Lima, Peru

Lima, a city filled with colonial history, is the only capital in South America that touches the sea, and is hailed by many as the gastronomic capital of Latin America. The city boasts world-renowned chefs like Gastón Acurio and Virgilio Martínez. Making Lima the only city with two restaurants ranking in the top 10 of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants, Central and Maido.

Peruvians love soup and Lima loves seafood. Claiming credit for originating Ceviche, a popular offering made of diced fish with lots of fresh lemon juice garnished with red onions, chopped cilantro, and other seafood. Popular local meats include deep fried pork, Cuy Chactado (fried guinea pig), Llama lean meat often grilled, added to stews or pan-fried. Traditional dishes make a lot of use of corn, potatoes and peppers with Rocoto Relleno (stuffed spicy pepper) being a common offering.

The city of Lima is one of South Americas largest metropolitan areas with a population of almost 13 million. Lima experienced most of its growth after 1960 going from less than 1 million to that 13 million from migration of people away from Peru’s rural areas. The city also spread out during that period increasing its area by seven fold.

Geographically it sits on a coastal plain on cliffs above the Pacific Ocean. Because the prevailing winds come from the east with the Andes capturing most of the moisture and rain the region has an arid climate.

The city’s historic original area is today contained completely within the Miraflores District, home to upscale shopping, many good restaurants and hotels. Most visitors arrive by plane with the International Airport being an almost half hour drive to Miraflores. The best options at last check included:

  • Lima Airport Express Bus to Miraflores for about $6 per person taking 40-45 minutes (Reserve HERE)
  • A Tourist Shuttle Bus for about $10 per person taking 50 – 60 minutes
  • Taxi $20 – $25 taking 25 minutes


Recognized as the birthplace of Lima, the Plaza de Armas is still the heart of Lima and the location of the original Spanish colony dating to 1535. A must visit for every first-timer to Lima.

Located in the historic center of Lima, this main square is a must to visit with its bright yellow Municipal Palace, as well as the bronze fountain that dates back to the early 1650s.

Huaca Pucllana, an amazing archaeological site sits in the middle of the Miraflores neighborhood. The massive clay and adobe brick structure, which once functioned as a ceremonial site during the pre-Columbian era, dates back to 400 B.C. Since the excavation began in 1981, multiple pyramids, ceramics, textiles and tools have been discovered.

The church of Saint Francis of Assisi – Dating back to 1672, this baroque-style church named in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi is best known for the network of catacombs located underneath the chapel. The catacombs contain an estimated 70,000 remains dating back to the 17th century. The church and convent are also home to a library with approximately 25,000 antique texts dating back to the 15th century.

In the center of Lima is a park rivaling the fountains of the Bellagio in Las Vegas, it’s the Circuito Magico del Agua combining a landscape of fountains with 13 automated lasers it uses music to create a spectacular light show. The show tells the history of Peru with movies projected into the water fountains accented with the laser displays.

Lima is also famous for its cliffside pedestrian boardwalks provide amazing ocean views, and are always filled with locals and tourists. The Malecón is a 6-mile stretch of parks and boardwalks along the coast lined with upscale shops, restaurants, parks and a major shopping mall. Allow time for a long stroll or rent a bike from Lima Bike Rentals.

Another widely popular Lima attraction is the miles of beaches. Surfing is a major recreation here and surfing tournaments join a collection of ocean activities and sports.

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