Located on the western shores of South America, bathed by the Pacific Ocean and refreshed by the Andes, Peru is the destination of many travelers for the consecrated and long-sought Machu Picchu – a landscape photographer ’s Shangri-la. But in order to get to the “lost city of the Incas,” one must inevitably pass through the Peruvian capital, Lima, where all international flights land. So, if you are the kind of travel photographer who also seeks good food, friendly locals, history lessons, and even outdoor activities, Lima is definitely worth a tour.
Below are 5 reasons why you and your friends should indulge in a stopover at Peru’s capital:
Malecón is, in fact, what Peruvians call an avenue by the sea, which follows the course of the beach. The difference is that, since some of Lima’s districts are on cliffs, these avenues are up there and not with their “feet” in the sand. Walking around admiring all the beauty of the place sounds quite touristy – but, honestly, it is a must-see. The view of the Pacific coast is breathtaking – especially if you visit Lima in the summer when the sun actually comes up – making it the perfect spot for landscape photography.
The most famous Malecón of the city is in the neighborhood of Miraflores and, because it has a large number of parks and gardens, it is also the busiest – always full of locals as well as tourists. If you are looking for an environment frequented by locals, the best place is the Malecon de Barranco. Whatever your choice, you are sure to be amazed by the beauty of the area and have your SD card full of photos at the end of the day.
Lima is a city with many museums (more than 70) but this one is special because it tells the story of the numerous pre-Inca civilizations that inhabited the Peruvian territory since 2.000 BC. The great distinction of the Larco Museum is that it offers a general overview of the history before the Incas, facilitating the understanding of how these people reached the peak of their development. For the vacation photographer, this is undoubtedly the best introduction to everything you will see in Peru since it offers some historical background to the images you are bound to capture if plan to visit Cuzco and Machu Picchu.
Jirón Ica and Jirón Ucayali
The historic center of Lima is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and will surely be on your travel itinerary, since it showcases the essence of modern history in the country while being a great spot to photograph. The houses, churches, squares, and museums are a part of the historical force of Spanish colonization in Peru and it is impossible to go unnoticed.
However, during your visit to this side of the city, be sure to pass Jirón Ica and Jirón Ucayali. This street, currently pedestrian-only, is one of the most beautiful in the center of the city, with countless well-preserved colonial mansions ideal for a day’s photo session. There, you will see the most beautiful facades, gates and balconies of the city, in a perfect state of conservation, to the delight of any fan of architecture.
It is impossible to talk about Lima and not mention the food. Peru has become, in the last 20 years, a successful exporter of its gastronomy – for good reasons. Fresh ingredients, local producers, and a people that express in the flavors the admiration for their land. If you come to Peru, you will inevitably be immersed in the fascination the locals have for their gastronomy.
Lima, being the capital, has become a stronghold of great restaurants and an excellent selling point for producers. Going to a market in Lima is unique, not only because of the variety of fruits, vegetables, and spices but because vendors sell more than the products: They also sell their history, how to produce, the beneficial effects for the body, harmonization with other ingredients, not to mention the recipes – it is a real cultural lesson and a colorful place to take portraits of the people.
There are many places to explore the surroundings of Lima, especially if you are a fan of outdoor activities. Amongst them, llari – an “experiential field” – is the ideal spot to spend a weekend full of adrenaline. It is located in Huaral, 75 kilometers north of Lima, and has different activities for adventure fans such as trekking or bike rides. One of its attractions is the circuit of high ropes with towers, suspension bridges, and canopy. This is a great opportunity to take action shots and practice your panning skills.