Lima is Peru’s capital, but the nation’s largest city often gets overlooked by travellers who view it as a mere pit stop en route to the Inca-rich delights of Cuzco and Machu Picchu. The trip from the airport is hardly inspiring, but once you’re in the heart of Lima you discover a city with rich, historical roots and a passion for tradition befitting one of the oldest cities in the Americas!
If you’re after a chic dining establishment, look no further than the gorgeous, upscale area of Miraflores, where you’ll find a bevy of trendy bars and eateries (along with the ubiquitous fast-food giants). Not up for snooty waiters and overpriced steak? Head to laid-back Barranco and San Isidro for cheap-but-good eats and a younger (and much cooler) crowd!
Lima's Top 10
10. Larco Museum This is the place to find Inca mummies and ancient ceramics. There’s also a room of ‘erotic archaeological treasures’. We’re talking the Kama Sutra in clay.
5. Larcomar An entertainment food and shopping complex built into the seaside cliff of Miraflores. Shop till you drop, grab a bite, catch a movie or just take in the great Pacific views.
9. Church of San Francisco You’ll probably get attacked by a swarm of pigeons, but it’s well worth it!
4. Aliaga House Dating back to the 16th century and home to impressive art and historical bric-a-brac.
8. Plaza Mayor The heart of Lima is home to a stack of sights, boutiques and cutesy cafés!
3. National Museum Brush up on your Peruvian history. You’ll find some of the oldest artefacts in the country here.
7. Archbishop’s Palace This grand, Baroque-style venue is the Archbishop’s HQ. Pay a visit and he may invite you in for some tea and biscuits.
2. Government Palace Peru’s prez lives here! Take a tour to see the interior, including the extravagant ballroom.
6. Pachacamac One of the best archaeological sites in the country. A one-on-one guided tour is the best way to explore the remains of pyramids and Inca temples.
1. Cathedral of Lima Hands down best cathedral we’ve ever seen! See it light up in spectacular style once night falls.
- Plaza de Armas – This was once the heart of Lima and still holds the original bronze fountain from 1650 and the cathedral from 1746.
- Monasterio de San Francisco – This Franciscan church and monastery is well known for its catacombs.
- Palacio de Gobierno – This exquisite Archbishop’s Palace dates back to 1924.
- Iglesia de Santo Domingo – This church was built on the grounds given to the Dominican Frier Valverde, who was with Pizarro during the time of the conquest.
- Pachacamac – Archeological site and citadel from the pre-Columbine days.
Lima Art & Culture
- Museo Nacional de Antropología, Arqueología e Historía del Perú – Traces Peruvian history and includes many incredible displays.
- Museo Rafael Marco Herrera – This museum is located in a mansion from the 1700s and is home to one of the biggest ceramic collections.
- Museuo Taurino – Located in Lima’s bullring where some of the most famous bullfighters have taken on the bulls. Tells the history of this sport with samples and artefacts.
- Museo de Oro del Peru – Peru’s museum of gold.
- Museo de Arte de Lima – This is Lima’s main art museum that includes pre-Columbine artefacts and colonial furniture.
- LarcoMar – An upscale, outdoor shopping mall built along the cliff overlooking Lima’s coastline and offers many high-end clothing stores, discos and places to eat.
- Mercado India – A place to find local crafts in Lima.
- Flower Market – Offers a kaleidoscope of colours and beauty.
- La Casa de la Mujer Artesana Manuela Ramos – Offers local crafts.
- Jockey Plaza – A large, high-end mall filled with shops, boutiques, entertainment and eateries.
Gay & Lesbian Lima
- Legendaris – The classiest and most hip disco in Lima.
- Downtown Vale Todo – Includes drag queen shows and an upper area with a cruising bar.
- Mercury – Offers a great music and light show.
- Sagitario – One of the original bars in the city.
- Avenida 13 – A great dance club.
- El Circuito Magico de Agua – These 12 wonderfully illuminated fountains offer a laser show at the end of each day set to a medley of music.
- Parque de la Muralla – Part of the wall that surrounded the city in the 1600s remains as part of this park area.
- Parque de la Cultura – Offers Japanese gardens and an amphitheatre.
- Miraflores – One of the most visited neighbourhoods in the city.
- Parque del Amor – The Park of Love is a lovely place for a quiet, peaceful and romantic stroll.
- See regular horse races at the Hipódromo de Monterrico.
- Catch the Alianza de Lima football team playing in the Monumental "U" Stadium.
- Play a game of fronton, a racquetball sport that is very popular throughout Peru.
- Watch bullfights at the Historic Plaza de Acho from October to December.
- Check out the Mariscal Caceres Colliseum for some great volleyball games.
Celebrate the city’s beginnings at The Anniversary of the Founding of Lima in January. Star-studded concerts will keep you entertained until the midnight fireworks.
Lima’s an independent woman, so go celebrate her sexy, self-sufficient self at the Independence Day Fiestas in late July. Two days of parties, folk performances, food and parades? Yes, please!
Bookworms (who can actually read Spanish) will have a ball at the Lima International Book Fair in July to August.
Grab some popcorn and head on over to the Lima Latin American Film Festival in early to mid-August.
October’s Procession of the Lord of Miracles attracts thousands of Jesus C devotees. Look out for parades of incense-carrying, purple-clad nuns and the stack of street vendors peddling traditional eats.
When To Go
Lima is mild all year, so there’s little chance of a super-chilly winter or sweltering summer.
It hardly ever rains in Lima. Instead a constant low cloud hovers over the city.
Although summer maximums average just 23°C (73ºF), it does get very humid.
Lima’s public transport includes buses, mini-buses and combis, but it’s disorganised and unregulated, so don’t expect them to run on time.
Taxi is one of the best ways to get around. Beware unlicensed operators (and thugs posing as taxi drivers) and get your hotel to call one for you.
The Lima Metro is in the works and should become the best way to travel.
Lima's climate is quite moderate, with sparse rainfall and occasional bouts of intense humidity.
- Winter (June to August) 15-20degC
- Spring (September to November) 15-22degC
- Summer (December to February) 18-26degC
- Fall (March to May) 15-26degC
Lima Official Guide
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