I had very little idea of what to expect in Peru and couldn’t wait to experience the unknown!
Rory and I flew from Panama to Peru on Latam Airlines; It was 4 hours of Netflix and chill in the sky.
Immigration and customs were easy; no landing forms, no bunch of questions, no long lines, no SCRUTINY…
JOURNEY FROM AIRPORT TO HOTEL:
Unlike Panama where Quique was waiting for us at the airport, we had to figure out a safe way to get to the hotel. The idea of jumping in any and every taxi didn’t sit well with me especially in a strange non- English speaking country. My heart was at ease when I spotted a VIP taxi service.
The traffic from the airport to the hotel was BRUTAL. We drove through a rough looking community which stretched for MILES, passed hills and cliffs that had no vegetation; at this point I was feeling BLAH.After what felt like a year and a century, we approached an area that was much more attractive and noticeably tourist oriented. Finally, JW Marriott was in sight.
“Welcome to Miraflores”,the driver said with a broad smile.
Rory wanted a 5 star hotel that was centrally located and JW Marriott was the perfect choice.
Upon arrival,we noticed a fleet of luxury cars that catered to the hotel guests. The staff greeted us with superb hospitality and a Peruvian cocktail ( Pisco Sour)
Our bags were whisked away by one of the bellmen who was dressed in a Tailcoat, top hat and white gloves. The ambiance was much more pleasant than what we encountered on our trip up to this point.
The room had a stunning view of the ocean with the exception of a day when the visibility was poor. A shopping mall was right across the road and you know ‘wi glad bag buss!’, an expression used in Jamaica which means super happy.
After settling in at JW Marriott, we were ready to hit the streets of Miraflores and soak up her beauty. Our first stop was Larcomar Shopping Center. This upscale mall is built into the side of a cliff and has both indoor and outdoor stores that overlooked the Pacific Ocean…impressive! Larcomar provides a vista for the beautiful sunset and is joined by an esplanade along the coastline where well kept parks such as the Lover’s park are enjoyed by tourists and locals. It was amazing to see how happy and in love the Peruvians were. They played with their children, walked along with pets and many couples openly expressed their love through kissing and embracing. It was truly a gracious and romantic experience to behold.
We took a leisure walk away from the coastline into the interior of the city.It is obvious that there is a high standard of living with well kept modern stores, restaurants, bike paths and public buses.The presence of tourist police cars were frequent and comforting.
Now that we have explored Miraflores, we wanted to see more of Lima and Peru. Marriott offered a pamphlet which had a number of interesting places to explore. Machu Picchu was highlighted as a must-see. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time see this sacred city and the other tours around Lima were closed for Easter.
Rory arranged for one of the hotel drivers to take us on a private tour.
We made a brief stop at Jockey Plaza which is the largest mall in Peru. Again, all the high-end and popular brands could be found here; it is quite similar to the Multiplaza mall in Panama.
From Jockey Plaza, we headed downtown to the historic sites.
Downtown had a totally different vibe from Miraflores. The buildings exhibited remarkable stonework with a European design.
We were dressed for cold weather as Miraflores was quite nippy but to our surprise the town felt like 110 degrees! My husband was sensible enough to wear layered clothing which he was able to peel off, but I wore a full blown sweater with nothing underneath. Luckily, I found a store that had cooler tops.
The highlight of the city were definitely the cathedrals. It is evident that Peruvians are serious about religion and many are loyal to their catholic beliefs. Due to the Easter observance, the entire city was shut down by the police. No motor vehicles were allowed to traffic. The streets were filled with people waiting to enter the cathedral.A slew of vendors sold catholic palms, the replica of Virgin Mary and Jesus, among other religious souvenirs and relics.
It’s a shame to leave Peru without sampling Ceviche(raw fish marinated in lime juice). It is the country’s most iconic dish and goes well with Pisco Sour. If you are a seafood lover you would have had a field day. We had most of our meals at the hotel and every bite was absolutely delicious. On our last day we grabbed lunch at Lucha Sangucheria restaurant which had a chill vibe and good food.
Rory and I both had a dish of fried pork, sweet potatoes and pickled onions which was heavenly!
I must admit that a piece of my heart is left in Peru. Peruvians are warm and friendly and they made us feel right at home. Cheers to Peru for an incredible 3 days!
Stay tuned for the last leg of my trip down south,Chile!