General Data

• Location: The department of Lima is located in the central part of the country, comprising a coastal strip (facing the Pacific Ocean) and the highlands towards the east.

• Area: 34 802 km2

• Capital: Lima (154 masl)

• Altitude: 3 masl (Ancón) Lowest town. 4 278 masl (Tanta) highest town.

• Average annual temperature: 19º C (25º C maximum and 13º C minimum).

• There are no rains in Lima, the season with the highest humidity is winter which runs from June through September.

Access Routes

• By land: Lima is linked by the Pan-American Highway with all the cities on the coast as well as with the coastal cities of Ecuador to the north and Chile to the south. The Central Highway, the Marginal Highway and penetration roads provide access to most cities over the highlands and the jungle.

• By air: Lima is connected with the world’s most important cities. It is the gateway to Peru’s major destinations through Jorge Chávez International Airport.

Historical Overview

The city of Lima, also known as the City of the Kings, was founded by Francisco Pizarro on January 18th, 1 535 on the banks of the Rímac river because of the excellent strategic and geographic conditions of this valley. Lima, whose name comes from the Quechua word Rímac, which translated into Spanish means talker, began its rapid growth amidst the testimonies of the millenary cultures that developed in the entire area. During the Viceroyship, between the sixteenth and seventeenth century, Lima became the most important and powerful metropolis in Spanish America, and the cultural and commercial center of the region, until the creation of the Viceroyship of Rio de La Plata in the 18th century, which took up the famous mines of Potosí. Already in 1 821, following a series of intense political movements, General San Martín proclaimed the independence of Peru. Thus the Republican period of the country had begun. Today, Lima is a modern city that offers a wide array of attractions which, united to its rich past, provides visitors with a harmonious synthesis of all this historic richness in its many museums, traditional quarters, restaurants, handicrafts galleries and night life.

Attractions in the city of Lima

Plaza Mayor or Main Square

The urban center of the city, it houses within its perimeter three of the most important buildings of colonial times: the Cathedral, the Palace of Viceroys, presently the Government Palace also known as the House of Pizarro, and the City Hall. A bronze fountain which dates from the seventeenth century is placed at its center.

The Cathedral

Located in the Main Square. Visits: Monday to Saturday 10:00-16:30. Built on the same place as the original 1 555 building, it was rebuilt under the direction of Jesuit priest Juan Rehr after the 1 746 earthquake. Both its facade and interior are austere; its remarkable wooden choirstalls, altars and the tomb of Francisco Pizarro, who died in 1 541, are to be noted.

San Francisco’s Church and Convent

Jr. Ancash cdra. 3. Visits: Monday to Sunday 9:30-17:30 One of the best colonial architectural complexes of the seventeenth century, it consists of the small square, the convent and the church. The cloisters are decorated in blue Sevillian tiles and the superb Museum of Religious Art contains a valuable collection of masterworks, in addition to the more than 300-year old catacombs.

Santo Domingo’s Church and Convent

Corner of Jr. Conde de Superunda and Jr. Camaná Visits: Monday to Saturday 9:00-13:00 and 15:00-18:00, Sunday and holidays 9:00-13:00. Closed on January1. Construction of this church got underway when Lima was founded, however it was not finished until the late sixteenth century. The church features three naves and has superb choirstalls, carved in cedar, as well as an imposing dome. The convent’s cloisters are lined in Sevillian mosaic tiles, while the chapterhouse is filled with Baroque sculptures. It was here that San Marcos University was founded.

National Anthropology and Archaeology Museum

Plaza Bolívar, s/n Pueblo Libre. Visits: Tuesday to Sunday 9:00-16:30. An important collection of ceramics, textiles and gold and silver works belonging to the Chavín, Mochica, Chimú, Tiahuanaco, Pucará, Paracas, Nasca and Inca cultures are exhibited in a didactic way.

Museo de Oro. (Gold Museum)

Av. Alonso de Molina 1100, Santiago de Surco. Visits: Monday to Sunday 11:30-19:00. Private collection belonging to Mr. Miguel Mujica Gallo, it features replicas of gold pieces and jewels from pre-Inca cultures, particularly the Mochica, Chimú and Nasca cultures. It also houses an Arms Museum exhibiting pieces dating back to as early as the sixteenth century.

Larco Herrera Museum

Av. Bolívar 1515, Pueblo Libre.
Visits: Monday to Sunday 9:00-18:00.
Superb private collection of ceramics, particularly from the Mochica culture. It has a treasury room that holds exquisite gold work pieces such as the only complete gold pectoral of a Chimú chief ever found.

Amano Museum

Calle Retiro 160, Miraflores.
Phone: (511) 441-2909.
Visits: Visits by appointment only, Monday to Friday 15:00, 16:00 and 17:00.
Exclusive private collection of ceramics and textiles from all pre-Hispanic cultures, particularly from the Chancay culture.

Museum of Art of Lima

Paseo Colón 125, Lima .
Visits: Tuesday to Sunday 9:00-17:00.
Formerly known as Palacio de la Exposición (1 869), it gathers a superb collection of ceramics, textiles, pre-Hispanic gold and silver works, oil paintings and Colonial and Republican silver work, spanning 3 000 years of Peruvian history, from the Chavín cultures to the contemporary era.

Museum of the Nation

Av. Javier Prado Este 2465, San Borja. Visits: Tuesday to Sunday 9:00-17:00. Closed on December 25th and January 1st. It exhibits a select collection of archaeological pieces showing the main cultural expression of ancient Peru in a didactic way. Interesting replica of the tombs and ornaments of the Lord of Sipán.

Huaca Huallamarca

Corner of Av. El Rosario and Av. Nicolás de Rivera, San Isidro.
Visits: Tuesday to Sunday 9:00-17:00
Pyramidal pre-Inca ceremonial center and on-site museum exhibiting pre-Inca relics.

Huaca Pucllana or Juliana

Av. Gral. Borgoño cdra. 8 s/n, Miraflores (between blocks 5 and 6 of Av. Angamos Oeste).
Visits: Wednesday to Monday 9:00-17:00.
Pyramidal pre-Inca temple built from hand-made adobe bricks. It has a small on-site museum.

Pachacamac

Archaeological site located at km 31 of the South Pan-American Highway, about 25 minutes drive from Lima. It was the main ceremonial center in the Peruvian coastline. Its influence declined starting from the fifteenth century when it was conquered by Inca Túpac Yupanqui. The main buildings include the Temple of the Sun and the Acllahuasi, both built during the Inca domination. The principal material used in the buildings, as well as in the entire Peruvian coastline, was mud. The Inca section is the best-preserved part of the archaeological complex (1 440 - 1 533). The archaeological site includes palaces, plazas and temples that have been painstakingly restored and even includes an on-site Museum that houses and interesting collection of Pre-Inca relics.

Pantanos de Villa. (Wetlands)

This marshy area features a sprawling Reserved Zone of totora reed-lined pools that are one of the main havens on the coast for more than 150 bird classes, including 30 migratory species that fly here from all over the continent. Lima’s last remaining natural reserve spreads across 396 hectares which are an obligatory stopping-point for ornithologists and nature lovers from all over the world. The most important birds can be spotted during a three-hour stroll down signposted trails and strategically-located look-out towers. The Villa Wetlands are located 19 km south of Lima. Access is through Huaylas Ave.

Chosica and Santa Eulalia

Located in the Lima highlands, 1 h drive east of the city through the Central Highway. Here, visitors can find many recreation centers, clubs and country restaurants, in addition to its dry climate and the always-present sun at the foot of the hills. This is also the starting point for trips to the Peruvian central highlands.

Outskirts of the city

Huacachina Lagoon
Located 5 km southwest of Ica and about 6 minutes drive. Natural tourist attraction famous for the medicinal properties of its waters. Its superb landscape is surrounded by high sandbanks, palm tree groves and age old huarango trees.

Town of Cachiche
Located 4 km south of Ica and about 8 minutes drive. The town is famous for its witches who have healed all types of ailments for centuries. There is even a statue allusive to a with placed on top of a huarango tree trunk at the town’s entrance.

La Achirana del Inca
Located 18 km northeast of the city of Ica and about 15 minutes drive. An irrigation canal built during the times of Inca Pachacútec, more than 500 years ago.

Los Frailes Stone Forest
Located 5 km east of Ica in the district of Parcona and about 8 minutes drive. These stone formations have adopted peculiar shapes due to wind erosion. Worthy of note are a turtle, a monkey head, a chullo (Indian hat), a frog, a mouse and a fish.

Huaca Guadalupe
Located in the district of Salas 1 km from the town of Guadalupe and the South Pan-American Highway at a few minutes drive. Excavations have revealed a series of structures in the form of chambers, ramps and platforms from the Ica and Inca cultures (thirteenth and fifteenth centuries AD) as well as frescoes on adobe walls depicting stylized birds in yellow, red, black and white.

Takaraca
Located at km 306 of the South Pan-American Highway and 15 minutes drive from the city of Ica. The oldest citadel of the Ica Valley was built during the reign of Inca Pachacútec. The city comprises a number of pyramidal huacas.

Bodega Vista Alegre. (Wine Cellar)
3 km northwest of the city of Ica, in the district of La Tinguiña. Visits: Monday to Friday 9:00-14:00. A modern wine and pisco brandy maker. It still shows some vestiges of Colonial times.

Bodega Tacama. (Wine Cellar)
10 km north east of Ica in the district of La Tinguiña. Visits: Monday to Sunday 9:00-15:00. This winery makes world renowned wines and pisco brandy with sophisticated equipment while preserving the old house and stables originally property of the Jesuits.

Bodega Ocucaje. (Wine Cellar)
Av. Principal, 34 km southwest of the city of Ica. Visits: Monday to Friday 9:00-12:00 and 14:00-17:00, Saturday 9:00-12:00. The facilities and production of this winery are an example of Ica’s noble and quality wine making traditions.

Elementary Wineries
Visitors can find elementary wineries that preserve the traditional art of wine and pisco brandy making (in the old European style).

Folklore

Dances inherited from the black slaves, Peruvian gait horses, cockfights and traditional medicine, all are distinctive folk expressions of this region.

Handicrafts

Craftsmen manufacture repoussé leather items such as belts, desk objects and furniture. With ashlar stone they make lamps, pictures, ashtrays and decorative items. Forged iron is used in the making of street lamps, gates, lamps and decorative furniture. They also make copper items.

Gastronomy

• Cebiche (fish filet cut in chunks and marinated in lemon juice, onions and chili).
• Escabeche (fish or chicken marinated in vinegar and pot steamed).
• Carapulcra (casserole based on sun-dried potatoes, pork, chicken, panca and mirasol chili, garlic and other species).
• Cau-cau (casserole based on small cubes of tripe and potatoes seasoned with turmeric and mint).
• Anticuchos (beef heart marinated in vinegar and panca chili, cooked on skewers over the grill).
• Lomo saltado (sautéed mix of beef, onions, tomatoes, chili and various herbs, served with fries and rice).
• Ají de gallina (chicken casserole prepared with milk, cheese, chili and nuts).
• Causa rellena (mashed potato paste seasoned with ground chili and stuffed with tuna).
• Choros a la chalaca (steamed mussels with onions and a dash of chili and seasoned with lemon juice).
• Tacu-Tacu (reheated beans mixed with rice served with a steak covered in breadcrumbs and onion sauce). Parihuela (concentrated fish and seafood soup).
• Sancochado (soup/stew made with meat, corn, sweet potatoes, carrots, cabbage, cassava and potatoes).
• Pescado a la chorrillana (fried fish served with a sauce made of onions, tomatoes and white wine).
• Pescado a lo macho (fried fish with a sauce made of seafood and chili).

The typical desserts include:

• Mazamorra morada (pudding made with corn starch and sweet potato with dried and fresh fruits).
• Suspiro a la limeña (meringue with caramel spread and vanilla).
• Turrón de Doña Pepa (flour and lard dough baked and covered with brown sugar syrup).
• Picarones (Fried rings made of sweet potato flour and pumpkin, covered with brown sugar or sugar cane syrup). The traditional drink is chicha morada.

Festivals

Lunahuaná

Adventure Sports Festival (February) Water rafting, paragliding, trekking, hang-gliding, mountain cycling, and bait and fishnet fishing take place during the festival.

Month of the Lord of Miracles (October)

This procession gathers the largest number of devotees in South America that pay homage to the “Purple Christ”, with chants and praises while the image is taken out throughout the city.
In commemoration of the Lord of Miracles, the Bullfight season is held every year in the Plaza de Acho, drawing many top bullfighters from Spain and other American countries.

Services

• Airport: Jorge Chávez International Airport

• Land Transport

• Railroad Transport

• Health Centers

• Police Stations

• Handicrafts Markets

• Post Office

Attractions in the Province of Callao

Province of Callao

Located in the central western part of the Department of Lima. Its main attractions include:

Real Felipe Fortress
Plaza Independencia, Saenz Peña
Visits: Monday to Sunday 09:00-14:00.
Fortress dating from 1 747, the year in which its construction began with the main purpose of guarding the coast of Callao against the attacks of pirates and corsairs.

Naval Museum

Av. Jorge Chávez 1243.
Visits: Monday to Sunday 9:00-16:00.
The main cultural department of the Peruvian War Navy, it was officially established as museum in 1 958 and plays host to an important collection of oil paintings, photographs, jewels, navigation instruments and weapons that had a major role in Peru’s maritime history.

Attractions in the Province of Cañete

Lunahuaná

Locate 180 km, about 3 h drive from Lima. At km 140 of the South Pan-American Highway, the road branches off towards the left to lead us to this town. The road running up along the Cañete river shows us pre-Hispanic archaeological remains surrounded by impressive mountains and lush vegetation. The colonial church of Lunahuaná that dates back to 1690 is also noteworthy. This is an excellent area for adventure sports such as canoeing, Kayaking, fishing, hunting, whitewater rafting, paragliding and mountain-biking.

Cerro Azul

Traditional resort located at km 132 of the South Pan-American Highway (1 ½ h drive from Lima), one of the favorite spots of surfboard lovers. The beach offers restaurants and hostels. In the hillsides of Cerro Centinela, overlooking the southern part of the beach, there are pre-Hispanic constructions painted in bluish green (which explains the origin of its name).

Attractions in the Province of Huarochiri

Marcahuasi

Located 3 km east of San Pedro de Casta in the Lima highlands (3 180 masl). A 3 h horseback journey or 6 h hike leads to Marcahuasi which spreads across 4 km2 of high plateau featuring colossal rock formations up to 26 m high, eroded by the action of climate, many of which have the shape of animals. It is necessary to carry camping equipment.

Palakala

Waterfall in the Lima highlands. The departing point is the town of Surco located at km. 67 of the Central Highway. After 2 h drive along the river formed by the gorge of Matala, visitors reach the hamlet of Huaquicha a popular spot for camping.

Tres Ventanas. (Three Windows)

Caves that were occupied by men who have left samples of stone work.