Selected destination: Lima
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 (Anc├│n) Lowest town. 4 278 masl (Tanta) highest town.
Average annual temperature: 19┬║ C (25┬║ C maximum and 13┬║ C minimum). There are no rains in Lima, the season with the highest humidity is winter which runs from June through September.
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.
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 PROVINCE OF BARRANCA
Located 4 km from the city of Pativilca, almost on the Ancash borderline at km 209 of the North Pan-American Highway. This is a Chimu building surrounded by arable land and fertile valleys.
ATTRACTIONS IN THE PROVINCE OF CAJATAMBO
Small town located near Raura and Huayhuash mountain ranges. Its main attractions include:
Located 3,5 km from the town.
Formed by the thawing of Araraj and Cóndor Mounts, about 6 hours’ horseback ride from Cajatambo.
ATTRACTIONS IN THE 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.
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.
There are also important archaeological zones such as: Oquendo, Huaca Cerro Culebras and Huaca Pampa de los Perros.
ATTRACTIONS IN THE PROVINCE OF CANTA
Located in the district of Santa Rosa de Quives, halfway between Lima and Canta. It features approximately 450 stone-carved figures dating back to 1 500 years ago. There are representations of animals, astral maps, flora species and fantastic beings.
City of Canta
Located 104 km east of Lima, up to the valley of the Chillón river (2 800 masl), this city is surrounded by fields of crops and green hills, which make it ideal for camping. Famous for its breathtaking scenery and dairy products.
Near Canta, between the Yanacocha gorge and the town of Huaros, grow two groves of the Puya Raimondi (a cactus-like plant that grows more than 10 m high and produces around 17 thousand flowers, a world record. It flowers just one in its 100-year lifetime, before releasing its seeds and dying).
Located 3 km from Canta, is smaller and more quiet, and is popular with campers for its peaceful countryside by the banks of the river; an area carpeted with wildflowers. Its main square features superb colonial houses linked by winding alleys and featuring ancient wooden balconies.
The Citadel of Cantamarca
Located 15 km from Canta, this archaeological site (3 500 masl), belongs to the Atavillos Culture. The site features an aqueduct, a large number of chullpas or kullpis with their almost intact structures and other buildings; here locals celebrate the Feast of the Crosses (May 1-3 ).
The Fortress of Sinchipampa
Fortified settlement, its buildings include towers, watchtowers and defensive enclosures.
ATTRACTIONS IN THE PROVINCE OF CAÑETE
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.
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 HUARAL
Lachay National Reserve
At km 105 of the North Pan-American Highway and about 1 h 45 minutes drive from Lima, the highway branches off to the right towards a 4 km-long road. A very interesting foothill microclimate with abundant vegetation and wild animals as well as archaeological sites from pre-Hispanic cultures. The ideal time to visit this reserve is from July through November.
Castle of Chancay
Located 87 km north of Lima, this rare castle spreading over an area of 10 000 m2 keeps an interesting showcase of mummies, textiles and huacos from the extraordinary Chancay culture.
Rupac Archaeological Remains
Located 65 km from Huaral at 3 400 masl, this is a citadel featuring sturdy vaulted ceilings, also known as “Lima’s Machu Picchu”. Some buildings located on the edge of the abyss are as tall as 10 m high.
ATTRACTIONS IN THE PROVINCE OF HUAROCHIRI
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.
Forests of Zárate
At km 56 of the Central Highway lies the town of San Bartolomé. From here, a 7 h hike leads to the Forests of Zárate (3 100 masl), a highland grazing area. The trail is narrow and zigzagging, but crosses through several picturesque villages until it reaches this balmy forest teeming with wildlife. The area has given life to native tree species including the San Pedro cactus, used for its hallucinogenic effects. The ideal time to visit the forest is from April through June.
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.
ATTRACTIONS IN THE PROVINCE OF HUAURA
Albufera Medio Mundo
Although its name seems to indicate otherwise, it is in fact near Lima: at km 175 of the North Pan-American Highway. It is an extensive lagoon (7 km long) created 25 years ago by the filtration produced as a result of the irrigation of San Felipe river. This huge mass of fresh water is surrounded by rush and reed.
Several cabins have been built in the middle of the lagoon. Boats, kayaks and catamarans are available for rental so that visitors interested in getting a closer look at birds can approach Gilligan’s island and, particularly, Love Island. The number of gray herons that nest and flutter on the totora reeds is amazing. Here, reddish patos colombianos (Colombian ducks), coots, cormorants and lake ducks are at ease and miss no food because the lagoon is home to five fish species: mullets, carps, morwongs, ides and mojarras.
ATTRACTIONS IN THE PROVINCE OF LIMA (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.
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.
San Pedro’s Church
Corner of Jr. Azángaro and Jr.Ucayali
Visits: Monday to Saturday 10:00-12:00 and 17:00-18:00.
This Baroque temple inaugurated in 1 638 was given the name of San Pablo. It changed its name to San Pedro in 1 772 when the Jesuits were expelled from the country.
This church features side naves with magnificent golden altars and priceless oil paintings. The building includes a penitentiary and a small chapel.
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 January 1.
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.
Los Descalzos Church and Convent
Alameda de los Descalzos.
Visits: Monday to Sunday 9:30-13:00 and 15:00-18:00.
The Alameda was a popular promenade built in the Lima eighteenth century style. The convent was founded in the late sixteenth century and has the characteristics of a typical Meditation Convent. Its quiet and spacious apartments contain valuable oil paintings belonging to the Quito and Cusco Schools.
Torre Tagle Palace
Jr. Ucayali 363.
Visits: Visitors are required prior authorization from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The site of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, this is a mansion dating from the early eighteenth century. Its façade features a stone doorway and two superb carved wooden balconies.
Oquendo Mansion or Osambela Palace
Jr. Conde de Superunda 298.
Visits: Monday to Friday 9:00-16:00.
Built in the early nineteenth century, its façade features five balconies and a look-out tower from where it was possible to watch the ships arriving in and departing from Callao. It was recently restored and is the seat of important cultural institutions.
House of Riva Agüero
Jr. Camaná 459. Lima.
Visits: Monday to Sunday 10:00-13:00 and 14:00-20:00.
Built in the nineteenth century, the house was donated to the Catholic University by the last of the original owners’ descendants, Don José de la Riva Agüero. Today it houses the Riva Agüero Institute, which in turn features vast historic archives and a fine library on the first floor.
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.
Calle Retiro 160, Miraflores.
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.
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.
OUTSKIRTS OF THE CITY OF LIMA
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.
Located 34 km south of Lima, access is through the town of Pachacámac by a gravel-surfaced road up to the town of Quebrada Verde. This is one of the last ecosystems of hillocks that still survive in the coastal strip.
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.
Archaeological complex, one of the most important in the Peruvian pre-Hispanic central coastline, it is located 15 km up east of Lima. Access is through the Central Highway, after crossing a gravel-surfaced road that departs from Huachipa towards the Cajamarquilla Zinc Refinery. The complex was entirely built from adobe mud brick and comprises a number of palaces protected by surrounding walls.
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.
ATTRACTIONS IN THE PROVINCE OF OYON
Located in the northeastern part of the department, its rough topography results from the narrowness of the main valley with very few flat areas. Most of the territory is located at altitudes above 3 000 masl and is occupied by hillsides and ravines which, in turn, form huge mountains.
Located 210 km northeast of Lima, driving through the North Pan-American Highway and taking the gravel-surfaced road to the east, Churín is a picturesque inter-Andean town famous for its hot springs.
Hundreds of visitors come every week-end to enjoy the town’s pure air, the spectacular landscape of the highlands and the medicinal benefits of its celebrated hot water pools. From Churín, the highway goes up the Andes to an endless number of traditional towns, notably Andajes, famous for its manjarblanco (milk jam), and the archaeological sites of
Ninash, Kukun, Antasway and Kuray. It is worth mentioning that in Huacho sin Pescado (3 200 masl), facing the impressive Yarahuayna Mount, the pre-Inca remains of Antamarca and Chaulín, are in excellent conservation condition. Sports fishing lovers can visit the Wayo lagoon (trouts) and mountain climbers can climb the impressive summits of the Raura Mountain Range (more than 5 700 masl).
Hot springs located 20 km and about 1 h drive from Churín on a gravel-surfaced road. Here, water reaches a temperature of 70º C which makes it adequate to fight diseases such as rheumatism, arthritis and certain bronchial afflictions.
Huacho sin pescado
Located 150 km northeast of Lima, its actual name is San Francisco de Huacho. The Ruins of Antamarca and Chauli are near this community.
- 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.
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.
Jorge Chávez International Airport
Av. Faucett s/n, Callao.
24 hour service
There are land carriers with branches disseminated in several districts of the department, however the following are some of the spots where various companies are gathered:
Routes to the northern regions of Peru.
Fiori Land Terminal.
Av. Alfredo Mendiola, blocks 15-17, San Martín de Porres.
Routes to the southern regions of the country: buses can be found at Av. Carlos Zavala (district of Lima).
Routes to the center regions of the country: buses may be found at Jr. Montevideo, Lima; and Av. Nicolas Ayllon, blocks 10-15, Ate Vitarte.
Hospital Nacional Arzobispo Loayza .
Av. Alfonso Ugarte s/n.
24 hour service.
Hospital Nacional Dos de Mayo
Parque de la Medicina s/n, Lima.
24 hour service.
Hospital de Emergencia José Casimiro Ulloa
Av. República de Panamá 6355, Miraflores
24 hour service.
Hospital Nacional Cayetano Heredia
Av. Honorio Delgado s/n
24 hour service.
Hospital de Huacho
Calle Amay s/n, Huacho
24 hour service.
Hospital de Apoyo Rezola
Av. Dos de Mayo s/n, San Vicente de Cañete.
24 hour service.
Policía de Turismo
Jr. Moore 268, Magdalena del Mar
24 hour service.
Handicrafts markets are concentrated in various spots in the city, such as the markets located at:
Av. La Marina blocks 6-8, Jesus María.
Av Du Petit Thouars blocks 48-52, Miraflores.
Pasaje Piura s/n Correo Central, district of Lima.
Open: Monday-Saturday 8:00-20:45, Sunday 9:00-16:00.
Av. Petit Thouars 5201, district of Miraflores.
Open: Monday to Saturday 8:00-20:45, Sun: 8:45-14:00.
Av. Grau 531, Huacho
Open: Monday to Saturday 8:00-20:00.
Calle Alfonso Ugarte 114, Barranca.
Open: Monday to Saturday 8:00-19:00.
Calle O’Higgins 211, Cañete.
Open: Monday to Saturday 8:00-20:00.
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