The beauty of the coastline to the south of Lima from Chorrillos to the beach at La Herradura is undeniable. It makes for a perfect Sunday afternoon outing whether by car, bike or foot.
Start your adventure on the Malecon Montarela and head to the Paseo Billinghurst. Chorrillos has managed to maintain much of its flavor from its long history. Besides the restoration of beautiful older homes, wide well lit avenues will provide pleasant views, plazas and fascinating architecture. The district is also home to a wide, sandy beach that is very popular during the hot humid summers of Lima.
At the south end of the beach, you will find docks that jut out into the ocean. Small colorful fishing boats surround the pier, anchored and waiting for the one to three-man crews to head out to sea. The wharf holds a fish market where the fresh catch of the day can be bought at extremely good prices. Proceeding a little further down the beach is the Club de Regatas, a very exclusive place for activities like tennis, swimming and sailing.
A well maintained park runs through the center of the malecon in this area. Statues and fountains dot the green area providing a marked contrast to the beach and sea.
From the southern end of Chorrilos, the coastal highway is carved out of the mountains that plunge into the Pacific. Majestic scenes greet the eyes as large waves crash into the gigantic boulders at the water’s edge. There is a pull-off from the highway as it curves around the Morro Solar.
A walk to the precipice of this viewing area provides you with more amazing sights. Fishermen perch on the edge of the giant rocks tossing a single baited line in an effort to catch their lunch. Their children scramble over the boulders looking for sea glass, shells or interesting stones. A striking cross stands tall at the entrance to the pull-off. It represents a prayer to God, one that asks for the protection of those who make a living on the sea.
Rounding the next curve, the restaurant, El Salto del Fraile or The Jumping Priest, comes into view, as does Playa La Herradura. The restaurant, built on one of the rocky promontories that jut into the ocean, is an incredible sight. It is a great place to stop for lunch. Seating inside the restaurant gives sight to some incredible vistas of the coast. There is a myth associated with the spot, involving a young priest and a girl with whom he fell in love. The tale is printed on the menu, in Spanish, and it’s worth reading. Men dressed as the sad priest dive into the ocean for tips.
Herradura sits on the periphery of another beach. A single road, which runs near the beach, is lined with restaurants, night clubs, and hostels. The place is popular with surfers for its good waves during the summer months. The community sits surrounded by the mountains of the Morro Solar, making it a place that is separated from the bustle of Lima.
Leaving Herradura, take the upper road though the tunnel back to the beginning of Chorrillos. There, you can take an unnamed road up the Morro Solar to the Monument of the Unknown Soldier that sits on top of the Cerro La Virgen. Magnificent views of Lima and its bay will lie before you. It is especially dazzling at night, with the entire city lit up. Just below the monument are an astronomical observatory and a monument to the Virgin Mary. Further up the mountain a new statue of Christ the Redeemer sits, identical to the one in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.
When friends come to Peru to visit, this afternoon activity is one that I always plan for them. All of them have appreciated both the wild and manmade beauty shown is this short excursion. I encourage anyone who resides in Lima or is planning a trip here to take the time to see this impressive area.
Source and Redaction: Peru This Week - Rodney L Dodig
Package Tour suggested in Lima combined with Cusco