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Lima

Peru's capital city delivers a fusion of old and new worlds. A quick survey reveals Incan ruins, beautiful colonial quarters and a dense, ultra-modern center. It's a city full of surprises and evocative contrasts, and even the supposed 'slums' seem vibrant and well-developed.

Lima was founded in the early 16th century by the conquistadors, and it remained the headquarters of Spanish colonial power for three centuries. Lima Centro is getting long-overdue attention from the government, with ongoing restoration projects that promise to revitalize the colonial mansions and cathedrals here in the city center.

Most of the hotels in Lima are in San Isidro and Miraflores, largely residential neighborhoods with access to dining and nightlife. Miraflores has particularly attractive hotels district due to its refined commercial appeal. Most visitors keep their day and night districts separate, opting for hotels in these safe and affluent neighborhoods.

The beaches closest to the city center enjoy good breaks and have a loyal following of local surfers, but the best beaches are to the south. Peak surfing season is from April to December. Swimming isn't very popular around Lima, but there is ample opportunity to sign up for hang-gliding over the cliffs at Miraflores.

The most convenient way into the city is via Jorge Chavez Intl Airport. As the most important airport in the Peru, it receives tourists bound for all parts of the country. There is some accommodation in Lima near the airport, but many of the nicer hotels in Miraflores offer complimentary shuttle services for registered guests.

For more information on hotels and landmarks in the different areas of Lima, click on the interactive Lima map on the left-hand side of the page.