Located by the Pacific port of Callao on Peru’s desert coast, lies Lima, the country’s largest city and capital. Lima is located in the Sechura desert, in the valleys of the Chillón, Rímac and Lurín rivers. With an area of 2,672.28 km², it is the second largest city in the world located in a desert, after Cairo. Founded by Spanish conqueror Francisco Pizarro, Lima is also known as the City of Kings. For more than three centuries, Lima was the most important city and the greatest metropolis in South America. More than four centuries have passed since its founding as a Spanish city in 1535, and Lima has become a symbol of Peru's mestizo heritage, with nearly one-third of the nation's population living in it (almost 8 million!). Lima is the main commercial, manufacturing, and cultural center of the country with industries including textiles, motor vehicles, petroleum products, chemicals, glass, and cement.
Due to the Humboldt Current, Lima has a temperate climate, but is shrouded in fog seven months a year. The temperatures in the summer rarely rise above 30°C, while in winter temperatures almost never fall below 10°C. The sky is nearly always overcast. Lima gets virtually no rain. Summer and winter are at opposite seasons to North America.
Lima has been greatly influenced by western culture and most young people even in the poor towns and villages are dressed fairly trendy. Familiar places like Starbucks, Blockbuster, and Ace Hardware can be found in the urban areas. Food in Lima is not at all spicy and rice is the staple product. Ceviche, which is fish cured only with a flavorful lemon sauce is a must try if you're going to visit.
A hand shake between men and a kiss on the cheek between women and also between men and women is the culturally accepted greeting. Peruvians are generally very friendly and especially in smaller towns, will greet one another in passing.
Ollanta Humala elected in June 2011.
Spanish (official), Quechua (official), Aymara (official), and a large number of minor Amazonian languages
1,285,216 sq km (roughly the size of Alaska)
30,147,935 (est. July 2014)
Amerindian 45%, mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white) 37%, white 15%, black, Japanese, Chinese, and other 3%
Roman Catholic 81.3%, other 3.3%, unspecified or none 2.9% (2007 Census)
12.5% of population (2007 Census)
Independence Day, 28 July (1821)
Population below poverty line:
sources: CIA World Factbook