1. Food, Food and Food
Out of all the things you need to know about Lima, our number one is food-related, of course. You may think we're biased since we run food tours in Lima, but let’s look at the cold, hard facts. Using the World's 50 Best Restaurants as a reference, there are only four cities that have three restaurants in the top 50 (New York, London, Mexico City and Lima), but the Peruvian restaurants rank higher with Central at No 4, Maido at No 13 and Astrid & Gaston at No 30, making Lima the world’s best food city! Limeños are well aware of how special their food is and are obsessed with it, meaning it pretty much rules every aspect of their lives. It's guaranteed that within 30 seconds of meeting a Peruvian, he or she will start talking about food and giving you all sorts of tips on where and what to eat while in Lima and Peru.
2. Big Metropolis
As you plan your trip to Peru, you may imagine quiet towns where time has not passed for hundreds of years, colorfully dressed people and even a few llamas wandering around. While it is still the case in many parts of Peru, especially the Andean region, Lima is a big metropolis that is home to nearly 10 million people. It is vast in size and contrasts with very modern and cosmopolitan neighborhoods as well as some parts with buildings that are hundreds of years old and even ruins, like Huaca Pucllana or Pachacamac that are almost two thousand years old. It is this contrast, not only in the eclectic architecture, but also in the origins of its population (European, Asian, Andean and African) that make Lima a very special city and definitely worthy of your vacation time.
3. It Doesn't Rain
Limeños like to complain about the weather and how “cold” winters are, but the reality is that Lima has one of the mildest climates there is with temperatures ranging from the mid 60s (15C) to low 80s (29C) all year round. It is humid, very humid, but it never rains, which surprises many new comers as the sky can look, especially in winter, grey and about to deliver a nice shower but it never does. Officially, Lima receives just under two inches of rain a year!
4. Cebiche at Night is a Big No-No
Being right next to the richest part of the Pacific Ocean, in fishing terms, Lima is blessed with excellent seafood, however, restaurants that specialize in this type of cuisine (known as Cebicherias in Peru after the name of the top national dish of the country, Cebiche) only open for lunch. Peruvians are so spoiled that they consider that at night the fish/catch of the day is no longer fresh and therefore won’t eat it! So there you have it, if you plan to eat at La Mar, El Mercado or any of the best cebicherias in Lima, be sure to make your plans for lunch.
5. Taxis Have No Meters
While Lima is modern and sophisticated in many aspects, the transport system is one of the biggest challenges of this big city, therefore a large part of the population relies on taxis which are cheap and plentiful but have one major weakness: they do not run on meters! So how does it work? When you hail a taxi and he stops, you tell him your destination and negotiate the fare, which will be a fixed rate no matter how much traffic there is. The problem with this, especially as a foreigner, is that many taxis will take advantage and try to charge you “gringo rates” so we suggest downloading a taxi app such as Uber or EasyTaxi which are not only cheap, but a safer option, too. If you don’t have roaming activated, ask your hotel or restaurant to call you a cab or to give you the wifi password.