Lima is not often associated with beauty. The Peruvian capital is polluted in areas and bare brick housing lines the streets of even some of the more affluent districts of the sprawling city. Yet through the clouds of suffocating smog, hidden away behind the slapdash buildings, you can see some truly spectacular sights in the concrete jungle of Lima, none more so than the wonderful Parque de la Reserva. Lima Peru Fountain Park is located there.
Construction of Parque de la Reserva started in 1926 and was completed three years later. Built to honor the Peruvian soldiers who fought in the battle of San Juan and Miraflores in 1881, the finished area incorporated fountains and gardens in a public recreation space. By the 60s however, the memory of the embattled soldiers seemed to have dimmed, with the once stately park in a state of total neglect. It wasn’t until 2006 that the area got the renovation needed to regain its former glory.
Located in the Central district of Lima, the Parque de la Reserva is now recognised by the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s largest fountain complex in a public park. The area features the neoclassical structures of the original constructions with an array of modern and spectacular waterworks, the Magic Water Circuit. There are a total 13 water fountains located in the eight hectare park, including the Fantasy Fountain. 120 metres long, this fountain sprays water 20 metres high and, at night, giant images are projected onto the liquid sheets while colourful lasers move in time to music. Kids just love this place, so make sure to place it on your family travel plans when in Peru.
The park is also home to the Magic Fountain, which spews jets of water to a height of more than 80 metres, while the Tunnel Fountain of Surprises is a 35 metre passageway flanked by arches of water that shoot over it. The Rainbow, Harmony and Tanguis fountains, as well as the Walk-in Dome, are located across the road and can be easily missed, however, they are well worth seeing. To reach them it is necessary to cross the under path that follows on from the Fountain of Illusion.
Interaction with the fountains is a big part of the park, particularly for children. Of course, you can’t take a shower without getting wet but if you do take the plunge then you can dry off in the onsite changing facilities. The park also has wheelchair access.
When reconstruction on the park commenced, the project was not met with complete approval. Critics were unhappy that such great sums of public money (the cost of the renovation totalled some $13 million) should be taking place in such a concentrated area of the huge city, with other areas in serious need of redevelopment. However, since its inauguration in 2007, the general consensus seems to be overwhelmingly positive, with the Magic Water Circuit receiving its 2 millionth visitor under a year after opening.
One criticism of the park that does remain is that a fee is charged for entry despite it being public place. However, the prices are hardly prohibitive, particularly for visitors from outside Peru. The cost to get in is 4 soles, with children under 5 going in for free. Tickets are available from one of two entrance points at the park, either from the ticket office at Gate 1 or the ticket office at Gate 9.
On leaving the park, you return to the busy, traffic ridden streets. However, knowing that the park exists does give you an inkling to go and explore the other of areas of unexpected beauty hidden in this surprising city.
English website: http://www.parquedelareserva.com.pe/en/circuit.php
Trip Advisor review: http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Attraction_Review-g294316-d940448-Reviews-Parque_de_la_Reserva-Lima_Lima_Region.html
To book tours: http://savacations.com/
Andreas Ambarchian a freelance journalist from England living and working in Lima, Peru. He writes about a variety of subjects including travel, wildlife and sport.