Lima is the capital, and the largest city in Peru. It’s history dates back 1,000 years and is a melting pot of cultures, cuisines, experience, and architecture. Modern high-rises stand next to pre-Columbian temples. Located in the valley of Chillón, Rímac and Lurín Rivers and standing on the crumbling cliffs of the Pacific Coast, Lima’s natural setting is as beautiful as its architecture – and it’s people. Lima is one of the most culturally and ethnically diverse cities in the world due to a long history of colonization and immigration. Nicknamed Ciudad de los Reyes (The City of Kings), Lima is a must visit during your Latin American adventures. Click here to read more about Lima!
Indigenous people have lived in the region more than a millennia, but the city was originally established in 1535 by Spanish conquistadors. Lima has had a long and grueling history of tug-of-war conquests, shifting powers, wars, pirating, earthquakes and more.
But it is this troublesome history that makes Lima the culturally vibrant and diverse place that it is today. Centuries of immigration, colonization, and indigenous influence led the city to become a melting pot of ethnicities and cuisines. Lima has everything from a vivacious nightlife to colorfully sprawling markets.
Lima is a bustling city where on any given day you could do everything from relaxing on the beach to taking in the rich history to dancing in the lively nightclubs.
The architecture of Lima reflects its long and involved history, which you can see at destinations like the Historic Center, the Cathedral, the Archbishop’s residence, and the Presidential Palace. Or, to go even deeper into the history of the region visit the Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology, and History. OR, to go quite literally even deeper, take a tour through the haunting catacombs.
To step out of the past and experience the current culture of Lima, the best way to do so is through their cuisine. Lima is known as the Gastronomical Capital of the Americas, by mixing Spanish, Andean, and Asian cuisines. You can take Lima tours through vibrant local markets, or visit Barranco, a charming bohemian neighborhood where you will take in the sights, sounds, and tastes, of Lima like a true local.
Be sure to take part in the rambunctious nightlife while you are there as well. The best (and safest) place to party is Miraflores, an enchanting neighborhood overlooking the expanses of the Pacific.
If you’re looking to get out of the hectic city, there are plenty of ways to do so. Lima is the perfect jumping off point to visit several Incan ruins, including the famed Machu Picchu. You can also explore the Andes on the opposite side of Lima then the Pacific. And just on the other side of the Andes, lays the largest and most diverse rainforest in the world, the Amazon.
Lima is the Gastronomical Capital of the Americas, with a unique and blended cuisine that is over 400 years in the making. The Lima cuisine is an eclectic mix of Spanish, Andean, and Asian traditions, due to the years and years of mixing diverse cultures. The best way to experience Lima truly is through the food.
The signature dish would have to be ceviche, fresh seafood right out of the Pacific marinated in fresh squeezed lime juice. This dish is severed everywhere from top of the line, suit-and-tie restaurants, to sidewalk pop up stands. Lima style ceviche has a spicy kick and is often complemented with a sweet potato wedge.
Beyond the ceviche, there is also authentic Chinese food, seco de cordero (a traditional lamb stew), stuffed avocado, lucuma fruit, fresh local fruits, craft beer, and more.
Lima has a mild and dry climate year-round, making it a perfect warm-weather getaway any time of the year. December through March are the hottest and driest months, that are great for spending days on the beach and practicing your surfing. The average monthly temperatures dip into the low 60˚Fs (mid-teens ˚C) in June, July, and August, but still remain dry, as Lima is technically a desert.
Because it is such a big city, you can have your pick of any number of high-class resorts, affordable motels, traveler hostels, and Air B-n-Bs. However, the nicest area for travelers to stay is Miraflores. It is a neighborhood located right on the coast, and is also the safest and most beautiful section of the city.
Getting to Lima is no problem. There are six airports within city limits, the largest being Jorge Chávez International Airport, where you will most likely fly into. It is also a major stop on the Pan-American Highway, the famed stretch of road running from Alaska to Patagonia. The city is also the beating heart of the Ferrocarril Central Andino railway system that reaches all over the Central Andean region.
Once you’re in the city, there is efficient public transportation throughout. Subways and busses can be easily taken within walking distance of almost any destination. However, if you are unfamiliar with the area and with the language, it might be a safer bet to take a taxi. But be sure to always take an official taxi service, because it is common for off-brand taxis to scam foreigners.