History of Lima
"The City of Kings", as Lima is known, was founded in 1535 by Francisco Pizarro and became the center of Spanish power in Peru, during the colonial period.
The urban planning of Lima is one of the colonial models in South America. Lima is known for its social, economical and cultural growth and stands out as the cultural center of Latin America; besides that, Lima is the home of San Marcos National University, the most ancient from America, founded in 1551.
The coastal city of Lima has a climate arid and semi-dry, with humidity in the air.
At 8,202 feet (2500 meters) the temperatures drop and the weather is cold and rainy (little drizzles). The temperature in Lima ranges from 57ºF (14ºC) in winter to 81ºF (27ºC) in summer.
How to get around in Lima
-In Lima you can mobilize without added difficulty; you will find a large variety of means of transportation as taxis, buses, train, colectivos (shared taxis) and even mototaxis (motorcycle of 3 wheels that go all over little trajects in some places of the city).
-If you take a taxi, don't you forget haggling, because the first price said is never the last one. If you bargain enough, you will travel for low cost.
-In public transportation buses it's always recommended to have change (coins), to avoid problems in the moment of payment. If you see a bus crowded, try to wait to the next one, because a lot of people travel inside the buses and you could feel uncomfortable.
-In Lima's traffic you should consider the peak hours (from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. / from 5:00 pm to 8:00 p.m.). Try to avoid to mobilize in those hours, because traffic can be an unpleasant experience, you can loose an hour in a traffic jam.
-If you like healthy alternatives, you can mobilize by bike in Miraflores and Barranco; these neighborhoods have great cycle lane for cyclists. Pay attention to the other drivers, because some of them does not respect the traffic rules, don't you trust them.
Risks and cautions in Lima
In Lima, as in most of the big metropolis, thefts are frequent. It's highly recommended to avoid neighborhoods not secure at night (during the day you are safer). Try not to bring with you value objects, and still less if they are visible (cameras, jewellery, cell phones). You must be watchful in the public transportation, even there you could find thieves. We recommend to take secure taxis, because there are unreliable taxis that take advantage of tourists (sometimes they make them expensive prices or take them to danger places). Miraflores, San Isidro and Barranco are very calm neighborhoods, even at night, but it is always good to be cautious.
Lima is the capital of Peru and is where the majority of tourists start and end their trip, as it's necessary to pass through Lima to take international flights. It is an urban and modern city with many tourist attractions to see and do, like the Plaza de Armas, the government palace, the Saint Inquisition Museum, the cathedral of Lima and many other churches of the colonial period. You can also visit the Parque de las Aguas, a park full of fountains with an impressive show of images projected in the water. In addition, there are various museums to visit where you can learn about the city's and country's history (Larco Museum, Art of Lima Museum, Gold Museum, between others). You can as well find a huge variety of restaurants: peruvian food, japanese food, chinese food and different countries, that reflects the cultural fusion and gastronomy that means the essence of Peru. The beaches are not an exception, because there are beaches inside the urban area and outside, very crowded by local and foreigner bathers. The ones that you can't miss are: Ancón, San Pedro, La Herradura, Waikiki, El Silencio, Punta Hermosa, Punta Roquitas and many others!
What you can't miss
The Historical Center
Located in the center of the city, it's the area where are the main government institutions and buildings of colonial architecture.
Acess: by bus, combi, taxi, colectivo (shared taxi) and the metropolitano bus.
You can walk freely through all the streets (the principal is Jirón de la Unión) and discover any of your attraction's preference (prices depend on the establishment). Those places are Museums, Institutions, Bars, Restaurants, Churches, Convents, and a long list of mansions and many stores.
La Punta, in Callao
Hours: Every day
Access: You can get around in "combi" (mini bus) or bus
Restaurant prices: s/. 20-40
The Point of Callao is a port full of history and tradition, and has recently been renovated for the public access.
You can enjoy beautiful views from the port of La Punta, looking at the ships and birds surrounded by the immensity of the sea.
El Cerro San Cristobal
Access: Take a bus that leaves from the Plaza de Armas, in the historical center of Lima
Price: Changeable, so bargain it
From the San Cristobal hill you can take some great photos, because you have a wonderful panoramic sight of Lima; take advantage to make some pictures as if they were postcards.
The visit includes a guided tour through the city where you can learn about the origin and the history of each monument, construction and street visited during the tour.
Location: Calle Berlin 375 (Miraflores)
Hours: 11:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. daily / (+51) 983 361 342 / Price: free
Enjoy a very sweet visit that will wake up your desire of buying some chocolate!
Helpful tip: sign up for one of the workshops offered to learn how to make chocolate and some other desserts.
El Circuito Mágico del Agua
Location: Estadio Nacional stop (on the Metropolitano bus)
Hours: Monday-Sunday, from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. for FREE, and Wednesday to Sunday from 2:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., s/. 4 the entrance fee
In the water park you can see many amazing back projections on the steams of the water.
We recommend you to go at night to be able to fully enjoy the light and water show (much better if you do it in great company).
Some parts of Lima are perfect for those who like to walk through green areas, and the capital has lots of nice parks like El Parque del Amistad (Surco), Parque Kennedy (Miraflores), Parque de las Leyendas (a zoo in San Miguel district) and Barranco's Boulevard (in Barranco district), between many others.
Barranco is the bohemian district par excellence, because of its variety of cultural activities and the free time in a traditional environment, as the Born neighborhood in Barcelona or Le Marais in Paris. In the center of Lima you can taste a delicious Pisco, main peruvian drink, and eat a flavorful ceviche (you should eat it always in reliable places, where the fish is fresh).
Location: The Costa Verde in Miraflores
Parque Raimondi near the Parque del Amor (Miraflores)
Price: 150 soles (base fare) to 240 soles (full service)
This service is always available, though depending on the weather and wind, it is usually after 2:00 p.m. You'll soar above Larcomar (luxury shopping center in Miraflores), the beach, and part of the urban area of the city (buildings and houses) and the sea
Helpful advice: don't forget to put on sunscreen, wear sunglasses and comfortable clothes (we don't want you to get sunburnt).
La Herradura beach (Chorrillos)
Location: you can go through the beaches along the Costa Verde
Don't forget your wetsuit and surfboard and you'll be able to ride Lima's waves, but keep in mind the beaches are rocky. You can rent a wetsuit if you forgot yours. And you can take courses if you are a new surfer
Something important: some beaches are reserved for professionals.
Costa Verde: Barranco - Miraflores - Chorrillos
Along the Costa Verde you'll find decent beaches
In Barranco you can cross the Puente de los Suspiros (Sighing Bridge) and hold your breath as you cross the bridge and make a wish, looking at the wonderful sight of the sea that is offered to your eyes. If you descent you'll find beautiful beaches. Choose one and enjoy it!
We recommend taking a long stroll from Barranco to Miraflores along the shore.
Tour buses also pass through this area, in case you prefer.
In Chorrillos beaches (after the Barranco beaches), you'll find a more natural environment than the one of the beaches above; in addition, you will find restaurants that offer a delicius variety of sea food, so typical of the coastal cities of Peru.
The Chinese neighborhood
Location: Calle Paruro (Close to Lima district)
Hours: Always open, best to avoid Saturdays because it's crowded of visitors
You'll see lots of shops and "chifas" (Chinese restaurants), and its worthwhile and very interesting to check out the fusion of cultures chinese and peruvian in this part of the city.
Typical dishes and drinks
Lima is also a gastronomic capital because it combines flavors from the 3 regions. It has gained a worldwide prestige because it captivated palates of diner guest on the international panorama. Chefs like Gaston Acurio are elevating Peruvian cuisine, they are national heros in local gastronomy and they raise the name of Peruvian dishes around the world.
There is a huge variety, but there are some plates you must absolutelly taste in Peru:
Ceviche, anticuchos (cow heart in a brochette), ají de gallina, papa a la huacaina (boiled potatoes with a nice sauce), causa (a kind of potato pie), lomo saltado, between many others you will discover during your stay in Lima.
You will also find an assortment of deserts from Lima, of sweet tradition. The most popular are: the picarones, suspiro a la limeña, turrón de doña pepa, and the mazamorra morada.
Mature drinks and fresh flavors are waiting for you in the nightlife of Lima. Don't you miss: pisco sour, chilcano and algarrobina.
Where to eat in Lima?
La Rosa Náutica
Location: Espigon 4, Circuito de las Playas (Miraflores)
Price: from s/. 70 and up
You can see this converted pier in a beautiful restaurant from the Malecón Balta in Miraflores, and while you eat you can enjoy the sights and smells of the sea.
La Tiendecita Blanca
Location: 111 Av. Larco
Price: from s/. 50 and up
La Tiendecita Blanca has been around for more than 50 years. It's a Swiss-style restaurant near the Parque Kennedy.
Location: Jr. Choquehuanca 209 (Chorrillos)
Seafood and Peruvian cuisine restaurant. Highly recommended by many, you won't be disappointed.
Location: Av. Ignacio Merino 2429
Price: s/. 15 soles
This restaurant has ceviche at a good price. Ronald won the TV game show "Ceviche with Feeling" directed by the chef Gaston Acurio. We recommend going before noon because it fills up.
Dragonfly Hostels Lima
Location: Avenida 28 de Julio 190, Miraflores
Rate: Shared room from s/ 30 – Private room from s/ 86
Dragonfly Hostels propose a beautiful experience of lodging for all travelers. The place provides board games, several colorful living-rooms and rooms to start well the day. Among the most interesting services there is bike rental, loan books, barbecue grill, free wifi, and a table football.
El Hotel Tambopacaya
Location: 212 Jr. Manco Capac (Magdalena del Mar)
Price: From $7
At the Hotel Tambopacaya you'll have a comfortable stay with a bathroom, hot water, kitchenette and wifi. As it is only 15 minutes away from the airport, it is pretty far from downtown, but it is open 24/7, year round.
Location: 2344 Av. Circunvalación (Villa Jardin - San Luis / (01) 4346327)
Price: from s/. 35 and up
El Encuentro offers double beds with TV, and you'll be close to a mall and restaurants in San Luis.
Hotel Sky Peru
Location: Calle 137 Chamaya, in San Miguel square
Price: From $35 to $50
The Hotel Sky Peru is in the San Miguel neighborhood, is 10 minutes from the airport and has a quality restaurant and bar.
Hotel Vila Santa
Location: 2957 Av. Benavides (Miraflores)
Price: from s/.150 and up
Breakfast and wifi are included
Hotel Vila is a 3 star hotel located in Miraflores, in a convenient location and a pleasant atmosphere.
Location: 6461 Av. Roosevelt, Miraflores
Price: s/. 300 soles and up
The Hotel Nobility is a 4 star hotel and an alternative to the Hilton | You'll enjoy the sauna, fitness room, wifi, extra large beds and much more in this luxurious hotel.
Hilton Hotel Lima
Location: 1099 Av. La Paz (Miraflores)
Price: from s/. 800 and up
The Hilton Hotel Lima is one of the most prestigious hotels, you'll have an outdoor pool and the ocean nearby to catch a wave. At this hotel you'll have all your needs and more.
Date: January 18th
It's the date of Lima's foundation (January the 18th 1535) where you'll enjoy parades and fireworks, with the traditional dances from the different regions in Peru. Joy will be present in all corners of the city.
Date: July 28th and 29th
These two days Peruvian people celebrate the independence of Peru. The main date is the 28th. The 29th you'll see a military parade, while all the main government authorities will be present and it's the moment to show to the public all the armament and military means of the country.
Santa Rosa of Lima
Date: August 30th
In this date, people from Lima remember the patron saint of the city and of America. Santa Rosa of Lima is known due to miracles and prodigies she did, result of her faith. Devotees go on pilgrimage to Santa Rosa of Lima Temple to make arrive their prayers and to leave letters on the famous Pozo de los Deseos (Desire Well), located inside this place, where visitors throw letters with their desire more longed for.
Procession of the Lord of the Miracles
Dates: from October 18th to October 28th
Known as well as "Mes Morado" (the Purple Month), the feast of the "Señor de los Milagros" brings together every year thousands of believers in passionate itineraries through the main streets of the city. Meanwhile, some of them raise the image of the "Cristo Moreno" (the Black Christ). Those dates are popular as well for the sale of the classical Turrón de Doña Pepa, a delicius desert from Lima, made of a sweet dough bathed in bee's honey.
Creole Song Day
Date: July 31st
This day the creole song is celebrated, full of typical rhythms of the popular culture of Lima. It goes with the preparation of traditional dishes as carapulcra, lomo saltado, and cau cau, between others.
The chef Gastón Acurio was the main transmitter on the past, and that's why the Festival reached such popularity, and today is one of the most important gastronomic events around the world. You will have the chance of tasting all the Peru flavors in one place, in an event that your palate will never forget.
Have a Drink
Location: 926 Jr. de la Union - Hotel Bolivar (Center of Lima) / 619-7171
You can go by taxi, combi or bus to San Martín Square. At this bar you will taste one of the best pisco sours of the city.
Art Déco Lounge
Location: 227 Rue Manuel Bonilla (Miraflores) / 242-3969
Hours: Tuesday - Saturday from 7:00 p.m.
You can try a variety of pisco sours and other Spanish cocktails.
La Esquina Wine Bar
Location: 920 Calle Berlin / 652-7255
If you are a wine lover you'll feel right at home at this wine bar in Miraflores.
Santos Cafe & Espirituosos
Location: 203 Jr. Zepita (Barranco)
Hours: Monday - Saturday from 5:00 p.m. / 247-4609
You have to try the house specialty, the "Suspiro de Santos", a delicious mix of pisco, vanilla, cacao cream and milk over ice, an ethylic luxury.
Location: 220 Calle Ucello (San Borja) / 475-2314 | Price: $5 - 7
You can dance live music at the Etheria nighclub in San Borja.
Stragos Karaoke Bar Boxes
Location: 346 Av. Diagonal (Miraflores) and 280 Calle Ucello (San Borja) / 475-2314
Hours: Monday - Sunday, from 8:00 p.m.
Karaoke is in style in Lima and this is the place where you'll have a lot of fun.
Location: Larcomar shopping center, Miraflores
Hours: Thursday - Saturday, 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m.
This European-style nightclub attracts upper class young people and high budget turists.