The capital and largest city in Peru, Lima is located in the central part of the country. A melting pot of cultures, Lima offers a mixture of European, Andean, African and Asian influences to be enjoyed on a Peru vacation.
The city of Lima was founded by Francisco Pizarro on the Catholic feast day of Epiphany in 1535, earning it the nickname the “City of Kings”. The city became the capital of the Spanish Viceroyalty of Peru and grew into the continent’s richest town. Lima was devastated by an earthquake in 1746 but was rebuilt quickly and became the capital of Peru upon independence in 1821. The beginning of the 20th century witnessed a population boom as the city began to industrialize and people started to move from the countryside into Lima.
Today, Lima is the major point of entry for visitors on Peru tours and has a well-developed tourist infrastructure. The Historic Centre of Lima, made up of the districts of Lima and Rímac, is a massive draw for tourists and was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988. The district houses colonial architecture and many churches that date from as early as the 16th century. Lima has been named the “Gastronomical Capital of the Americas” and is home to the highest concentration of museums in the country making the city a hub of Peruvian cultural activity.
Lima Vacation Highlights
The Plaza Mayor, also known as the Plaza de Armas, located in the heart of the city, is a very historical center. Some of the highlights to be seen on a Peru vacation surrounding and close to the plaza include the Palacio de Gobierno (the Governor’s Palace), the official residence and office of Peru's president. The changing of the palace guards takes place each day exactly at noon here. The Cathedral was the city’s first church in 1535 and rebuilt numerous times. The Archbishop's Palace was originally built during the 1600s.
The San Francisco Church and Monastery was built in the baroque-style of the late 1600s. It is one of the best-preserved in Lima. The monastery next to it has an outstanding collection of ancient religious texts, There is also a library plus it has catacombs which once were part of Lima's original cemeteries built under churches. There are around 75,000 bodies buried under the church alone.
Miraflores is a suburb of Lima and an upscale district located on the edge of the Pacific Ocean. It is where many major hotels are located on Peru tours. The Malecon is a 10 kilometer/6 mile stretch of parks situated along the cliffs. You will find statues created by famous Peruvian artists. One of the most popular spots is “Parque Kennedy” known to locals as the cat park, nicely laid out and full of hundreds of cats. The Pucllana Temple or Huaca is an adobe ceremonial center built around 500 A.D.
The Larco Museum features pre-Columbian art and is housed in an 18th Century building built over a 7th Century pre-Columbian pyramid. Its galleries provide an overview of 3000 years of Peruvian pre-Columbian history through ceramic, textile and precious metal artefacts. There is a special room devoted to erotic archaeological treasures and a collection of ceramic pots portraying a variety of sexual positions and acts.
The National Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology and History of Peru is Peru's oldest state-owned museum. It has a wide display of highly-preserved pre-Hispanic ceramics, textiles and metals. The ceramics alone has over 65,000 objects which mostly originate from archaeological excavations. The textile gallery displays items from every Peruvian cultural period and is considered to be the world's second-most important textile collection.
Recreation in Lima takes many forms, but perhaps no sports are more important than football (soccer) for men and volleyball for women. Local football clubs have large and devoted followings. Other popular sports include horse racing, bullfighting, swimming, and tennis. Golf and polo are enjoyed by some of the more affluent residents. Dozens of cinemas, theatre clubs, and discotheques provide nightlife, and there are scores of peñas, nightclubs featuring folk music. The music of Lima, as symbolized in the works of Chabuca Granda and Alicia Maguiña Málaga, is always popular, and it has enjoyed a renewed interest on the part of the public at large.
A delicious variety of food can be found in the fashionable international-quality restaurants of central Lima and the bay area and in the hundreds of lesser cafés, chifas (Chinese restaurants), picanterías (serving traditional dishes), and cevicherías (seafood restaurants specializing in seviche, or cebiche, a typical coastal dish of marinated fish). Fortunately for Lima, the migrants from other areas of Peru carried with them their highly flavoured regional dishes, making the city a gastronome’s delight. Added to these foods are excellent local beers, grape brandy (pisco), wines, and other drinks.
Lima Travel Information
When is the best time to visit Lima?
While it rarely rains in Lima on Peru’s coast, this region experiences two seasons, summer and winter. The summer season runs from December to March with temperatures averaging around 27 Centigrade/80 Fahrenheit while winter on the coast is from May to November. This time of year can be damp and sometimes chilly with temperatures dropping to 12 Centigrade/53 Fahrenheit.
What types of tours are available in Lima?
GoCruising offers a Lima stopover with appropriate sightseeing. This can be combined with visits to Machu Picchu and/or the Galapagos Islands.
Travel to Lima
Direct flights will take you to Lima for a Peru vacation from Toronto.