Friday, Apr. 02, 2010


Located on a desert bluff, Pachacamac has panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean on one side, and a view of the foothills of the Andes on the other. The location made it one of the principal religious centers of pre-Columbian Lima. Until the Spaniards arrived in Lima in the 1530s, Pachacamac was the home of the most powerful Incan oracle on Peru's central coast.

Today, the site, which covers several square miles, offers visitors a glimpse at the intricate mud-brick structures of ancient Incan architecture. There is an on-going archaeological project run by several institutions, including Southern Illinois University and the Catholic University of Peru, and a small on-site museum that displays artifacts found over nearly a century of excavations.

Pachacamac is located within the confines of metropolitan Lima, about one hour by taxi from San Isidro/Miraflores, at Kilometer 31 of the auxiliary road that runs along the southern Pan-American Highway. A tour of the site can take several hours. The entrance fee is $2.


If it's summer in Peru (December to April), then Lima's hip crowd can be found in one place: Asia. Not the continent, but the coastal district located 60 miles south of Lima. Asia comprises some 30 beaches, but people come here more for the party than the playa. There are numerous nightclubs and discos to choose from, plus summer locations of many of Lima's top restaurants. And there are shops — lots of shops. Most of the nightlife and shopping is located along a strip known as Asia Boulevard (Sur Plaza Boulevard), the area's main strip.

A nine-hole golf course was completed in early 2010, and at press time, there were plans to build major hotels and spas — meant to turn Asia into a year-round destination. Currently, the top hotel here is Aquavit Hotel & Casino, with rates between $170 and $250 per night.

Asia Boulevard is a 1½-hour, $40 cab ride from Lima, located at Kilometer 97.5 of the Pan-American Highway South (Pan-Americana Sur).