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Travel Guide South America Peru Lima

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Introduction

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Iglesia

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Peru's capital and its largest city, Lima dates back to 1535 when it was founded by Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro. Owing to its prominent colonial history, it is home to a good selection of old churches, cloisters and monasteries for visitors' enjoyment. Lima is one of the world's most populous cities, home to almost 8 million inhabitants.

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Neighbourhoods

  • Miraflores is the area where the more affluent population of Lima live and work. At the heart of this neighbourhood is Parque Kennedy, an explosion of green in an otherwise grey city. Surrounding this park and in the streets leading from it are numerous restaurants and bars offering all kinds of traditional and world cuisine. Probably the largest attraction, a short walk from the park, is Huaca Pucllana, a pre-Incan adobe pyramid recently discovered which can be seen towering over its neighbours. Entrance costs a few Sols and includes a guided tour.
  • Lima Centro is home to large parts of Lima's colonial heritage, including the Plaza Mayor and its accompanying cathedrals. Mixed in among the colonial buildings are large department stores if you fancy some shopping, or, if you'd prefer to relax, a number of bars and restaurants.
  • Pueblo Libre is located 15 minutes away from the town centre and from the airport. There you will find the famous Peruvian taverns: the Queirolo and the Bolivariano where you will be able to try the local specialities. But this district is particularly famous for the Museo Larco, the most prestigious pre-Columbian art museum in Peru. It showcases more than 4,000 years of History and contains the most important Gold, Silver, and Jewelry collection, it is also very well appreciated for the erotic collection. Its storage area is open to the public. Outside the museum, a blue line will lead you to the Museo de Arqueologica, Antropologia e Historia del Peru.
  • Barranco - A bohemian beach-side neighborhood known for its nightlife.
  • Callao - A city on the coast. Districts include Callao, La Perla, La Punta, Bellavista, Ventanilla, Carmen de la Legua y Reynoso and Mi Perú
  • Eastern Lima - This districts of La Molina, Cieneguilla, Ate Vitarte, Santa Anita, San Juan de Lurigancho, Lurigancho-Chosica and Chaclacayo
  • Western Lima - Chorrillos, San Isidro, Magdalena del Mar, Pueblo Libre, San Miguel, San Luis, Jesús María, Breña
  • Southern Lima - A large area containing the districts of San Borja, Santiago de Surco, San Juan de Miraflores, Villa María del Triunfo, Villa el Salvador, Pachacamac, Lurín, Punta Hermosa, Punta Negra, San Bartolo, Santa María del Mar and Pucusana.
  • Northern Lima - Known as 'Lima Norte' or 'Cono Norte', this area includes the districts of Comas, Carabayllo, Puente Piedra, Santa Rosa, Ancón, San Martín de Porres, Los Olivos, Rímac and Independencia.

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Sights and Activities

  • Museo Larco - The Museo Larco was founded in 1926 by Peruvian archaeologist Rafael Larco Hoyle, provides a comprehensive overview of 4,000 years of Peruvian pre-Columbian history. It is located in an 18th century vice-royal mansion built atop a 7th century pre-Columbian pyramid and surrounded by a stunning garden. The museum features the finest gold and silver collection from Ancient Peru and the famous Erotic Gallery, one of Peru's most visited attractions. Visitors have the unique opportunity to enter the storage area and see 45,000 classified archaeological objects. There is also the Café del Museo restaurant and the Museum Gallery Shop which sells certified replicas of the Museum's most exceptional artefacts. Larco Museum's masterpieces are icons of pre-Columbian art and are permanently being exhibited in the world's most important museums.
  • Huaca Pucllana is a large pre-Incan temple in Miraflores.
  • Museo Nacional houses a massive collection of artifacts from across Peru and its many thousands of years of history. Expect to take the best part of a morning or afternoon following the trail from Peru's ancient past up to the more recent Incan period, where Peru's history apparently stops. The museum is well laid out and houses some amazing pieces. It is located out in the suburbs and is probably best reached by taxi.
  • Bike Tours of Lima - Bike Tours of Lima, offers the possibility to do a city tour in Lima in a very exciting way. The bike tours cover the most traditional and typical spots of the city and are carried out mainly over bike lanes, beautiful parks, wide sidewalks, one way streets and always on flat areas. The tours are suitable for people of all ages and levels. It is located in a central location in the heart of Miraflores.
  • Surfing is possible along the coastline and there is a small surfing school located on the ocean in Miraflores at Playa Costa Verde beach. Board, wet suite and lessons for day go for a 50 sols. To get there walk down Malecon Balta to the bluffs then take the path to the ocean.
  • Parasailing from the bluffs above Miraflores is a great adventure. They leave from the look out just north of Playa Costa Verde beach and it is US$50 for 15 minutes.
  • MATE- Asociación Mario Testino - With the largest collection of Mario Testino’s photographs, the Asociación Mario Testino (MATE) is the only cultural institution in the world dedicated to the permanent exhibition of the work of this prominent Peruvian artist. A non-profit organization of international outreach as well as a new referent of Lima’s artistic landscape, MATE will share its vast collection through exhibitions, programs and publications. MATE’s building is located on Pedro de Osma Avenuea few blocks away from “La Plaza Principal de Barranco” and “El Puente de los Suspiros” in the district of Barranco, renowned for its great cultural tradition and architectural beauty. This nineteenth century Republican townhouse underwent a ten-month renovation and refurbishment – a project designed by architect de Augusto de Cossío- to establish itself as a new cultural reference within the district and city landscape. MATE, Asociación Mario Testino is a non-profit cultural organization focused on the work of the photographer Mario Testino. After 35 years living abroad, it was the personal desire of the artist to bring the largest collection of his work to Lima, his hometown, in contribution to the cultural heritage of Peru. Address: Av. Pedro de Osma 409, Barranco, Phone: 511- 2517755, Hours: Tuesday to Saturday form 11:00am to 8:00pm and Sunday form 11:00.am to 6:00pm

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Events and Festivals

  • El Aniversario de Lima - The 18th of January is the day Lima was founded in 1535, and it is celebrated by thousands in Peru each year. Anniversary festivities are saturated with Peruvian music, dance concerts, art presentations, and a particularly noteworthy parade.
  • Festival Internacional de la Vendimia de Ica (Ica Wine Festival) - This festival is a 10-day celebration of Ica's wine harvest, which produces some of the nation's best wine and brandy, or "picos". Visitors can enjoy regional cusine, international music, fireworks, and of course, an endless supply of alcohol. This festival is held each year in the first two weeks of March.
  • Festival Internacional Jazz en Peru - Jazz musicians from all over the world come to practice, perform, and learn with local Lima musicians in this collaborative jazz festival. Visitors can expect to hear a variety of jazz artists and styles of jazz during this event.
  • El Señor de los Milagros (18 Oct 2013 - 28 Oct 2013) - In the mid-17th century, Angolan slaves painted an image of Christ on a wall in a popular meeting place in Lima. In 1655, an earthquake hit Lima, devastating much of the city. Left standing amid the destruction, was the wall with the image of Christ; many believe this is a great a miracle. Today, this image, of El Señor de los Milagros, is celebrated by one of the largest religious congregations in South America. Thousands come to watch or participate in the processions honoring this image on October 18th, 19th, and 28th; many wear dark purple, which is considered to be a sacred color.
  • Annual International Bullfighting Competition - Bullfighting can be seen throughout the year in Lima, but during the month of November, the city hosts the Annual International Bullfighting Competition at Plaza de Acho. There is guaranteed to be blood and guts; this event is not for the faint of heart.
  • National Horse Tournament of the "Peruvian Caballo de Paso" - The "horse with the Peruvian step" is honored at this important tournament every year in April. Visitors can expect to watch several exciting competitions between the famous Peruvian horses, and on breaks, they can gorge themselves in traditional Peruvian food. The horses will be dressed as well, if not better than, the people attending the event.

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Weather

As you'd expect from a city on the edge of a desert, rain is rare, strangely however it is usually grey and cloudy thanks to the Humboldt current. Expect it to be warm and dry, between 20 °C in winter (June to September) and 28 °C in summer (January to April). Nights are between 14 °C in winter and 20 °C in summer.

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Getting There

By Plane

Lima Jorge Chávez International Airport (LIM) is located about 11 kilometres from downtown Lima, in Callao. It's about 17 kilometres to Miraflores and it's the busiest airport in Peru and one of the busiest in South America.
Some of the main destinations with connections from Lima include Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Madrid, Toronto, Miami, Bogota, Houston, New York, Panama City, Atlanta, Amsterdam, San José, Los Angeles, Santiago, Caracas, Cuzco, Guayaquil, La Paz, Quito, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Sao Paulo, Havana, Montevideo, Rio de Janeiro, San Salvador and Santo Domingo.

Remember for departing international flights there is a departure tax of US$30 that has to be paid in cash, dollars or sols. Most international carriers prepay this fee but you won't find this out till you check in. For domestic flights there is a much smaller departure tax. If on an international flight make sure to arrive to the airport at least 2 hours before you flight because the exit procedure can take an extremely long time, especially if you are on one of the countless flights that leave around midnight everyday. For domestic flights 1.5 hours should be fine and the procedure is very quick.

Transport to and from the airport is available by bus, van or taxi, it takes about 20 minutes from Miraflores to reach the airport by taxi. Lima is also the hub for domestic air travel in Peru and flights from here will take you to every major city in Peru.

By Car

The roads around Lima are good, but the traffic in Lima is frequently busy with traffic jams at rush hours.

By Bus

The bus station is right outside the airport grounds exit to your right. To get into Miraflores you can take the blue 18 bus. It says Miraflores on the side but confirm with the bus driver. A ride to Miraflores will cost you S/2. The area is a bit dodgy. If travelling with all or any valuables and especially at night, it is recommended to take a taxi within the airport grounds instead. The bus to Miraflores takes 1-3 hours depending on traffic.

Most companies have their terminals lined up along Paseo de la Republica (north & south) in La Victoria, not Lima's nicest district. However. Other stations are in the outskirts of La Victoria (Av. Javier Prado and and along Paseo de la Republica), which is better. There you find some of the more reputable companies like Cruz del Sur, Tepsa, Ormeño, CIAL, Linea, ITTSA, Movil Tours, Flores and Civa. Some of the same companies have multiple terminals in La Victoria, service to/from "Gran Terminal Terrestre Plaza Norte" in Túpac Amaru in the northern part of town; and in/around Acotongo in the southern part of town.

If you are staying in the North Lima area or close to the airport, there is a modern bus terminal: "Gran Terminal Terrestre Plaza Norte" which is very convenient. It should take you around 10 minutes to get there from the airport by the Avenida Tomás Valle in a combi or taxi (there are no buses along the whole length of this avenue).

Regular buses run up and down the roads Panamericana Sur/Norte (the local name for the Panamerican Highway), Carretera Central, Interoceánica Sur, Interoceánica Norte, amongst others:

  • South: Pisco, Ica, Nazca, Arequipa, Tacna, Cuzco, Puerto Maldonado, Juliaca, Puno, Moquegua, Ilo.
  • North: Huaraz, Chimbote, Trujillo, Chiclayo, Piura, Cajamarca & Tumbes.
  • East: Huancayo, Cerro de Pasco, Huánuco and Pucallpa.

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Getting Around

By Car

Lima is sprawling but easily navigable, but beware of the traffic it will slow you down and the drivers can be erratic at times.

By Public Transport

Smaller buses run across the city and you can easily hail taxis throughout the city. The Lima Metro system, Tren Electrico, has sixteen stations and runs at twenty-one kilometers per hour for travel throughout the city of Lima. There is only one other metro system currently implemented in Peru, which is located in central Huancayo.

By Foot

Walking around a single suburb such as Centro or Miraflores is feasible, however Lima is a large place and you may find it easier to use public transport to move between areas of the city.

By Bike

It's possible to cycle around the city, but given the traffic it probably wouldn't be ideal.

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Eat

Gastronomy has been, since the days of the Spanish vice royalty, an essential aspect of life in Lima. During the last few years, the city's dining reputation has experienced a huge leap in the eyes of the world, due in part to the International Summit of Gastronomy (Madrid Fusión) in 2006, which declared Lima to be the "Gastronomy Capital of the Americas". The offerings in Lima are nowadays more varied and cover a wide range of types and cuisines, both regional and international.

Despite the wide range of choice in Lima's many restaurants, ceviche is surely number one on the list of dishes you must get to know, not only because it happens to be the Peruvian national dish, but because of its unparalleled delicious taste. With the increasing interest in the Peruvian cuisine, ceviche is quickly making its way onto tables all over the world. But if you want to enjoy the real thing, don't miss it during your stay here in ceviche's Mecca. There is at least one cevichería in every neighbourhood. Moreover, most criollo restaurants include ceviche on their menus; indeed the dish is so popular that it is even offered at many of the more upscale nouvelle-cuisine restaurants.

In some places, Peruvian food tend to be spicy and heavy. Try it and ask if any dish is picante (spicy), which usually means it is going to be very spicy! A full meal may be really heavy even if it's perfectly nice and well-prepared with fresh ingredients.

A second must goes to Asian cuisine, both Chinese and Japanese, which predictably, have a strong Peruvian influence. Chifas - that is, Chinese restaurants-, which can be counted by the hundreds if not thousands, are usually down-to-earth neighbourhood eateries, offering a fare rich in seafood and chicken. Japanese restaurants, on the contrary, are less widespread, and more upscale and expensive. Their forte is, of course, a year-round supply of the freshest and most varied seafood.

Travelers longing for a delicious falafel or shwarma sandwich will be pleased to learn there is an excellent café in Parque Kennedy that serves these type of Middle Eastern foods at reasonable prices.

There is a heavy presence of fast-food chains such as KFC, Pizza Hut, McDonald's, Subway, Papa John's and local chain Bembos all over the city. Places such as Burger King, Chili's and TGI Friday's are scarce, but can be found around Miraflores. Also, you shouldn't miss Peruvian-style hamburgers at Bembos, and traditional Peruvian sandwiches in if you want to give your everyday fast-food a local twist.

  • The Café del Museo offers its customers a sample of the best Peruvian fusion cuisine. The homemade, varied menu of Café del Museo rediscovers flavors, products and customs in Peru. All Peruvian regions, which are visited in Museo Larco, are present in Café del Museo’s menu, proving that Peru is also a wonderful gastronomic destination. Located on a terrace in the beautiful gardens of the museum, this restaurant overlooks the pre-Columbian pyramid and vice royal mansion that holds Larco Collection. Opening hours: Mon - Sun 9:00am - 6:00pm. Av. Bolivar 1515, Pueblo Libre. Phone: 4624757. E-mail: cafedelmuseo@museolarco.org.
  • CAFÉ MATE - Decorated in Republican style, it is a comfortable space in which visitors can enjoy from a delicious sandwich or dessert to a fresh salad before finishing their tour. Cafe Mate has a cozy terrace under Royal Poinciana trees. It also has free Wi-fi and available art and photography books for guests.

Address: av. Pedro de Osma 409, Barranco., Phone: 511-2517755, Hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 11:00am to 8:00pm Sundays from 11:00am to 6:00pm

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Drink

  • Pisco Sour is the national drink of Peru, made with Pisco, a brandy made of grapes. It is highly recommended that all visitors to Peru try this drink at least once. Visitors might be amused to learn that Chileans claim Pisco Sour is their own, but it isn't true. There are some variations that are offered in several bars around town. Just be careful; the fresh and sweet flavour makes it very easy to drink too much, and you can so easily get drunk on it.
  • Inca Kola is the most popular soft drink in Peru, one of few sodas that Coca Cola couldn't defeat (until they bought the company). It's a yellow-fruit flavored drink that tastes like hierba luisa.
  • Jugos You can find great fresh fruit drinks all over Lima. Starting from 0.50 soles for a fresh orange juice at the market to some more expensive ones. Surtidos, containing several different fruits, are quite tasty.
  • Chicha Morada A refreshing, purple, non-alcoholic drink high in antioxidants. It's made by boiling purple corn with pineapple, cinnamon, clove, and sugar.

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Sleep

As you would expect in a major city there is a wide range of accommodation. Surco, Miraflores, San Borja and San Isidro are some of the nicest and safest areas in the city. Although they sometimes come a bit pricier than the old city centre and other parts, some budget accommodation options do exist. Keep in mind that the old city may not be safe for tourists at night.

Budget

Loki Hostel (also known as Incahaus) - Avenida Larco 189, Miraflores. Tel: 01-2424350. Located on the edge of Parque Kennedy, opposite McDonalds, lies this popular hostel. It's a good place to meet up with other travellers and they offer work for food and board. Some private rooms are available but it is largely dorm room accommodation. Rates are from US$8per night:

More budget options in Lima, including travellers ratings, are:

Mid-Range

  • Hotel kamana Jr Camana, Lima Centro. tel: 01-4277106. Large hotel near to the Plaza Mayor, it has decent, clean rooms although you can hear your neighbours quite well through the bathroom window!

Hotels near the Airport

There are three hotels/hostels that are within reasonable distance of the aiport: The Las Terrazas Hotel, Hostel el Caribe and the Ramada Hotel. Check the Lima Airport Hotels website for more details about prices.

The Ramada Hotel (4-star) is located right in the airport, but is very pricy. Mid-ranged is the Las Terrazas Hotel (3-star) - about 10 minutes by car and is clean and comfortable. The cheapest is by fate the Hostel el Caribe (approximately 5 minutes by car), but many budget travellers have given this hostel poor reviews.

View our map of accommodation in Lima or use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

Booking.com

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Keep Connected

Internet

More and more hotels, resorts, airports, cafes, and retailers are going Wi-Fi (wireless fidelity), becoming "hotspots" that offer free high-speed Wi-Fi access or charge a small fee for usage. In Peru, by far the easiest way to check your e-mail and surf the Web is to drop in at the Internet cabinas (booths) that can be found in virtually every city and even small towns. Connections are usually fast, and the service is as little as S/2 per hour.
Aside from formal cybercafes, most youth hostels and many hotels nowadays have at least one computer with Internet access.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

Peru's country code is +51. Emergency numbers include 105 (Police), 117 (Ambulance) and 116 (Fire).

In all towns and villages that are not too small, it is no problem to find public telephones for national and international calls. Many public phones can be expensive, and an attractive alternative is a Locutorio, or "call-center". Typical rates include .2 Nuevo Sol/minute for calls in the country, and .5 Nuevo Sol/minute for most international calls. Phone cards are cheap and easily available from shops or vendors who hang around pay phones. You'll often see people with a bundle of mobile phones who act as pay phones, they'll be shouting 'llamadas'. Telephone booths are primarily used for making local calls. Calling to other countries from Peru is expensive.

If you have an unlocked cell phone you can buy local SIM cards. Movistar and Claro are two of the phone companies in Peru. You can buy your sim card from these companies and buy a phone card also.

Your best, cheapest bet for making international calls from Peru is to head to any Internet cafe with an international calling option. These cafes have connections to Skype, Net2Phone, or some other VoIP service. International calls made this way can range anywhere from 5¢ to $1 per minute -- much cheaper than making direct international calls or using a phone card. If you have your own Skype or similar account, you just need to find an Internet cafe that provides a computer with a headset.

Post

Check the Serpost website, the national postal service (a private company), for more information about prices and options regarding the sending of postcards, letters and parcels. The post service is relatively efficient and post offices can be found in most cities and (larger) towns. Post offices generally are open from 8:00am to 8:00pm Monday to Saturday and some are open on Sundays from 9:00am to 1:00pm. Postcards are available from street vendors and shops at any touristy area, and stamps are generally available as well, though sometimes only at the post office itself. It takes at least 10 days to send a postcard to North America and prices start at S/5.5. To Europe it is S/7.8 and it takes even a bit longer, around 2 weeks. For little extra money, you can choose 'expresso' services. For large parcels and quantities, you can use both Serpost or companies like DHL, UPS, TNT or FedEx, which are faster and offers the same prices, though it is still relatively expensive.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: -12.093084
  • Longitude: -77.046491

Accommodation in Lima

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Lima searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Lima and areas nearby.

Contributors

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Lima Travel Helpers

  • luisjesus

    Hello, If you need some information about Lima: Hotels, Restaurants, Churches and Ruins, Beaches, short travels, etc, please let me know. I speak english fluently and I have useful infromation. Beside we could take a ride in my truck around the city.

    Ask luisjesus a question about Lima

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