Lima – South America’s Prettiest
A pretty landscape sprawling on Peru’s arid Pacific coast, Lima is the capital as well as the largest city in Peru. A bustling metropolis it is also among the largest cities in South America. The city is located in the Chillón, Rímac and Lurín rivers valleys and overlooks the Pacific Ocean. Founded in the year 1535 by Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro, the city was then known as Ciudad de los Reyes and served as the capital of Spanish Viceroyalty of Peru. It became the capital of Republic of Peru after the Peruvian War of Independence. Housing the oldest higher learning institutions in the New World and oldest continuously functioning university in the Americas, Peru has been chosen to host the 2019 Pan American Games. The city and metropolitan area of Limo is occupied by over 10 million residents, making it the third largest city in the Americas, after Sao Paulo and Mexico. Limean Spanish is the official language spoken by the majority of the people.
The city of Lima serves as gateway to Peru and all tourists flying to Lima land at the Jorge Chávez International Airport, which is the primary international airport serving the city. A major hub in the Latin American air network, the airport is also the fourth largest airport in South America and handles majority of domestic as well as international flights. The Las Palmas Air Force Base, Collique Airport, and runways in San Bartolo and Chilca and Santa María del Mar are other airports in Lima. The climate of Lima can be classified as mild desert climate which features two main seasons - summer which last from December through April and winter which begins in June and ends in October. Summer is the peak tourist season with average temperatures ranging between 18 °C to 26 °C. During winter, the mercury averages between 14 °C to 16 °C and is relatively humid. This is the good time for those tourists who are interested in hiking. To explore the real culture of the people, try visiting during National Pisco Sour Day on first Saturday in February, Carnival in February, Fiesta of the Grape Harvest and Wine Making in March, Anniversary of Peru in July, Lord of Miracles (biggest procession in Latin America) in November and Feast of San Martin de Porres on 3rd November, which are among the major festivals celebrated in Lima.
Plaza Mayor the main square in the city is where all the actions take place. It also houses some of the oldest churches, monuments along with some of the most popular Lima city attractions. San Francisco Monastery and Church was the first cemetery of Lima and are famed for its vaults which contains the bones of tens of thousands of bodies. Gold Museum showcases huge collection of gold along with silver and copper. National Archaeology, Anthropology and History Museum is another spot for those interested in knowing the history of Peru from prehistoric to the colonial era.
Church of Las Nazarenas (having a unique history), National Museum (Lima's largest museum), Larco Museum, Lima Zoo, Santa Rosa of Lima Sanctuary, Aliaga's House (among the most historic colonial mansions) and Miraflores are some of the many tourist attractions one should not miss on their tours to Lima. The city is home to many beaches which are flooded by tourists during the summer months.
Eating and Drinking
Eating is a royalty in Lima, making it the ‘Gastronomy Capital of the Americas’. The cuisine of Lima is a testimony to the numerous cultures that the city has so wonderfully accepted and adapted. The Peruvian cuisine has been largely influenced by Italian, Chinese and Japanese cuisines and is spicy and full of intense flavors. When in Peru, you should not miss enjoying a Quinoa breakfast which is the most common way Peruvians start their day. Ceviche (a dish made with Sushi-grade fish along with herbs and spices), Ceviche de pulpo, dishes made from Coca leaf, Pisco Sour (a traditional cocktail), Japanese delicacies, Lomo Saltado (an Asian inspired dish) and Guinea Pig are the most important dishes one should sample in Lima. Inca Kola, Jugos and Chicha Morada are the local drinks you should not miss. The city is also filled with is restaurants and bars where local and international cuisine is also served.
In Lima, there are many upscale shopping destinations along with affordable markets suiting the needs and budget of every traveller. While Miraflores, La Molina, San Borja and Santiago de Surco are the ritzy shopping areas, Megaplaza and Royal Plaza are the famous malls. If you are a bargain hunter, then you should visit Lima crafts market, Polvos Azules, Gamarra and Av. Garcilaso de la Vega, which are the best places to buy things at comparatively cheaper rates. Peruvian local crafts, musical instruments, clothes, pottery, paintings, silver and gold, rugs, weavings, woodwork, sweaters and local drinks are the major shopping items in Lima.
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