PERU  |  Lima, Peru Travel Guide
Thursday, July 18, 2024

Lima, Peru

Casona de San Marcos, Lima, Peru (cc)
Photo: UNMSM


Lima is one of the largest cities in South America, with more than eight million people. For many, it can be intimidating. The population keeps on mounting and shantytowns spring up in the desert like armies preparing for war. Public transport can be confusing. Each section is a city of its own, with its own museums, hotels, restaurants, and its own character.

In Lima you witness first-hand the continuing socio-economic divisions of Peruvian society, as the country’s wealthiest citizens live not far from millions of the poorest. For much of its existence Lima was home to the Colonial elite and their Creole (Latin-American-born) descendents, leading many scholars to claim that the real Peru was found in the Andes. but an influx of Andean migrant workers in the last 50 years has brought the so called real Peru into Lima. A new melting pot is emerging here, a new society that is changing the face of modern Peru. It has become one of Latin America’s centers of immigration. Since the Conquest, Lima has been the starting point for western society to be imposed upon the continent, but now you will see more than just the Spanish or western influence, but Chinese, Japanese, Italian, German, American, and more.

If you spend some time in Lima, it can become as pleasant as any city on the continent. It is a city of poets, and artists, and interior designers. It is a city of diversity, of oddities, wealth, and poverty. Just when you think you know Lima, it totally surprises you. The city ranges from a cutting-edge, ocean-view shopping center to ancient sites that encompass entire city blocks.

Lima lies on a narrow strip of land between the Andes and the Pacific Ocean. Technically, it is in the tropics, but the Humboldt Current cools the air to a more temperate climate. The temperature rarely varies beyond 60-80°F. In summer, from January to April, you will find the beaches packed with Limeños getting as much sun as they can. During much of the rest of the year the capital is covered in a low-hanging grayish fog. The seasons are very gradual, hardly noticeable, and the air is normally humid. There is almost no rain in Lima, but a fine drizzle called garúa does fall from time to time.

Lima could easily be called the gastronomic capital of South America. Many consider Peruvian food the last great ethnic cuisine that has yet to be discovered. The restaurant scene ranges from comedors, where a several-course meal may cost a little more than a dollar, to high-priced luxury restaurants that can rival those of New York or Paris.

The city is a major cultural center, with the best museums in the country, fine dining, ancient ruins, and is home to numerous literary figures, artists, and intellectuals. Toss in a booming nightlife, fine dining, numerous adventure sports, and 60 miles of white sand beaches and you have one of the most dynamic cities on the planet.

Last updated July 4, 2011
Posted in   Peru  |  Lima
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