THE CITY OF KINGS
Peru is said to be a country of contrasts and Lima illustrates many of these. Called the "City of the Kings" by the Spanish conquistadors in 1535, today's Lima combines extensive areas both of elegant, colonial architecture and vibrant modernism as well as traces of pre-Inca and Inca civilisations. In Lima there are beautiful convents and churches from the Colony, such as The Convent of Santo Domingo, the Church of San Francisco and the Cathedral, all of them reminders of the rich religious and colonial past.
Our suggestion is that whenever possible the visit to Peru should begin in Lima, and stay there at least one full day. Besides being in the majority of cases the first city one arrives to, visiting Lima is important because there are many museums where it is possible to understand better what one is going to see on his visit throughout the country.
Lima is home to some of the best museums in South America, such as the Archaeological Museum Rafael Larco-Herrera and the Anthropological and Archaeological Museum. In our opinion, when in Lima, visiting at least one of these two museums is a must. They complement each other and have excellent collections of ceramics, textiles and mummies from the Chavin, Mochica, Chimú and Nazca Cultures and from Inca places.
There are sunny beaches ten minutes' drive from the city centre, quaint historical districts such as Barranco and Rimac and dynamic, modern residential and business areas like Miraflores and San Isidro. Lima has fine hotels, well-supplied shops and excellent restaurants, many of them specialising in local seafood. While you are here, why not also sample local Afro-Peruvian or Andean music and dances at some of Lima's lively night spots?
Altitude: Sea level
Population: 7 million approximately
Climate: Temperate throughout the year and sunny from November to May. August is winter in Lima and the weather is cool and misty (75º-55ºF/24º-13ºC)