Many people pass through Peru’s capital, Lima, en route to the country’s historic sites like Machu Picchu. But Chris Backe reckons this sprawling city of nine million people deserves more than an overnight stay. He’s written a guide, 3 Days in Lima, that lets visitors get the most out of the city.
“Lima by itself makes for a wonderful few days,” Chris told me. “It has a lot of fun places. It is mainly used as a gateway to the rest of Peru – it is the biggest city with the biggest airport. I just think people should give it more time than they currently do.”
The city has been hit by devastating quakes twice in its past but there’s still plenty to explore. “Lima is an historic city which is slowly embracing the 21st century,” explained Chris. “The Spanish and Catholic heritage is very strong and there are a lot of wonderful old colonial buildings.”
The city is on the Pacific coast and Chris says there are beach areas in Lima. Some have been developed quite nicely and most have a good view but they’re not very clean and facilities can be poor. Chris told me he wouldn’t go swimming there.
On the whole though, Chris says he felt safe in Lima. “The Miraflores district is an upscale touristy neighbourhood where a lot of hotels are located. Once you get out of that area you are in the lesser-travelled side, where there are more pickpockets and opportunistic thieves. There are schemes and scams everywhere in the world and a good traveller always keeps a look out, is never drunk in public and always knows where they are going,” says Chis.
The city is home to one of the world’s most bizarre museum’s – the Brain Museum. “There are around 1,000 brains across three rooms,” said Chris. “Some of them show the brains with different forms of dementia.” Is there any reason for it being there, I asked? “It’s inside a hospital, so it was probably part of some kind of medical collection,” said Chris. There’s another unusual museum in the city. The Larco Museum has a collection of antique erotic pottery!
Chris’s guide also offers a Lima food tour. It’ll take you around the Miraflores area and you’ll have no fewer than seven courses. Chris recommends ceviche to start and then a seafood soup. You can try a smoothie made from local fruits and it ends at the chocolate museum.
3 Days in Lima by Chris Backe is available on Amazon.