There are many things to do in Lima, the current capital of the Republic of Peru, and former capital of the incredibly rich Spanish Vice Royalty of Peru. It is a dynamic and still growing city that combines a long, valuable historic legacy with the trends and amenities of any modern capital. It is still called “City of the Kings” and is indeed a large city; according to official data, Metropolitan Lima has 8.5 million residents, which make 30% of the total population of Peru.
A big city has many big attractions to foreigners. While you can take a glimpse at history by touring its buildings and monuments (especially those located in the Downtown), you can also enjoy Peruvian cuisine and handicraft from all regions, take a look and learn something from its people and their daily lives… and of course, enjoy the city nightlife as well.
Whatever your particular interests may be, there are certain places that you cannot miss: first of all, the historical Lima Downtown, especially its Plaza Mayor (or “Plaza de Armas”, that is, the Main Square) and its surroundings; spots like Lima’s Cathedral, the Government Palace, the Municipal Palace, all of them in the Plaza Mayor; or, walking a little more, the Church and Convent of San Francisco, and the Palacio de Torre Tagle, that currently serves now as headquarters for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Other interesting and must-see places in Lima are the traditional district of Barranco, whose traditional 19th century buildings host nowadays a very active, bohemian and youth-oriented nightlife. Or Miraflores, a very tourist-friendly district located close to Barranco. Miraflores has many commercial and entertainment options: shopping malls, cinemas, hotels, cafes, discos and a public park with free wi-fi connection. Larcomar, one of the largest shopping centers is also located here, at the edge of Miraflores’ cliffs. And by the way, Miraflores is, unofficially but unanimously, considered as the most gay-friendly Lima district.
Miraflores and Barranco provide easy access to Lima beaches, a coastal circuit called “Costa Verde”. In addition to the natural landscape and attractions, there are some really nice restaurants here, so you may want to hire a taxi and enjoy a romantic dinner by the sea. And speaking about beaches and sea, you may also want to consider some maritime excursion. Many city tours schedule visits to Callao Port, as well as yatch excursions to the islands nearby, full of history and a paradise for nature lovers, who will enjoy the sight of sea lions, sea birds, and with a little luck, a flock of playful dolphins.
Of course, Lima museums are worth seeing, too, and some large public parks like the Circuito Mágico del Agua (Magic Circuit of Water), whose huge fountains display colorful laser lights show (with music) every night.
A funny fact about Lima is that, due to its geographical particularities, it never rains here (only some drizzle): a not so funny fact to keep in mind is that traffic jams can be horrendous at times (a lot like New York!). You can either use Metropolitano System or take taxis.