Planning a trip to Peru to see the sights but don’t want to mess with the altitude of Machu Picchu? There is plenty to see in and around Lima that will more than satisfy your curiosity for archeological sites. A drive to the city of Caral four hours north of Lima, takes you through some amazing moonscape to see the oldest civilization lever discovered. Another site, Pachacámac, is about an hour outside of Lima, and is the start of the famous Inca trail. But one of the biggest treats of them all awaits you right in Lima.
In the tourist district of Miraflores there is the archeological site Huaca Pucllana. Between 200 AD and 700 AD, it was an important cultural, ceremonial and administrative center in ancient Lima. But today they are more than archeological ruins. At night they are lit up with outdoor seating and heating (during their winter), and transform into one of Lima’s premier restaurants. The restaurant is also open for lunch, but the outdoor dining experience at night among the well-lit ruins will generate a memory you will long remember. And by American standards, a memory that can be quite inexpensive.
II was able to enjoy this archeological site as part of a group tour when I was in in Lima with Overseas Adventure Travel. It was the first day of the Amazon River Cruise, where we explored Lima together, then some on our own. The restaurant was pointed out to us as we toured the ruins, and it intrigued me. So at the end of the trip, I once more enjoyed the ruins, this time at night, lit up with a wonderful dinner.
While enjoying the view of the runs at night you can enjoy both traditional and gourmet Peruvian specialties. For instance, Chilean wine, a starter with their famous quinoa, a traditional Peruvian spiced entrée, warm rolls, tax and tip, will set you back all of $30 USD. Many tour groups end there, but for solo travelers and families, it is a great way to cap off a vacation as well.
If going during the day when the ruins are opened and serving lunch, a ticket to see the ruins is required (about 12 Soles or $4 USD). Tours last about an hour. Reservations for dinner are recommended. The ruins are open for touring from 9 till 5. The restaurant opens for dinner at 7. Click here for more ideas on what on what to do on your own while in Lima.