Originally planted by the Conquistadors using saplings brought from Andalucía, the grove remains one of the city’s pleasantest green areas.
A few blocks from Atemporal, el Olivar is a bucolic oasis in the Peruvian capital.
The long cliff top park overlooking the Pacific Ocean is easily Lima’s most famous green space. Yet there is another, far less known but with a much more fabled history; El Olivar, the “olive grove” first planted by the conquering Spaniards in the 1560s and whose gnarled trees survive to this day, including providing harvests of both olives and oil.
Originally, the Spaniards filled a ship with saplings from Seville, in the heart of Spain’s olive-growing region of Andalucía but just three survived the harsh journey across the Atlantic. However, these took to Lima’s sandy soils and by the early 18th century there were some 2,000 trees growing around the 57-acre grove. By Peruvian independence in 1821, that number had risen again to nearly 3,000. The grove was owned by the Count of San Isidro and was originally a pleasant four miles from downtown Lima. But as the city grew, it gradually surrounded the aristocrat’s lands. Eventually, he went broke and the grove was divided into lots and sold off.
Today, el Olivar has a total of some 1,700 trees, spread out within the administrative district that bears the Count’s name, San Isidro. Some are actually in private gardens, as houses and apartment blocks have been built one the edges of the grove. But most remain in an eponymous public park, which is still a lovely place to spend an hour or two as the city’s bustle seems to disappear from sight. Nannies bring young children to play while others walk their dogs. There are also dozens of species of birds and kiosks sell seeds to visitors wanting to feed them. El Olivar remains a bucolic oasis in one of Latin America’s largest and busiest cities.
To visit el Olivar during your stay with Atemporal visit www.atemporal.pe or contact firstname.lastname@example.org or on +51 1 700 5106 or, if you are in the US, 347 713 7030/34.