The popularity of Valentine’s Day in Peru (where you’ll most likely hear it referred to as Día del Amor) is still on the rise, with exorbitantly priced roses flooding the marketplaces. Last year, February 14th was declared a national holiday- although it was in recognition of Puno’s famous Virgin of Candelaria Festival rather than everyone’s favorite Hallmark holiday. Many hotels, restaurants, and agencies offer over the top expensive packages for the occasion, but for those of you currently on the road, we thought we’d give a quick primer on Lima for Backpacking Couples.
Among the city’s neighborhoods, Miraflores and Barranco are solid choices. Miraflores, with its long walkway along the seaside cliffs and its many parks and gardens, is often referred to as the greenest area in Lima. One obvious stop is Parque de Amor (Love Park), which opened in Valentine’s Day 1993 and can be instantly recognized by its large statue of two lovers, The Kiss. Surrounding the statue are brightly tiled walls reminiscent of Gaudi and covered in evocative Spanish literary quotes that are fun to peruse for the bookish among us, such as Alberto Vega’s “My dream is a lost island”. The park boasts an unbeatable view of the Pacific Ocean, making it popular with couples wanting to watch the sun set over the sea. Many brides also visit the park while taking their wedding photos. On Valentine’s Day, many couples visit the park to compete in the Longest Kiss contest.
Love Park is part of El Malecón Cisneros, a six-mile stretch of parks along a path following the cliffs overlooking the Pacific. Strolling the walkway is a pleasant, and not to mention free, way of getting to know Lima. Even better, and still a nice budget choice, is to bike it, so if you’re up for some nice scenery and a little exercise, think about renting a bicycle. If you crave a little more excitement, just a few minutes further up from the Parque del Amor is the jump-off site for Parasailing, where you can fly tandem with experienced parasailing guides. Also, as its summertime in Lima, you can arrange for a Surfing lesson, which range from US$10-$20, or rent some equipment.
Miraflores also has the most lively park in Lima, Kennedy Park, which is always bustling with people, artists, musicians playing creole music, jugglers, and other street performers. Expect lots of the surrounding bars and clubs to be celebrating, such as Barbilonia Bar with its “Power Ballads” night, although most do have covers. Just beware the roving rose sellers should you choose to kick back in the park for a while.
You’ll find both of Pirwa’s hostels in Lima a short walk from Kennedy Park, Pirwa Inclan B&B and Pirwa Prada Backpackers. Not only are we ideally located in what most consider to be the best base from which to explore Lima, the neighborhood of Miraflores, but we’re also close to a variety of Valentine’s options!
The neighborhood right next to Miraflores is Lima’s most bohemian and artistic, Barranco, right next to Miraflores. The streets of this small neighborhood are probably the most colorful and charming of all of Lima. If you find yourself passing through, do plan to make a stop at another landmark born of Valentine’s Day, the wooden Bridge of Sighs, which spans the Bajada de Baños, a stone walkway descending to the beach. Dining in Chala with a view of the Bridge of Sighs and the ocean even made Time’s list of 10 Things to do in Lima, but unfortunately most area restaurants should be booked up by now, so seaside dining might not be an option. If Chala’s a no go, don’t fear- the area is packed with restaurants and bars. And, if you need a little relationship help, keep this in mind: the legend is that if you can walk across the Bridge of Sighs for the first time without taking a breath, your wishes will come true…
Although it looks like there aren’t as many activities on offer this year as last, the Magical Water Circuit at Reserve Park will be putting on another show, beginning with puppets for the kids at 6pm before transitioning into concerts for the adults. A detailed program hasn’t been made available, although the coordinated light, laser, and music show at Fantasia Fountain generally takes place at 7:15pm, 8:15pm, and 9:30pm. Entrance to the park is S/4.00 (soles).