A sprawling city that reaches from ocean to desert, shrouded in history from all continents. Stunning architecture appears as if out of nowhere in the city streets, whilst the museums and art galleries display objects of the country’s golden history. More laid back than Brasília or Santiago de Chile, Lima has an atmosphere that many find more familiar to a smaller town, rather than a city that is the financial and economic centre of Peru and Latin America as a whole. First settled in 1562, it was in the 20th Century that people started flooding in. From a population of around 200,000 in 1927, it is now home to nearly 9 million people from virtually every country in the world.
Location: Midway along the Peruvian coastline
Nearly all international visitors will arrive via the Jorge Chávez International Airport, which is 11 kilometres from the centre, in the district of Callao. The airport serves the whole of Peru, and many travellers may stop a night or two here before they travel onwards to the interior of the country to visit sights such as Machu Picchu, 500 kilometres inland. The beaches to the south of Lima are popular, with long stretches of pure white sand as far as the eye can see.
Business: An array of options for the business traveller
The city offers many hotels with conference and exhibition facilities that cater for groups of all sizes. The Sheraton Lima Hotel, for instance, can supply up to nine meeting areas with the largest measuring 1,468 square metres and room for up to 3,000 guests. Lima has an excellent public transport service, and the many taxis are easy to come by and relatively inexpensive. Most of the metropolis is less than 30 minutes from the international airport.
Culture: Thousands of years of history in one place
UNESCO declared the Historic Centre of Lima a cultural world heritage site in 1988 due to the large numbers of 17th and 18th Century buildings that occupy the area. Palaces, churches, and many of the public buildings are considered important historic monuments. Considered an excellent example of an almost complete colonial age convent, the San Francisco de Lima Convent is a Spanish Baroque-style building of the highest importance. Catacombs were discovered below the convent in the 1940's, along with a circular patterned ossuary.
Activities: Prepare to be amazed by the culinary delights
Lima is regarded the 'Gastronomical Center of Latin America'. After a hard day seeing the museums and wonderful old buildings, head back into the centre and dig out some of the finest dining experiences of fusion food. With its history of cultures combining, it is hardly surprising the same thing has happened in the dining industry. The restaurants offer local Andean favourites along with food combinations that need to be tasted to be believed. One dish to definitely try is Ceviche, a wonderful marinated seafood platter.