For most travelers visiting Peru, the outdoor activities on offer in Lima are often hidden in the shadows by the extensive list of thrilling highlights that the rest of the country has to offer.
This is a shame because the Lima region has a huge collection of great hiking and nature walks on offer, many of which are easily accessible from the traveller-friendly downtown districts of Miraflores and Barranco.
Although it is rare that visitors ever see the mountainous eastern city limits during their stay in Lima, it is surprisingly easy to get out of town and explore the countryside on the city’s doorstep.
One perfect example are the rolling, green hills of Lomas de Lúcumo (more photos). These seasonal trails located 35 kilometers south of Lima are slowly growing in popularity. The main gate to the park is located only a few minutes drive away from the Panamerican Highway.
The entrance is in an adorable village painted with cheerful murals of birds, animals and flowers that can be found in the Lomas from August until October.
But why only during these months?
The Lomas are a unique ecosystem created by a natural phenomenon. The marine layer that hangs over the city of Lima during the winter months hits the mountain side and condenses, irrigating the land with sufficient humidity to allow the abundant blooming of green vegetation, flowering plants and even small trees.
As you walk from the village up the trails, the barren dusty sands are taken over by lush green foliage and wild flowers. As you reach the top, the clouds become denser until visibility is limited to just a few meters, giving the whole place an ethereal, almost spooky, feel.
With some luck the clouds will lift long enough for you to get a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean, the desert coast, and the blossoming Lomas- all from within the clouds – a moment worth all the effort of escaping the city.
During these months it is not uncommon to spot vizcachas, foxes, hawks and many other small mammals, birds and butterflies. If enjoying the trails and the wildlife spotting is not enough adventure for you, you can always use the cliffs for rappelling, explore the caves found through out the park and do some rock climbing during your visit.
One of the best part about hiking at Lomas de Lúcumo is that the entrance fee is only 3.50 Soles which is roughly $1.25. You are given a complementary map of the trails with helpful hints of things to see and visit.
Another advantage for those of you under time constraints is that it is possible to visit the Lomas de Lúcumo on the same day you visit of the Pachacamac ruins located only a few kilometers away.
So, the next time you hear someone say that Lima should be skipped, tell them otherwise. In fact Lima has many hidden treasures, and Lomas de Lúcumo is only one of its diamonds in the rough.
Getting To Lomas de Lúcumo
For those who are accustomed to Lima’s frenetic pace, and with a reasonable grasp of Spanish, getting public transport to Lomas is perfectly easy. Simply make your way to the junction of the Panamerican Highway with Avenida Benavides (combi buses depart for this direction from the main avenue in Miraflores). This spot is known as Puente Benavides, and is from where all south-bound buses depart.
Wave down a bus signed “Pachacamac” and let the conductor know you’re heading to Lomas de Lúcumo. From the point you get off it is a short mototaxi journey to the park entrance.
Otherwise it should cost no more than 20-30 soles in a taxi.