Travel Guide: Lima The City of Kings
In this page you will find useful information about Lima: General information, Location, History, Main attractions and Typical dishes.
Positioned halfway down the dry and dusty desert coastline of Peru, the city of Lima is hemmed in by the Pacific Ocean on the one side and the foothills of the Andes mountain range on the other. A sprawling and chaotic city, the capital of Peru is overcrowded, polluted and a noisy metropolis. The stark contrast between poverty and wealth is most visible in the miles of dusty shantytowns that stretch along the coast on either side of the city, and the glitzy apartment and office buildings of the affluent seaside suburbs.
Central Coast, 154 meters above sea level. (505 feet)
From Cusco 724 miles (1,165 Km) (by Nazca)
From Arequipa 633.8 miles (1,020 Km)
From Paracas: 152 miles (245 Km)
From Huaraz: 248.5 miles (400 Km)
Metropolitan Lima and Callao 7 497,000 inhabitants
Centuries before it was founded as the City of Kings, the territory of Lima, capital of Peru and of the department of Lima, was inhabited by civilizations that had gauged its wealth and strategic location. Proof of that can be seen in the countless huacas or temples that dotted the valley, particularly the Pachacamac shrine, a major pilgrimage center during the Inca empire. This spurred Spanish Conqueror Francisco Pizarro in 1535 to choose the Rímac River Valley to found the capital, as its location by the sea provided a link with sailing routes.
Lima is the main gateway to Peru, a major city bustling with living history and movement. It is an ethnic melting pot, featuring pre-Hispanic, colonial and modern elements. The metropolis is also surrounded by every aspect of Nature: the sea, islands, mountains, desert and plantlife. Its various quarters feature an active nightlife and well-endowed cultural scene, as well as plentiful public transport and non-stop activities, a city of more than 8 million souls.
Before exploring Lima, the visitor should map out a route. The old city center harbors churches and mansions brimming with colonial and religious art, including such superb architectural examples as the Casa Aliaga or Palacio de Torre Tagle mansions. Colonial Lima also features many fine churches and convents such as Santo Domingo, San Agustín, San Francisco and La Merced.
Further south lie the Pantanos de Villa, a natural wetlands area which has been declared a reserved zone and which is a haven for more than 150 bird species, while the Pachacamac complex is to be found further south. In the Cañete highlands, 180 km from Lima, lies the Lunahuaná Valley, a hotspot for adventure sports.
To the north, 105 km from Lima are the Lomas de Lachay, a national reserve in the foothills which features a unique mist-fed eco-system of wild plant and animal species. A little further north, meanwhile, is Paramonga, which features pre-Hispanic archaeological sites.
The climate is dryer and sunnier east up the Central Highway, in the Andean foothills. The road heads up through the province of Huarochirí, until it reaches the town of San Pedro de Casta, from where one can see the Marcahuasi plateau. The area is the site of huge natural formations eroded by the climate into the shape of animals and people.
The department of Lima is located in the central occidental part of the country. To the west, it is bathed by the waters of the Pacific Ocean, to the east, it limits with the Andes.
It has an extension of 33,820 km² (13,058 sq ml) and a population of over 7 000,000 people.
The capital is the city of Lima, one of the most important in South America, and declared Cultural Patrimony of the World. The weather is mild and fresh all year round, due to the its proximity to the seashore and the absence of rain.
Conqueror Francisco Pizarro founded the city of Lima, known as City of Kings, on January 18, 1535. He chose the banks of the Rímac river for being a location strategically and geographically perfect. The word Lima comes from the word Rímac, which in quechua, the official language in the Inca empire, means hablador or talkative.
During the Viceroyship, between the sixteenth and seventeenth century, Lima became the most important and powerful city in South America. It was also the cultural and commercial center of the region.
On July 28, 1821, after the decadence of the Viceroyship and a series of emancipation and independence movements, General José de San Martín proclaimed the independence of Peru in the small village of Huaura, to the north of Lima. The Peruvian Republic was born.
Plaza de Armas. The main square is located in the same place where Francisco Pizarro founded it. The Government Palace, the Cathedral and the Municipal Palace are located around the square.
Churches and Monasteries. San Francisco, Santo Domingo, La Merced, Las Nazarenas, San Pedro, San Agustín, Los Descalzos, San Marcelo and Santa Rosa, many of which are more the 300 years old. These churches house the mortal remains of the local saints, gorgeous sculptures, wood carvings, and other pictorial work of inestimable value.
Museums and Mansions. Torre Tagle, Casa de Pilatos, Palacio de Osambela, Museo de la Nación, Museo Nacional de Antropología y Arquelogía, Museo Nacional de Historia, Museo de Oro del Peru, Museo Amano, Museo de Arte Italiano, Museo de Arte, Museo Larco Herrera. Some of these buildings exhibit beauty Colonial architecture. Other mansions or casonas are currently sites of important public and private institutions. As a whole, the group gives the visitor a complete view of the history of this country, from Inca times to our days. These buildings also hold millenary pieces of pottery, textiles, gold and silver pre-Hispanic work, Colonial and Republican work in silver.
Archeological Sites, such as Huallamarca and Pucllana, are inserted in the center of two modern districts, San Isidro and Miraflores.
District of Miraflores. It is modern and has a daily intense commercial, cultural and artistic activity. Site were many discotheques, restaurants, and casinos are located.
District of Barranco, which still keeps in its buildings the peculiarity of the first years of the Republican period. Many prestigious artists and writers live there. It is also crowded with typical local taverns and restaurants.
The Green Coast is a row of beaches that crosses six districts. Sea lovers, swimmers, surfers or those who practice parasail and handglide can easily get there.
Balneario de Ancón, a modern resort in a small fishing bay, located at 38 km (23.6 ml) north from Lima.
Reserva Nacional de Lachay is located on Km 105 of the North Pan-American Highway. With a variety of micro climates, this natural reserve has abundant vegetation and is the habitat for wild animals. There are also archeological sites of pre-Hispanic cultures.
Fortaleza de Paramonga, located on Km 209 of the North Pan-American Highway, is an adobe fortress constructed during the Inca empire.
Ruinas de Puruchuco. Located at ten minutes from the center of the city, this pre-Inca house gives a sense of how the ancient Peruvians lived 2,000 years ago. It has a site museum.
Marcahuasi is an magnificent stone forest located at 4,000 m.a.s.l. (13,123 ft). With time the erosions on the rocks have produced human and animal forms easily identified. UFO experts consider this as a meeting point. It takes several hours to get there, including a long walk.
Pachacamac. Located at 33 km (20.5 ml) from the capital and very near the most beautiful south beaches, this pre-Inca temple was constructed on adobe at different levels, with passages and labyrinths. There is also a museum that exhibits archeological pieces found while unearthing the site.
Cañete is a province of the department of Lima. It takes an hour to get there by car or bus. The valley has lovely beaches, fishing inlets and archeological zones. Lunahuaná is part of the Cañete valley, surrounded by impressive natural areas where to practice rafting, fishing and hunting.
Since Lima is so close to the sea, the main Limeño dishes are naturally based on fish and seafood. Among these, the famous cebiche, escabeche, conchitas a la parmesana and shrimp cocktail stand out.
Other well-known Limeño dishes are cau-cau, anticuchos, ají de gallina. There are also several typical desserts, such as the mazamorra morada, picarones, suspiro a la limeña, arroz con leche, turrón de Doña Pepa.
Among the refreshing drinks, chicha morada is recommended, and as appetizers, the international pisco sour, with Peruvian pisco and lemons, and sugar.
We do have the lowest prices. We will meet or beat any internet published rates from companies outside Peru for all package tours. All HOTELS and TOURS are based on US standards.