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Lima, Peru Travel Guide - Attractions, Food, Culture and More

Updated on November 10, 2008

What's so great about Lima

Lima is the capital of Peru, a country located on the west coast of South America. It was founded by Francisco Pizarro.

Lima was used as the headquarters of the Spanish conquistadors. For 300 years it was ruled by Spain and you can see the Spanish influence in its churches and cloisters. In Lima you can experience colonial times and see history looking at Incan pyramids, stopping at one of its 20 world class museums and/or experiencing the world famous delicious Peruvian food.

Why people visit Lima

Many people come to visit Peru in general to experience the architectural marvels in this country. Within Lima you can see many of these architectural wonders in places such as Huaca Pucllana, Huaca Huallamarca, Pachacámac which are Lima's architectural sites. Many stop by Lima on the way to Machu pichu, the most popular archeological site in Peru.

While visiting Lima people will experience one of the world's tastiest foods. Fish is prevalent in Lima and many dishes are comprised of this, the most popular being cebiche, a raw fish dish cooked by the acidic juices from lemon juice.

The best time to visit Peru is from December-March, these are the days you will most likely see some sun.

Basic Lima Facts

Traffic - Bad traffic and bad smog everywhere.

Population - 10 million people. 19th most populated city in the world.

Currency - Nuevo Sol

Language - Spanish and Quechua (native language)

HIstory: Understanding Lima

To understand Lima, you will need to know a bit about its history. Lima was founded by Francisco Pizarro on January 18, 1535, and named it "The City of Kings". On this date, Pizarro defeated the Incas. The Incas were a civilization that lived in Peru area prior to Pizarro's coming. The Incas began their civilization around the 12th century. They had their own language, the Quechua, which is still spoken by some native Indians in the areas near the Andes. Incas also built the Machu Picchu, either as a family home or a place of retreat. They had control of many territories from Ecuador to the North of Chile. When they conquered people they would reward them if they fought for them. One of the fascinating aspects about the Incas were their amazing art and architecture. They constructed incredibe forts, which are still present today. They were also knowledgeable in medicine as well as performing some primitive surgery.

Today the people of Lima are comprised mostly of mestizos, people of mixed Indian and European roots (60% of the population). The second most population are the Spanish, European, Asians and blacks respectively. A lot of museums and places to visit preserve the Incas rich history and architecture.

Neighborhoods in Lima

Downtown - Comprises lots of colonial architecture.

Miraflores - Safe and Great place for lodging and shopping. The high end of Lima.

Barranco - Southeast of Miraflores, this area has lots of good restaurants and is a great place to come sample Peruviand food. Every weekend there is a festiaval to enjoy Peruvian food. A rich area full of sightseeing and places to dance.

Lima Places to Visit

Cathedral on the Plaza de Armas This cathedral was built in 1564. It is a wonderful example of Baroque Lima architecture. It is also a place where Pizarro's remains are buried.


Lima Cathedral. Photo by: Andy Hares

San Francisco Church And Convent - Inside the catacombs you can see a well with over 70,000 of skeletons can be seen here. Some say this is much better than Lima Cathedral, another place worth visiting. In here you can get acquainted with religious times during Spanish colonial times. There is also an amazing library worth checking out.


Skulls and Bones in Catacombs of San Francisco. Photo by: jbash

Palacio Torre Tagle - Currently place where the Foreign Minsitry resides. You can view great colonial architecture. The facade has two balconies of carved wood with Mudejar style of architecture. Mudejar are Spanish muslims. There is also a 16th century chariot colored blue and red, which is a popular attraction.

Museo de la Nación - National Museum. It contains chronological archeological remains of Peru's history. The collection is very comprehensive and you can learn from Peru's rich history including its Inca inhabitants. Models of Machu Picchu and Nazca lines are recreated.

Miraflores

This neighborhood is considered the most modern high end of the city and it's the area mostly visited by tourists. It has many top resorts, parks, casinos, restaurants, and is the polace where tourists like to hang out. The beaches are full of people and you can partake in water sports here.

Huaca Pucllana

In 400 A.D indigenous people built Huaca Pucllana, an administrative and cultural center of Lima at that time. These people would sacrifice women and children. The Wari empire took over the area in 700 A.D. and created a cementery for its elite on top of the pyramid. Three centuries later the Incas moved. in. Today this archeological site lies in the middle of the urban city. It is comprised of bricks, that were handmade. Today there is a restaurant with incredible views of Lima's ancient past. You can also take a guided tour through its museum and flora.


. Photo by: Guacamoliest

Larcomar - A mall overlooking the ocean. There are movie theaters, museums, restaurants, cafes all in one place. Half a million visitors come to experience Larcomar in Lima every year.

Parque del Amor - A park dedicated to lovers, there is even a sculpture of lovers kissing. It was open on Valentine's day 1993, and you can see many lovebirds sharing their kisses by the shoreline of Miraflores.


Sculpture in Lima Lovers' park. (Parque del Amor). A park about love..what a great concept. Photo by: eddypedro

Casa de Aliaga - One of Lima's historic houses. It has been occupied by the same family since 1535, originally given to Jerónimo de Aliaga. Many rooms contain colonial furnishings. Appointment must be made prior to visit.

Plaza de Armas (Plaza Mayor) - Lima's governmental main square. Contains presidential palace to the North, Cathedral , Lima Cathedral and a statue of Pizarro. It is a nice place to sightsee, enjoy some food, and absorb the culture of Peru. You can even enjoy a horse carriage ride if you so desire.

The Presidential Palace sits on the northern side of the square, while the Cathedral and Archbishop's Palace are on the east side and the City Hall is located to the west

Museo Arqueológico Rafael Larco Herrera - Contains a large selection of art prior to arrival of the Spanish. This musum also has pieces of erotic art where sensual, yet humorous images are displayed. The museum is run by the founder's family.

Pantanos de Villa - Is a wetlands that contains over 150 different bird classes, 30 of them migratory. There are also 13 different species of fish that live here. It is a must visit place for bird lovers and ecological enthusiasts.

Pachacamac - An archeological site about 40km South of Lima, it contains pre-Inca temples. Pachacamac ("Earth maker) was believed to be a God by the pre-Inca people. He was supposedly a jealous God and killed the sons of the first woman in the world.


Pachacamac. Human Sacrifices took place here.
Photo by: tecnorrante

Video Overview of Lima

Peru's favorite food: Ceviche

Ceviche is Peru's most common traditonal food that can be found in almost every restaurant. It is comprised of raw fish filets or shrimp. It is then marinated in lime juices and salt and pepper. Other ingredients are added but these are the main components.


Ceviche. Peru's most popular dish...makes me hungry.
Photo by: o2b

Here is a quick and dirty ceviche recipe:

Ingredients

14 oz Salmon/Halibut or any other fish fillet. Sea bass is very popular.

6 oz of lime juice.

1 finely chopped red onion

pinch of salt

2 tsp of cilantro.

1 crushed clove garlic

1/2 tsp of olive oil

Cut up the fish into small cubes. Add the other ingredients and mix them up. Cover tightly and Refrigerate for 4 hours or more and then serve

Popular Hotels In Lima

Popular Hotel Picks from Yahoo Travel

JW Mariott - Malecon de la Reserva 615, Miraflores

Miraflores Park Hotel - Ave Malecon de la Reserva 1035

Melia Lima - Av Salaverry 2599

Hotel Ariosto - Ave la Paz 769, Miraflores

Plaza del Bosque Apartahotel

You may be able to find a deal for hotels if there is an Expedia hotel coupon.

Other foods worth mentioning:

Lucuma Ice Cream - Third most popular flavor of ice cream after vanilla and chocolate. Lucuma is a fruit that grows in Peru.


Lucuma fruit.
Photo by: infomofo

Carapulca - Diced and driep potatoes mixed with meats and rice.

Ocopa- boiled potatoes topped with a sauce comprised of cheese and nuts

Papa Rellena - Fried Mashed potatoes mixed with eggs, olives, meats.

Cau Cau- Tripe stew with potatoes, onions, garlic to taste.

Pachamanca - A dish with meats such as chicken, beef, mutton marinated in spices placed inside a hole in the ground called huatia and surrounded by hot stones. The juice from the meats helps to cook the meat leading to a tender, juicy meal. First they heat up the stones, second they place the meats, and third they cover it with earth and grass and cook it over two hours.

Inkicapi - Spicy Soup like meal with peanuts, coriander, chicken, yucca.

Peru's most popular food: Ceviche

Making of a Pachamanca

Pachamanca is a popular food where meat is buried with hot stones and cooked!

Plan Your Travel To Lima

Expedia, Cheaptickets, travelocity are the top travel online agencies to get you started on your next vacation to Lima. A travelocity promotional code can help you lower cost of travel. Expedia also offers discounts to South America, see if there is an expedia coupon to get an additional discount. Cheaptickets may also be an option for travel. They may offer a cheaptickets promotion code from time to time.

Please drop me a line and rate this article please.

What do you think about Lima

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    • profile image

      Escaped_to_Peru 7 years ago

      I lived in Lima for 3 years before moving to Cusco and I loved the huge metropolis! As with any big Latin American city it has many serious problems but generally for residents in organised districts (and certainly for visitors in tourist areas) the city is safe and very enjoyable. Here is our idea for a Lima visit

      which you can try on a Peru vacations

      .

    • mekon1971 profile image

      mekon1971 8 years ago

      I am very interested in Peru. My wife is going to Iquitos as a missionary in the near future. You can see her lense, http://www.squidoo.com/kiminperu (Kim in Peru) to see her trip. I'll forward this to her so she can check it out and lensroll it. Hers is still under construction and is her first lens. Great job! 5*

    • anthropos lm profile image

      Lamar Ross 8 years ago from Florida

      Thanks for joining "Anything and Everything Travel". You did a great job. I am making this lens a favorite, and giving it a five* rating.

    • K Linda profile image

      K Linda 8 years ago

      Excellent travel lens. My husband grew up in Peru and I can't wait to visit. Thanks for the recipes. I love Peruvian food. 5*'s.

    • profile image

      Oh Petit Bebe 8 years ago

      This is a great comprehensive guide about Lima.

      Apparently, you put a lot of work into it and it shows.

      Sara