Peru’s capital and international gateway city, Lima makes a convenient and fascinating complement to Aqua Expeditions luxury cruise on the Amazon River. Lima stretches for miles along South America’s Pacific coast and while at first glance, this city may feel impersonal and intimidating, those who dig a little deeper will find elegant homes, delightful colonial churches, excellent museums, and cutting edge restaurants.
The nearly 500-year-old city of Lima was founded in 1535 by Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro, who also designed the central Plaza de Armas. From here in the heart of Lima, Spanish conquerors once ruled a region that stretched from Panama to Chile. Later, Peru declared its independence from Spain here in 1821.
Our favorite highlights of Lima include the 45,000-plus Pre-Columbian pottery vessels, textiles and gold and silver objects inside the Museo Larco, the Governor’s Palace that’s packed with treasures from the colonial era, Lima Cathedral containing Pizarro’s tomb and the Church of San Francisco, with its elaborate Baroque architecture, musty catacombs, and piles of skulls. In the nearby neighborhood of Miraflores, amateur archeologists can climb to the top of Huaca Pucllana, a mud brick pyramid that predates the Incas. This upscale neighborhood skirting the sea is also great for shopping. Another seaside enclave, known as Barranco, has become Lima’s version of New York’s Greenwich Village, for its lively bars and coffee houses. Among this neighborhood’s gentrifying Spanish mansions sits the Asociación Mario Testino (MATE) a non-profit cultural institution established to exhibit not only its vast collection of the Peruvian born international photographer’s work but also to consider the place of indigenous cultures in contemporary society.
Saving the tastiest for last, ceviche is believed to have originated in Peru with the arrival of the Moors from Spain, or among the indigenous Moche people who lived along the coast some 2,000 years ago. No one knows for sure but most agree that this dish made with fresh raw fish marinated in citrus and usually spiced with chili peppers, chopped onions, salt and coriander is quintessential Peruvian. We recommend tasting ceviche in its classic form, as well as sampling innovative variations such as those of acclaimed chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino prepared on board for Aqua Expeditions guests and at his top ranked Malabar in Lima’s San Isidro neighborhood.
History is clear that in Lima, American bartender Victor Vaughn Morris mixed the first pisco sour in the early 1920s. The cocktail’s name comes from its base liquor, Peruvian pisco and its sour Key lime or lemon juice. Aqua Expeditions guests will learn the secrets to mixing this Peruvian classic but Lima abounds with classic and cutting edge bars where you may toast your trip with our national sip.
Please note that pre- and post- Amazon cruise itineraries are not included in the Aqua Expeditions Amazon River cruise rates and are priced separately. We will be happy to recommend our preferred tour operators to arrange this component of your Peru holiday.