Located among the manors and genteel condominiums of the upper-class district of San Isidro, the Olive Grove Forest is a green and peaceful haven in the middle of a crushing population of 10 million people. It’s devoid of the “weekend-fever” crowds experienced in the parks along the ocean-side promenade of Miraflores, and it’s a delightful break from the tourist-saturation of Lima’s popular Huaca Pucllana, the Mercados Artesanal, and the Basilica Cathedral.Started from the only three saplings that survived the ocean journey from Spain in 1560, the grove is now a national monument, home to 1600 gnarled olive trees. Several of the twisted trunks still bear the scars where retreating Spaniards attacked the grove during the Peruvian War of Independence (1811-1826). After visiting the impressive historic center of Lima with its astonishing tourist crowds, a quick taxi ride to the grove was a sheer delight. We meandered through the shady park, serenaded by tanagers and squawking parrots, and then used Uber to return to our hotel (1/2 the price of the taxis, which are already very cheap).
A note on taxis: they are everywhere, and they are cheap. Strap yourself in; when they’re able to move fast, they do so, viewing speed bumps as launching pads for a little air-time, rather than devices to slow them down. To save money, some cab drivers have converted their vehicles to run off of BBQ propane tanks. Exploding taxi cars are not unheard of. As for cars running on regular gasoline, a local advised us to always open the cab windows, as carbon monoxide poisoning of passengers in the backseat is another common hazard.