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10 things to do for free: Lima, Peru
23 May 2017, 09:42

1. Peer around a palace

The super-organised can join a free 45-minute tour of the Palacio de Gobierno, which includes watching the daily changing of the guard (12 noon); register with the Departmento de Actividades at least 48 hours in advance.

2. Expect the Spanish Inquisition

The Museo del Congreso y la Inquisición was the HQ of the Spanish Inquisition from 1570 to1820. Prisoners were tortured in the basement; now you can take free tours of the dungeons where creepy, life-sized figures are tortured still.

3. Absorb the Orient

Stroll through the ornate oriental gateway into Barrio Chino, Lima’s Chinatown, to take in the exotic sights and smells of the many chifa (Chinese) restaurants and foodstalls.

4. Spy the best view in town

Casa de Osambela, Lima’s tallest colonial building, was originally built so its owner could see over the countryside to the port, to spy on merchant ships. A free tour is available from the Casa’s current caretaker (tip appreciated); ask to see the roof terrace, from where the sea can still be seen... Just.

5. Loll in the Love Garden

Parque del Amor sits on the cliffs of Miraflores, a massive sculpture of a kissing couple at its soppy heart. Sit with your sweetheart on one of the winding mosaic benches, which are littered with hearts and romantic writings.

6. Watch out for hummingbirds

Head to San Isidro to wander amid the Bosque El Olivar, an olive grove first planted in 1560. It’s developed its own ecosystem and is home to over 30 different species of bird including doves, flycatchers and hummingbirds.

7. Promenade along La Punta

Come sunset take the bus to La Punta, a crumbling but atmospheric peninsula jutting out into the crashing Pacific. The views are spectacular, across to outlaying islands and over the endless ocean.

8. Hike the cliff-tops

It takes 45 minutes to walk along the coast from Miraflores to Barranco; from up here the surfers braving the cold Costa Verde waters look small indeed. At the Iglesia de la Ermita (Church of the Hermit) in Barranco, wander across the secluded Puente de los Suspiros (Bridge of Sighs) to the ocean lookout.

9. Get down to the Costa Verde

A beach circuit that longs up to 10km. You can also stare near 4pm (local hour) to the cliff on the "Salto del Fraile", every weekend they recreate the suicide of a monk who died from a frustrated love with a high jump to the sea.

10. Catch a performance

The well-tended Parque Kennedy in Miraflores has a small open-air theatre that often holds free entertainment, Thursdays to Sundays. There's also a craft market most evenings for a bit of browsing. And if you are a cat lover, you'll find quite a lot over there.

Photos: Wikimedia Commons

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