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This article is about the administrative division. For the city, see Lima
This article is about the metropolitan area in Peru. For the metropolitan area in the U.S. State of Ohio, see Lima, Ohio metropolitan area.
A map of the Metropolitan area including distinguishing Lima and Callao

The Lima Metropolitan Area (Spanish: Área Metropolitana de Lima, also known as Lima Metropolitana), is an area formed by the conurbation of the Peruvian cities of Lima (the nation's capital) and Callao.[1] It is the largest metropolitan area in Peru, is the eighth largest in the Americas, and among the thirty largest in the world. The conurbation process started to be evident in the 1980s. The metropolitan area is composed of six subregions. These are the Cono Norte, Cono Sur, Cono Este, Residential Lima, Central Lima, and Callao. It has a population of 8,482,619 according to the 2007 population census, of which 8,472,935 were living in the urban core.[2]



The city of Lima was founded on January 18, 1535. The port of Callao was founded similarly two years later. The city of Lima began when Francisco Pizarro declared it at what is known as the Epiphany. It was founded at the very center of the city, the Plaza Mayor. It would become the most important city in South America. The city of Callao also was destined the same fortune as being for hundreds of years the only port in all of the Viceroyalty of Peru (all of Spanish South America at the time) allowed to ship anything to the rest of the world. For hundreds of years Lima and Callao were separated by a desert. This however, did not diminish the importance of the union between the two cities. It was not until the 1800s that they were connected by a railroad. The metropolitan link between these two cities did not start until they both grew enough to, in essence, crash into each other.


Today, it has become the most important metropolis in Peru and the largest in the Andean region. The area's financial district is San Isidro. Many of the city's business centers, skyscrapers, and commerce are located here. The area's nightlife is mainly based in Miraflores and Barranco. The metropolis is a lively area and music at night is common in some areas. Today different parts of the metropolis have different aspects and slightly different culture. The downtown area, unlike most downtowns in the world, is made up of historical architecture such as cathedrals and churches. In the latter half of the 20th century, the metropolis has grown fastly by migration from other regions of Peru. Many of these migrants began to form new communities called pueblos jovenes and asentamientos humanos, literally Young Towns and Human Settlements. These towns are similar to the favelas of Brazil but considerably smaller. Many of them have no running water or electricity. Many of the these communities such as Comas, Los Olivos, and Villa El Salvador have evolved into modern districts and found the better life they were searching for.


The conurbation has an area of 2,819.26 km². It is concentrated mainly in the coastal area and runs north-south along the Pacific coast for almost 200 km, beginning in the district of Ancón, on the border with the Huaral Province of the Lima region, and ending in the district of Pucusana, on the border with the Cañete Province, also in the Lima region. The Rímac, Chillón and Lurín rivers pass through the area. It is made up of in total 49 districts. There are 43 districts in Lima and 6 in Callao. Most of the area is located in the desert whereas the eastern portion is located in the foothills of the Andes. It is the second largest metropolis in a desert after Cairo, Egypt. The metropolis is divided into six areas. They are the Cono Norte, Cono Sur, Eastern Lima, The High-Scale Commercial Districts, the Port of Callao, and the Historical Center of Lima.


Today the two cities are conurbanized so much signs are necessary to know borders. There are hundreds of streets and highways linking the two cities. Taxis vary in quality of service and price. They can be stopped at any street, or private taxi companies can be called to pick up passengers at a certain address.

Numerous inter-urban bus companies offer transportation to other cities in Peru. Quality varies depending on the price, from luxury express buses to uncomfortable and crowded micros.

Nowadays Lima's mayor is working on a new bus system called Metropolitano where all buses will have exclusive lines; it has been told that new buses must be acquired by the companies working in the metropolitan area, this buses will be bought from a Chinese company, the same company that sells buses to Italy. The mayor's hope is to see a new massive transport system in the next few years.

To improve the quality of taxis running in the metropolis, a new law has been released where its forbidden to import used cars; thanks to this law, the city of Lima ensure to always have new cars all over the city, reducing smog.

An agreement signed by Mayor Luis Castañeda Lossio and President Alejandro Toledo on February 17, 2005, provided funding for finishing the Lima Metro, an above-ground mass-transit system which will link the downtown area with the financial district, San Isidro. The project was launched in the late 1980s but left unfinished president Alan García, who is currently the president of Peru again.

Map showing six subregions of the Lima Metropolitan Area

Lima's main passenger gateway for national and international air travelers is Jorge Chávez International Airport located in Callao.


As of 2007 the official metropolitan area has a population of 8,482,619, of which almost everyone (8,472,935) were living in the urban core.[2] The metropolis, in the past decade, has experienced a constant influx of migrants from other parts of the country.


Population distribution

% of the metro area's total population, sorted by district areas:

Growth of the Metropolis

The following maps show us how the Lima and Callao Metropolitan area has grown over the years. The first map shows the population in 1535, which is the year Lima was founded, and the last map shows the population in 2006.

The Future as a Megacity

Lima is expected to become a megacity before the end of the decade. A megacity is a metropolitan area of more than ten million people. It will be the first in the Andean States and the fourth in South America.

See also


  1. ^ Lima Metropolitana is formed by the Province of Lima and the Constitutional Province of Callao in accordance with D.S. N°011-72-PM as of 25 April 1972
  2. ^ a b Instituto Nacional de Estadística e Informática, Perfil Sociodemográfico del Perú pp. 24, 29–30, 32, 34. Retrieved on 2008-12-07.


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