Lima is the capital of Peru and one of the largest cities in South America. Visiting a city this large requires some planning and some help with navigating the ins and outs. But don’t worry, we’re here to help. Here are some things that you should know when planning your trip to Lima.
While Lima may have a pleasant temperature year round, more than half of the year the city is covered in a think, grey fog. That’s right, even though it’s right on the coast you’ll never get a chance to go lay out and enjoy the ocean. Even during Lima’s summer – it’s sunny season – it’s a coin flip each day if the sun will appear. Temper your expectations on seeing the sun while in the City of Kings.
Lima has now become famous as the culinary capital of Peru, a country which has earned praise and attention over the last couple years as the gastronomical capital of South America. This means that when you’re in Lima, you have to eat out – and eat a lot! There’s all the fresh sea food, ceviches, Chifa and criollo food. Don’t mind there not being any sun, just gorge out in restaurants while in Lima. Lima also has some of the top restaurants in the world, like Restaurante Central and Maido just to name a few.
Lima, well – how to put this nicely? Lima probably has some of the worst traffic in the world. No matter the time of day, there is certainly some traffic and really don’t expect to get anywhere in a hurry between 4 and 8 pm. Make sure to get to your destination in Lima early or expect to bake in traffic time when planning your days. There is a rapid metro bus that can get you around Lima faster, but it’s always just a tight fit.
Like a local Peruvian, don’t be eating fish and especially ceviche at night. Ceviche is a dish to enjoy during the day, when it’s the most fresh. Peruvians don’t eat it at night. Those menu options are just for the tourists who don’t know and get the bad, left over fish.
Even though Lima is located along the Pacific Ocean, don’t expect conventional beaches. I’m sure in your definition of a beach isn’t the idea of sharp rocks instead of sand – but that’s what you get in Lima. All the beaches, except one in Barranco, are comprised of small pebbles. Even trying to get into the water is a task, as your feet get hit by the loose rocks as the tide comes in and out.
Something that most people don’t account for in their budgets is just how expensive a taxi is from the airport to Lima. Lima’s international airport is on the outskirts of the city to the north, in a dangerous district called Callao. While the area is dangerous, don’t fear the taxis. Just make sure the taxi driver has a license, which he’ll always flash to you so that you know he’s legit. Because of the long distance from the airport to, say, Miraflores or Barranco, taxi rides will cost between 60 and 100 soles ($18.5 to $30) – sometimes even more.
One thing to remember in Lima is that most of the sight seeing that you’ll do is spread out. You’ll want to go see the historical center, which will be a whole day event, partly because of all there is to see and partly because of the traffic. However, once you’re in either Miraflores or Barranco, you won’t need to run around and spend more time in traffic.