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Overview to Lima: Travel Guide and Tourist Information

Lima Street Performers

Travel destinations don’t come much more chaotic, diverse and passionate than this: Lima is a sprawling wonder complete with troubled past and dynamic present. With shanty towns sitting next to safe suburbs and skyscrapers, the city is like a whole world in itself.

The Plaza Mayor, with its changing of the guards (a thrice daily demonstration at the Palacio de Gobierno), is the thumping heart of the colonial Old Town. Elsewhere, the Museum of Religious Art and the Pinacoteca Museum (in the Catedral and Municipal Building respectively) stand out among Lima sights.

East of the Plaza, meanwhile, lies the splendid Iglesia de San Francisco, with its monastery and Catacombs Museum, and a little to the south sit the teeming markets of Chinatown. The area sums up much of what Lima is about: ethnically diverse, muddled, colorful and eminently attractive.

Lima’s second main Plaza – San Martin – can be found five blocks south of Plaza Mayor. Here, you’ll encounter two moe fine churches – San Augustin and Merced – with equally impressive facades. Continue south past the Plaza and you reach the Parque Neptuno and its Museo de Arte.

Away from the center, Lima is a collage of elegant and impoverished barrios. The flashy cafés and boutiques of Miraflores hum with activity both day and night, while the quasi-seaside resort of Barranco, on the other hand, has a more laidback, arty atmosphere.

The area north of the River Rio is just as fascinating, although much edgier. This is shantytown land, and there’s a decidedly gritty streak alongside some of the best nightclubs in the city. Here, travelers tend to seek the safety of a friendly local, or use their own discretion if going alone.

But that’s all part of the fun, really. Lima is such a diverse fusion of people in a unique mixture of settings that you have to take the rough with the smooth. As a whole, though, it all combines to make a seriously unforgettable traveling experience.

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