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Lima
Travel Guide


Plan for Lima with Local Expertise

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Lima at a glance

Lima is a city of contrasts: desert and sea, cliffs and beaches, modernity and tradition, affluence and poverty, culture and commerce. Peru’s capital is full of surprises, yet often missed by travelers who decide to skip Lima in favor of Cusco or the Sacred Valley. It would be a mistake to think Lima isn’t worth visiting, however. Lima’s wealth of museums and galleries, historic and modern architecture, and dramatic Pacific Coast beaches make it an intriguing and unmissable city. Lima is also home to extraordinary culinary talent, perhaps rendering it the most important city for food lovers in South America.

Experiences around Lima

What not to miss

Lima is situated on Peru’s Pacific coastal plain, an area of arid desert, yet of temperate aimes, due to its location on the water. High cliffs with picturesque hill walks line the golden and pebble beaches that Lima overlooks, and it is the third most populous desert city in the world. It was founded by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro on January 18, 1535, and has grown to become Peru’s most important financial center, as well as one of the most prominent commercial cities in Latin America. Some 10 million people live in its metropolitan area, and the population’s ethnicity varies between European descendants, people of mixed European and pre-Columbian heritage and indigenous peoples such as the Aymara and Quechua. Perhaps above all, Lima is known for its unique and innovative gastronomy. As well as traditional Peruvian dishes such as ceviche or aji de gallina, fusions such as Nikkei, a cross between Peruvian and Japanese food, are a must-try. Peru has a wealth of natural ingredients in abundance which make for a vibrant local food scene which celebrates traditional produce from the length and breadth of the country. One of the world’s best chefs Virgilio Martínez has his restaurant, Central Restaurant, in Lima, and this eatery sits in the number five spot on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.

Lima Home Cooked Culinary Experience Top

Learn more about Peruvian food with a home cooked Lima food tour that will teach you to prepare traditional recipes handed down over generations. Even if you’re a novice in the kitchen, we’ll have you whipping up a classic ceviche in no time. You’ll start the day at a local market to discover some Peruvian treasures (yes, we mean food — the best kind of treasures!). Explore a huge variety of fruits, vegetables, and fiery spices, and maybe make a purchase or two. From aji limo to aji mirasol and aji panca to cumin, plus the wonderful fresh limes, chirimoya, and lucuma fruits, this place really is a feast for your senses. Your Lima food tour takes you to the house of a local family, where the star is Doña Mechita, a caring Peruvian mother and the best cook in her family. She’ll share her family recipes and traditions with you in her home, and you’ll learn about culinary practices that reflect generations of local women. You’ll learn to prepare a classic ceviche, Peru’s national dish, made with fresh fish caught that day and a yummy mix of limes, onions, coriander and a few other secret ingredients. Doña Mechita will also teach you to prepare a delicious causa limeña made with potatoes, chilies, and lime to accompany your ceviche. And to round it all out, you’ll enjoy a pisco sour, with a demonstration on how to make them just right using an original recipe just for you.

Lima as a Local City & Culinary Tour Top

This fascinating walking tour will help you gain a little insight into the local Limeño culture and history. After being picked up at your hotel at 9 am, the taxi will take you to the Miraflores market, where Peruvian merchants will enlighten you on the local produce and outline the different types of potatoes, corn and fruits that can be found in Peru. Feel free to grab some samples and don’t forget to try the coca leaves! Following a short meander through the market, you will then hop on the public bus ‘Metropolitano’ to the historic center, where you can admire grand colonial buildings. The Historic Center of Lima has been the seat of the Colonial and Republican governments since the Spanish foundation of the city in 1535 and is also an important indigenous center. Until the 1940s, it also housed Peru’s richest and most influential families. As you stroll through the city center, pay attention to the changing style of architecture and the beautiful interior balconies. Upon arriving to Plaza San Martin, you will taste some delicious Peruvian pastries before heading to the main square. There, you will stop by a small outlet of the Choco museum and will receive fun facts and information about the process of transforming the cocoa bean into the delicious chocolate that you will be savoring. Following this tasty treat, the tour will proceed to the Cordano Bar, where you will taste a typical Peruvian drink, the chicha morada, made from sweet purple corn. From here you can either grab the Metropolitano bus back to Miraflores or you are welcome to stay in the historic center to continue exploring on your own terms.

City tour of Colonial and Modern Lima Top

You will experience the best attractions in Lima, paying particular attention to its three historical periods: pre-Hispanic, colonial and contemporary. You will begin the tour looking at modern Lima, visiting the modern suburbs of San Isidro and Miraflores where you will see the Financial Center, the San Isidro Golf Course and the Olive Grove Park. You will also go by the Huaca Pucllana, a pre-Inca pyramid shape temple that has survived the expansion of modern civilization. Then enjoy a nice view of the Pacific Ocean, diving down the Miraflores coastline, a cliff top road overlooking the ocean. The tour then shifts to colonial Lima, where you will visit the city’s historical center designated by UNESCO as Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 1991. The particular highlights you will see are the Plaza Mayor, the Presidential Palace, the Cathedral, the Archbishops Palace, the City Hall and the “Desamparados” Train Station. You shall then visit the San Francisco Monastery and its famous underground crypts known as the Catacombs. At the end of the tour you will have a choice to either shop at the Indian Market, Larcomar Mall or return to your hotel.

Guided Visit to Larco Museum Top

The Larco Herrera Archaeological Museum is perhaps one of the more interesting museums in the Lima area. Located in an extravagant vice-royal mansion and surrounded by a stunning garden, the museum was founded in 1926. The museum itself contains one of the most up-to-date and extensive exhibitions on Peruvian history, covering the last 3,000 years. Amongst its highlights are a number of special gold and silver artifacts, as well as the world famous ancient erotic archaeological collection which is said to be one of the most complete in the world. With over 45,000 archeological pieces and exhibits, the Larco museum is said to be one of largest museums on the planet. A number of renowned scientists and scholars work within the museum on a daily basis and besides being a very attractive museum, it carries about it a distinctively academic feel.

Lima City tour & Larco Herrera museum Top

You’ll experience the main attractions of Lima paying particular attention to its three historical periods: pre-Hispanic, colonial and contemporary. At the start of the tour you’ll discover the modern side of Lima, visiting the suburbs of San Isidro and Miraflores where you will see the Financial Center, the San Isidro Golf Course and the Olive Grove Park. You’ll also see the Huaca Pucllana, a pre-Inca pyramid shaped temple that has survived the expansion of Peru’s capital city. Then enjoy a nice view of the Pacific Ocean, driving down the Miraflores Malecon, a cliff top road overlooking the ocean. The tour then shifts to colonial Lima, where you will visit the city’s historical center designated by UNESCO as World Cultural Heritage 1991. Particular highlights you will see are the Plaza Mayor, the Presidential Palace, the Cathedral, the Archbishop’s Palace, the City Hall and the Desamparados Train Station. You will then visit the San Francisco Monastery and its famous underground crypts known as the Catacombs. Afterwards you’ll visit the Museum Larco, which features one of the most renowned archaeological collections in the country, mainly from the northern regions. At the end of the tour you will have a choice to either shop at the Indian Market, Larcomar Mall or return to your hotel.

City & Culinary Experience w/ Lunch Top

At 8.30am you will be picked up from your hotel to start your culinary tour which includes: A visit to the Surquillo Market to see the variety of seafood, vegetables and fruits, and a stop at the Señorio de Sulco Restaurant for a Ceviche preparation demonstration and Chicha Morada. Then you will continue your excursion and explore the city of the kings. You will experience the best attractions in Lima paying particular attention to its three historical periods: pre-Hispanic, colonial and contemporary. You will begin the tour looking at modern Lima, visiting the modern suburbs of San Isidro and Miraflores where you will see the Financial Center, the San Isidro Golf Course and the Olive Grove Park. You will also go by the Huaca Pucllana, a pre-Inca pyramid shape temple that has survived the expansion of modern civilization. Then enjoy a nice view of the Pacific Ocean, diving down the Miraflores Malecón, a cliff top road overlooking the ocean. The tour then shifts to colonial Lima, where you will visit the Larco Museum. The Larco Archaeological Museum is perhaps one of the most interesting museums in the Lima area. Located in an extravagant vice-royal mansion and surrounded by a stunning garden. You will also visit other attractions in the city’s historical center designated by UNESCO as Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 1991. You will visit the San Francisco Monastery and its famous underground crypts known as the Catacombs. At the end of the tour you will have a choice to either shop at the Indian Market, Larcomar Mall or return to your hotel.

Gastronomic Bike Tour Barranco Top

During this tour you will be accompanied by 2 guides, one a gastronomy expert and guide and the other looking out for your safety! Before hoping on to the bikes you will put on all your gear and a headphone; your guide will explain the highlights and influences on the gastronomic development of Peru along your way. The tour starts by arriving at the Surquillo market where the guide will show you many typical Peruvian fruits, which you will most likely have never even heard of. You will taste fresh Peruvian fruits like chirimoya, pitaya, tuna fruit and others. At the market you can also enjoy the aromas of herbs, and see variety of fishes and flowers. Your second stop is the “La Florentina” ice cream shop, located outside the market boulevard where you can enjoy different flavors of artisanal ice creams made with typical fruits and rare flavors like basil, avocado, chili, etc. We continue to the Barranco district and will make a stop at the Café Tostado to taste popular and traditional food (Sancochado, Pato a la naranja, Camote frito, Frejoles, etc). We continue cycling to a place called ‘Mi Peru,’ famous for its seafood and specialty ‘crab soup’. Leaving the restaurants behind, you continue to the main square of Barranco and visit a local tavern, ‘Juanito,’ then head on to the suburb of Miraflores to finish thet trip at Larcomar to enjoy the view.

Bike Tour Miraflores & Barranco Top

The tour starts and ends at 187 Venecia street in Miraflores district (half block from Love Park – ‘Parque del Amor’). During your excursion you will visit the Love Park, whose design was inspired by the famous Park Güell in Barcelona, made by the renowned architect Antonio Gaudí, and discover the story behind the sculpture El Beso, the centerpiece of the park. The tour continues to the exclusive mall Larcomar, with amazing views of the Pacific Ocean and some beautiful giftshops, cafes and good restaurants. We then continue to Barranco. Birthplace of distinguished artists, literary authors and representative musicians of our culture; and well known for its beautiful and diverse architecture, including European heritage from the beginning of the last century. A special place in this tour is the romantic Bridge of Sighs (Puente de los Suspiros), whose name derives from the innumerable romances that are witnessed in this picturesque site. Tradition says that when you first see the bridge and cross it without breathing, your wish will be fulfilled.

Caral - Oldest civilization in the Americas Top

Caral is the third oldest civilization in the world, and is contemporary with the pyramids of Egypt. It is located in the middle of mountains 190 km north of Lima. Caral is the oldest civilization in America and has an approximate age of 5,000 years. There is no evidence explaining why the people who lived in Caral left land, or what was the system of communication and exchange of products they used with companies located 1,000 km away. Visiting the citadel of Caral is a fascinating experience, from start to finish. The full tour is approximately 2 hours. After the tour in the citadel of Caral, we will return to Lima and you will be dropped off at your hotel. This service includes a complete box lunch that your guide will give you.

Pachacamac Tour w/ Chorrillos & Barranco Top

You will begin the tour in Barranco, Lima’s most bohemian suburb and the nightlife capital. You will see Barranco’s Central Park, its Municipal Library, the traditional Bridge of Sighs, the colonial homes and its famous boulevard. Next, you will head over to Chorrillos, once the most exclusive summer resort in Lima. You will drive down the South Pacific Coast Highway to Pachacamac, the most important ceremonial center in the Peruvian coast during pre-Inca and Inca times. Pilgrims went to this large complex to pay homage to the creator god Pachacamac. You will see several pyramidal temples and enclosures from different time periods such as the Adobitos Temple (I C. A.D.), the Old Temple (I C. A.D.), the Painted Temple (VIII C. A.D.), a pyramid with a ramp (XIII C. A.D) and the Temple of the Sun (XV C. A.D.). Beside the ruins we will also visit an on-site museum displaying pottery, textiles, shell and stone ornaments, as well as the wooden Pachacamac idol found during excavations in 1938. At the end of this tour, you will have a choice to either shop at the Indian Market, the Larcomar Mall or return to your hotel.

Fast Facts on Lima

USEFUL TRAVELER INFORMATION

This section is a quick overview to help in planning your trip to Lima.

When to go

Often dry and mild, Lima is pleasant to visit all year round. For those wishing to get in some beach time on the coast, it is best to come in summer between December and March, when the temperature averages between 77ºF and 82ºF (25ºC and 28ºC). From May to September, Lima is covered in a dense fog called La Garua, which is a thick layer of low-hanging clouds that brings with it low temperatures and gloomy drizzle. During these months levels of tourism are lower, as are prices, so you may want to take this into account when deciding when to go. Be aware that religious holidays such as Easter are national holidays in Peru, so many shops and amenities are shut during Holy Week. Lima’s most important festival, the Lord of the Miracles (Senor de los Milagros), is celebrated in October with street parades and festivities that include a life-size replica of Jesus carried on an elaborate adorned altar.

How to get there

Lima is well connected to many regional and international cities, and domestic and international flights arrive to Jorge Chávez International Airport, Peru’s main airport. Jorge Chavez International Airport is situated around 13km from the city center and about 18km from Lima’s tourist district of Miraflores. Lima is a big city, so although some areas such as Miraflores, Barranco and San Isidro, where most of the hotels are located, are safe and easy to walk around, there can be great distances between neighbourhoods, so sometimes it is best to get a taxi, or we can arrange a private driver for you. If you choose to get a taxi, avoid hailing one on the street and instead choose a dedicated taxi service such as Taxi Satelital, and make sure to fix a price before ordering the car. Be careful with your belongings, especially in the downtown area, and avoid walking around this part of town after 10pm.

Infrastructure

Lima is a big city, and as such caters for tourists of every type. We recommend staying in Miraflores or Olivos, both of which have a great selection of hotels, ranging from contemporary lodgings to quaint colonial buildings and from luxury hotels to boutique bed & breakfasts. Lima is also the gastronomy capital of Peru, which benefits from being one of the most biologically and climatically diverse countries in the world, something that is represented fully in its culinary offerings. Whether you are looking for a cheap eat, traditional Peruvian fare or a once in a lifetime culinary experience, Lima has it all, and foodies will be in heaven in the Peruvian capital.

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