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A balance between seeing the wealth of tourist sights and also getting a feel for this first class city
Jump in a taxi and head to the main square (Plaza de Armes or Plaza Mayor). IT is about 25 minutes and 10 soles from Miraflores.
This is a beautiful cathedral and houses the tomb of Francisco Pizarro, the Spanish Conquistador. The architecture rivals that of Europe, and I found was more beautiful as in encompassed some Peruvian influences and has significantly less visitors, permitting a feeling of a house of worship as opposed to another tourist attraction. A tour in English is included in the entrance fee (for a tip) and well worth it, as the cathedral also has a small museum attached.
Make sure you are in the square facing the Palace by 11:45 am, as the changing of the guard occurs daily at noon (for about 30 minutes). The band and soldiers are dressed in navy and scarlet uniforms with all the wonderful pomp and ceremony of Latin America.
After the Changing of the Guard, hurry over to the Santo Domingo convent, as it closes around 1 pm. This is a stunning religious sanctuary, and admire the frescos and paintings in the cloisters and the original Spanish tiles lining the walls. Note also the change from European to Arab-inspired architecture and take a minute to sit in the cloisters and enjoy the serenity and the gardens. Visit the tombs of Santa Rosa de Lima and San Martin de Porres - two of Peru's three saints.
Employ a guide to navigate the streets of Downtown Lima and show you the sights. Admire the beautiful cedar balconies around the Plaza de Armes, particularly the Masnion Torre Tagle. Include a guided visit to the Inquisition Museum and see where thousands perished. It is believed that a series of tunnels run under central Lima, connecting Santo Domingo to the Presidential Palace and also the Inquisition Museum to San Francisco, where many bodies were entombed in the catacombs there. From the Museum, pass by Congress and maybe walk down Chinatown, which is perpertually bustling and is like Chinatown in any city. Venture towards San Francisco via the modern park on the banks of Rio Rimac, where sometimes free performances are held. Admire the old city walls to the south of the park.
By now it will be well past lunch, so upon returning to Plaza de Armes, go to Don Juan for lunch (Jr. Carabaya 318). Here English and Spanish menus abound with Peruvian fare at affordable prices. Try a Pisco Sour or non-alcoholic Inka Kola (like creaming soda) of Chicha Morada to accompany lunch.
Head back to Miraflores and visit the amazing Larcomar shopping complex, build into the face of the cliff. Wonderful views of the coast can be enjoyed whilst sipping an algorrobina at El Templo within Larcomar. Many shops are situated here, so enjoy window shopping or pick up a baby alpaca scarf or wrap from Kuna by Alpaca http://www.alpaca111.com/
As a break between shopping trips, head slightly inland from Larcomar to Dalmacia, abotu two streets back from the ocean in Miraflores. Enjoy a drink and snack at this local Lima restuarant (San Fernando 401)
After 5pm, especially on weekends, Parque Kennedy (just a few blocks from Hostal El Patio if you stay there!) holds a market and often free performances in the small ampitheatre (later in the week/weekends I believe).
Across Parque Kennedy are a number of large department stores and specialty shops. Enjoy the throng of tourists and locals alike in Pizza Street, as spruikers try and coax you into their restaurants. A great place to end the evening with a drink and watching the nightlife pass by.
Take a taxi out to Pachacamac and employ a guide to take you on a drivign tours of these impressive desert ruins. Traffic may be thick to/from Pachacamac, but seeing Lima suburbia is also interesting.
On your way back from Pachacamac to the airport, stop by Niki Beach (Playa Las Cascadas) for a buffet lunch. Situated on the ocean, enjoy more Peruvian delicacies or the international offerings at the buffet. A great little bar to whittle away the afternoon and fantastic service and atmosphere.
If your driver is allowed, take the narrow, windy and sometimes petrifying road up to San Cristobal. It is north of Rio Rimac and you pass through some less deirable areas to get there, but once there, you are treated to fabulous views of all of Lima. Particularly impressive at night, as the expanse of the city can be seen. If your driver cannot take you up, buses regularly leave Plaza de Armes to reach the top.
Once checked in at the airport, retire to Quattro D for some of the best and most accessible coffee for tourists in Lima.