Travel: Bullfight festival in Lima, Peru

The matadors are revered as rock stars while the animal–rights activists chant "No mas crueldad." But if it's your thing, here's what you'll want to know.

On Sunday afternoons every November, Peruvians pack the Plaza de Acho bullring in Lima to watch elite matadors from all over the world participate in the Señor de los Milagros Bullfight Festival. On par with other professional athletes, top matadors, also known as toreros, can earn millions, and are as revered as rock stars. Matadors at the Señor de los Milagros fight Spanish style, which means to the death. Admirers of the tradition see the centuries–old spectacle of bullfighting as more of an art than a sport. Animal–rights activists disagree, and in recent years have aggressively campaigned to have the tradition banned the world over.

Plaza de Acho

Construction began on the Plaza de Acho in 1766, making it the second–oldest bullring in the world and the premier bullfighting venue in Lima. The arena holds 17,000 spectators. Tickets for the Sunday bullfights range between $20–$100. Jirón Hualgayoc 332

Museo Taurino de Acho

Located underneath the bullring at the Plaza de Acho, the bullfight museum contains relics and memorabilia from famous bullfights, including a bloodstained costume of a matador who died in the ring, and works of art by Picasso and Goya. Admission $1.50.

Bullfighting protests

According to CAS International, the largest anti–bullfighting organization in the world, every year more than 250,000 bulls and cows are left at the blood sport’s mercy. That’s a lot of dead weight for the multi–billion–dollar industry that questions the line between art and cruel torture.

Matador costume

“Matador,” from the Latin word matare, literally means “to subdue or kill.” A matador’s clothing is an essential component of the sport’s spectacle, and consist of a heavily embroidered jacket, form–fitting pants and a montera hat. Top matadors have their outfits custom–made, costing anywhere between a couple of hundred dollars to thousands.

Sanctuary of Las Nazarenas

The famous Señor de los Milagros mural is painted inside this sanctuary. Translated, it means “Lord of Miracles,” and every October hundreds of thousands of Christian believers line the streets for a 24–hour religious procession in the painting’s honour.

Country Club Hotel

Originally built in 1927 and remodelled in 2008, this old–world hotel is now a national monument. Book one of the 83 suites starting at $280 per night. Los Eucaliptos 590

Pescados Capitales

Situated on the Pacific Ocean, seafood is a staple in Peru’s capital. Pescados Capitals, a play on the Spanish term for “seven deadly sins,” is only blocks away from the coast and offers diners a rich menu themed around greed and gluttony. Open for lunch only. Avenida La Mar 1337