On Wednesday evening this week myself and the rest of the Karikuy gang headed into the centre of Lima to visit the Park of the Reserve, home to the world’s largest water fountain park! This aquatic attraction seems to have many names. Julio tells me the locals just call it ‘Parque del Agua’, although it’s also known as ‘Circuito Mágico del Agua’.
In English, this translates into the slightly underwhelming title of the ‘Magical Circuit of Water’, which I think sounds like a descriptive term for the plumbing at Hogwarts. Don’t be fooled by the bland names though, the park is nothing short of spectacular and if you visit Lima I’d say this place should definitely be near the top of your ‘must-see’ list!
We headed out to the park at about 6:30pm. It was a beautiful clear night and there was a bright full moon, which later would have a lunar eclipse. In the end, we missed it! Before we went out we’d read online that it was to be at 8:15pm. Although we waited around for a while around that time, the eclipse did not materialise. The important thing is that we had a beautiful night to enjoy the fountains! After leaving Karikuy Towers, Julio, myself, Ania, Kate and our newest member of the team, Alfonso, crammed into a taxi and headed into the centre. We were met by another of our volunteers, Jacqui and her friends, at the park.
After paying the more than reasonable entry fee of just four soles each, we went into the park to find the first of many illuminated fountains. For me the star attraction was the appropriately-named Fantasia Fountain (Fuente de la Fantasia): a huge line of water features with different coloured lights that you can see in the photo below. It’s 120 metres long! The show was set to music, mostly dramatic classical pieces which worked perfectly. They also threw in some traditional music from around the world and I think as we approached there was a crazy ‘Alvin and the Chipmunks’ style song playing too!
Some of the pieces of music were accompanied by a projection of a dancer. I didn’t notice this at first, there’s so much going on after all! Once you notice it though it’s really special!
It felt like our group stood for ages watching the show. It was mesmerising and I just couldn’t stop taking photos! After breaking the spell we went over to the park’s tallest fountain. This one is called ‘Fuente Mágica’ (Magic Fountain). In the centre is a jet which shoots water to a height of over 80m! Certainly not as showy as the previous lot, but the giant jet of water in the middle was pretty cool. Below you can see the fountain with Lima’s newly renovated Estadio Nacional (National Stadium) just behind it.
Next up was the brilliantly-named ‘Tunnel of Surprises’! As you can see below, this was a red-lit tunnel of water that you could walk through. Our group had some fun taking photos and videos inside and emerged out the other side relatively dry. But for some of us that was about to change…
After the tunnel, we went to one of the park’s interactive pieces. This was a circular maze of fountains that you could run inside. They were on timers that kept changing and there were big jets of water shooting across the middle too. You could attempt to navigate the maze or just try to run to the centre when the water was briefly turned off. I got a bit wet having a go at this, but Ania and Kate did a lot better:
Next we walked through a tunnel (of concrete this time, not water) to the other side of the park, seeing lots of information including how people use water in the modern world and how much of the human body is made up of water; before seeing one final fountain and making our exit.
Interestingly, I’ve found out that the park has been the subject of some controversies. Among the objections: the US$13million price tag and the fact that the historic Park of the Reserve had to be renovated to allow its construction. Julio was also telling us that the attraction has caused some anger because Peru (or parts of it at least) is not a stranger to water shortages.
That said, ‘El Circuito Mágico del Agua’ is a beautiful tourist attraction and provided me with one of the most memorable nights of my entire nine-month trip so far. I’ll repeat what I said earlier: if you visit Lima, please take the time to go. You won’t regret it.
Stuart is a blogger and researcher for the Karikuy volunteer program. Visit www.karikuy.org/volunteer for more information. You can read his personal travel blog, covering his ten month trip to India, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia, Peru and (soon) Colombia; by clicking here.