Life in Lima

​It seems I’ve reverted to doing titles with words starting with the same letter! I’m wiriting this blog on the bus from Lima to Arequipa. I’m taking a very nice bus indeed with the company Oltursa, the same one that I used from Piura to Lima. They have a VIP section and the seats are large and recline quite a bit. There’s wifi but it doesn’t always work, and many movies – dubbed into Spanish. It’s more expensive than your standard ticket, but if it means I get to sleep a little, well, then it’s worth it in my book.

Typical scenery from the bus journey to Lima

Lima is quite the city, perhaps the best definition of chaos I have ever come across. The city is in a very dry position in the world. I’m guessing most of the northern half near the sea is with Peru, it rarely sees any rain. The place is dusty, there are mountains around Lima that sit in misty clouds, look out to the ocean from Lima and again you see so much dust it’s a little unfathomable. 

Yet in the centre of town, for all its hustle and bustle and possibly the WORST traffic I have seen in my life, I found grand architecture, amazing eclesiastical grandeur and huge public squares that couldn’t fail to impress. Lima is a city of contradictions.

It would almost be like walking around some of the biggest cities in Europe, and for sure Lima IS grand, but for the ever present feeling that one must be on their guard, accentuated by the locals I had with me luckily in Lima. It was a good place to know locals.

The main river is dry a a bone, yet the parks are green and there are trees about the place. Lima lives despite its conditions and location. The Plaza Del Armes has the Lima Cathedral to one side, the Presidential Palace to another. It’s very striking, as is the seemingly even bigger Plaza San Martin.

The architecture is certainly European in style, and the cathedrals were spared no expense when being designed and built back in the 17th century. The Cathedral de San Francisco was amazing in it own right, but the monastery attached was my favourite highlight of my short stay in Lima. It includes countless rooms filled with giant paintings, ornaments and more. The library was simply awesome, with just a touch of Harry Potter. I almost expected the books to start flying around the grand space. Then there were the incredible catacombs, unmissable, filled with bones, an amazing atmosphere.

Lacomer and the suburb of Miraflores seemed perhaps the best off part of Lima. Opposite the Marriott atop the cliffs down to the Pacific Ocean there was a mall overlooking the raging waves. The view was stunning – I can only imagine what it would  be like if the air wasn’t filled with dust particles obscurring the cliffs and parts of the city atop them.

Huacca Pucllano is an ancient Incan ruin dating from the 4th or 5th century AD. Actually the first site I took in, a guide took us around and we learnt a little about rituals and this temple complex. Built with adobe bricks with a special kind of filling between them, this was to guard against earthquakes 1600 years ago. It was sandy and dusty, but impressive none the less. They appear to still have almost half of it to excavate.

So there’s a quick summary of my short visit to capital of Peru, Lima. Sorry for the somewhat formal style I somehow fell into when I started writing it. Arequipa is next, very much looking forward to it. It will see me return to altitude, it’s quite a way up there. Wherever you are in the world, take care and May the Journey Never End!


  1. I’ve been to Lima a few times in their winter season, and I thought the murky air was pure fog, not dust! The very low-hanging clouds make everything kind of dismal until summer arrives in December, but you should see those cliffs and the main square under sparkling sun! I know it is also dry, though, and I’ve seen terribly sandy streets surrounding the main metro area (where the shanty towns are), but I don’t ever remember seeing dust high in the air. Glad you enjoyed your time there anyway!

  2. I’ve been quite looking forward to your travel blogs from South America, as I know you tend to cover places really well – and this is a great insight into the city of Lima (which is kind of a blank in my mind – like much of West Africa was, before I started following your blog!). Looks like an interesting place.

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