Peru's capital city Lima is gateway for travel throughout the country. It is not the most relaxing of cities, but a good starting point for your vacation to Peru. Garua (a persistent mist) hangs over the city from May to November, making everything seem a little grey. When the mist lifts in January, Limeños (people from Lima) flock to the city beaches, which can get rather crowded.
There's plenty of things to do in Lima, though tourists tend to not stay longer than a couple of nights before travelling onwards. There are a very large number of grand, historical buildings and an interesting old colonial centre. Lima also houses some of Peru's best museums and has many excellent restaurants and a buzzing nightlife.
Where to Stay
Central Lima (the old historic centre) is a busy but scenic area that is not particularly safe at night. Here one finds a few mid-range colonial hotels and plenty of backpackers hostals. A safer, and more pleasant area to stay in is the suburb of Miraflores, which none-the-less is centrally located. There's a great range of hotels (various budgets - luxury to cheap hotels) and restaurants to choose from in Miraflores, which is probably the best all round area in which to book a hotel in Lima. San Isidrio is another suburb - one of the wealthiest, with a range of luxury hotels. Alternatively, Barranco is another beachside suburb, a little further out of town.
The airport is a 40 minute drive from anywhere (and the traffic often means journey times are longer than this) - if you just want a quick overnight stop between flights, consider an airport hotel (or a hotel very close by).
Peru is well known for it's fine food, and Lima is one of the best places to sample it. After dinner, there's plenty of bars and discos to keep you occupied until the wee hours.
In the old town, there's a range of discos to choose from, especially around Jr de la Union, though some of the clubs in this area are a little rough, so pick wisely. It's better to head to one of the suburbs for more upmarket, trendy nightlife.
Barranco is quite quiet during the day but gets very lively in the evenings. Most bars and restaurants are concentrated around the main plaza. Barranco is known as the best nightlife district of Lima. Alternatively, there are various stylish bars in Miraflores.
Lima's beaches are rather unclean, and health experts will tell you to avoid entering the sea. None-the-less, Limeños consider the beach an important part of their culture, and flock to the beaches (and sea) in droves when the weather is good from Janaury to April.