Lima: Peru’s Capital City
Lima is the capital of and largest city in Peru. In the past, most leisure travelers to Peru thought of it as a city to be avoided or endured.
All that’s changed in recent years; many of our clients choose to stay for three or four nights, sampling the city’s world-class cuisine, museums, archaeological treasures, galleries, and studios.
Lima’s top restaurants regularly outnumber those of Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, or Mexico City on San Pellegrino’s list of Latin America’s 50 Best.
Founded by Francisco Pizarro in 1535, the “City of Kings” served as one of Spain’s most important colonial power centers for nearly three centuries. The city’s historic center was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988. Several of its structures—churches, palaces, convents, and catacombs—date to the 16th century.
Huaca Pucllana and Huaca Huallamarca
Earlier sites within the city include Huaca Pucllana and Huaca Huallamarca—pre-Inca adobe pyramids dating back 1500-years.
Lima is well known for its museums, and the collection keeps expanding. The National Anthropology, Archeology and History Museum of Peru houses over 100,000 artifacts.
The Rafael Larco Herrera Museum
The Rafael Larco Herrera Museum displays pre-Columbian jewelry, textiles, and a large collection of eyebrow-raising erotic pottery.
Recent or renovated additions include:
- MALI: (accessible displays of pre-Columbian and Colonial artifacts and artwork)
- MAC: (contemporary art)
- The Place of Memory: (dedicated to the victims of Peru’s relatively recent revolutionary history).
Peruvian Coffee and Art
Lima’s broad creativity is not limited to kitchens and museums. Single-source chocolate and Peruvian coffee roasters in Lima are gaining worldwide attention.
Insider access visits can be arranged to the studios of fashion and furniture designers, silversmiths, and contemporary artists.
Lima’s street art has served as a medium for positive social change in Barranco and Callao. For a dose of local color, visit one of the fruit markets, sample the city’s street food and fruit-based ice creams, or dive in for a surfing lesson.
Outside the city, day trippers can visit the archeological sites of Caral and Pachacamac. One of the earliest settlements, Caral is known for its two massive pyramids. Excavators believe Caral have been established as early as 2600 BC by the peaceful Norte Chico civilization.
Caral is located 125 miles north of Lima in the arid Supe Valley.
Located on the dry coastal plain, approximately 40 minutes’ south of Lima, Pachacamac was first occupied around 200 AD. The site was a seat Early Intermediate, then Huari and finally Inca culture. These cultures built on top of each other, creating adobe pyramids, high walls and a temple of the sun. Pachacamac was originally built as a temple to the “earth maker” or creator God.
Climate in Lima
Lima lies on the Pacific coast, enjoying a mild, if foggy climate. December to April usually offer the most sunshine, although light showers are still possible.
The June to October winters tend to be overcast. Year round, temperatures rarely exceed 80F or fall below 60F. Outright rain is relatively rare in Lima.
Getting to Lima
Direct flights to Lima are available from:
- New York (8 hours)
- Los Angeles (under 9 hours)
- Miami (under 6 hours)
- Houston (6.5 hours)
These flights usually arrive late at night or very early in the morning. For this reason, most visitors spend at least one or two nights in the capital.
Several excellent hotel options are available within 30 minutes’ drive of the international airport.
Gateway to Cusco, Arequipa, and Beyond
Lima is a gateway to most other airports in Peru. Direct flights link the capital to destinations such as Cusco (80 minutes), Arequipa (90 minutes), Juliaca (under 2 hours), and Iquitos (one hour 40 minutes). Direct flights are also available to Buenos Aires (4.5 hours), Santiago de Chile (3.5 hours), Rio de Janeiro (5 hours), and Quito (2.5 hours).
Start your journey today
Speak with one of our travel designers and let us create a tailored itinerary for you in Lima and all of Peru.