Top: Plaza Mayor, Middle: Skyline of Lima, Bottom left: Palace of Justice, Bottom right: Plaza San Martin.
|Nickname(s): City of the Kings|
|Motto: Hoc signum vere regum est|
Lima Province and Lima within Peru
|- Provincial Municipality||Metropolitan Municipality of Lima|
|- Mayor||Luis Castañeda Lossio|
|- City||2,672.3 km2 (1,031.8 sq mi)|
|- Urban||800 km2 (308.9 sq mi)|
|- Metro||2,819.3 km2 (1,088.5 sq mi)|
|Elevation||0–1,548 m (0–5,079 d ft)|
|- Density||2,846.1/km2 (7,371.4/sq mi)|
|- Metro Density||3,008.7/km2 (7,792.5/sq mi)|
|Time zone||PET (UTC-5)|
Lima is the capital and largest city of Peru. It is located in the valleys of the Chillón, Rímac and Lurín rivers, on a coast overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It forms a contiguous urban area with the seaport of Callao. Lima is the 5th–largest city in Latin America, behind São Paulo, Mexico City, Buenos Aires, and Rio de Janeiro.
Lima was founded by Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro on January 18, 1535, as La Ciudad de los Reyes, or "The City of Kings." It became the most important city in the Spanish Viceroyalty of Peru and, after the Peruvian War of Independence, was made the capital of the Republic of Peru. Today around one-third of the Peruvian population lives in the metropolitan area.
According to early Spanish chronicles the Lima area was once called Ichma, after its original inhabitants. However, even before the Inca occupation of the area in the 15th century, a famous oracle in the Rímac valley had come to be known by visitors as Limaq (limaq, pronounced [ˈlimɑq], which means "talker" in coastal Quechua). This oracle was eventually destroyed by the Spanish and replaced with a church, but the name persisted in the local language, thus the chronicles show "Límac" replacing "Ychma" as the common name for the area.
Modern scholars speculate that the word "Lima" originated as the Spanish pronunciation of the native name Limaq. Linguistic evidence seems to support this theory as spoken Spanish consistently rejects stop consonants in word-final position. The city was founded in 1535 under the name City of the Kings (Spanish: Ciudad de los Reyes) because its foundation was decided on January 6, date of the feast of the Epiphany. Nevertheless, this name quickly fell into disuse and Lima became the city's name of choice; on the oldest Spanish maps of Peru, both Lima and Ciudad de los Reyes can be seen together as names for the city.
It is worth noting that the river that feeds Lima is called Rímac, and many people erroneously assume that this is because its original Inca name is "Talking River" (the Incas spoke a highland variety of Quechua where the word for "talker" was pronounced [ˈrimɑq]). However, the original inhabitants of the valley were not the Incas, and this name is actually an innovation arising from an effort by the Cuzco nobility in colonial times to standardize the toponym so that it would conform to the phonology of Cuzco Quechua. Later, as the original inhabitants of the valley died out and the local Quechua became extinct, the Cuzco pronunciation prevailed. In modern times, Spanish-speaking locals do not see the connection between the name of their city and the name of the river that runs through it. They often assume that the valley is named after the river; however, Spanish documents from the colonial period show the opposite to be true.
In the pre-Columbian era, the location of what is now the city of Lima was inhabited by several Amerindian groups under the Ychsma polity, which was incorporated into the Inca Empire in the 15th century. In 1532, a group of Spanish conquistadors led by Francisco Pizarro defeated the Inca ruler Atahualpa and took over his Empire. As the Spanish Crown had named Pizarro governor of the lands he conquered, he chose the Rímac valley to found his capital on January 18, 1535 as Ciudad de los Reyes (City of the Kings). In August 1536, the new city was besieged by the troops of Manco Inca, however, the Spaniards and their native allies defeated the Inca rebels.
Over the next few years, Lima gained prestige as it was designated capital of the Viceroyalty of Peru and site of a Real Audiencia in 1543. During the next century Lima flourished as the center of an extensive trade network which integrated the Viceroyalty with the Americas, Europe and the Far East. However, the city was not free from dangers; powerful earthquakes destroyed most of the city in 1687. A second threat was the presence of pirates and privateers in the Pacific Ocean, which led to the building of the Lima City Walls between 1684 and 1687. The 1687 earthquake marked a turning point in the history of Lima as it coincided with a recession in trade and economic competition by other cities such as Buenos Aires.
In 1746, a powerful earthquake severely damaged Lima and destroyed Callao, forcing a massive rebuilding effort under Viceroy José Antonio Manso de Velasco. In the later half of the 18th century, the ideas of the Enlightenment on public health and social control shaped the development of the city. During this period, Lima was adversely affected by the Bourbon Reforms as it lost its monopoly on overseas trade and its control over the important mining region of Upper Peru. This economic decline made the city's elite dependent on royal and ecclesiastical appointment and thus, reluctant to advocate independence.
A combined expedition of Argentine and Chilean patriots under General José de San Martín managed to land south of Lima in 1820 but did not attack the city. Faced with a naval blockade and the action of guerrillas on land, Viceroy José de la Serna was forced to evacuate the city on July 1821 to save the Royalist army. Fearing a popular uprising and lacking any means to impose order, the city council invited San Martín to enter Lima and signed a Declaration of Independence at his request. However, the war was not over; in the next two years the city changed hands several times and suffered exactions from both sides.
After the war of independence, Lima became the capital of the Republic of Peru but economic stagnation and political turmoil brought urban development to a halt. This hiatus ended in the 1850s, when increased public and private revenues from guano exports led to a rapid expansion of the city. However, the export-led economic expansion also widened the gap between rich and poor, fostering social unrest. During the 1879–1883 War of the Pacific, Chilean troops occupied Lima, looting public museums, libraries and educational institutions. At the same time, angry mobs attacked wealthy citizens and the Asian population; sacking their properties and businesses. After the war, the city underwent a process of renewal and expansion from the 1890s up to the 1920s. During this period the urban layout was modified by the construction of big avenues which crisscrossed the city and connected it with neighboring towns.
In 1940, an earthquake destroyed most of the city, which at that time was mostly built out of adobe and quincha. In the 1940s, Lima started a period of rapid growth spurred by immigration from the Andean regions of Peru. Population, estimated at 0.6 million in 1940, reached 1.9M by 1960 and 4.8M by 1980. At the start of this period, the urban area was confined to a triangular area bounded by the city's historic center, Callao and Chorrillos; in the following decades settlements spread to the north, beyond the Rímac River, to the east, along the Central Highway, and to the south. Immigrants, at first confined to slums in downtown Lima, led this expansion through large-scale land invasions which gave rise to the proliferation of shanty towns, known as pueblos jóvenes.
The urban area of Lima covers about 800 km2 (310 sq mi). It is located on mostly flat terrain in the Peruvian coastal plain, within the valleys of the Chillón, Rímac and Lurín rivers. The city slopes gently from the shores of the Pacific Ocean into valleys and mountain slopes located as high as 500 metres (1,600 ft) above mean sea level. Within the city exist isolated hills which are not connected to the surrounding hill chains, such as El Agustino, San Cosme, El Pino, La Milla, Muleria and Pro hills. The San Cristobal hill in the Rimac district, which faces directly north of the downtown area, is the local extreme of an Andean hill outgrowth.
Metropolitan Lima has an area of 2,672.28 km2 (1,031.77 sq mi), of which 825.88 km2 (318.87 sq mi) (31%) comprise the actual city and 1,846.40 km2 (712.90 sq mi) (69%) the city outskirts. The urban area extends around 60 km (37 mi) from north to south and around 30 km (19 mi) from west to east. The city center is located 15 km (9.3 mi) inland at the shore of the Rimac river, a vital resource for the city, since it carries what will become drinking water for its inhabitants and fuels the hydroelectric dams that provide electricity to the area. While no official administrative definition for the city exists, it is usually considered to be composed of the central 30 out of the 43 districts of Lima Province, corresponding to an urban area centered around the historic Cercado de Lima district. The city is the core of the Lima Metropolitan Area, one of the ten largest metropolitan areas in the Americas. Lima is the second largest city in the world located in a desert, after Cairo, Egypt.
Lima's climate is quite mild, despite being located in the tropics and in a desert. Lima has a subtropical and desert climate, yet the microclimate also makes the atmosphere very humid throughout the year. Despite featuring a desert climate, temperatures vary from mild to warm. It's neither cold nor very hot, which is very unusual for a desert climate. The average daily temperatures in winter range from 12 °C (54 °F) to 20 °C (68 °F). Winter days usually come accompanied by continuous overcast skies, fog, and mist, but Lima sees little significant rainfall from this. In the summer, the daily maximum temperature averages around 29 °C (84 °F) with a daily minimum temperature around 19 °C (66 °F). During El Niño events, the climate of Lima gets severely disrupted, the water temperatures along the coast which usually average around 17–19 °C (63–66 °F) get much warmer (as in 1998 when the water temperature reached 26 °C (79 °F)), which causes the high and low temperatures to rise by several degrees. Such was the case when Lima hit its all-time record high of 34 °C (93 °F).
Relative humidity is always very high particularly in the mornings, and produces brief morning fog from June to December and persistent low clouds from May to November. Sunny, less humid, and warm summers last from December to April and are followed by cloudy, humid, and mild winters (lasting from June to October). The all-time record low in the metropolitan area is 9 °C (48 °F). Lima has only 1284 hours of sunshine a year, 28.6 hours in July and 179.1 hours in January, exceptionally low values for the latitude.
Rainfall is very low. The severely low rainfall impacts on water supply in the city. Inland locations receive anywhere between 1 to 6 cm (2.4 in) of rainfall, which accumulates mainly during the winter months. Summer rain occurs in the form of isolated light and brief afternoon or evening events, leftover from afternoon storms that generate over the Andes. The peak of the 'rainy season,' which does not produce "rain" in the true sense of the word, occurs during winter when late-night/morning drizzle events (locally called 'garúa','llovizna' or 'camanchacas') become frequent, leaving a light coating of dampness on the ground. All these climatic phenomena arise from the combination of semi-permanent coastal upwelling and the presence of the cold Humboldt Current just offshore.
|Average high °C (°F)||25.8
|Average low °C (°F)||19.1
|Precipitation mm (inches)||0.9
|Source: World Meteorological Organisation (UN) March 2010|
With a municipal population of 7,605,743, and 8,472,935 for the metropolitan area and a population density of 3,008.8 inhabitants per square kilometre (7,793 /sq mi) as of 2007, Lima ranks as the 18th most populous city in the world. Its population features a very complex mix of racial and ethnic groups. Traditionally, Mestizos of mixed Amerindian and European (mostly Spanish) and descent are the largest contingent. The second group are White Caucasians, mainly Spanish and Italians, followed by French, British, German, Croatian and other Eastern Europeans. The third group is composed by Amerindian (mostly aymaras and quechuas) and there is a large number of Jews, and Middle Easterners. Asians make up a large number of the metropolitan population, especially of Chinese (Cantonese) and Japanese descent. Afro-Peruvians, whose African ancestors were initially brought to the region as slaves, are yet another part of the city's ethnic quilt. Lima has by far the largest Chinese community in Latin America.
The first settlement in what would become Lima was made up of only 117 housing blocks. In 1562, another district was built at the other side of the Rimac River and in 1610, the first stone bridge was built. Lima had, at this point in time, population of around 26,000, made up of 40% blacks (mostly slaves) and 38% whites. By 1748, the white population of criollos and Europeans totaled sixteen or eighteen thousand. In 1861, the amount of inhabitants surpassed 100,000, and by 1927 this amount was doubled.
During the early twentieth century thousands of immigrants came to the city, a significant number of French, Italians and Germans, many of them had been adapting to the Peruvian society. They organized in social clubs, and they built their own schools; for example, The American-Peruvian school which is located in Miraflores, The French Alliance (Alianza Francesa de Lima), famous Lycée Franco-Péruvien and the hospital Maison de Sante, the British-Peruvian school in Monterrico, and also several German-Peruvian schools. They also influenced Peruvian cuisine, the Italians in particular exerting a strong influence in the Miraflores and San Isidro areas with their restaurants, called Trattorias.
A great number of Chinese immigrants, and a lesser amount of Japanese, came to Lima and established themselves in the Barrios Altos neighborhood near downtown Lima. Lima residents refer to their Chinatown as "Calle Capon," and the city's ubiquitous Chifa restaurants – a small, sit-down, usually Chinese-run restaurant serving the Peruvian spin on Chinese cuisine – can be found by the dozen in this Chinese enclave.
The Metropolitan area, with around 7000 factories, spearheads the industrial development of the country, thanks to the quantity and quality of the available workforce, cheap infrastructure and the mostly developed routes and highways in the city. The most relevant industrial sectors are textiles, clothing and food. Chemicals, fish, leather and oil derivatives are also manufactured and/or processed in Lima. The financial district is located in the district of San Isidro, while much of the industrial activity takes place in the area stretching west of Downtown Lima to the airport in Callao.
Industrialization began to take hold in Lima in 1930s and by 1950s, through import substitution policies, by 1950 manufacturing made up 14% of the GNP. In the late 1950s, up to 70% of consumer goods were manufactured in Peruvian, and primarily Limean, factories.
The Callao seaport is one of the main fishing and commerce ports in South America, with 75% of the country's imports and 25% of its exports using it as their entry/departure point. The main export goods leaving the country through Callao are oil, steel, silver, zinc, cotton, sugar and coffee.
In 2004, Lima's GDP represented 45% of the country's GDP (5% more than the previous year). The GDP per capita in Lima is $14,600. Most of the foreign companies operating in the country have settled in Lima, which has led to the previously mentioned concentration of economic and financial activity on the city.
There has been a noticeable increase in light industries, services and high technologies. In 2007, the Peruvian economy grew 9%, the largest growth rate in all of South America which was spearheaded by economic policies originating in Lima. The Lima Stock Exchange grew 185.24% in 2006 and in 2007 grew 168.3%, making it one of the fastest growing stock exchanges in the world. In 2006, the Lima Stock Exchange was the most profitable in the world. The unemployment rate in the metropolitan area is 7.2%.
The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit and the Latin America, the Caribbean and the European Union Summit were hosted by the city of Lima.
Lima is headquarters to many major banks such as Banco de Crédito del Perú, Interbank, Bank of the Nation, Banco Continental, MiBanco, Banco Interamericano de Finanzas, Banco Finaciero, Banco de Comercio, and Credi Scotia. It is also a regional headquarters to Standard Chartered. Major insurance coorperations based in Lima include Rimac Seguros, Mapfre Peru, Interseguro, Pacifico, Protecta, and La Positiva.
Lima is the capital city of the Republic of Peru and the department of Lima. As such, it is home to the three branches of the Government of Peru. The executive branch is headquartered in the Government Palace, located in the Plaza Mayor. The legislative branch is headquartered in the Legislative Palace and is home to the Congress of Peru. The Judicial branch is headquartered in the Palace of Justice and is home to the Supreme Court of Peru.
Likewise, all the ministries are located in the city of Lima. In international government, the city of Lima is home to the headquarters of the Andean Community of Nations and the South American Community of Nations, along with other regional and international organizations.
The city is roughly equivalent to the Province of Lima, which is subdivided into 43 districts. The Metropolitan Municipality of Lima is utmost authority of the entire city while each district further has its own local government. Unlike the rest of the country, the Metropolitan Municipality, although a provincial municipality, acts as and has functions similar to a regional government, as it does not belong to any of the 25 regions of Peru.
Lima is also seat of two of the 28 second highest or Superior Courts of Justice. The first and oldest Superior Court in Lima is the Superior Court of Justice of Lima belonging to the Judicial District of Lima. Due to the judicial organization of Peru, the highest concentration of courts is located in Lima despite the fact that its judicial district only has jurisdiction over 35 of the 43 districts of Lima. The Superior Court of the Cono Norte is the second Superior Court located in Lima and is part of the Judicial District of North Lima. This judicial district has jurisdiction over the remaining eight districts all located in northern Lima.
Lima's architecture is characterized by a mix in styles as reflected from shifts between trends throughout various time periods of the city's history. Examples of early colonial architecture include such structures as the Monastery of San Francisco, the Cathedral of Lima and the Torre Tagle Palace. These constructions are generally influenced by the Spanish baroque, Spanish Neoclassicism, and Spanish Colonial styles. After independence, a gradual shift towards the neoclassical and Art Nouveau styles took place. Many of these constructions were greatly influenced by French architectural styles. Many government buildings as well as major cultural institutions were contracted in this architectural time period. During 1960s, constructions utilizing the brutalist style began appearing in Lima due to the military government of Juan Velasco. Examples of this architecture include the Museum of the Nation and the Ministry of Defense. The 21st century has seen the appearance of glass skyscrapers, particularly around the city's financial district. Also there are several new architectural and real state projects.
Lima's urban setting is characterized by lime green-lined streets as well as the abundance of plazas throughout the city. More important streets usually contain wider green areas and plaza's usually contain monuments or statues of historical figures of importance to Peruvian history.
The largest parks of Lima are located near the downtown area such as the Park of the Reserve, Park of the Exposition, Campo de Marte, and the University Park. The Park of the Reserve is home to the largest fountain complex in the world known as the Magical Circuit of Water.
A number of large parks lie outside the city center, including Reducto Park, Pantanos de Villa, The Golf, Park of the Legends, the malecon of Miraflores, and the Golf of the Incas. The street grid of the city of Lima, is laid out with a system of plazas of which serve a purpose similar to roundabouts or junctions. In addition to this practical purpose, plazas serve as one of Lima's principal green spaces and contain a variety of different types of architecture ranging from monuments to statues, and water fountains.
Strongly influenced by European, Andean, and Asian culture, Lima is a melting pot of cultures due to colonization, immigration, and indigenous influences. Like many other world capitals, Lima is home to prestigious museums many of which are world renowned. The Historic Center of Lima was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988. Limean gastronomy is known to be among the best in the world and the city is known as the Gastronomical Capital of the Americas. Lima's gastronomy is a mix of Spanish, Andean, and Asian culinary traditions.
Lima's beaches, located along the northern and southern ends of the city, are heavily visited during the summer months. Numerous restaurants, clubs and hotels have been opened in these places to serve the many beachgoers. Lima has a vibrant and active theater scene as there are many theaters presenting not only classic theater, but also
cultural presentations, modern theater, experimental theater, dramas, dance performances, and theater for children. Lima is home to many important theaters such as the Municipal Theater, Segura Theater, Japanese-Peruvian Theater, Marsano Theater, British theater, Theater of the PUCP Cultural Center, and the Yuyachkani Theater.
Known as Peruvian Coastal Spanish, Lima's Spanish is characterized by the lack of strong innotations as found in many other regions of the Spanish-speaking world. It is heavily influenced by the Spanish spoken in Castile as throughout the colonial era, the colonial Spanish nobility was based in Lima, of which most originated from Castile. Limean Spanish is also characterized by the lack of voseo, a trait present in the dialects of many other Latin American countries. This is due to the fact that voseo was primarily utilized by the lower socioeconomic classes of Spain, a social group that did not begin to appear in Lima until the late colonial era. Limean Spanish is distinguished by its relative clarity in comparison to other Latin American dialects. Limean Spanish has been influenced by a number of immigrant groups including Italians, Andalusians, Chinese and Japanese. It also has been influenced by anglicisms as a result of globalization as well as by Andean Spanish due to recent immigration from the Andean highlands to Lima.
Lima is home to the highest concentration of museums of the country, the most notable of which being the Museo Nacional de Arqueología Antropología e Historia del Perú, Museum of Art of Lima, the Museum of Natural History, the Museum of the Nation, The Sala Museo Oro del Perú Larcomar, the Museum of Italian Art, and the Museum of Gold, and the Larco Museum. These museums mostly focus on art, pre-Columbian cultures, natural history, science and religion. There's a particularity with the Museum of Italian Art, which is the only museum that shows European art in Peru.
|Historic Centre of Lima*|
|UNESCO World Heritage Site|
|Region**||Latin America and the Caribbean|
|Inscription||1988 (12th Session)|
|* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List.
** Region as classified by UNESCO.
Lima, as the point of entry to the country, has developed an important tourism industry, characterized by its historic center, archeological sites, nightlife, museums, art galleries, festivals, and popular traditions. Lima is home to an ample range of restaurants and bars where local as well as international cuisine is served.
The Historic Center of Lima, made up of the districts of Lima and Rimac, was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988 due to its importance during the colonial era leaving a testimony to architectural achievement. Some examples of this historical colonial architecture include the Monastery of San Francisco, the Plaza Mayor, the Cathedral, Covenant of Santo Domingo, the Palace of Torre Tagle, and much more.
A tour of the city's churches is a popular circuit among tourists. A short jaunt through the central district goes through many churches dating from as early as the 16th and 17th centuries the most noteworthy of which being the Cathedral of Lima and the Monastery of San Francisco, of which are said to be connected by their subterrestrial catacombs. Both of these churches contain paintings from various schools of art, Sevilian tile, and finely sculpted wood furnishings. Also notable is the Sanctuary of Las Nazarenas, the point of origin for the Lord of Miracles, whose festivities in the month of October constitute the most important religious event in Lima and arguably all of Peru. Some sections of the Lima City Walls still remain and are frequented by tourists. These examples of medieval Spanish fortifications were utilized to defend the city from attacks by pirates and privateers.
Beaches are visited during the summer months, which are located along the Pan-American Highway, to the south of the city in districts such as Lurin, Punta Hermosa, Santa María del Mar (Peru), San Bartolo and Asia. Many restaurants, nightclubs, lounges, bars, clubs, and hotels have developed in said places to cater to beachgoers.
The suburban districts of Cieneguilla, Pachacamac, and the city of Chosica, are important tourist attractions among locals as they are located at a higher elevation than Lima therefore receiving sunshine in winter months, something that the city of Lima frequently lacks.
Lima is known as Gastronomical Capital of the Americas. A center of immigration and the center of the Spanish Viceroyalty, Lima has incorporated unique dishes brought from the arrival of the Spanish Conquistadors and the receiving of many waves of immigrants: African, European, Chinese, and Japanese. Besides international immigration—a large portion of which happened in Lima—there has been, since the second half of the 20th century, a strong internal flow from rural areas to cities, in particular to Lima. This has strongly influenced Lima's cuisine with the incorporation of the immigrant's ingredients and techniques (for example, the Chinese extensive use of rice or the Japanese approach to preparing raw fish. The genres of restaurants in Lima include Creole food, Chifas, Cebicherias, and Pollerias. Peruvian cuisine, widely represented in Lima, holds various Guinness World Records, for its diversity and quality.
The city of Lima has varied sports venues for football, volleyball and basketball, many of which are located within private clubs. A popular sport among Limeans is fronton, a racquet sport similar to squash invented in Lima. The city is home to seven international-class golf links. Equestrian is popular in Lima with many private clubs as well as the Hipódromo de Monterrico horse racing track. The most popular sport in Lima by far is football with many professional club teams being located in the city.
|Peruvian Institute of Sport||Various||Various||Estadio Nacional (Lima)|
|Universitario de Deportes||Football||Primera División Peruana||Monumental "U" Stadium|
|Alianza Lima||Football||Primera División Peruana||Alejandro Villanueva Stadium|
|Sporting Cristal||Football||Primera División Peruana||San Martin de Porres Stadium|
|Universidad San Martin de Porres||Football||Primera Division Peruana||San Martin de Porres Stadium|
|Regatas Lima||Various||Various||Regatas Headquarters Chorrillos|
|Real Club Lima||Basketball, Volleyball||Various||San Isidro|
Lima is made up of thirty densely-populated districts, each headed by a local mayor and the Mayor of Lima, whose authority extends to these and the thirteen outer districts of the Lima province.
The city's historic centre is located in the Cercado de Lima district, locally known as simply Lima, or as "El Centro" ("Downtown"), and it is home to most of the vestiges of Lima's colonial past, the Presidential Palace (Spanish: Palacio de Gobierno), the Metropolitan Municipality of Lima (Spanish: Consejo municipal metropolitano de Lima), and dozens of hotels, some operating and some defunct, that used to cater to the national and international elite.
The upscale San Isidro district is the city's financial center. It is home to many prominent figures such as politicians and celebrities. It is also where the main banks of Peru and branch offices of world banks are headquartered. San Isidro has many parks, including Parque El Olivar, which has olive trees that were brought from Spain during the seventeenth century.
Another upscale district is Miraflores, which has many luxury hotels, shops and restaurants. Miraflores has more parks and green areas in the south of Lima than most other districts. Larcomar, a popular shopping mall and entertainment center built on cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean, featuring bars, dance clubs, movie theaters, cafes, shops, boutiques and galleries, is also located in this district.
The most densely-populated districts of Lima lie in the northern and southern ends of the city (Spanish: Cono Norte and Cono Sur, respectively), and they are mostly composed of Andean immigrants who arrived during the mid and late 20th century looking for better living standards and economic opportunities, or as refugees of the country's internal conflict with the Shining Path during the late 80s and early 90s. In the case of Cono Norte(North Lima), certain shopping malls like Megaplaza and Royal Plaza have been recently built in the Independencia, which is the most residential neighborhood in the Northern part of Lima. Most of the inhabitants of this area belong to the middle class.
Barranco, which borders Miraflores by the Pacific Ocean, is known as the city's bohemian district, home or once home of many Peruvian writers and intellectuals like Mario Vargas Llosa, Chabuca Granda and Alfredo Bryce Echenique. This district has many acclaimed restaurants, music venues called "peñas" featuring the traditional folk music of coastal Peru (in Spanish, "música criolla"), and beautiful Victorian-style chalets. It along with Miraflores serves as the home to the foreign nightlife scene.
Home to a range of universities, institutions, and schools, Lima has the highest concentration of institutions of higher learning in the country and is home to schools with worldwide recognition. The National University of San Marcos, founded on May 12, 1551 during Spanish colonial regime, is the oldest continuously functioning university in the Americas.
Universidad Nacional de Ingeniería (UNI) was founded in 1876 by Polish engineer Eduardo de Habich and is the most important engineering school in the country. Other public universities also play key roles in teaching and research, such as the Universidad Nacional Federico Villarreal (the second largest in the country), the Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina where ex-president Alberto Fujimori once taught, and the National University of Callao.
The Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, established in 1917, is the oldest private university. Other private institutions that are located in the city are Universidad del Pacifico, Universidad de Lima, Universidad San Martín de Porres, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Universidad Cientifica del Sur, Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola, Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Applicadas and Universidad Ricardo Palma.
Lima is served by the Jorge Chavez International Airport, located in Callao (LIM). It is the largest airport of the country with the largest amount of domestic and international air traffic. It also serves as a major hub in the Latin American air network. Additionally, Lima possesses five other airports: the Las Palmas Air Force Base, Collique Airport, and runways in Santa María del Mar, San Bartolo and Chilca.
Lima is connected by highway to every country that borders Peru. Because of its location on the country's central coast, Lima is an important junction in Peru's highway system. Three of the major highways originate in Lima.
The proximity of Lima to the port of Callao allows Callao to act as the metropolitan area's foremost port. Callao concentrates nearly all of the maritime transport of the metropolitan area. There is, however, a small port in Lurín whose transit mostly is accounted for by oil tankers due to a refinery being located nearby. Nonetheless, maritime transport inside Lima's city limits is relatively insignificant compared to that of Callao, the nation's leading port and one of Latin America's largest. There have been plans to build a new megaport on the island of San Lorenzo known as the San Lorenzo Megaport Project. This port is planned to become the largest of Latin America.
Lima is connected to the Central Andean region by the Ferrocarril Central Andino which runs from Lima through the departments of Junin, Huancavelica, Pasco, and Huanuco. Major cities along this line include Huancayo, La Oroya, Huancavelica, and Cerro de Pasco. Another inactive line runs from Lima northwards to the city of Huacho.
The urban transport system is composed of over 652 transit routes which are served by buses, microbuses, and combis. The system is unorganized and is characterized by the lack of formality. The service is run by 464 private companies which are poorly regulated by the local government. Fares average at around one sol or $0.30 USD.
The Metropolitan Transportation System is a transport project which plans to integrate the Independent Corridor of Mass-Transit Buses known by its Spanish initials as (COSAC 1). This system plans to link the principal points of the Lima Metropolitan Area and the first phase of this project is already in development with the construction of a thirty three km line from Comas to Chorrillos.
Automobiles, known as colectivos, render express service on some major roads of the Lima Metropolitan Area. The colectivos signal their specific destination with a sign on the their windshield. Their routes are not generally publicitized but are understood by frequent users. The cost is generally higher than congenital public transport however they cover greater distances at greater speeds due to the lack of stops.
The Lima Metro, an above ground mass transit system, is under construction and as of 2010 one line has been completed while another six are scheduled for construction. Line 1 is also scheduled to be extended to the city's center, uniting Villa el Salvador with downtown Lima in a matter of only forty minutes, a trip which currently lasts one hour and forty minutes with the current public transport system.
Taxis in the city are relatively cheap. There are no meters so drivers are told the desired destination and the fare is agreed upon before the passenger enters the taxi. Taxis vary in sizes from small four door compacts to large vans. They are virtually everywhere, accounting for a large part of the car stock. In many cases they are just a private car with a taxi sticker on the windshield. Additionally, there are several companies that provide taxi service on-call.
Eighty percent of the city's history having occurred during the pre-automobile era, Lima's road network is based mostly on large divided avenues rather than freeways. In recent times however, Lima has developed a freeway network now made up of nine freeways which are, the Via Expresa Paseo de la Republica, Via Expresa Javier Prado, Via Expresa Grau, Panamericana Norte, Panamericana Sur, Carretera Central, Via Expresa Callao, Autopista Chillon Trapiche, and the Autopista Ramiro Priale.
Lima is the capital of Peru and its largest city. Founded in 1535 by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro, the modern city is a curious mix of the modern mega city with some 'islands of modernity', large but orderly slum areas and colonial architecture in the city center. Lima was the seat of the Spanish rule during 300 years, and as such it has wonderful churches, cloisters and monasteries that are worth a visit.
Lima is also the best place to try the wonderful Peruvian cuisine, which has a huge variety of ingredients from coast, mountain and Amazon regions. The cold sea current in front of Peru's large coast makes the sea very rich in fish and seafood, which have a great taste due to the special plankton they eat. Fish and seafood restaurants are therefore worth the time, and not expensive.
Lima has also a great subtropical climate, it is never too warm or too cold. People in Lima do not use raincoats or umbrellas, since rain is rare. In fact, Lima is built upon a valley surrounded by an extremely arid desert. During the winter, Lima is usually overcast and may not see the sun for days at a time.
Metropolitan Lima is a metropolis of almost 10 million people. Many of these people have migrated from the Andes mountains to find work in Lima, without success. For this reason, there is widespread poverty in the city center and in the peripheral areas. If you fly into Lima, the first thing you see upon leaving the airport are these types of poor neighborhoods situated between the airport and Lima's historic center.
Lima's pre-Hispanic and colonial architecture is beautiful and the city has several museums (such as Museo Larco) that tell the story of a country with a long history that produced a large number of coastal and Andean civilizations (such as the Moche, Chavin, and the Incas) and many local cultures. There are several archeological sites both within and around the city (locally known as "huaca"). The largest archeological complex is in Pachacamac, about 10 km south of Lima.
Jorge Chavez International Airport (IATA: LIM|ICAO: SPIM) (also called Jorge Chavez Airport Lima-Callao; flight infos T:+51 (1) 511-6055)  is in the harbour city Callao (part of metropolitan Lima). Lima is well connected with most cities in South America. There are regular flights to Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, Newark, Atlanta and Houston in the US. There are daily flights from Amsterdam, Madrid, Miami, Bogotá, Medellín, Quito, Santiago de Chile and Toronto as well. These airlines fly to or from Lima as of March 2009:
Lima is the hub for most domestic flights and is served by: LAN Peru, LC Busre, TACA Peru, and Star Peru.
Arrival at the airport can be chaotic. Most flights from overseas arrive in clumps either early in the morning or very late at night, which means that getting through immigration and customs can be tremendously time consuming; the difference between arrival at the gate and exiting customs can range from 20 to 90 minutes. The area immediately outside of customs is typically crowded, full of people waiting for arriving passengers (it's not uncommon for entire families to show up to greet a returning family member), including pre-booked car and taxi services holding up signs with passengers' names; in recent years, a large area where passengers can stand freely and scan the crowd to look for people and not be accosted has been cordoned off in front of customs exit.
The airport is a 20-40 minute drive from San Isidro or Miraflores. The Best Western hotel in the Miraflores section, as well as several others, offers free airport pickup; check with your hotel regarding this service. If arranged ahead of time, a driver from the hotel will stand in the large crowd of people holding a sign with your name. They may need to have you wait just outside the airport for 5 to 10 minutes as they get their car; this is normal. Don't worry about standing outside the airport alone for this; it's well-lit at night and security guards are prevalent.
Be wary of the taxi drivers at the airport: if you need transportation at the airport you should avoid using the "informal" taxis outside of it that will accost you, and either hire it inside the customs reception area (at somewhat inflated fees, as these companies, currently Green Taxi, CMV, and Mitsui, pay a premium to locate their desk there), or book taxi service ahead of time with a reputable company (they will be waiting for you outside customs), which will be a fair bit cheaper (a ride to Miraflores should run you $25-30 USD)(July 2009). Its best to use a Certified Ground Transportation supplier so you can always be on the safe side.
There is also an Express bus to Centro and Miraflores leaving from the Arrival hall; ask at the airport information desk.
Car rental is available at the airport via Hertz, Budget, and National, but unless you have experienced driving in extremely challenging third-world environments you should avoid driving yourself in Lima. If you're set on driving yourself, take cabs for a day or so and see what navigating Lima traffic is like before making that decision.
Unlike many other cities in Peru, Lima doesn't have a big bus terminal (though one is currently under construction, as of May 2009). Most companies are in La Victoria, not Lima's nicest neighbourhood. However, most are just on the outskirts, where it's a bit safer. More expensive express buses tend to run from terminals by the inner ringroad (Av. Javier Prado and Paseo de la Republica).
Regular buses run up and down the Panamerican Highway and inland:
Some bus companies and the locations of their terminals are:
The most popular company with tourists
Ormeño Javier Prado Este 1059 (San Isidro). Local destinations but also international destinations, for example:
Expreso Cial Av. Republica de Panama
Movil Tours Av. Paseo de la Republica 749. Serves northern Peru destinations only
CIVA Corner of Av. 28 de Julio and Paseo de la República 575, La Victoria
Tepsa Javier Prado Este 1091, La Victoria
Oltursa Av. Aramburú 1160, San Isidro
Flores Paseo de La República 627, La Victoria
The city is divided into several quarters. You can walk within each quarter, but between quarters you need a bus or taxi.
It is helpful to have a general overview of the quarters most important to tourists:
If going further, a taxi ride between adjacent neighborhoods costs about $2 (6 soles), if you speak Spanish well enough. A longer ride may cost from $3 to $7. A reasonable price for a taxi service between the airport and Miraflores is about $12 (35 soles), but may cost more from within the airport. By custom, taxis do not have meters; rather, the fare should be negotiated before boarding the taxi, or, if you request one by phone, at booking time. If asking for a ride on the street, don't be fooled into getting into the cab before a rate is negotiated. Be also very discerning about which taxi you choose, and avoid hailing random cabs off the street as much as possible.
Caution is advised in Lima, and the same goes for taxis. As a foreigner, don't EVER get into shared taxis.
There are several types of public transport: big buses, medium-sized coasters, and micros and combis, small white vans packed with up to 20 people. Formerly you could stop them at any point along the main travel routes. Lately, however, the government has clamped down and insists that they only stop at defined "paraderos," bus stops, at least in the more upscale parts of the city like Miraflores and San Isidro. If a bus or combi is not full enough the driver will go slower in the hope more people hop in, so take a cab if you're in a hurry. In a combi you usually pay from 0.50 to 1.80 soles.
On the side of every bus or van you will find written the names of the major avenidas it travels. If those don't make sense to you, simply ask the conductor about the quarter (neighborhood) you want. He will either wave you in or direct you to another bus. Be careful, as he may wave you in, even if the bus does not actually go where you want.
There does not appear to be a major safety issue in taking the big busses or the medium-sized coasters. You may wish to think twice before riding the combis, though, because they tend to overfill and have a high center of gravity, a deadly combination should your driver have a serious accident.
For some reason it is very hard to change money other than Euros and US-Dollars in Lima. You can't even change the currency from neighbouring countries in normal money exchanges and banks. You might find more flexible exchange offices at airports, but they often charge ridiculous service fees and exchange-rates. Changing money in Miraflores can be done safely with cambistas on the street, but you must follow a few simple rules to avoid being cheated. First, make sure that the cambista is wearing the vest-uniform indicating that he or she is an authorized, licensed cambista. Always ask for the exchange rate (tipo de cambio). It is worth it to compare with several cambistas, especially if you are changing a significant amount of money. Finally, make sure that the bills the cambista gives you have his or her seal stamped on them - that way, if by chance one of them turns out to be counterfeit you can come back and complain. I have never gotten counterfeit notes from a cambista, but asking for the seal probably helps maintain the incentive for honesty.
As anywhere, your best bet is usually to simply draw money from an ATM. There are banks dotted all over Lima and some of them have guarded ATMs.
Visit "Polvos Azules" near central Lima to buy cheap clothes, cd's and dvd's, shoes, backpack's, spirits or perfumes. Most things you buy here are fake, but nevertheless of good quality. There are several cheap markets like "Polvos Azules" in, or near, central Lima.
There are a number of markets for buying Peruvian artesania, souvenirs, jewelry, and handicrafts along Av. Petit Thouars in Miraflores. To get there is a short walk from Parque Kennedy. The biggest - and arguably best - of these is Mercado Indio, a huge expanse of small tiendas selling everything Peruvian - sweaters, blankets, silver, whatever you want! Be careful in some of the stores on Petit Thouars closer to central Miraflores - I have been handed counterfeit bills as change. But in general, competition works its magic and the prices on Petit Thouars are very good, as long as you aren't clueless.
For even better prices, if you are feeling more adventurous you can try the markets along Av. La Marina in San Miguel on the way to the airport. An idea might be to stop there for last-minute shopping before leaving the country. These goods are similar to those of Av. Petit Thouars, but as the neighborhood is considerably less upscale and fewer tourists come here, the prices are a little lower.
While Polvos Azules in the center of Lima might be the absolute best for prices on many items, you can save time by shopping some of the stores right in Miraflores. La Quinta, for example, on the corner of Larco and Diez Canseco, is sort of a Marshalls/TJ Maxx Peruvian style, offering all sorts of clothes at very good prices (but watch the quality). A great place to buy simple cooking utensils is in the shops surrounding el Mercado de Surquillo, just over the bridge (crossing the freeway) from Miraflores off Av. Ricardo Palma. You can find all sorts of implements, like orange juice squeezers (exprimador de jugo de naranja), rolling pins, cutting boards, and other tools you might find useful, all handmade and of decent if not spectacular quality. The Mercado itself can be a good place to experience Peruvian food markets - a rich variety of produce, fruits, and meats are available.
Peruvian furniture is also worth considering. There are several high-quality furniture stores in Miraflores; but probably the best of all is called Don Bosco in the Santa Beatriz section near downtown Lima. You can arrange shipping for anything that screams to be sitting in your living room - Don Bosco is a cooperative founded by an Italian priest who taught woodworking to orphans living in the Sierra of the department of Ancash, and has a unique design that seems to be a mix of Andean and Italian.
If you are interested in purchasing Peruvian folk musical instruments, there are a number of stores selling charangos, quenas, antaras, etc. on Calle Cantuarias right near Astrid y Gastón. If you have the time, a number of these stores can help you find a teacher to learn how to play your purchase.
Gastronomy has always been, since the days of the Spanish vice royalty, an essential aspect of life in Lima. During the last few years, however, the city's dining reputation has experienced a huge leap in the eyes of the world due to the fact that experts gathered in the Fourth International Summit of Gastronomy Madrid Fusión 2006 and formally declared Lima to be the "Gastronomical Capital of Latin America". The offerings in Lima are nowadays most varied and cover a wide range of types and cuisines, both regional and international.
Despite the wide range of choice in Lima's many restaurants, ceviche is surely number one on the list of dishes you must get to know, not only because it happens to be the "Peruvian national dish", but because of its unparalelled delicious taste. With the increasing interest in the Peruvian cuisine, ceviche is quickly making its way onto tables all over the world. But if you want to enjoy the real thing, don't miss it during your stay here in ceviche's Mecca. There is at least one cevichería in every neighbourhood, so it won't be hard to find one. Moreover, most criollo restaurants include ceviche on their menus; indeed, many restaurants do, even the more upscale nouveau-cuisine.
Warning: The locals make it a rule not to eat ceviche late in the day since doing so may upset one's stomach (which is why you won't easily find a cevicheria open after 5). Western stomachs in particular can sometimes react badly to this acidic dish and eating it late in the day apparently increases that risk. Drinking Pisco Sour with a plate of Ceviche makes the meal even more acidic. Beginners may want to choose a different type of drink with their Ceviche.
A second must goes to Asian cuisine, both Chinese and Japanese, which predictably, have a strong Peruvian influence. Chifas -that is, Chinese restaurants-, which can be counted by the hundreds if not thousands, are usually down-to-earth neighbourhood eateries, offering a fare rich in seafood and chicken. Japanese restaurants, on the contrary, are less widespread, and more upscale and expensive. Their forte is, of course, a year-round supply of the freshest and most variegated seafood.
Be careful: Peruvian food tend to be spicy and heavy. Try it with method and ask if any dish is "picante" (spicy), and if you are not fond of that, avoid it since it may be really picante. A full meal may be really heavy and cause problems even if it's perfectly nice and well prepared with fresh ingredients.
Israeli and Arab tourists longing for a delicious falafel or shwarma sandwich will be pleased to learn there is an excellent cafe along Parque Kennedy that serves these type of Middle Eastern foods at reasonable prices.
Top 5 Gourmet Restaurants in Lima:'
Other restaurants you should not miss:
There's a heavy presence of Western fast-food chains such as KFC, Pizza Hut, Domino's Pizza, Mc Donald's and Starbucks Coffee all over the city if you'd rather not try anything new to you. Places such as Burger King, Chili's and Friday's are scarce, but can be easily found around Miraflores. Also, you shouldn't miss Peruvian-style hamburgers at Bembos, traditional Peruvian sandwiches in Pasquale and fusion pizza over at D'nnos Pizza if you want to give your everyday fast-food a local twist.
Barranco is a neighborhood south of Miraflores with many clubs and cafes, popular among college students in Lima. It's the party heart of town, where you can find most Peñas, music clubs that offer folkloric music shows, in particular Afro Peruvian and Criollo gigs. On the weekends, Barranco has "A Taste of Barranco" food festival. Outdoor tables are filled with every dish they serve, the price is very reasonable too. Local musicians play and it's a very popular place to be. For live music, Barranco is also good. Some of the best clubs for rock music include 6 places within a few blocks:
Around Plaza de Armas you can find some nice bars. Around Plaza San Martin you can find "El Directorio", "De Grot" and "Mao Bar", which are small rock pubs occasionally hosting shows from local bands and low-priced beer, when compared to similar places in Barranco or Miraflores.
Barranco, San Isidro and Miraflores are the best areas in town but come a bit pricier than the city center.
If you witness a crime being committed, DO NOT intervene unless you are really sure of what you are doing: many criminals, even pickpockets, carry guns, knifes, etc and may use them if feeling threatened.
In general, a tried and true technique for staying safe in Lima is to simply maintain a low profile. Leave the Rolex at home, don't wear the fine suit and don't carry a laptop when hailing taxis on the street, and keep a relaxed, friendly, smiling attitude. If you do need to go out dressed like a gringo, call a taxi rather than hire one in the moment - the few moments you wait and the few extra soles you pay will be worth it.
While there is not much violent crime against tourists, theft is rampant. Watch out for pickpockets constantly. Don't wear gold jewelry. If you carry a purse, a camera, a backpack or just a pair of sunglasses hang on to them at all times, even when eating indoors at a nice cafe, otherwise they might be stolen.
Avoid the surroundings of Soccer / Football stadiums before and after big matches, since "barras bravas" (hooligans) can be very violent. Ask for advice if you plan to go there or thereabouts. Very infrequently, but occasionally, even in nicer tourist areas, gangs of youths, sometimes from rival high schools, or supporting rival football clubs, or strikers involved in a labor dispute may brawl. If you find yourself caught in the middle of such a confrontation, just try to move out of the way, preferably behind a closed door - these youths generally do not carry lethal weapons, and the worst that is likely to happen is that someone will get hit with a rock before the police arrive to break it up.
Some areas of Lima are safer than others: Miraflores and San Isidro have large populations of well-to-do and wealthy Peruvians, not to mention large tourist groups, so they have large police presence to protect the population. Other districts, such as La Victoria, are much more dangerous. Visitors would be well advised to stay out of these areas unless accompanied by an experienced native or visiting busy areas during daylight hours. Downtown Lima is normally well patrolled but be careful anyway. Callao (the port, technically a different city) is rather rough: ask for advice before going there if you plan to.
Staying safe for adults can also require an understanding of the sexual climate of Peru. In general Peru is a relatively conservative country in the sense of male and female roles, but at the same time Peruvians are extremely open to friendships with foreigners. Thus, some males can find themselves suddenly the object of flirtation by attractive young Peruvian women, but then be suddenly rejected for having violated some unwritten line of conduct in, say, discussion topics. Women can find themselves the object of unwanted looks and stares, but at the same time the risk of violence and rape is probably not as high as in many other countries.
A problem that can arise is the Peruvian concept of the "pepera," found at certain night clubs or pubs. Peperas are usually attractive women aged 16 to 25 that deliberately entice foreign tourists and then spike their drinks with sleeping pills and rob them once they're unconscious. Usually peperas work in groups of two, although smaller and larger groups exist as well. Male "peperos" also spike the drinks of women but robbery is often accompanied by rape. Peperas in general are found in dense tourist areas, such as Park Kennedy in Miraflores as well as the Plaza de Armas in central Lima. One locale in particular that is notorious for dangerous peperas is the Tequila Rock discoteca in Miraflores and its sister in Pueblo Libre (La Marina).
Another cultural concept worth learning is the "brichera" (or "brichero"). There are two types of bricheras: the first type are women that are genuinely looking to meet foreign men in the hopes of dating or marriage or even a quick fling. The second type are women that search for foreign men with the implicit purpose of exchanging sex for small gifts or money. This second type of brichera is risky, especially for foreigners lacking local sensibilities, since it involves prostitution. These bricheras do not use contraception reliably, and therefore pose a higher risk for transmitting STDs (Sexual Transmited Diseases). If you decide to have a fling, make sure to use a condom!
Another important point to be taken into consideration is that you should not pick up just any taxi, especially when you are leaving the airport. It is not strange to hear news that some taxi drivers cheated tourists (for example, going from the northest point of the city to the southest part would take you at most 50 soles and that is the largest distance in Lima so do not pay more than that) by charging them 100 or even 200 soles for normal rides (even though Peruvian taxi drivers normally tend to increase their fares in front of gringos, it is not a massive difference) . It may be better to rely on some taxi companies as they do not charge that much and they are secure.
Informal taxi drivers have also occasionally been known to participate in actual robberies and express kidnappings. While the overwhelming majority of Lima's taxistas are just poor working people trying to make a living, you should be alert if you are going to hail a taxi on the street; and if you are carrying valuables or appear to be well-dressed you probably should call one of the formal taxi companies.
If you are flying to your next destination, you can take the "S" bus to the airport (ask at your hotel for the stops) or any micro bus that says "Faucett" on its side. The trip from Miraflores takes about an hour and costs 3 soles. Cabs are of course more convenient and much more expensive.
If you wish to take a long distance bus, see the Get In section above for bus companies, the various locations of their terminals and their destinations.
Some popular destinations from Lima are:
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There is more than one meaning of Lima discussed in the 1911 Encyclopedia. We are planning to let all links go to the correct meaning directly, but for now you will have to search it out from the list below by yourself. If you want to change the link that led you here yourself, it would be appreciated.
It is an important city of South America and the entrance to Peru.
The city was founded by the Spanish conquistador (conqueror) Francisco Pizarro on January 18, 1535. He called it the City of the Kings.
Today, the city is always growing. It has a very large population, and is the largest city in Peru.
Lima is made up of mainly Spanish speaking inhabitants with over 85% of the population speaking the language.