Destination guide: Lima, Peru
Lima is the capital of Peru and is on the country’s central Pacific coast. Lima is also known as the “City of the Kings” and was formally the richest viceroyalty in South America. This important metropolis still has a beautiful colonial architecture that surprises visitors, as well as offering world-class cusine.
Purchase your flights to Lima and discover tourist attractions sich as the Pachacamac ruins, the Paracas National Reserve, the Nazca Lines and the Lima mountain range, among others.
Lima - Things to do
Nestled among condominium towers and sprawling high-end homes, the simple Huaca Huallamarca is a highly restored adobe pyramid, produced by the Lima culture, that dates to AD 200 to 500. A small on-site museum, complete with mummy, details its excavation.
Latitude: -12.0974971115204 / Longitude: -77.0404779911041
Sub-Type: Archaeological Site
Telephone number: +51 1 222 4124
Opening Hours: 9am-5pm Tue-Sun.
Pricing: adult/child S5.50/1.
Address: Nicolás de Rivera 201, San Isidro.
La Catedral de Lima
Next to the Archbishop’s palace resides the cathedral, on the same plot of land that Pizarro designated for the city’s first church in 1535. Though it retains a baroque facade, the building you see today has been built and rebuilt numerous times: in 1551, in 1622 and after the earthquakes of 1687 and 1746. The last major restoration was completed in 1940
Latitude: -34.6078374600000 / Longitude: -58.3702969600000
Telephone Number: +51 1 427 9647
Opening Hours: 9am-5pm Mon-Fri, 10am-1pm Sat.
Pricing: admission S10.
Address: Lima Centro.
Monasterio de San Francisco
This bright yellow Franciscan monastery and church is most famous for its bone-lined catacombs (containing an estimated 70,000 burials) and its remarkable library, where you can take in the sight of 25,000 antique texts, some of them predating the conquest. But this baroque structure has many other things worth seeing: the most spectacular is a geometric Moorish-style cupola, over the main staircase, which was carved in 1625 (restored 1969) out of Nicaraguan cedar. In addition, the refectory contains 13 paintings, of the biblical patriarch Jacob and his 12 sons, attributed to the studio of Spanish master Francisco de Zurbarán.
Latitude: -12.0455165200000 / Longitude: -77.0273244400000
Telephone Number:+51 1 426 7377
Opening Hours: 9:30am-5:30pm
Pricing: adult/child under 15 S5/1.
Address: cnr Lampa & Ancash.
Museo de la Nación
A brutalist concrete tower houses the catch-all Museo de la Nación, which provides a cursory overview of Peru’s civilizations, from Chavín stone carvings and the knotted rope quipus of the Incas to artifacts from the colony. Large traveling international exhibits are also shown here (often for an extra fee), but if there is a single reason to visit this museum, it is to view a permanent installation on the 6th floor called Yuyanapaq. The exhibit, named after the Quechua word meaning ‘to remember, ’ was created by Peru’s Truth & Reconciliation Commission in 2003 and is a moving and beautifully installed photographic tribute to the Internal Conflict (1980–2000). Students of contemporary Latin American history: consider this an absolute must-see.
Latitude: -12.0872161510832 / Longitude: -77.0019400119782
Alternative Name: Museum of the Nation.
Telephone Number: +51 1 476 9878
Opening Hours: 9am-5pm Tue-Sun.
Pricing: admission S7.
Address: Av Javier Prado Este 2466, San Borja.
An 18th-century viceroy’s mansion houses this museum, which has one of the largest, best-presented displays of ceramics in Lima. Founded by Rafael Larco Hoyle in 1926, a dedicated collector and cataloguer of all things pre-Columbian, the collection is said to include, among other things, more than 50,000 pots (with thousands of extras housed in glass storerooms, which visitors can also see). The museum showcases ceramic works from the Cupisnique, Chimú, Chancay, Nazca and Inca cultures, but the highlight is the sublime Moche portrait vessels, presented in simple, dramatically lit cases. Equally astonishing: a Wari weaving in one of the rear galleries that contains 398 threads to the linear inch – a record. What lures many visitors here, however, is a separately housed collection of pre-Columbian erotic pots that illustrate, with comical explicitness, all manner of sexual activity. Not to be missed is the vitrine that depicts sexually transmitted diseases.
Telephone Number: +51 1 461 1825.
Opening Hours: 9am-6pm.
Pricing: adult/child under 15 S30/15.
Address: Bolívar 1515, Pueblo Libre.
Cevichería la Choza Nautica
This popular cevichería, tended to by bow-tied waiters, offers more than a dozen types of ceviches and tiraditos (Japanese-style ceviche, without onions). There is also a long list of soups, seafood and rice dishes. There is live music on busy nights.
Latitude: -12.0587840924234 / Longitude: -77.0425486564636
Telephone Number: +51 1 423 8087
Opening Hours: 8am-11pm Mon-Sat, 8am-9pm Sun.
Pricing: ceviches S20-36, mains S19-32.
Price Range: Moderate.
Address: Breña 204, Breña
In an 18th-century building with sparkling wood trim is this very simple and somewhat unusual eatery run by French Carmelite nuns. The menu consists largely of French and other continental specialties (think coquilles St Jacques ) – with various Peruvian influences. Every night, after dinner (at around 9pm), the nuns gather to sing ‘Ave Maria.’
atitude: -12.0489003605122 / Longitude: -77.0294058322906
Telephone Number: +51 1 427 5612
Opening Hours: 12:30-3pm & 7:30-9:30pm Mon-Sat.
Pricing: mains S30-50, 3-course menús S15.
Price Range: High
Address: Ucayali 370, San Isidro.
Vista al Mar
When the smell of garlic hits your nose on a Pacific sea breeze, you know you will dine well. Built into the clifftop and with its balcony dangling out over the sea, Vista al Mar is an elegant, modern restaurant serving a variety of meals and snacks. Fish and ceviche are wise options. It also does a great breakfast buffet at weekends. Watch for the occasional paraglider floating past along the cliffs.
Latitude: -12.1324913744205 / Longitude: -77.0300602912903
Telephone Number: +51 1 242 5705
Price Range: Moderate.
Address: Malecon de la Reserva 610, Miraflores.
From Monday-night poetry readings to local cover bands, this ragged two-story spot has it all. When popular acts are playing, expect to pay a cover (about S10).
Latitude: -12.1501021574426 / Longitude: -77.0205330848694
Sub-Type: Live Music.
Telephone Number: +51 1 247 3148
Opening Hours: 10am-midnight Mon-Wed, 10am-3am Thu-Sat.
Pricing: US$5.00-US$7.00 cover charge.
Address: Av Grau 266.
Fútbol is the national obsession, and Peru’s Estadio Nacional, off cuadras 7 to 9 of Paseo de la República, is the venue for the most important matches and other events.
Latitude: -12.0673559938631 / Longitude: -77.0337724685669
Sub-Type: Live Performance.
Address: Central Lima.
This worn-in woody bar – it was a leftist hangout in the 1960s – is one of the mellowest haunts in Barranco. Decorated with a lifetime’s worth of theater posters, this is where the writerly set arrives to swig chilcano de pisco and deconstruct the state of humanity. There’s no sign; look for the crowded room lined with wine bottles.
Latitude: -12.1496511513266 / Longitude: -77.0207047462463
Address: Av Grau 274.
La Casa de la Mujer Artesana Manuela Ramos
Located at cuadra 15 of Av Brasil, "La Casa de la Mujer Artesana Manuela Ramos" is a crafts cooperative whose proceeds support women’s economic development programs.
Sub-Type: Arts & Crafts
Telephone Number: +51 1 423 8840
Opening Hours: 11am-1pm & 2-6pm Mon-Fri.
Address: Av Juan Pablo Fernandini 1550, Pueblo Libre.
A well-to-do outdoor mall wedged into the clifftop beneath the Parque Salazar, full of high-end clothing shops, trendy discotheques and a wide range of eateries.
Latitude: -12.1320508276977 / Longitude: -77.0304465293884
Telephone Number: +54 11 4743 8371
Address: Malecón de la Reserva 610, Miraflores.
Mercado del Indio
This enormous market is the best place to browse through handicrafts from all over Peru. Prices are varied so shop carefully.
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 09:00-22:00.
Address: Av Petit Thouars 5245, Miraflores.
See local newspapers or visit The Peru Guide (www.theperuguide.com) for further information. Holidays specific to Lima:
- Festival of Lima Celebrates the anniversary of Lima’s founding on January 18.
- Feast of Santa Rosa de Lima Held on August 30, this feast has processions in honor of Santa Rosa, the venerated patron saint of Lima and the Americas.
- El Señor de los Milagros (Christ of Miracles) The city drapes itself in purple during this massive religious procession on October 18 in honor of the Christ from the Nazarenas church; smaller processions occur other Sundays in October.
Popular excursions from Lima include the 31km ride to Pachacamac, where there are good local trails open between April and December. Expert riders can inquire about the stellar downhill circuit from Olleros to San Bartolo south of Lima. For general information (in Spanish) on cycling, try Federación Deportiva Peruana de Ciclismo ([tel] 346-3493; www.fedepeci.org; Av San Luis 1308, San Luis) or the online portal Ciclismo Perú (www.ciclismoperu.com).
Dozens of bike shops are listed in Lima’s yellow pages under ‘Bicicletas.’ Check out the following places:
Bike Tours of Lima ([tel] 445-3172; www.biketoursoflima.com; Bolívar 150, Miraflores; [hrs] 9am-7pm Mon-Sat) Rentals are available (from S27 for a half-day) and there are organized day tours around Miraflores and San Isidro, as well as Sunday excursions into downtown (from S55).
Perú Bike ([tel] 467-0757; Av Pedro de Osma 560, Barranco; [hrs] 9am-1pm & 4-8pm Mon-Sat) A recommended shop that does repairs.
For paragliding off the Miraflores clifftops, contact Peru Fly ([tel] 99-591-9928; www.perufly.com) or Andean Trail Peru ([tel] 99-836-4930, 99-836-3436; http://andeantrailperu.com). Flights take off from the clifftop ‘paraport’ at the Parque Raimondi and start at about US$50 for a 15-minute tandem flight. Paragliding companies do not have offices on-site, so if you want to fly, make a reservation in advance – then wave at the bemused shoppers at the cliffside LarcoMar mall as you glide past.
Swimming & Surfing
Limeños hit the beaches in droves in summer (January through March). Playa Costa Verde in Miraflores (nicknamed Waikiki) is a favorite of local surfers and has good breaks year-round. Barranco’s beaches have waves that are better for long boards. There are seven other beaches in Miraflores and four more in Barranco. Serious surfers can also try Playa La Herradura in Chorrillos, which has waves up to 5m high during good swells. Do not leave your belongings unattended as.
The following stores carry surf equipment:
Big Head ([tel] 818-4156; www.bighead.com.pe; LarcoMar, Malecón de la Reserva 610, Miraflores; [hrs] 11am-10pm) A popular mall chain that sells fashion and gear.
Focus ([tel] 475-8459; Leonardo da Vinci 208, Surquillo; [hrs] 8am-8pm Mon-Fri, 9am-1pm Sat) An established board fabrication outlet.
Wayo Whilar ([tel] 247-6343; www.wayowhilar.com.pe; Av Grau 111, Barranco; [hrs] 9am-7pm Mon-Thu, 9am-4pm Fri & Sat) The shop of a longtime Peruvian surfer who sells his own line of hand-shaped boards.
There’s reasonable deep-sea diving off Peru’s southern coast. Contact Perú Divers ([tel] 251-6231; www.perudivers.com; Santa Teresa 486, Chorrillos), an excellent dive shop owned by Luis Rodríguez, a PADI-certified instructor who sells gear and arranges certification and diving trips, including regular excursions to Islas Palomino, off the coast of Callao, to see a year-round sea-lion colony (per person US$68, not including gear).
You can go bowling at LarcoMar Bowling ([tel] 445-7776; LarcoMar, Malecón de la Reserva 610, Miraflores; per hr S55-62; [hrs] 11am-1am), in the clifftop mall of the same name. Prices vary depending on time of day; shoe rental is extra (S4.50).
Lima has several very expensive tennis and golf clubs (most of them private or by invitation only), but concierges at top-end hotels (such as the Country Club Lima Hotel) can help organize matches or reserve tee-times for guests. The Lima Cricket & Football Club ([tel] 264-0027; Justo Vigil 200, Magdalena del Mar) is popular with expats and allows visitors with passports to participate in their activities. It even has an English pub on-site.
Sailors can contact the Yacht Club Peruano ([tel] 429-0775; www.yachtclubperuano.com; Bolognesi 761, La Punta, Callao), which has a Travelift equipped to move crafts of up to 18 tons, dock security and numerous other services.