Lima is the name of the capital of Peru where currently, all international flights land. Coming to visit Machu Picchu? You need to arrive in Lima first. It’s the largest city in the country with over 11 million people. And today (January 18th, 2023) is Lima’s 488th anniversary. Happy Anniversary, Lima! Hundreds of years ago on January 18th in the year 1535, the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro founded Lima on the banks of the Rimac River with the name “Ciudad de los Reyes” (translated as “City of Kings”).
A little known fact is that Pizarro (the founder of Lima, Peru) had originally chosen a different capital city – Jauja (known as “Xauxa” in Old Spanish), which is just over an hour away from where I live in Huancayo, Peru in the Central Andes. With Jauja at high altitude and a day’s travel from the coast (too distant from the sea), Pizarro later chose Lima as the capital as it’s on the Pacific Ocean with strategic accessibility to ships, fertile land, water and not to mention the fact that Lima has a comparatively mild climate.
Taking into account Lima’s anniversary, January could arguably be one of the best times of the year to visit Peru. January to April are the hottest months in Lima (think, sunbathing at the beach and surfing). And, January in particular will involve Lima anniversary celebrations, such as free live concerts and food fairs featuring dishes and desserts of the region.
After you’ve celebrated and eaten to your heart’s content, take a short domestic flight from Lima to Cusco high up in the Andes mountains for one of our Machu Picchu tours and for a completely different side of Peru.