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Lima is the capital of Peru and its largest city. Founded in 1535 by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro, the modern city is a curious mix of the modern mega city with some 'islands of modernity', large but orderly slum areas and colonial architecture in the city center. Lima was the seat of the Spanish rule during 300 years, and as such it has wonderful churches, cloisters and monasteries that are worth a visit. Lima is also the best place to try the wonderful Peruvian cuisine, which has a huge variety of ingredients from coast, mountain and Amazon regions. The cold sea current in front of Peru's large coast makes the sea very rich in fish and seafood, which have a great taste due to the special plankton they eat. Fish and seafood restaurants are therefore worth the time, and not expensive. Lima is built upon a valley surrounded by an extremely arid desert. In the summer, the weather is usually beautiful, very warm and sunny, sometimes with rains around January. In the winter, the city is overcast and rainy for days at a time. The rain in the wintertime doesn't fall hard, but it gets everything wet. Temperature also falls to around 7-12 C⁰ (45-55⁰ F), which seems chillier when combined with the general dampness. (less...) (more...)
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- Civic property
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- Interesting place
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Points of Interest in Lima
- Historical downtown
- Maravillas del Agua
- Love Park in Miraflores and the great sunset (summer)
- Costa Verde (marina from Magdalena to Chorrillos)
- Malls Larcomar and Jockey Plaza
- Pueblo Libre historical sites
- Historical churches: Lima´s Cathedral, Santo Domingo (San Martin de Porres), Santaro (Saint Rosa de Lima), Nazarenas (Lord of Miracles). San Francisco. La Merced.
- Museo de Osma
- Museo Larco
- Museo Arqueológico
- Museo de Arte
Metropolitan Lima is a metropolis of almost 8.5 million people. Many of these people have migrated from the Andes mountains to find work in Lima, without success. For this reason, there is widespread poverty in the city center and in the peripheral areas. If you fly into Lima, the first thing you see upon leaving the airport is these types of poor neighborhoods between the airport and Lima's historic center.
Lima's pre-Hispanic and colonial architecture is beautiful and the city has several museums (such as Museo Larco) that tells the story of a country with a long history that produced a large number of coastal and Andean civilizations (such as the Moche, Chavin, and the Incas) and many local cultures. There are several archeological sites both within and around the city (locally known as huaca).
Air pollution in the streets of Lima can be very bad due to the meteorlogical conditions combined with poorly maintained vehicles.
Newcomers should be very wary of the traffic which by first world standards is very dangerous
- Bike Tours of Lima. Bicycle, running & walking tours in Lima.
- Soul Riders Perú. Surfing in Lima. Surf lessons and or Surf tours to local and out of city breaks, if needed they provide all the gear, boards wetsuits etc. The owner is really friendly and happy to help. Also if you are looking to buy a board or other surf accessories while in Lima, soul riders Peru can help you track down the best deals.
- Capital Culinaria Lima Gourmet Tours, Miraflores, Lima, Peru, ☎ +51 1 4466 829. 24. This company provides tourists with a combined city tour and a culinary tour of Lima. Travelers will visit a local market, have a hands-on cooking class and try different Peruvian dishes while they tour the city's main districts and historical points of interest. Great alternative if you don't have much time in Lima.
- Surfing the waves of Pacific Ocean in Miraflores Beach
- Paragliding over the reefs of Miraflores Beach
- Go to a live show of typical local dances: Brisas del Titicaca, Sachún
- Take a night city tour with Mirabus, tickets in Miraflores Park. They will take you to Maravillas del Agua !!
- Visit Pachacamac in Lurin (1/2 hour from Miraflores), a sacred pre-Inca citadel.
- Go to Mamacona (Lurin, behind Pachacamac) and live the emotion of a live show with Caballo Peruano de paso and the beautiful dance Marinera. Tickets in Mirabus, central park of Miraflores.
- Visit Huaca Pucllana in Miraflores, a pre-Inca ruins.
Gastronomy has always been, since the days of the Spanish vice royalty, an essential aspect of life in Lima. During the last few years, however, the city's dining reputation has experienced a huge leap in the eyes of the world because experts gathered in the Fourth International Summit of Gastronomy Madrid Fusión 2006 and formally declared Lima to be the "Gastronomy Capital of the Americas". The offerings in Lima are nowadays most 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, so it won't be hard to find one. Moreover, most criollo restaurants include ceviche on their menus; indeed, many restaurants do, even the more upscale nouveau-cuisine.
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 variegated seafood.
Peruvian food tend to be spicy and heavy. Try it with method and ask if any dish is picante (spicy), and if you are not fond of that, avoid it since it may be really picante. A full meal may be really heavy and cause problems even if it's perfectly nice and well prepared with fresh ingredients.
Travelers longing for a delicious falafel or shwarma sandwich will be pleased to learn there is an excellent cafe along Parque Kennedy that serves these type of Middle Eastern foods at reasonable prices.
There is a heavy presence of Western fast-food chains such as KFC, Pizza Hut, Domino's Pizza, McDonald's, Subway and Starbucks Coffee all over the city if you'd rather not try anything new to you. Places such as Burger King, Chili's and Friday's are scarce, but can be easily found around Miraflores. Also, you shouldn't miss Peruvian-style hamburgers at Bembos, traditional Peruvian sandwiches in Pasquale and fusion pizza over at D'nnos Pizza if you want to give your everyday fast-food a local twist.
Lima is home to around 220,000 restaurants, cafes, juice bars and runs a program (Restaurante Saludable) to recognise clean and healthy restaurants. Only around 800 or 1.2% of venues have received this award, so keep your eyes open for the logo Restaurante Saludable.
- Pisco Sour is the national drink of Peru, made with Pisco, a brandy made of grapes. It is highly recommended that all adult visitors to Peru try this drink at least once before exiting the country. Visitors might be amused to learn that a controversy exists between Peru and its neighbor Chile over whose country really created the Pisco Sour, although the Chilean and Peruvian recipes are somewhat different (Chilean people like to argue that Pisco is a Peruvian spirit while the Pisco Sour recipe comes from Chile, when in fact both the main ingredient and the drink were created in Peru). Variations include Maracuya Sour, Coca Sour and Chicha Sour and are offered in several bars around town. Just be careful with it; the fresh and sweet flavour makes easy to drink too much, and you can get drunk so easily.
- 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 cream soda.
- 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 non alcoholic refreshing purple drink high in antioxidants. It's made by boiling purple corn with pineapple, cinnamon, clove, and sugar.
- Lucid Lima Pub Crawl. Is a great option if you want to party with other backpackers & locals on the cheap. Starting with an all-u-can-drink session it hits up bars and clubs in Miraflores every Saturday night
For some reason it is very hard to change money other than Euros and US-Dollars in Lima. You can't even change the currency from neighbouring countries in normal money exchanges and banks. You might find more flexible exchange offices at airports, but they often charge ridiculous service fees and exchange-rates. Changing money in Miraflores can be done safely with cambistas on the street, but you must follow a few simple rules to avoid being cheated. First, make sure that the cambista is wearing the vest-uniform indicating that he or she is an authorized, licensed cambista. Always ask for the exchange rate ("tipo de cambio"). It is worth it to compare with several cambistas, especially if you are changing a significant amount of money. Some of them do tricks with their calculators in your face and you won't notice, so the best way to know how much you should be getting is to bring a calculator yourself or use the one in your cellphone. Finally, make sure that the bills the cambista gives you have his or her seal ("sello") stamped on them - that way, if by chance one of them turns out to be counterfeit you can come back and complain. I have never gotten counterfeit notes from a cambista, but asking for the seal probably helps maintain the incentive for honesty.
As anywhere, your best bet is usually to simply draw money from an ATM. There are banks dotted all over Lima and some of them have guarded ATMs. Chances are your bank will charge you a fortune every time you withdraw money so it is better value to get as much as possible when making a withdrawal. Banco de Credito and Scotia ATM's generally allow withdrawals up to 700 soles. Interbank has been known to charge insane fees (around $18 for a $50 transaction).
Always be cautious when using an ATM you may be followed and robbed. Change as small an amount of money as possible.
- Markets Av. La Marina in San Miguel on the way to the airport. An idea might be to stop there for last-minute shopping before leaving the country. These goods are similar to those of Av. Petit Thouars, but as the neighborhood is considerably less upscale and fewer tourists come here, the prices are a little lower.
If you are interested in purchasing Peruvian folk musical instruments, there are a number of stores selling charangos, quenas, antaras, etc. on Calle Cantuarias right near Astrid y Gastón. If you have the time, a number of these stores can help you find a teacher to learn how to play your purchase.
- Markets Av. Petit Thuars in Miraflores, full of handicrafts stores
- Markets In downtown Lima the whole salers of handicrafts are in front of Santo Domingo Church
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Lima on Wikivoyage.