Once a small town outside Lima on the way to the port of Callao, Pueblo Libre still maintains its colonial looks and that small town feel.
Now deep in the centre of the metropolis that is Lima and Callao – one of South America’s biggest cities – Pueblo Libre manages to remain relatively quiet. Only a couple large thoroughfares pass through the district – and the streets just off of these are mostly residential.
In the centre of Pueblo Libre is the old plaza of Magdalena Vieja – the town’s original name when founded in 1557. It was renamed to Free Town in 1821 by liberation fighter San Martín owing to the patriotism demonstrated by its people for the newly declared republic. Sealing the name was Simón Bolívar, another liberation fighter, who decided to make a mansion on the plaza his home.
Bolivar’s mansion now forms part of the National Anthropology, Archaeology and History Museum – home to numerous relics from Peru’s vast history. A couple of blocks away is another piece of history. The old Cruz de Viajero, or Traveller’s Cross, was stopped at on the way out of Lima by Spaniards heading on long journeys.
Nearby is the Santiago Queirolo warehouse and tavern, a Pisco and wine producer with a long history. It is attractions such as this that are perhaps the main reasons to visit. Lovers of good food are very well catered for – many restaurants such as the popular Bolivariano fill the streets around the old plaza, each serving some of the best creole food in the city.