- Nicknamed City of Kings as it was the first capital of the Spanish Viceroyalty in South America.
- Capital of Peru, home to about 30% of the total population
- Located on a stretch of land in between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes
- South America’s Culinary capital and place to be
Lima is the proud capital of Peru and home to about 10 million Limeños living, spread over 30 districts or barrios. The city was relatively small till the seventies and eighties when under influence of the local terrorism in the provinces Lima started growing rapidly and with little urban planning. Nowadays Lima is an urban jungle where in the course of several blocks one can find newly built high rise buildings next to colonial houses and a shantytowns on the other side. This eclectic “sense” of architecture and ambience for a part creates Lima’s unique feel. Lima however is a clear example of a city that is not only discovered with your eyes and ears but also and perhaps even more, with your smell and taste. The only city on the continent with more than 5 restaurants among the world’s best’ as well as unique “whole in the wall” eateries on every street corner. Lima is a city that will fascinate even the most experienced foodies in town.
THINGS TO DO
Lima was founded on January 18, 1935 by Francisco Pizarro under the name “City of Kings” and named capital of the Viceroyalty of Peru, the biggest and most important city on the continent at the time. Originally spreading over the Chillon, Rimac and Lurin Valley, the city started spreading and did not stop till the day of today. Proof of life in the region dates back to about 2,500BC with dozens of Huacas (ancient funerary temples) found in and around the city. Several of these such as the Huaca Puccllana or the Huaca Huantille can be visited these days. Inca ruins can also be found with the site of Pachacamac in the South of Lima. In Colonial days the city thrived on the gold and silver passing through en route to Spain as well as the preferential status the territory and its rulers had obtained from the Spanish Crown. After the struggle for independence Lima became the scene of many internal and international disputes as well as saw the formation of Peru as a country from close by. Nowadays the city is one of the regional giants with a population of about 10 million and an economic, political and cultural heavyweight.
The city originated in the Rimac Valley coming from the Andes and running to the Pacific Ocean. Located in the desert, Lima is the second biggest desert city in the world after Cairo and for the most part flat. Due to the growth nowadays the start of the Andes Mountains have been incorporated in the city. These are often so-called Pueblos Jovenes (local favelas) where running water and electricity is not necessarily present. The city is made up out of 30 districts the largest (San Juan de Lurigancho) with more than 1.5 million people and the smallest (Barranco) with several thousands. The colonial city center as well as most historical barrios are located next to the Rimac River about 3km (1.5mi) inland. The popular tourist districts Miraflores and Barranco used to be the seaside retreats of the wealthier Limeños but since the seventies also incorporated in the city. San Isidro is the financial heart of the city and thus Peru and home to most high rises and service industries.
- Two seasons; winter and summer + transition months
- Wintertime; May through October
- Summertime; December through April
- Little or no rain all year round (early morning drizzle may occur)
- Humidity levels can often reach 70-85%
- Foggy mornings in wintertime due to Humboldt Current
- Average Min / Max Winter 12ºC/54ºF – 22ºC/71ºF
As you can imagine for a city of its size, Lima has plenty to see and do but more than with any other city on the continent what matters in Lima most is the food. The hardest tables to land in town are of course those of the worldwide renowned chefs such as Central from Virgilio Martinez, Maido from Mitsuharu ‘Micha’ Tsumura or Astrid & Gaston from Gaston Acurio. These are closely followed by the names of Rafael, El Marcado, Isolina and Toshi. But Lima would not have its gastronomic revolution if it weren’t for the small “Hole in the Wall” eateries that created this national buzz that became an international sensation. Small places with local dishes such as ceviche, lomo saltado, arroz con pollo and chicharrones are often the true culinary jewels in Lima. When it comes to touring the city; first of all the historic city center cannot be missed with its beautiful San Martin Square as well as the Plaza de Armas with the Presidential palace and cathedral. Also worth the visit is the San Francisco Monastery and the close by China Town. On the Ocean front Miraflores takes most attention with its large hotel offer, amazing restaurants and shopping opportunities. The other seaside district Barranco is somewhat more bohemian and moves a little slower than the rest of Lima. Dotted with art galleries, boutique hotels and small scale restaurants this is the place to be for those looking for romance. For those who are looking to see the rougher side of Lima, the old harbor area of Callao and La Punta are the places to be. This workers’ area has been off the radar for a long time but nowadays is enjoying a true cultural revolution with new art galleries, restaurants and other initiatives popping up on a daily basis.