Founded in 1535 by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro, the modern city is a curious mix of the modern mega city with some ‘islands of modernity’, large but orderly slum areas and colonial architecture in the city center. Lima was the seat of the Spanish rule during 300 years, and as such it has wonderful churches, cloisters and monasteries that are worth a visit.
Lima is also the best place to try the wonderful Peruvian cuisine, which has a huge variety of ingredients from coast, mountain and Amazon regions. The cold sea current in front of Peru’s large coast makes the sea very rich in fish and seafood, which have a great taste due to the special plankton they eat. Fish and seafood restaurants are therefore worth the time, and not expensive.
Lima is built upon a valley surrounded by an extremely arid desert. In the summer, the weather is usually beautiful, very warm and sunny, sometimes with rains around January. In the winter, the city is overcast and rainy for days at a time. The rain in the wintertime doesn’t fall hard, but it gets everything wet. Temperature also falls to around 7-12 C⁰ (45-55⁰ F), which seems chillier when combined with the general dampness.
Gastronomy has always been, since the days of the Spanish vice royalty, an essential aspect of life in Lima. During the last few years, however, the city’s dining reputation has experienced a huge leap in the eyes of the world due to the fact that experts gathered in the Fourth International Summit of Gastronomy Madrid Fusión 2006 and formally declared Lima to be the “Gastronomy Capital of the Americas”. The offerings in Lima are nowadays most varied and cover a wide range of types and cuisines, both regional and international.
Despite the wide range of choice in Lima’s many restaurants, ceviche is surely number one on the list of dishes you must get to know, not only because it happens to be the “Peruvian national dish”, but because of its unparalelled delicious taste. With the increasing interest in the Peruvian cuisine, ceviche is quickly making its way onto tables all over the world. But if you want to enjoy the real thing, don’t miss it during your stay here in ceviche’s Mecca. There is at least one cevichería in every neighbourhood, so it won’t be hard to find one. Moreover, most criollo restaurants include ceviche on their menus; indeed, many restaurants do, even the more upscale nouveau-cuisine.