Built into a cliff along the Malecon de la Reserva, Larcomar is an upmarket shopping centre and entertainment complex located in Miraflores, one of the busiest and most affluent districts in the capital of Peru, Lima.
The main function of Larcomar is as a center of commerce so it is fitting that there are plenty of shops. There is a wide variety of outlets, including sports, adventure, fashion and technology, as well as general curiosity shops that deal in model cars and cigars.
The retailers are well aware of their market and prices on all the goods are high, even for Lima; this is particularly true with regards to the tourist memorabilia, which can otherwise be bought on the high street for much less money. There are also tour companies in Larcomar, through which visitors can arrange trips to other parts of the country, such as Cusco to see Machu Picchu.
Native cuisine is a major feature of the culture of Peru. In Larcomar, however, visitors can get a taste of home with a number of multinational restaurant chains present. Globally recognised names include Friday’s, Starbucks and Chili’s. On the second level of the complex is a fast food court with international vendors such as KFC and Pizza Hut. There are also national franchises like China Wok, a fast food version of Peruvian chifa, and La Lucha, a very good sandwich shop.
A growing number of entertainment outlets are springing up in Larcomar, which itself seems to be under continual expansion. The cinema, located on the second floor of the complex, offers a selection of current films, while the arcade, on the same floor, is normally packed with children playing on the machines. There is a bowling alley on the basement floor and on the ground level is a children’s play park.
From its vantage point on the cliffs of Lima, Larcomar offers some great views of the Pacific Ocean below. On the ground level are coin operated telescopes. These cost no more than one sol but are hardly worth the price: beyond that which the eye can naturally make out there is little more than an endless stretch of ocean. With the naked eye there is enough to take in: football is often played below on the beach, while in the ocean itself the surfers, fishing boats and sea birds also make for interesting viewing.
Bars in Larcomar continue serving until late with some offering live music. Once the rest of the shopping centre has closed down, nightclubs Gotika and Aura open. Aura is popular with the most fashion conscious people in town but is also frequented by a number of backpackers. The club generally plays American and British music, with some Latin pop. Gotika is not dissimilar to Aura, however, those in the club are perhaps a little more interested in what’s playing, with many of the country’s top DJs featured at the venue. Both clubs have views of the Pacific Ocean.
As well as providing a spectacular landmark, Larcomar is a very interesting place to visit, even if it is just to walk around, take in the views and enjoy the fresh ocean air.
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Andreas Ambarchian is a freelance journalist from England. He writes about a variety of subjects including travel, wildlife and sport. He wrote this article on behalf of South American Vacations, providers of Peru tours to Lima, Machu Picchu and beyond.