What is the Capital of Peru?

Most people know that the capital of Peru is Lima. However, what they may not know is that the history of the country’s capital city is a long and complicated one. In this article, we will look at the different iterations of the capital of Peru, from its earliest days as an Inca city to its current status as a bustling metropolis.

Lima, traditionally known as “The City of Kings,” is the country’s largest and most populous city. It is situated along the country’s coast and is the capital of Peru.

Where is Peru Located?

The Republic of Peru is located in western South America. It borders Ecuador and Colombia to the north, Brazil to the east; Bolivia to the southeast; Chile to the south; and the Pacific Ocean to the west.

The country has incredible biodiversity, from the Pacific coast's arid plains to the Andes' peaks and the tropical Amazon rainforest. Peru is the 19th largest country in the world and the third-largest country in South America. It's also home to ancient civilizations such as Caral, Mochica, Nazca, Chimu, and the great Inca Empire. Each of these great civilizations had its capital or important cities. Nowadays, Peru is a multicultural country with many languages and ethnic races.

The most important cities in Peru, historically, are Cusco and Lima.

Lima, the capital of Peru
View of the green coast, Lima, the Capital of Peru


The old capital of Peru

 From the 14th to the 16th century, the Inca culture dominated most of South America. It was not only Peru; the Inca Empire, also known as Tawantinsuyo (the four provinces of the sun), dominated a vast territory from Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, and the north of Chile. Cusco was the center of this great empire and the most important city in South America. Nowadays, Cusco has the title of the historical capital of Peru.

The New Capital of Peru

Lima City was founded by Francisco Pizarro, the Conqueror of the Inca Empire. In 1535, Lima was founded as the City of Kings because its date of establishment was January 6, the date of the Epiphany. The name was soon abandoned, and Lima became the city's first choice.

Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu 4 days – Find out more.

Where is the capital of Peru Located?

Lima, the capital of Peru, is located at an elevation of 528 feet (161 meters) in the Central West part of Peru. The city center is located around 8 miles (13 km) inland from the Pacific Ocean in Peru's coastal desert.

Although the "City of the Kings" was initially founded at the Rímac Riverbank, nowadays, it extends to vast desert areas from north to south, including 11 rivers and many valleys. Lima city has grown so fast in the 80s and 9os due to the immigration from the countryside and terrorism.

Today Lima is considered the fifth-largest city in South America and the Caribbean, including Mexico.

History of Lima – Peru

  • Initially, Lima was occupied by small civilizations from the coastal area of Peru; by the 15th century, the Inca Empire ruled the entire region.
  • In 1532, the Inca King Atahualpa was captured in Cajamarca by the Spanish conquistadors led by Francisco Pizarro.
  • In April of 1534, Francisco Pizarro founded the first capital of Peru at Jauja, a city in the Andes with nice warm weather.
Francisco Pizarro statue in the main square of Trujillo, Caceres.
Francisco Pizarro statue in the main square of Trujillo, Caceres. Pizarro was a Spanish conquistador who led the Spanish conquest of Peru.
  • In December 1534, Francisco Pizarro ordered the transfer of all treasures from Jauja to Lima, a city located near the sea and the main port of Callao.
  • On January 18, 1533, Francisco Pizzaro established Lima's city (City of the Kings) as the Colony's new capital.
  • On May 6, 1536, Manco Inca's rebellion began. He sent Captain Quizo Yupanqui with his troops to siege Lima. In September, the Inca troops arrived in Lima, where Captain Qizo Yupanqui was killed, and the Inca Army retreated into the mountains.
  • Francisco Pizarro was killed on June 26, 1541, by a group of people called Almagristas. They were led by Diego de Almagro el Mozo.
  • On November 4, 1780, Tupac Amaru II (José Gabriel Condorcanqui) started the revolution in the Province of Tinta in Cusco. He was executed in Cusco Square on July 19, 1783.
  • On July 28, 1821, General Jose de San Martin announced the famous Declaration of Independence in the Plaza Mayor of Lima.
  • On January 17, 1881, Lima was occupied by the Chilean army during the Pacific War. Finally, on October 20, 1883, Peru and Chile signed the Treaty of Ancon; Peru ceded the province of Tarapaca to Chile. Antofagasta was forced to surrender by Bolivia.
  • Lima was the site of the 2019 Pan American Games, the biggest sports event the country has ever seen.

FAQs about Lima – Peru

What is the Location of Lima?

Lima, the capital of Peru, is located on the Pacific coast's central part, flanked by coastal deserts, and extends to the Chillon, Rimac, and Lurin river valleys. It covers an area of 2,672 km2 (1,031 sq mi).

What is the average altitude of Lima City?

Lima is a sea-level city; the average altitude of the historical city center is 528 feet (161 meters).

What is Lima's population by 2021?

Lima's population is estimated at 9,751,717 by 2021, including Lima Metropolitana and districts. The population density is 3000 people per kilometer or more than 7000 people per mile. This equates to nearly 30% of the Peruvian population.

What is Lima's predominant religion?

The dominant religion is Christianity. However, Peru is traditionally related to religious fusion, originating from Catholicism and the ancient Inca religion after the Spanish conquest. It is also becoming common for Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam due to immigration in recent years.

What is Lima's climate?

Even though Lima is in the tropics and a desert, it has a mild climate because it is close to the Pacific Ocean.

During the summer, from December to April, the daily temperature ranges from 18°C (64°F) to 22°C (72°F) and from 24°C (75°F) to 29°C (84°F). During this time of the year, the days are sunny and warm.

During the winter, from June to October, temperatures range between 14 °C (57 °F) and 16 °C (61 °F), with the lowest being 14 °C (57 °F) and the highest being 16 °C (61 °F) to 19 °C (66 °F). The sky is usually grey during this time, with morning drizzle and high humidity.

May and November are transition months where we see sudden changes in the weather.

What is Lima's main currency?

The main currency in Peru is Nuevos Soles; in most local markets and stores, you will use only soles. However, banks will allow you to do the transactions in soles or USD. Cars, houses, and real estate transactions are always in USD.

What is Lima's primary population?

Lima's population consists of various ethnic groups. The most numerous groups are Mestizos, Europeans (Spanish, German, Italian, and French descendants), Afro-Peruvians, and Asians (China and Japan).

Thanks to this complex mix of racial and ethnic groups, Peru is now one of the world's best culinary destinations. Chinese and Italian cuisine has helped create unique Peruvian dishes.

How to get to Lima?

By Land

The Panamericana Highway crosses the country from south to north, connecting with all the cities in the coastal area and other countries like Chile in the south and Ecuador in the north. We also have access to highways in the east that connects us with the Andes cities and the jungle of Peru.

By Flight

From the International Airport of Peru, Jorge Chavez, located in the province of Callao, 30 minutes away from Lima center. You can take flights to any city in Peru or any other country.

The Best Way to Travel from Lima to Cusco

The best and fastest way to travel from Lima to Cusco and vice-versa is by taking a flight from Jorge Chavez's Airport in Lima to Alejandro Velasco Astete Cusco. The duration is about a 1-hour flight.

For travelers who like to explore more of the country, you can take a bus from Lima through Abancay to Cusco for 20 hours. Also, take a bus from Lima via Arequipa to Juliaca with a 24-hour bus ride.

What is the official language of Lima, Peru?

The official languages of Peru are Spanish, Quechua, and Aymara!

Map of Peru with the Capital Lima City.

What are Lima's main Tourist Attractions?


Pachacamac is the largest and most important archaeological site in Lima, located in the Lurin district. It covers an area of ​​465.32 hectares with a circumference of 12925.41 linear meters and is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Culture. It has a museum with the same name, with a collection of more than 6,500 pre-Hispanic pieces of various materials such as ceramics, wood, metal, and textiles. One of the most emblematic pieces is the idol of Pachacamac.

The archaeological site of Pachacamac in Peru
The archaeological site of Pachacamac in Peru, South America. The temple of Pachacamac is an archaeological site 40 km southeast of Lima, Peru.

The Lima Culture initially occupied Pachacamac; they built important temples and oracles that people from all over the Andes visited. From 600 to 1000 AD, it was occupied by the Wari culture, where the temple of Pachacamac became very popular.

By 1470, the Incas had conquered and occupied the region. By 1533, Pachacamas was the most important religious site in the coastal part of Peru; this was mentioned in the chronicles of the Hispanic conquistadors.


It is located 182 kilometers north of Lima, in the province of Barranca. Due to its 5000-year history, it is the oldest civilization in Peru and the American continent, at approximately 5000 years old. It comprises 32 large buildings that are part of a complex settlement system that shows a strong religious ideology. These include impressive buildings for ceremonies, neighborhoods for different social classes, a group of small temples, and workshops.

Caral was listed as a World Heritage site in 2009.

Museo Larco

The Larco Museum is a privately owned pre-Columbian art museum in the Pueblo Libre District of Lima, Peru. The museum is located in an 18th-century vice royal building. It displays galleries arranged in chronological order and can provide a comprehensive overview of Peru's pre-Columbian 5,000-year history. It is famous for its erotic pottery galleries from the pre-Columbian period.

The Water Magic Circuit

The Magic Water Circuit symbolizes the restoration of Lima's public spaces. It has thirteen cybernetic fountains that use the most up-to-date technology to mix music, water, sound, and lasers into amazing and unique shows.

Lima Main Square

The Plaza de Armas, or Plaza Mayor, is located in the historical center of Lima, surrounded by the Presidential Palace, Lima Cathedral, the Archbishop's Palace, and other historical buildings.

Lima's main square is where Jose de San Martin declared Peru's independence on July 28, 1821.

Tours in Lima and around.

Lima City tour

You can explore the best of Lima's historical center on a half-day or full-day tour. We recommend hiring a tour company that will transfer you to the center of Lima in private transportation and allows you to explore with a local tour guide. You will visit Plaza San Martin, Museo Convento San Francisco y Catacumbas, Plaza de Armas (Plaza Mayor), Museo Larco Herrera, and many other beautiful sites.

Swim with sea lions at Palomino's Island

The Palomino Islands are located in the province of Callao. These famous touristic islands are home to many sea lions and seabirds. To arrive at these islands, you need to travel to Callo first, then travel by boat for 40 minutes to arrive at the area.

A Tour to Caral

You will need a whole day to visit Caral with a private van and a tour guide. First, you must drive for 3.5 hours to the Valley of Supe, where Caral is located. You can visit Huacho for lunch and visit the beach on the way back.

Culinary Tour

Peru is one of the best culinary destinations globally, and Lima is home to a few of the world's best restaurants. Spend a beautiful morning exploring the local markets and preparing the most famous Peruvian dishes like ceviche.

Lima, City Tour By Night + Magic Water Circuit

You can explore Lima Center at night and visit the Magic Water Circuit.

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