As the parent of a small child, I constantly notice playgrounds around the city. I look at the features and note the differences. While every playground is generally different, there are negligible differences from one to the next. For example, one might have a twisting slide while another features a straight slide. The first might have a shaky bridge where another has a tunnel. Swings or no? Monkey bars?
The similarities are such that I assume the same supplier provides all the playgrounds to the municipal parks of Lima. That’s why the new playground at Parque la Pera caught my eye. It is nothing like the others.
First of all, it is filled with white sand. I had seen at least one playground (Parque de los Proceres a.k.a. “Matamula,” which is perpetually closed these days) with sand, but not clean white sand as if on a Caribbean beach.
Second, and maybe first given how unique it is, would be the giant rope-climbing pyramid. Children can climb the rope ladders to heights of 20 to 30 feet. While it is a little advanced for my two-year-old, it could be a perfect change for older children who might be bored with the typical playgrounds of Lima. If I were to guess, I would say it’s good for children aged five to 12 years.
There are two pieces of equipment which could be called “merry-go-rounds.” One is a caged-in affair which is capable of going rather fast. The other is a narrow rubber circle set on a slant. So the children have a great time trying to hold on while somebody spins them around. And if they fall, they fall in the sand.
If the rope pyramid is the main attraction for the older children, the pirate ship is where the toddlers will play. It has a rope ladder and steps leading to a metallic slide. It also features ship’s wheels and other gadgets to play with.
The park also features manicured gardens, lawns and mature trees for shade. There are occasionally groups playing soccer or walking their dogs. As is typical in Lima’s upscale areas, the park is cleaner than the average and the residents generally pick up after their pets.
How to get there
Officially known as the Parque de la Benemerita Guardia Civil, the park is located just inside the Malecon at Salaverry and Perez Aranibar avenues. However, like many complicated titles in Lima and greater Peru, if you say “Benemerita” or “Perez Aranibar” it is possible a taxi driver will have no idea where you want to go.
As you can see, the park is shaped like a pear. Hence the name, Parque la Pera. But that is the old, defunct name of this park while the avenue now named “Perez Aranibar” used to be known as “Ejercito.”
So for practical purposes, the taxi drivers will definitely know Parque la Pera, “Salaverry con Ejercito” or both. In my experience, there are too many examples of taxi drivers or even neighborhood residents not knowing the official names of streets and parks because the municipal governments make it difficult with frequent changes and complicated names.