Peru’s capital city, Lima, is most often passed through by tourists on their way to Machu Picchu or the Amazon. At first glance, it may not be the most glamorous or orderly city in the world, but your trip to Lima promises to surprise and delight with its panoramic ocean views, diverse heritage and incredible food. Lima’s pleasures are not hidden beneath a bushel, but beneath immense clouds of rolling fog, which obscure the city for much of the time. Beneath the cloud, you will discover “The City of Kings”, a sprawling metropolis situated on the banks of the Rimac River and overlooking the Pacific Ocean. With its pre-Columbian temples and high-rise condos, Lima presents dazzling contrasts which serve only to accentuate the other’s sophistication and beauty. This ancient city is a gateway to the spectacular archaeological sites and landscapes of Peru, so don’t pass through, take some time to become acquainted with the chaotic, bustling city, renowned for its culinary wares.
With its pre-Columbian temples and high-rise condos, Lima presents dazzling contrasts which serve only to accentuate the other’s sophistication and beauty. This ancient city is a gateway to the spectacular archaeological sites and landscapes of Peru, so don’t pass through, take some time to become acquainted with the chaotic, bustling city, renowned for its culinary wares.
Direct flights to Lima will bring you to Lima International Airport – Jorge Chavez, in Callao, about 6 miles from the centre of Lima.
Lima’s climate is continually warm, with the summer months (January – March) reaching temperatures of around 30°C and winter (June – September) seldom dropping below 17°C. In January and February, the fog lifts from the city, showing it in all its glory; due to the time of year, it is also possible to find cheap flights to Lima during these months if you book well in advance.
The majority of Lima’s sites of historical interest are in close proximity to each other, making them very easy to explore on foot. The Plaza de Armas heralds from the colonial and republican eras and today remains the bustling centre of downtown Lima. Within easy walking distance of the Plaza, there are enough monuments, galleries and museums to keep you occupied for the duration of your trip to Lima. Within Lima Cathedral, which was built in 1535, you will find a tomb containing the remains of Francisco Pizarro, the Spanish conquistador who conquered the Incan Empire. A guided tour will help you to understand and appreciate the fusion of Catholic and Inca beliefs represented in the building, while a tour of the catacombs is both interesting and a little disconcerting. From here, you can take a short walk to Government Place, the official home of the country’s president – time it right and you will see the changing of the guards. A few blocks from the Plaza, you will find the San Francisco Monastery. The monastery’s ancient library contains more than 25,000 ancient texts and the catacombs hold the remains of thousands of bodies, interred at the monastery before Lima opened its first cemetery. Once you have had your fill of catacombs, take a trip to the Larco Museum, where you can see exquisite artefacts from 4 millennia of Pre-Columbian history. A host of other art galleries and museums exhibit Inca gold, traditional pottery and ancient weapons; in Lima, it is possible to lose yourself for hours in Peru’s rich heritage. If you find yourself hungry and thirsty, stop off at Pasaje Santa Rosa, a bustling pedestrian street filled with restaurants and cafes.
Lima is perched majestically on the cliffs overlooking the sea. The stretch of coast is known as the Costa Verde, due to the green vegetation which adorns the vast cliffs. Lima’s coastal location makes it fantastic for sports, such as windsurfing and paragliding. There is an outdoor gym for the more active, as well as tennis courts. For a more serene experience, take a trip to Parque del Amor (the Park of Love), a beautiful expanse of mosaiced benches set in beautifully landscaped gardens, inspired by Gaudi’s Park Güell in Barcelona. Lima’s beaches are beautiful, particularly in the south. The good surf means that Lima is a popular location for surfers, swimmers, and sunbathers of all ages and nationalities: the perfect place to relax, unwind, and while away the hours with a spot of people watching. Meanwhile, a short boat trip from Callao will bring you to the Palomino Islands, where you can swim with sea lions. Known as Lima’s “little Galapagos”, it is not permissible to set foot on the island for ecological reasons but the experience is, nevertheless, a remarkable one.
Over the last decade, Lima has reinvented itself as the pinnacle of Latin America’s culinary scene. Drawing from 400 years of traditions and an almost inexhaustible supply of fresh produce, local chefs have helped Lima to develop its reputation for unrivalled food choice and quality. Home of the ceviche, Peru offers a full spectrum of eateries, from high-end seafood restaurants to irresistible street stalls. If you only have a few days on your trip to Lima, make sure that you plan where to eat, and what you want to try, as you eat your way through the city. It is not surprising that ceviche forms a central part of Lima’s culinary delights: the city is dotted with cevicherias which purvey some of the freshest, most delicious fish in the world. Meat kebabs and stews, known as lomo saltado are classic Peruvian dishes and can be found on most menus. Don’t be alarmed when you see guinea pig on the menu, it is a staple food among Peruvians. Peru’s ethnic diversity has resulted in a broad choice of fusion foods. From the late 1800s to the early 1900s, Peru saw an influx of immigrants from China, which transformed the country’s approach to food and resulted in Chifa, a fusion of Chinese and Peruvian traditions. Today, Lima is teeming with Chifa restaurants, which approach traditional Peruvian fare with Chinese cooking methods, resulting in delicious dishes such as arroz chuafa, a dish of fried rice with eggs and spring onions, or the Peruvian take on the chow mein, tallarin saltado. Lima also boasts South America’s second largest Japanese population, resulting in Nikkei. The fusion of Peruvian and Japanese cooking, boasts typical dishes like tiradito: a sashimi cured in lime, or the maki acevichado, a maki roll featuring traditional Peruvian ceviche. Like many of the world’s most underrated cities, Lima promises to surprise and delight its visitors at every turn. If you are planning a trip to Peru, make sure you make time in your itinerary for Lima, the City of Kings. For cheap flights to Lima, let Travangelo help.