San Isidro – A District both Modern and Traditional
Welcome back to another stop in our trip around Metropolitan Lima’s forty-three districts. This month, we’ll be visiting San Isidro, one of the more upscale districts of the city. Declared a district in 1930, San Isidro has become Lima’s main financial district and is home to the head offices of many banks and businesses.
The district covers almost10 km2 on Lima’s Pacific coast and shares borders the districts of La Victoria, Lince, Jesus Maria, San Borja, Miraflores and Surquillo. San Isidro and the district of Magdalena are also neighbors, but have a long standing dispute over just where the border lies. The district houses nearly 70,000 people according to the recent census.
Because the district is so well known as a financial center, it’s often forgotten that San Isidro also has fairly exclusive residential areas and many lovely parks and green areas as well as restaurants, shopping and other creature comforts. The district is generally knows as being a safe place to live. Of course, remember that as with other parts of Lima that are directly on the coast, the micro-climate here is quite humid and cool in the winters with fog that can last all day for days on end. Of course, summers are quite warm and the view over the ocean is fantastic.
A favorite area is the “Parque El Olivar”, a large green area that houses a very old olive grove. The area around the park is filled with lovely large houses and colonial mansions that help it retain its “Old Lima” charm. The park itself is a bird watcher’s delight, and the city has installed signs along the pathways with names of some of the species you might see. If you’re there in the early evenings, you may even be lucky enough to catch sight of the insect-eating bats that also call the park home.
Another favorite site in San Isidro is the Huaca Huallamarca, the most important archeological site in the district. It was inhabited by the Hualla tribe, from which it gets its name. The huaca (or pyramid) was used by them primarily as a burial site, but was inhabited by other tribes at later dates and over the years served various purposes. The huaca has an onsite museum that is open from 9am to 5pm.