Spring is already here in Lima and Summer (from December 22 to March 23) is also about to arrive, so this is a perfect time of the year to get to know this city on your own. Actually, even winter would be a good time, since Lima’s minimum temperatures never go below 13°C (so it’s never really cold here) but well, you know, we all take better city photos on sunny days, right?
First step is arriving in Lima Downtown. If you are staying in or near the neighborhood, you have already done this. But if your hotel is in either Barranco, Miraflores or San Isidro (which is likely to be the case), you can take the Metropolitano Bus: make sure you step down in Colmena Station.
From here, you need to walk one block and to arrive to Plaza San Martin, the starting point of your Lima Downtown historic photowalk. Plaza San Martin — Photo courtesy of J. Enrique Molina
Plaza San Martin is not as old and historic as Plaza Mayor (next stop) but it’s a well kept place full of beautiful buildings of art noveau style. This place was inaugurated in 1921, celebrating the first 100 years of the Peruvian independence, and that’s why its main monument is dedicated to Jose de San Martin, one of the most important independence leaders. Now you need to continue walking through Jiron De La Union, a narrow pedestrian-only street that connects directly to the oldest, the most traditional place in Lima, the place where the city was actually founded by Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro: Plaza Mayor. Jiron de la Union — Photo courtesy of Isabel Guerra
You need to walk some six blocks along this street, during which you will see how the modern city has taken and transformed the traditional buildings, but do not miss La Merced church and its beautiful Baroque architecture. In Jiron De La Union you will also find lots of shops, restaurants, and places to buy something to eat or drink on the go in case you need it.
Then you will arrive in Plaza Mayor, where you can see Palacio de Gobierno, the Cathedral, the Municipality of Lima and, of course, the traditional fountain in the middle of the place. This is why this spot is a must see. Not only was Lima founded here, but it preserves a lot of its history, and you can take a glance of its ancient glory days, when Lima was the capital city of the richest and the most important Spanish viceroyalty of its times. Plaza Mayor - Cathedral and fountain — Photo courtesy of Isabel Guerra Plaza Mayor - Archbishopric's Palace — Photo courtesy of Isabel Guerra
On a clear day, you will get to see Cerro San Cristobal, the guardian hill of Lima according to Andean traditions, far behind the Palacio de Gobierno. Palacio de Gobierno and Cerro San Cristobal — Photo courtesy of Isabel Guerra
From here, you need to continue walking, this time along Carabaya street (by the right side of Palacio de Gobierno) straight to Cordano, a traditional tavern and restaurant. Cordano's Doors — Photo courtesy of Isabel Guerra
Either you step there for lunch or not (its ham sandwiches are legendary),you will have to turn right at this corner so you can get to San Francisco Church and Convent, which has a site museum and a fascinating complex of catacombs. San Francisco church — Photo courtesy of Isabel Guerra
Take note that San Francisco has also a small but complete gourmet restaurant, so you may want to end your tour actually having lunch here. And, to get back to your hotel, you can walk back by the same route you have just made, so you can take more and better photos… or if you are too tired already, simply take a taxi. From this point to Miraflores, they may charge you something between 15 to 20 soles.
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