A city of history and variety
The cultural and historical capital of Peru, Lima is the main entry and departure point for most on a trip to Peru. Over the years this city on the ocean has gotten a pretty bad reputation for being lacking in both character and substance. The Lima of today is, however, a fast developing metropolis that is gaining a reputation for both its re-emerging history and, above all, a world-class cuisine. For most Lima is only a short stop over on the way to other jewels but we would argue that it is now starting to deserve a lot more attention!
Sitting right on the Pacific Ocean, Lima was borne of the explorations of the Spanish conquistador, Francisco Pizarro in 1535 and, due to its location on the coast, became the main seat of the Spanish empire in South America for the next two hundred years or so. This location, while originally Lima’s strongest asset, could also be argued to be the city’s largest issue as, due to a unique microclimate caused by the Pacific Ocean and the arid desert inland, the city is often shrouded in low level cloud known as “La Garua” in the winter months between May and October.
Geographically speaking the city runs north to south with the centre of the city located to the north east, away from the coastline. Of the standout attractions the main proportion are located in this central region, close to the Rimac River, a few of which we have outlined for you below.
As far as accommodation is concerned, most of the properties that we recommend are located in the wealthy Miraflores region of the city, close to the beachfront. This is an area that has long been known as the heart of the restaurant, café, nightlife and shopping district for the city and so allows you the luxury of being able to walk to and from your evening activity.
Other areas of the city to consider are Barranco, Lima's bohemian and arty district just south of Miraflores, San Isidro, another smart residential area with hotels and restaurants, La Punta, for its seafood restaurants and access to San Lorenzo Island, and the central region of Rimac for visiting the many museums and churches.
Lima Plaza Major (formerly the Plaza de Armas)
The historical centre of the city, the Plaza Major is still an impressive example of the conquistadors’ legacy in South America. Featuring many 18th century reconstructed facades, the centre of the square is dominated by the famous Angel of Fame fountain the original statue of which was said to have “flown away” in the early 1900s.
Surrounding the plaza are many of the main draws to the area with the Catedral de San Juan Evangelista on the eastern side, the Palacio del Arzobispo next door, the Municipalidad de Lima on the other side and, finally, the Palacio de Gobierno on the northern most section.
Due to the main earthquakes of this area of the world, many of the buildings in the old heart of the city are now reconstructions, but this is still, very much, a good starting point for a walking tour.
Monasterio de San Francisco
Far and away the most impressive and well preserved of Lima’s churches and colonial buildings, the Monasterio is certainly worth consideration for a visit.
While the building has incurred damage over the years it has always been sensitively restored and so, with its yellow façade and exceptional library and catacombs there is a good deal to take a look at.
A stunning nightly display of water and light, the Fuente Magica has become a very popular attraction and is definitely worth considering as an interesting addition to a walking tour or visit to the city.