The Basilica Cathedral of Lima mostly built in 1625 in Plaza Mayor/Plaza de Armas, El Centro (Downtown). Photo by Martin St Amant.
This is a strange location, with desert on one side, Pacific Ocean on another and both at a tropical latitude. This adds up to a climate that never gets cold or hot, with average temperatures ranging from 15C/59F to 26C/79F, but quite high levels of humidity year-round of about 82% in spite of very low rainfall.
The best season to visit Lima is summertime, December to April which sees the most sunshine, the least humidity and very comfortable air temperatures.
However, note that the best season for hiking the Inca Trail or visiting Machu Picchu is May-October, preferably May, June, September or October to avoid the massed herds of bleating sheeple.
Miraflores and Beaches
Miraflores coastal strip with pier and beaches visible on the right.
Miraflores is one of Lima’s most up-market areas, a little dull in its endless high-end shops, hotels and restaurants but nevertheless a green and glittering land, and safer for strolling than most Lima barrios. Barranco, below, is the most interesting district in the city.
Lima’s beaches are composed mostly of rocks and the sea is definitely a must-not-do unless you like swimming in Pacific diluted sh**. Sunsets can be lush if there’s no fog but don’t hang around, the beach after dark is not a safe place.
Miraflores’ Love Park featuring El Beso (the kiss) sculpture. Photo by Penglish.
The road dividing Miraflores barrio on the left with Barranco on the right. Photo by Marie Therese Hebert.
Barranco is a colourful, artistic-bohemian barrio with some traffic-free streets, picturesque architecture, occasional markets, odd shops, bars, clubs and a pretty little street – Bajada de los Baños – of restaurants leading down to the sea, and the romantic, wooden Puente de los Suspiros (Bridge of Sighs). Barranco is especially lively at night and weekends but beware rateros lurking in the shadows.
Some of the extensive Barranco barrio street art. Photo by McKay Savage.
Kaleidoscopic slum housing in the suburbs of Lima on Cerro San Cristobal, mainly housing new arrivals from rural districts. Photo by McKay Savage.
• Paying your hotel bill: Hotels may try to gyp tourists on exchange rates so always double check and if in doubt head for an ATM and pay in cash.
• Taxis: No meters, ever, so fix a price before you get in and be sure there is no one hidden in the back seat ready to jump out at the last minute and rob you, suuurprise! Get cabs at major roads or hotels and be alert, if a cab seems shady, wait for another one.
• Pachamac pre-hispanic site 31 kms away is not worth the crack.
• Travelling by bus? The two companies universally recommended by locals and tourists are Cruz del Sur and Ormeno.
Peru Traveller Costs 2013
• Jim did Chile, Bolivia and Peru over 7 weeks and the highlights for him were Easter Island and the Amazon Jungle via Peru’s Iquitos where he did 3 nights jungle lodge + speedboat to get there + 2 jungle walks/canoe trips daily $450 pp. Flight Cusco-Lima-Iquitos-Lima $800 pp.
• Inca Trail is excellent but really expensive at $600 per person and generally a booking 3 months in advance is needed so consider the ‘new’ ancient site of Choquequirao instead.
• In fact all the Andean regions are expensive now. Machu Picchu day pass $60 pp. Colca Canyon 4 day hiking with tents $200 pp. Puno-Cusco train $150 (but superb luxury bus was only $30 pp, Cruz del Sur).
• Money. Cost of using a credit card to buy stuff was usually charged at 5. 6%. But getting cash from a ‘Global’ (the usual) ATM cost $10 each time! And maximum $300 per day. So, if you feel lucky bring a substantial amount of cash with you but look after it carefully, keeping most in the hotel safe and your carry-around money in a sock! Or try a pre-paid cash card, tho’ we’re not sure of the charges attached to that.
• mid October-November-early December got NO RAIN at all. Yay! Though there was a fair bit of cloud on the Inca Trail.