Why travel to Lima
Lima serves as the gateway for travel to Peru. From this hub, you can easily move north to the pre-Inca archaeological sites around Trujillo or journey to the heart of the Inca Empire in Cusco & the Sacred Valley. However, from a mere point of transit, Lima has recently grown to become a major destination in itself, providing visitors with an excellent start or end to a Peru vacation.
During the Spanish colonial era, Lima was called the “City of Kings,” serving as the seat of the Viceroyalty of Peru, a vast territory that covered most of the South American continent. Independence was achieved in 1821 and the modern-day nation of Peru was forged with its capital in Lima. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, waves of immigrants from Asia, the Middle East, and Europe have also arrived in search of homes and prosperity. Today, the old Spanish city is a bustling blend of traditions, cultures, and people.
A Peru travel adventure is incomplete without a tour of Lima, the fourth largest city in South America, home to a third of Peru’s population, and the hub of culture, politics, and society in this amazing country. Districts such as Lima Centro, Miraflores, and Barranco have distinctive characteristics and flavors, and they each bear the influence of longtime residents as well as newer arrivals, whether internal migrants from Peru or immigrants from abroad. Exploration of these neighborhoods transports visitors around the world and between old and new.
Lima’s city streets buzz with energy, seaside walkways invite leisurely strolls, and terraces with views to the Pacific Ocean are ideal perches from which to enjoy a Pisco sour just as the sun is setting. Travel to Lima to enjoy of its many and diverse offerings. Foodies will delight in Peruvian cuisine, regarded as among the world’s best. Archaeology lovers will have an unending list of places to explore. Art fanatics can visit museums around the city that house outstanding collections of pre- and post-Columbian art and artifacts.
What to do in Lima
Miraflores. Most travelers stay in or around the modern district of Miraflores, where an impressive array of hotels, restaurants, bars, and shopping centers are concentrated. Parque Kennedy is the heart of the neighborhood, anchored on one side by the monumental Miraflores Church and hosting art shows and exhibitions throughout the year. Larcomar, a shopping and entertainment complex, is within easy walking distance and its terraces offer excellent views of the Pacific. Stroll along the Malecón, a path that borders the ocean-side cliffs and takes visitors past small, colorful parks, including the Parque de Amor and Parque el Faro.
City Center. Northeast of Miraflores is Lima Centro, where the city’s key historical sites and attractions are concentrated. Lima city tours usually visit the historical center, the Plaza de Armas, the cathedral, the government palace, and city hall. Other landmarks such as Plaza San Martin, the central railway station, and Muralla Park are also in the city center.
Archaeological Sites. Even before the Inca Empire, present-day Lima was inhabited by pre-Columbian cultures. Their huacas, or sacred places, can be found throughout the city and constitute one of Lima’s hidden treasures. Huaca Pucllana, located just a few blocks north of Parque Kennedy in Miraflores, is believed to be the most important of these sites. The ancient temple is situated in the midst of Lima’s most modern buildings, beautifully encapsulating the synthesis of old and new that defines present-day Peruvian culture.
Barranco. Complete your Lima tour with a visit to the bohemian district of Barranco. In the first part of the 20th century, Barranco was home to prominent Peruvian philosophers, artisans, and political figures; in the 21st century, a thriving artistic community has brought new life to the area. Barranco’s streets are lined with art-deco homes, bohemian pubs, and outstanding restaurants. Be sure to walk across the romantic Puente de los Suspiros (Bridge of Sighs), which leads to Barranco’s central plaza, towering cathedral, and excellent library.
When to visit Lima
Lima is a year-round destination. Although temperatures do not vary significantly from month to month, there is still a marked difference between the hot and humid summer (around December to April or May) and the mild and cloudy winter (May to November).
The coastal fog, called garúa, that often blankets Lima is a manifestation of a climatic phenomenon that affects South America’s Pacific coast from Chile to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. The cold Humboldt Current flows up from the Antarctic and cools the air close to the sea’s surface. The difference in density compared to the warmer air above prevents evaporation and the formation of rain clouds. As a result, morning drizzle is common in Lima, but heavy rains are unusual, even in the winter months when humidity levels can be close to 100%. If you plan to visit Lima and the coast from May to November, be sure to pack some long sleeve gear – Pacific winds can be brisk.
Major public events and fiestas in Lima:
April: Semana Santa, or Holy Week, features an entire week of religious celebration with street processions, church masses, and riotous partying.
July/August: Fiestas Patrias, or Independence Day, commences 28 July and continues for several days. This outpouring of national pride is accompanied by public fiestas, street parades, and parties.
October: The Señor de Los Milagros is one of the world’s largest religious processions in honor of Lima’s patron saint and takes over the streets of central Lima.
My trip was amazing and will be one of the highlights of my life. My exceptions were exceeded at every turn by your professional, prompt and detailed response to your questions. In fact, it was such a wonderful experience that I go out of my way to tell friends about how wonderful Peru is.
Christopher Gordon (Jamaica) traveled to Lima in September 2010
We had an absolutely terrific time in Peru! We were met at every point along the way and never had to worry about a thing. The service and support firmly exceeded our expectations!
Jason and Julie Self (Washington DC, USA) traveled to Lima in May 2011
We just wanted to thank you for such a wonderfully arranged trip for our recent honeymoon. We couldn't have imagined that our trip to Lima, Cusco, the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu via the abbreviated Inca Trail, and Lake Titicaca could have been any better.
Katie and Ben Oshrine (Maryland, USA) traveled to Lima in April 2011
See all testimonials »
Top Pick Lima Hotel
JW Marriott Lima Hotel 5*
Avenida Malecon de la Reserva 615, Miraflores, Lima
The glass-sculpted tower of the JW Marriott Hotel Lima is a distinctive addition to the city’s coastal skyline. Perched on a cliff above the Pacific, the hotel’s rooms offer sweeping ocean views that are particularly breathtaking at sunset when the sky lights up with red and orange hues. Located just opposite Parque Salazar and overlooking the gardens that border the cliff-side beaches, the luxurious amenities and services of this Lima hotel provide a fantastic Peru vacation experience. The gardens, shopping, casinos, restaurants, and museums that surround this 5-star Lima hotel signal a new era of luxury in which you can explore Lima's opulent past and take part in its exciting present.
Restaurant Room Service Internet Laundry Service Spa Baby Sitter Gym Swimming Pool
JW Marriott Lima Photos & Info »
Casa Andina Select Miraflores 4*
Calle Schell 452, Miraflores, Lima
One of the new additions to the renowned Casa Andina chain of hotels, the beautiful Casa Andina Select Miraflores is ideally located right in the middle of Lima’s modern district. Parque Kennedy is just a few blocks away, with easy access to many excellent restaurants, shops, and bars, and the hotel is also close to the Larcomar shopping mall. The hotel offers the perfect combination of great service, excellent amenities, and good location, all at an affordable price. Additional facilities include a fully equipped health center, bar, and business center.
Restaurant Gym Laundry Service Parking Internet Spa
Casa Andina Select Miraflores Photos & Info »
Allpa Hotel 3*
Calle Atahualpa 199, Miraflores, Lima
Allpa Hotel, opened in July 2010, is located in the heart of the popular Miraflores neighborhood and close to many of the main attractions in Lima. Comfortable, chic, and convenient, this smart hotel is an excellent option for savvy travelers who want a great value hotel with all the modern amenities. Crisp white walls, clean finishes, and a contemporary touch characterize this modern and minimalist hotel. All rooms are spacious and tastefully decorated to create a comfortable resting area for guests. Try the excellent Italian restaurant located in the hotel's lobby.
Restaurant Room Service Internet Laundry Service
Allpa Hotel Photos & Info »
See all Lima hotels