"Lima" Peru Favorite Tip by traveldave

Peru General: 206 reviews and 170 photos


Favorite thing: Visitors who go to Peru usually arrive in Lima, the country's capital and largest city. Most people only spend a short time here before heading to Cuzco, the Nazca Lines, Machu Picchu, or other more interesting sites.

Lima was founded in 1535 by Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro near where the Rímac River empties into the Pacific Ocean. He called his settlement Ciudad de los Reyes, or City of the Kings. However, the local Indian name, Lima, persisted and the city was eventually renamed. (Lima may come from the Aymara word lima-limaq meaning "yellow flower," or the Quechua word rímac meaning "talking").

Lima soon became the most important city in the Spanish Viceroyalty of Peru. In the seventeenth century, the city flourished as the center of a Spanish trade network that extended to Europe and the Philippines. In 1821, Peru gained its independence from Spain, and Lima became the new nation's capital. From independence until the middle of the nineteenth century, Lima's economy stagnated. However, an economic boom based on the exportation of guano (bird droppings used in the manufacture of fertilizer) brought about growth, new civic buildings, and an improvement in infrastructure. In the 1940s, a rapid population growth began with immigration from the Andean areas of Peru.

Nowadays, Lima is a large and polluted city, with about 8,000,000 inhabitants in its metrpolitan area. For several months of the year, it is covered with a gray layer of fog, called la garúa, which can make it a dreary place. Despite its shortcomings, there are several colonial buildings in the downtown area that make for a worthwhile visit.

Review Helpfulness: 1.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Feb 22, 2008
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