If you're looking for a potentially paranormal experience to make your time in Lima a little spookier this Halloween, or at any other time of the year, we've got your covered. It's no surprise that a city founded in the early 16th century (and an area inhabited thousands of years before that) has a few spirits roaming around. We bring you our top three haunts to have a drink and keep your eyes peeled for some out-of-the-ordinary action.
1) Hotel Bolivar
This grand hotel located in Plaza San Martin in the historic center of Lima was built in the 1920s to commemorate the Battle of Ayacucho, the final show-down for independence from Spain. The luxurious building was meant to host presidents, royalty, movie stars and other celebrities and did just that, especially in the 40s and 50s. Over the years there have been many accounts of bone-chilling encounters that include the spectre of a woman dressed up in a glowing ball gown swaying rhythmically to an inaudible tune, a morose former waiter who spent most of his life serving patrons paces the corridors of the 6th floor and a foreign woman who was said to have taken her life by plunging from the window of her room, just to name a few. So many terrifying incidents plagued the hotel that in the 70s the 5th and 6th floors were indefinitely closed to the public as the height of other-worldly action seemed to take place there. The Hotel Bolivar has a bar area where you can order a Pisco Sour and await the cool breeze of a visitor from another time.
2) Casa Moreyra
Three years after Astrid y Gastón opened the doors to their new locale in Casa Moreyra, the flow of visitors has yet to slow down - no wonder why as it's still one of the top 50 restaurants in the world. What many guests may not know, however, is that they are not completely alone. The hacienda was originally built in the second half of the 16th century and then reconstructed after a devastating earthquake in 1746. Having passed through the hands of a number of owners and functions, the beautifully restored building now houses six different areas which cater to clients' needs. One of the spaces, called "El Cielo," or Heaven, includes private dining rooms, one of which is overlooked by two grand mirrors hanging on the walls. It's said that one doesn't need much imagination to see friendly spirits waving back while guests enjoy the dining experience. If the patrons are unworthy of such a warm welcome, the long-term residents apparently aren't quite as amiable.
3) La Ermita
La Ermita is a small church in the bohemian, artsy district of Barranco. Tucked away on a small stone street this brightly-colored piece of history (closed to the public for restoration) sits with a privileged view of the Bridge of Sighs, the walkway down to the beach and the most beautiful trumpet flowers around. While the facade is painted a gorgeous, golden-yellow, the decrepit and badly damaged roof peeks out from the tarps revealing a more turbid past. Lima, located on the Pacific coast, is in a highly seismic area known as the Ring of Fire and this little church has not come out unscathed. During one of the megaquakes, the bell came unhinged and fell right on the priest completely decapitating him. As the priest was rumored to have been less than angelical during his lifetime, he's been punished to roam the area for eternity searching for his severed head. The neighbors can assure you that the priest makes regular sightings. You can grab your "spirit" and sit on the outdoor patio of Picas or Santos and wait for a glimpse. If that's a little too close for comfort, try Tio Mario where you can peek out through the windows.
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Things to do in Lima that make people fall in love with the city - that's precisely what we're after. We're Lucas and Sam, a Peruvian-American couple who have run the top tour in Lima for the past 10 years. It’s no coincidence that the best activities in Lima have to do with Peru’s amazing cuisine. This Kansas City girl and Lima native have lived all over the world in their corporate past lives but they traded in the daily grind for sharing their love of good food, showing off the city’s secrets and meeting awesome people along the way.
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