Things to do in Lima
More About Lima
Lima, current capital of the Republic of Peru, the former capital of the incredibly rich Spanish Vice Royalty of Peru, is a dynamic and still growing city that combines a long, valuable historic legacy with the trends and amenities of any modern capital. It is still called "City of the Kings" and is indeed a large city; according to official data, Metropolitan Lima has 8.5 million residents, which make 30% of the total population of Peru.
A big city has many big attractions to foreigners. While you can take a glimpse at history by touring its buildings and monuments (especially those located in the Downtown), you can also enjoy Peruvian cuisine and handicraft from all regions, take a look and learn something from its people and their daily lives… and of course, enjoy the city nightlife as well.
Whatever your particular interests may be, there are certain places that you cannot miss: first of all, the historical Lima Downtown, especially its Plaza Mayor (or “Plaza de Armas”, that is, the Main Square) and its surroundings; spots like Lima's Cathedral, the Government Palace, the Municipal Palace, all of them in the Plaza Mayor; or, walking a little more, the Church and Convent of San Francisco, and the Palacio de Torre Tagle, that currently serves now as headquarters for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Other interesting and must-see places in Lima are the traditional district of Barranco, whose traditional 19th century buildings host nowadays a very active, bohemian and youth-oriented nightlife. Or Miraflores, a very tourist-friendly district located close to Barranco. Miraflores has many commercial and entertainment options: shopping malls, cinemas, hotels, cafes, discos and a public park with free wi-fi connection. Larcomar, one of the largest shopping centers is also located here, at the edge of Miraflores' cliffs. And by the way, Miraflores is, unofficially but unanimously, considered as the most gay-friendly Lima district.
Miraflores and Barranco provide easy access to Lima beaches, a coastal circuit called “Costa Verde”. In addition to the natural landscape and attractions, there are some really nice restaurants here, so you may want to hire a taxi and enjoy a romantic dinner by the sea. And speaking about beaches and sea, you may also want to consider some maritime excursion. Many city tours schedule visits to Callao Port, as well as yatch excursions to the islands nearby, full of history and a paradise for nature lovers, who will enjoy the sight of sea lions, sea birds, and with a little luck, a flock of playful dolphins.
Of course, Lima museums are worth seeing, too, and some large public parks like the Circuito Mágico del Agua (Magic Circuit of Water), whose huge fountains display colorful laser lights show (with music) every night.
A funny fact about Lima is that, due to its geographical particularities, it never rains here (only some drizzle): a not so funny fact to keep in mind is that traffic jams can be horrendous. You can either use Metropolitano System or take taxis.
Things to do in Lima
Lima is known for...
1. Mild Climate:
If you come from colder latitudes, Lima's mild weather may feel like an eternal spring for you: average temperatures range from 12°C and 28°C, depending of the season. However, relative humidity is very high, and you can expect sunny, moist and warm summers (December-April) and cloudy, damp and cool winters (May-November). But you will never see "real" rain, and this is another famous fact about Lima's climate.But be aware: Lima has some microclimates, there are significant differences between the districts located close to the beaches and those located further away to the east. And remember that Lima has high UV radiation levels during ll the year.
2. Great Food:
Peruvian gastronomy is becoming world-famous and Lima has many very good restaurants: Five-star restaurants in Lima have nothing to envy to the best European places. However, odds are that you can have a truly unforgettable experience eve at humble, inexpensive places. Peruvian cuisine blends flavors and techniques from very different roots and cultural backgrounds (Spanish, Basque, Spanish, African, Japanese, Sino-Cantonese, Italian, Andean, African, Mediterranean, Indian, Creole, etc.) so Lima is a perfect destination for foodies. There are not too many options for vegetarians, though, but don’t give up –you will find a new and delicious veggie adventure in Lima supermarkets and street markets. And don’t forget local versions of barbecue.
3. City of Balconies:
During the 18th and 19th centuries, travelers used to describe Lima as “the city of balconies". Balconies were such a common sight that Limenians never thought about them as something especially remarkable. Nowadays, the surviving balconies are a valuable testimony of days gone by. Peruvian historians explain that former noble and wealthy people who settled down in this city built their mansions following the Arab-Moresque architecture style that was common in Spain by those times, but adding an evident “Limenian touch”. These balconies provided shade and fresh air, and also allowed Lima’s high society ladies to observe the street life without going outdoors, which was considered inappropriate. Lima’s balconies are currently considered as part of World Cultural Heritage.
4. Multicultural City:
Peru’s rich history has made Lima the big, multicultural city it is today. Located by the Pacific Ocean, this city is the home of 8.5 million Peruvians, and in addition to preserving a huge heritage from Pre-Inca Civilizations, the Inca Culture, the Colonial times and the Republican period, Lima has a trendy, modern side that is quickly growing, boosted by national and international businesses. Lima is a cosmopolitan city where you can see archaeological complexes, historic buildings, amazing museums, colorful modern districts and the nightlife of any international city. Not to mention that all this cultural mixture contributes to producing excellent restaurants!
Despite its size, this city lacks a complete, functional mass transports system. Local governments are currently working on this issue: meanwhile, most Limenians continue using combis as their daily means of transportation. Combi is the name that Peruvians give to name a mini-van that usually displays on its sides the names of the streets on its route. Limenians jokingly call these vehicles combi asesina, or “killer combis” because of their drivers’ noticeable carelessness and imprudence. However, if you are not a faint-hearted person, you may enjoy this unique experience, which offers a privileged view of local culture, unbeatable prices (some US $0.50-0.80) and the possibility of doing some shopping inside the combi (from street vendors that hop in).