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Your guide to Lima
All About Lima
Surrounded by scenic hills and valleys with the Pacific Ocean lapping its shores, Peru’s capital city Lima is a vibrant metropolis steeped in a rich history dating back thousands of years. Peppered through almost every district, honey-hued huacas — pyramid structures made of clay — stand testament to the country’s Incan heritage in their hundreds. Museo Larco and the National Museum of Archeology, Anthropology and History of Peru (MNAAHP) showcase Incan culture through ceramics, fabrics, and jewelry, alongside artifacts covering over 5,000 years of Peru’s history.
The Plaza de Armas, in the heart of Lima’s historic center, has been acknowledged as a UNESCO World Heritage site for its cultural and historical importance. Here you’ll find some of the city’s most important buildings, including the Archbishop’s Palace and the Cathedral of Lima.
Miraflores is a chic neighborhood full of upmarket bars, fine dining restaurants, and the picturesque Parque Kennedy. It’s also where you’ll find the start of El Malecón, the city’s popular cliff-top scenic walkway. Barranco is Lima’s Bohemian district, which is home to lively bars and restaurants and the ornate Puente de los Suspiros (Bridge of Sighs).
Lima is regarded by many as the gastronomical capital of South America, boasting world-class restaurants alongside authentic local eateries and street vendors. Ceviche — raw fish cooked with citrus juices — is one of the most famous Peruvian dishes and can be found everywhere in the city, from fine dining restaurants to the more humble seafood stands in the seaside district of Chorrillos.
The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Lima
Peru sits in the Southern Hemisphere, so the warmest months are December through February when you can expect very hot and sunny days. In January, Lima celebrates its founding in 1535 with Aniversario de Lima. The biggest events take place in Plaza de Armas with traditional dances, musical performances, and a huge fireworks display. In February, locals celebrate Pisco Sour Day in honor of the national drink. The most pleasant times to be in Lima are from September to November and March and April, when you can expect warm days without the stifling heat of summer. During September, the city hosts the annual Mistura — the largest food festival in South America.
If you arrive between May and November, you’re likely to experience “la garua” — a thick misty fog that hangs over the city, creating overcast skies and lowering the temperature, so pack layers to stave off the chill. Whenever you visit Lima, you’ll find a range of apartment and house rentals throughout the city.
Top things to do in Lima
El Malecón, the city’s spectacular six-mile cliff-top walkway, is the perfect place for a stroll. Along the way, you’ll find eight parks with lovely flower displays and many sculptures created by top Peruvian artists. You’ll also come across the Faro la Marina, Peru’s most famous lighthouse. There are many places to sit and enjoy the spectacular coastal views, as well as cafes if you need a coffee break. You can also cycle along the walkway as there are many places to rent a bike nearby.
The Larco Museum
Housed in an impressive 18th-century vice-royal mansion, the Larco Museum is regarded as one of the best museums in South America. It boasts the biggest collection of pre-Incan and pre-Columbian artifacts in the world, including ornate gold and silver jewelry, ceramics, burial masks, weapons, and textiles. All of these precious objects offer an insight into Peruvian culture and the Inca Empire.
In Miraflores, you’ll find Huaca Pucllana, the site of Lima’s most important ancient ruins. Central to the site is the Temple — a 70-foot-high pyramid built around 400 A.D. from millions of adobe bricks that was used for religious ceremonies.