While in Lima, we took a free walking tour to explore the Historic Centre of the city. In 1988, this beautiful old part of Lima was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its originality and high concentration of historic monuments constructed during the time the Spanish were present here.
Despite damage caused by several earthquakes over the past century, it’s a great place to see some of Peru’s gorgeous colonial architecture.
Plaza de Armas, Lima’s colourful main square, was considered the foundation for the “City of Kings” in 1535 when it was founded by Spanish conqueror Francisco Pizarro. This public square is also where Peru was declared a Republic in 1821.
The Government Palace (Palacio de Gobierno) is located at one end of the square. Every day at noon, you can go and watch the Changing of the Guards, an hour of music and marching (and high kicks!) displayed behind the palace gates. This is where the Peruvian president resides.
It certainly is a beautiful spot to wander around. Below are a few of my favourite sights!
Cathedral of Lima
Entrance to the Cathedral
Fountain in the centre of Plaza de Armas
Plaza de Armas
San Francisco Church
Beautiful stained glass ceiling at the Mario Vargas Llosa library
Inside the Church of Santo Domingo
Beautiful alter in Santo Domingo
San Martin de Porres, Santa Rosa de Lima & San Juan Macias tombs
Basilica and Convent of Nuestra Señora de la Merced
Ornate door knocker
Jumping into freezing, smelly water isn’t something I generally enjoy doing, but that’s exactly what this excursion was…and I LOVED it!!
While travelling in Peru, we opted for a unique excursion in Lima – swimming with sea lions!
We headed to the marina in Callao to meet up with our tour before setting out into the Pacific Ocean. Our guide pointed out the smaller islands we passed en route, as well as different wildlife including pelicans and Humboldt penguins! It was a rough ride out, but as we rounded the bend to Palomino Island, you could already hear the sea lions. There were hundreds of them. They began jumping off the rocks to follow the boat, splashing and barking away. They were ready to play!
We got our wetsuits on and one by one jumped into the chilly water and swam out to them. The curious sea lions would come very close, sometimes even touching your toes, before swimming away again. We spent 20 minutes in the water swimming with them all around us. What an incredible experience!!
- Went with Mar Adentro Excursiones
- Wetsuits are provided
- Bring a camera that can go in the water, towel and warm clothes for the boat ride back…you’ll be cold!
- Hotel pickup is included (be sure to book that option)
One of Peru’s most famous dishes is not exactly a conventional one – at least not by North American standards. Here, though, Cuy (guinea pig) has been a staple in the Andean diet for around 5,000 years. Long before they were considered cute fluffy pets, they were raised in the Andes for food.
While gourmet chefs have spruced up the original recipes and are now adding their own flare to the dish, Cuy is generally roasted whole, with the head, teeth, ears, and other parts left intact. They are doused in salt and garlic to crisp up the skin. You can find them being sold as “street meat” on sticks in areas surrounding the Sacred Valley, but many restaurants in Cusco and a few in Lima also serve the dish. For Peruvians, Cuy is a dish served on special occasions, not part of the everyday menu anymore. But with the influx of tourists over the last decade, many restaurants keep Cuy on the menu for those curious travellers to taste. It’s generally one of the most expensive items on the menu, costing anywhere from 40-70 soles ($15-28 USD).
I like trying local dishes while travelling, but this one was harder than most. Growing up, I had pet guinea pigs named Fuzz and Magic, and seeing the little face still intact on this Cuy dish definitely made me feel guilty for taking a bite. If you can get your head around it and forget what you are eating, the crispy skin tastes a lot like fried chicken.
I certainly won’t be making this dish a regular, but if you are in Peru, it’s definitely a must-try!
Categories: Blog, Photo, South America, Video, Where in the World
Tags: cuy, food travels, guinea pig, Lima, Peru, travel, travel addict