See Tours in Lima

Peruvian Cities
Lima, LIMA
Location, extension and population | Brief historic outline | Main attractions in the capital city | Other attractions near the capital | Typical dishes and beverages | Tourist calendar

The department of Lima is located in the central occidental part of the country. To the west, it is bathed by the waters of the Pacific Ocean, to the east, it limits with the Andes.

It has an extension of 33,820 km² (13,058 sq ml) and a population of over 7'000,000 people.

The capital is the city of Lima, one of the most important in South America, and declared Cultural Patrimony of the World. The weather is mild and fresh all year round, due to the its proximity to the seashore and the absence of rain.


Conqueror Francisco Pizarro founded the city of Lima, known as City of Kings, on January 18, 1535. He chose the banks of the Rímac river for being a location strategically and geographically perfect. The word Lima comes from the word Rímac, which in quechua, the official language in the Inca empire, means hablador or talkative.

During the Viceroyship, between the sixteenth and seventeenth century, Lima became the most important and powerful city in South America. It was also the cultural and commercial center of the region.

On July 28, 1821, after the decadence of the Viceroyship and a series of emancipation and independence movements, General José de San Martín proclaimed the independence of Perú in the small village of Huaura, to the north of Lima. The Peruvian Republic was born.


Plaza de Armas de Lima. Fotografía: PromPerú.MAIN ATTRACTIONS IN THE CAPITAL CITY
Plaza de Armas
. The main square is located in the same place where Francisco Pizarro founded it. The Government Palace, the Cathedral and the Municipal Palace are located around the square.

Churches and Monasteries. San Francisco, Santo Domingo, La Merced, Las Nazarenas, San Pedro, San Agustín, Los Descalzos, San Marcelo and Santa Rosa, many of which are more the 300 years old. These churches house the mortal remains of the local saints, gorgeous sculptures, wood carvings, and other pictorial work of inestimable value.

Museums and Mansions. Torre Tagle, Casa de Pilatos, Palacio de Osambela, Museo de la Nación, Museo Nacional de Antropología y Arquelogía, Museo Nacional de Historia, Museo de Oro del Perú, Museo Amano, Museo de Arte Italiano, Museo de Arte, Museo Larco Herrera. Some of these buildings exhibit beauty Colonial architecture. Other mansions or casonas are currently sites of important public and private institutions. As a whole, the group gives the visitor a complete view of the history of this country, from Inca times to our days. These buildings also hold millenary pieces of pottery, textiles, gold and silver pre-Hispanic work, Colonial and Republican work in silver.

Archeological Sites, such as Huallamarca and Pucllana, are inserted in the center of two modern districts, San Isidro and Miraflores.

District of Miraflores. It is modern and has a daily intense commercial, cultural and artistic activity. Site were many discotheques, restaurants, and casinos are located.

District of Barranco, which still keeps in its buildings the peculiarity of the first years of the Republican period. Many prestigious artists and writers live there. It is also crowded with typical local taverns and restaurants.

The Green Coast is a row of beaches that crosses six districts. Sea lovers, swimmers, surfers or those who practice parasail and handglide can easily get there.


Balneario de Ancón
, a modern resort in a small fishing bay, located at 38 km (23.6 ml) north from Lima.

Reserva Nacional de Lachay is located on Km 105 of the North Pan-American Highway. With a variety of micro climates, this natural reserve has abundant vegetation and is the habitat for wild animals. There are also archeological sites of pre-Hispanic cultures.

Fortaleza de Paramonga, located on Km 209 of the North Pan-American Highway, is an adobe fortress constructed during the Inca empire.

Ruinas de Puruchuco. Located at ten minutes from the center of the city, this pre-Inca house gives a sense of how the ancient Peruvians lived 2,000 years ago. It has a site museum.

Marcahuasi is an magnificent stone forest located at 4,000 m.a.s.l. (13,123 ft). With time the erosions on the rocks have produced human and animal forms easily identified. UFO experts consider this as a meeting point. It takes several hours to get there, including a long walk.

Pachacamac. Located at 33 km (20.5 ml) from the capital and very near the most beautiful south beaches, this pre-Inca temple was constructed on adobe at different levels, with passages and labyrinths. There is also a museum that exhibits archeological pieces found while unearthing the site.

Cañete is a province of the department of Lima. It takes an hour to get there by car or bus. The valley has lovely beaches, fishing inlets and archeological zones. Lunahuaná is part of the Cañete valley, surrounded by impressive natural areas where to practice rafting, fishing and hunting.


Since Lima is so close to the sea, the main Limeño dishes are naturally based on fish and seafood. Among these, the famous cebiche, escabeche, conchitas a la parmesana and shrimp cocktail stand out.

Other well-known Limeño dishes are cau-cau, anticuchos, ají de gallina. There are also several typical desserts, such as the mazamorra morada, picarones, suspiro a la limeña, arroz con leche, turrón de Doña Pepa.

Among the refreshing drinks, chicha morada is recommended, and as appetizers, the international pisco sour, with Peruvian pisco and lemons, and sugar.


January 12 through 19.
Anniversary of Lima. Festivities to celebrate the founding of the city.

Last Week in March. Surco Grape Harvest Week. During a week, this vine growing district of great tradition holds several activities hosted by the major of the city and the elected Queen.

Holy Week. During this time, the city of Lima shows a spirit of retreat remembering the passion of Christ. Processions and several religious acts take place in different parts of the city.

Third Week in May. The National Peruvian Gait Horse Contest. This contest takes place in Mamacona, a tourist resort at a walking distance from the Pachacamac ruins. There is also a wonderful exhibition of these gait horses, who descend from the fine Arab breeds and that in Perú got their very special style of pace.

Caballo de Paso Peruano. Mamacona, Lima. Fotografía: PromPerú.July 28 and 29. Independence Day. Public activities include, military and school parades, a Te Deum in the Cathedral, and horse races at the Monterrico Race Track. The Feria del Hogar, the biggest commercial fair, and the Feria de La Molina, a well-known international music festival, open during these days. Famous national and foreign artists are invited to participate.

August 20 through 30. Cañete Week. Anniversary of the province of Cañete. It is a ten-day celebration with folkloric festivals, various competitions and adventure sports.

August 30. Santa Rosa de Lima. Pilgrimage to Quives, the district of the province of Canta, where Santa Rosa lived. In Lima, devotees visit the monastery to write down their wishes and throw them into its famous well.

Procesión del Señor de los Milagros. Lima. Fotografía: PromPerú.October. Señor de los Milagros Month, patron of the city. On October 18, 19 and 28, one the most multitudinary processions worldwide takes place. The religious fervor of the devotees expresses in front of the sacred image. Painted in 1650, the famous image has remained intact in spite of time, earthquakes and other cataclysms. During the whole month the litter is taken in a trailer to distant places throughout the city.

End of October through mid-November, the Feria del Señor de los Milagros. This is the bullfight season in which the best toreros in the world participate. It takes place in the Plaza de Acho, built 200 years ago on the orders of the Viceroy to please his lover.