While many travellers only pass through Lima for a day or two on their way to Cusco and Machu Picchu but there may be more reasons to stay for a few days longer. Andean Experiences, a Peruvian boutique tour operator and hotel developer has announced Lima's first luxury arts boutique hotel, Hotel B, will be opening in March 2013.
The new hotel, formally named El Hotel de Barranco, was once an abandoned historic mansion built in 1914. Located in what is known as the bohemian neighborhood of Barranco, it is a seaside community popular with travelers as it has many artists studios galleries.
While there are many great hotels in Peru's capital city this is the first boutique hotel in Lima. Hotel B will feature only 17 suites, a private spa and a signature restaurant by Oscar Velarde, one of Peru’s best known restaurateurs.
The mansion is currently being restored with a focus on maintaining its heritage while creating modern amenities for its guests.
Lima is often overlooked as a destination but there are many reasons to stay in the city:
Without a doubt the drawing factor to Peru is the ancient kingdom of Machu Picchu but many travelers have no idea the country is a source of many amazing sites; in fact Northern Peru is much less expensive and crowded. For those that stay a few extra days in Lima, there is time to visit pre-Columbian sites just on the outskirts of the city.
Although the city has suffered from a number of earthquakes including a massive one in 1746, much of its history is well preserved and open for tourists to explore. One of the most impressive museums is Convento y Museo de San Francisco. An impressive example of colonial architecture with baroque detailing many people come here for one thing - the catacombs beneath the church. There are remains of nearly eighty thousand of members of the church and its priests. It is not for the faint of heart as you will walk by rows of organized skulls and bones but a fascinating tour and must be done with a guide.
For those who find the remains a bit squeamish the Museo de la Nacion (National Museum) is a great option. This comprehensive museum provides a chronological tour of Peru's history from pre-Inca civilizations up to the Spanish colonization.
If art is more of a draw the world’s largest private collection of pre-Colombian art can be found at Museo Arqueológico Rafael Larco Herrera
It's already an established trend in New York City, many chefs are looking South for culinary inspiration in Peru. Peruvian food is diverse and there are fantastic restaurants in Lima that serve world-class ceviche and other seafood dishes. Unlike the rest of South America, Peruvian food is light and often spicy.
Vegetarians need not fear coming to Peru, while some tradition Andean food can be meat heavy there are a number of vegetarian restaurants in Lima including the popular El Alma Zen in Miraflores, which is a bit pricey by Peruvian standards but has an excellent reputation.
Lima is also home to Mistura, a food festival that is exploding in popularity. Held in the very large Parque de la Exposicion each September there over 350,000 attendees. Open to the public you can also see popular actors, musicians and chefs. For aspiring chefs there are a number of classes and lectures.
For something less formal, La Gran Fruta in San Isidrois extremely popular for fresh juices, but there is also a simple menu of fruit salads and simple sandwiches. And for those on a budget the market is always a great place to find freshly squeezed fruit juice and simple restaurants that are willing to cater to vegetarian standards.