When is the best time to fly to Lima?
Lima’s peak season lasts from June to September. August is usually the coolest month and can see temperatures fall to 11 degrees Celsius.
September is a great time to book flights to Lima as this is when the Mistura food fair takes place. This is one of Lima’s greatest cultural festivals which takes place over ten days and celebrates the tradition with music, food and dancing. All are welcome to this colourful celebration which holds an important presence in Peru. Make sure you book flights to Lima as well as your accommodation well in advance to get the best deal during this time.
Summer, between December and April, is considered the off season and is when visitors can take advantage of cheap flights to Lima. The weather is typically warm, however the high humidity, particularly between January and March, can make this time quite uncomfortable for travellers. March is often the warmest month, with temperatures reaching around 37 degrees Celsius. During March and April, Lima is slightly less humid in the afternoons.
Although summer is the off season, this is when many of major fiestas are held, so prices may rise and it is advised to book flights in advance to get the cheapest prices possible. One such festival is Carnaval. Although this is celebrated throughout Peru, Lima is one of the best places to take in all the festivities. There are a variety of free concerts and other cheap events which take place within the city, but perhaps the most well-known element is the traditional carnival water wars.
While most travellers visit Lima as a stopping point on their way to other Peru cities, the serious traveller knows that visiting Lima means experiencing one of the greatest treasures of Peru.
At one time, Lima was considered one of the wealthiest and most beautiful cities in North and South America. Founded in 1535 by the conquistador Francisco Pizarro, Lima once stood as the centre of power and trade in South America. It boasted Baroque and Renaissance churches, palaces, and mansions, and served as the headquarters of the Spanish Inquisition. Today, the city continues to thrive as Peru’s centre for political and government affairs. Tourists flying to Lima will visit some of the best museums, finest restaurants and nightlife of Peru.
Warm and humid with little rainfall, Lima’s climate is influenced by the cold offshore Humboldt Current. The city is bordered by the Pacific Ocean on one side and the foothills of the Andes mountain range on the other. Fog can linger in the city even when areas outside Lima are clear and sunny. Lima has two seasons: summer (December to April) and winter (May to November). March is the warmest month with temperatures in the 40s Celsius. Winter is wet and chilly. August is typically the coolest month, and winter temperatures can drop to 12 degrees. January to March is warm and very humid. March to April the humidity lifts a bit in the afternoon and the sun shines through. April to December the city is cloaked in the garua (fog), and it frequently drizzles.
Getting around Lima
Lima’s neighbourhoods are best explored on foot. You’ll want to take a taxi or bus to get between neighbourhoods. The buses are cheap and extensive, but can be uncomfortable and crowded. Flag down one of the large micros and combis and ask where they’re going. Many of the vehicles don’t display their destinations. The combis are known for having bad drivers and lots of accidents. The taxis are also cheap, but they aren’t regulated and don’t have meters. They’re designated by a marked plastic sign on the windshield. Make sure you agree on a fare before you get in. If you call ahead for a registered cab, you won’t be able to negotiate the fare. You’ll also want to bring a map, as many drivers are new to the area. You’re better off not driving your own car – the roads are in poor condition and local drivers are aggressive. If you are driving, make sure you carry your documents. The police and military make routine spot checks.
Getting from the Airport to the City
The main airport for travellers taking flights to Lima is Jorge Chavez International Airport (LIM) which is located 7 miles (11 km) from Lima's Historic Centre. Taxis can be found outside the international flights terminal. Buses and minibuses also service the city centre, but their stops are outside the airport gates on Avenida Faucett.
Lima insider information
- The Cathedral dates from the 1500s and has some interesting carvings and mosaics as well as beautiful side chapels. It is possible to take a guided tour of the cathedral and there is a small museum. Other things to see include the tomb of Francisco Pizarro, the Spanish conquistador who founded the city. The Cathedral lies in the Plaza de Armas, a nice square to stroll around. Look out for the bronze fountain, the Archbishop's Palace and the Government Palace.
- The Church of Saint Francis is very popular. It dates from the late 16th century and has catacombs that hold the remains of more than 70,000 people. There is also an art museum and a 17th-century library.
- The Pachacamac - this extensive archaeological complex of palaces and temple-pyramids about 25 miles (40 km) southeast of Lima was considered one of the most important religious monuments by the indigenous people.
- Museo Rafael Larco Herrera, a private museum, showcases an internationally renowned collection of pre-Hispanic Peruvian art. During his life, Rafael Larco collected metals, pottery and textiles. The museum also has a famous collection of ancient erotic pottery.
- The Parque del Amor (Love Park) in the upmarket district of Miraflores. Watch out for the giant statue of two lovers kissing. The park is on the cliffs of Chorrillos and overlooks the Pacific Ocean. South of Miraflores, Barranco is a bohemian area, home to writers and artists.
- Museo de la Nacion or National Museum tells the story of Peru's history from prehistoric times and ancient civilizations to the advanced civilizations of Huari, Chimu and Paracas and the Inca Empire.
- Tour the Government Palace (House of Pizarro) or watch the changing of the guard outside at 11.45am each day.