Founded by Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro on January 18, 1535, Lima went on to become the most important city in the Spanish Viceroyalty of Peru - an area that encompassed most of Spain!s possessions in South America during the colonial era of the mid 1500s to early 1800s. During this time Lima grew prosperous and became known as one of the greatest and richest cities in all of South America.

Today nearly one-third of the nation!s population (over 8million) live in Lima, and the city attracts travelers from all over the world. Located on the Pacific coast, the city is the cultural and economic hub of the country. Its burgeoning and creative restaurant scene has led to it recently being dubbed the culinary capital of South America. Despite its frenetic pace the city is able to blend this fast-moving metropolitan thrust with a much valued ancient heritage.

The Plaza de Armas – This large central square is a great place to start exploring. Surrounded by some of the city!s most important buildings, on one side you!ll find the impressive cathedral, which began construction in 1535 when the first stone was placed by conquistador Francisco Pizarro. On the other side is the historic Government Palace, or the "House of Pizarro!, the official residence of all of Peru!s leaders since 1541.

Colonial Architecture– Lima is dotted with many impressive colonial churches and mansions. The opulent Palacio Torre Tagle is one of the finest examples of the city!s mansions, and located in the city center is the Church of San Francisco. Built around 1674 the church houses a magnificent library with many antique texts. It is also known for its catacombs and the "Well of Skulls!, a circular configuration of perfectly laid skulls.

Pachacamac - Outside of the city, some 40km southeast from Lima in the Lurín River valley, are the ancient ruins of the Temple of Pachacamac. This site is home to a series of pyramids, a cemetery and various other structures that provide a fascinating archeological insight into the area!s pre-Incan native peoples.

Museums – Lima is well known for having some the country!s finest museums, among them is the Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology. One of the most interesting museums in South America, it has a superb collection of pottery and textiles from all the main cultures of ancient Peru..


Astrid y Gaston
Owned by Gaston Acurio (a Cordon Bleu trained chef) and his French wife Astrid, this restaurant is known as the best in Lima, and is famous throughout South America. The owners also have restaurants in Santiago and Bogota. Offering a traditional Peruvian menu, as well as nouveau-Andean cuisine, typical dishes are given an interesting modern twist. Price range - meal for two without drinks approx US $40-$50. Reservations are recommended.
Address: Cantuarias 175, Miraflores. Tel: (01) 242 5387/ (01) 242 4422

Also owned by Gaston Acurio, this restaurant is often said to be a more casual version of Astrid y Gaston. We recommend the montaditos, which offer a sample taste of many different dishes. Another favorite is the spicy langoustine pastry. They have a wide variety of traditional dishes including ceviche. The fresh fruit juices are also highly recommended. Price range - meal for two without drinks approx US $20-$25
Address: San Isidro, Pancho Fierro 117. Tel: (01)421 9708 / Miraflores, Av. 28 de Julio 888. Tel: (01) 447 8377

Sentori Sushi
This is Peru!s best known sushi restaurant serving high-quality Japanese cuisine. The Haru Maki Roll and the Emperador Roll are particularly delicious. Sentori Sushi is located in the wealthy neighborhood of San Isidro and can be easily reached by taxi. Price range - meal for two without drinks approx US $30-$40
Address: Miguel Dasso 110, San Isidro Tel: (01) 440 0766