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Peru – Lima

Peru – Lima
When: Day 1, 13, and 16
Location: Miraflores, Lima
Faraona Grand Hotel http://www.faraonagrandhotel.com/
JW Marriott Hotel Lima http://marriott.com/property/propertypage/LIMDT
Technically, we were in Lima for less than two days. We were there for 6 hours for Day 1 and half of Day 13. Day 16 was last day of our trip, and we did a quick city tour in the afternoon. So in the end, we still don’t know much about Lima. In fact, most of the time we were in one district of Lima, Miraflores, where most tourists hang around.
6 Hours of Lima
Of the 6 hours, we spent an hour getting out of the airport, one and a half hour going back and forth between the airport and our hotel, and half hour to check into our room. By then, we had about two hours before meeting up with our tour group. I knew right the way two hours of sleep won’t be much help, so I took my time, taking shower, repacking some of the clothing (putting warm clothing away for the rainforest days), and watching TV.
Hotel is called the Faraona Grand Hotel. Chosen by our tour company, it is where we join (Day 1) and depart (Day 13) the tour group. This hotel reminds me of the hotel I stayed in Honolulu last year; some of the decor and facilities seem a little dated, but it’s been well-maintained and clean. Of course I didn’t see it as clean when we first got there, but second time around, after going through rainforest and camping, it looked especially clean and comfortable.
Last day of our trip
The other hotel we stayed in Lima was the JW Marriott. It’s a 4-stars hotel, and they charge everything accordingly. A few things led us to this hotel: 1) the building itself looks interesting and beautiful, 2) I could get a corporate rate there, which is about 40% savings, 3) all rooms have ocean view. We were a little skeptical with that last claim. Turns out, most of the rooms do have nice big view of the ocean, but some of them have a small view of it. We got two rooms, one with a nice view, the other one with a tiny bit space where you can see the ocean.
But ocean view is a little overrated, especially when we were not there around sunset. Basically it is facing west, so not much to see in the morning. But sunset over the Pacific is quite lovely.
The area just in front of the hotel has a nice outdoor shopping mall called LarcoMar <http://www.larcomar.com/larcomar_index.htm>. It’s probably one of the few places in Peru where it feels like North America. It’s where we had KFC, real tasty chicken. It’s also where I had Starbucks (coffee tastes just like home, too bad they don’t have oatmeal raisin cookies) I’m sure we could’ve spent the whole day there, but we all know it’s better to do a city tour, no matter how quick and brief it is. So in the same fashion, I list the places we went, just as briefly:
  • Monumento a los Amantes (Lovers’ Monument, Miraflores)
  • Main Square in Barranco
  • Gran Hotel Bolivar, a historical hotel in Old Lima http://www.granhotelbolivarperu.com/
  • Plaza de Armas, the Main Square in Old Lima. Around the square, there is Palacio del Gobierno (Presidential Palace), Municipalidad de Lima (City Hall), and La Catedral (cathedral)
  • Convento y Museo de San Francisco, famous for its catacombs (I think Marg has a picture of the skulls)

All these places in 3 hours. Our tour leader Maria did a fine job, probably speak the best English speaking guide we met. At our request, they drove us to an area in Miraflores filled with Handicraft markets. Although I’m not big in shopping, they sell plenty of interesting things, and it’s not hard to spend a couple hours there.

Finally, before heading to the airport, we went to some fancy restaurant, Restaurant Huaca Pucllana <http://www.resthuacapucllana.com/> I had Creole Style Chupe <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chupe>, a typical Peruvian crayfish chowder. I thought the place is not bad, and the best thing about this restaurant is the view of the adobe pyramid, right outside of the building. But rest of us thought service could be better, i.e. a waiter who can speak English. It was our last day of the trip, I guess by then we all just wanted go home.

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