethnic groups that arrived and settled in the coastal city. From the Pre-Hispanic civilisations, to the waves of immigration from Asia and Europe throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
One of the main fascinations of Lima is the concentration of ancient history in the area. Not only do the origins of the city pre-date the Spanish foundation of the city by several millennia, its museums are full of the artistic treasures of magnificent pre-Columbian civilisations that flourished throughout the coastal deserts of Peru.
Originally named the City of the Kings, it was the capital of the Spanish colonial empire in South America during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and was the administrative centre for a vast expanse of territory on the continent in colonial times. The city’s past supremacy is revealed in its well-preserved civil and religious buildings, such as the Monastery of San Francisco, the Palace of Torre Tagle and the Cathedral, the bull ring. The architecture reflects the fusion of native and Spanish styles with mestizo baroque buildings that lend the historical centre of Lima a distinct character.
Exploring Peru with an Aracari specialist
It’s easy to organise a standard tour of Lima, taking in the historical sites with a tour guide to explain the history and relevance of each place. What Aracari offers, and David experienced as part of his trip is a little bit different. We work with a small and select group of distinguished individuals to give you a unique and dynamic perspective.
Often facilitating behind-the-scenes visits and exclusive access visits in Peru, Aracari specialists offer a true insider’s perspective to the destinations you visit. Many of these characters do not have traditional tourism backgrounds and choose to work exclusively with Aracari, providing expert led tours in Peru: they are like-minded, enthusiastic professionals, eager to make personal connections and share their specialist passions with you.
Luis Villacorta Specialist Guide: An exclusive and unique perspective on Lima
David spent the afternoon with Luis Villacorta, an Aracari specialist. Luis is a Professor of Architecture and his expertise spans from Lima, Peru all the way to the Renaissance period in Italy. His interests are issues related to urban development and heritage conservation. Aracari has an exclusive relationship with Luis to accompany our guests on very special expert led tours of Peru, particularly focusing on Lima’s historic centre. The knowledge and insight that Luis has, will bring the past alive. He is well travelled and an expert at relating the past to the present – not only in Lima, but drawing parallels between cities and peoples all over the world.
David’s article, 10 Amazing things to do in Lima, mentions the fascinating conversations he enjoyed with Luis, “Expect the conversation to range from Thomas Aquinas’s vision of the ideal city to why the Andean peoples play harps…” – this is what Luis is great at – he will take you on a journey through not only the city of Lima, but a journey of thought, sharing ideas and perspectives.
Planning a tailor-made trip to Peru with Aracari specialist guides
If you’re interested in a personalised trip to Peru, including Aracari specialists for unique expert led tours of Peru that are carefully matched to your interests, please get in touch. We can arrange experiences with private chefs, artists, historians, musicians and more.