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Cruises to Lima

Lima

About Lima

Spread out over an area the size of Rhode Island with a population of almost 8 million, Peru's capital has been a city of fusion from the time the first adobe bricks were laid on the original two-story government palace -- a Spanish stronghold in the land of the Incas and far older cultures. Lima is a jumble of Renaissance architecture, pre-Hispanic ruins and museums filled with pre-Columbian artifacts that pre-date the Incas. Likewise, Limeans themselves represent a complex mix of ethnic heritage, ancient Indian cultures from the northern coast and the Andes, Spanish conquerors, and a large Chinese population that grew following immigration from China, which began in the mid-19th century.



It's true that parts of Lima were inhabited more than 10,000 years ago, but let's start with the city's official beginning. Two years after taking down the Inca Empire, Spanish explorer Francisco Pizarro founded Lima in 1535 on the bank of the Rimaq River, eight miles from the Pacific Ocean. Finding a good natural harbor nearby, Pizarro also created Callao, which became Spain's main port in the New World. Until the mid-18th century, Lima was the wealthy capital of Spanish domination in South America, an enormous viceroyalty that stretched from what's now Columbia to central Chile.

The city's historic center has a generous share of Baroque-, Renaissance- and Rococo-inspired buildings with elaborate facades, balconies, ornate gates and courtyards in the area around the Plaza Mayor. Although the city has experienced numerous earthquakes, some early colonial buildings, the collaboration of indigenous and Old World craftsmen, were fortunate to survive. In 1988, the historic district became a UNESCO Heritage Site.



Callao can be either a regular port stop or a point for embarkation or disembarkation, and cruise ships call there every season, except summer (June through August). Most cruise travelers skip Callao -- the only real sights are the seaside Fortaleza del Felipe Real (a 16th-century stone fort) and the adjacent military museum. Instead, they head straight for Lima's historic center with its old homes, grand balconies, colonial churches (such as the well-preserved San Pedro and the Baroque-style San Francisco) and the Government Palace, which was built on the foundation of the original palace constructed by Pizarro.



Central Lima is surrounded by a collection of neighborhoods, each one with its own appeal, vibe, and streets off the grid: prosperous suburbs like Miraflores and San Isidro; seafront Barranco with its Bohemian vibe, colorful homes and lively nightlife scene; laid-back fishing village Chorillos at the southern end of Lima Bay; and Pueblo Libre with its small-town feel and prominent cultural sites, such as the Rafael Larco Herrera Museum and National Archaeology Museum. Lima's coast, often called the Costa Verde (Green Coast), features a string of parks along Lima Bay that runs south from Magdalena through San Isidro, Miraflores, Barranco and Chorrillos, with lush foliage spilling over the cliffs.



Clearly, there's more to Lima than can be seen in one day. If your cruise does begin or terminate in Lima, consider tacking on a pre- or post-cruise stay. Visits to the city can also be combined with tours to Cusco, Macchu Picchu and Lake Titicaca (also available as multi-day overland excursions mid-cruise).

  • More about Lima

  • Why go to Lima?

  • Lima Cruise Port Facilities?

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Sapphire Princess
Sapphire Princess (Photo: Princess Cruises)

32 Night
South America CruiseDetails

982 Reviews
Leaving:Buenos Aires
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Insignia
Insignia

24 Night
South America CruiseDetails

207 Reviews
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises
Jan 15, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Viking Octantis
Viking Octantis in the Great Lakes (Photo/Harriet Baskas)

17 Night
Panama & Scenic South AmericaDetails

67 Reviews
Cruise Line:Viking Expeditions
Sep 30, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite
Celebrity Eclipse
Celebrity Eclipse

16 Night
South America Repo CruiseDetails

1,872 Reviews
Leaving:Los Angeles
Cruise Line:Celebrity Cruises
Dec 7, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Royal Caribbean

13 Night
Central America Tapestry VoyageDetails

24 Reviews
Cruise Line:Azamara
Jan 5, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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31 Night
Panama Canal Inca & South America DiscoveryDetails

1,036 Reviews
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Nov 15, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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17 Night
Panama Canal & Inca DiscoveryDetails

1,036 Reviews
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Nov 15, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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17 Night
South America CruiseDetails

982 Reviews
Leaving:Los Angeles
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Dec 2, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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31 Night
South America Inca & Panama Canal DiscoveryDetails

1,036 Reviews
Leaving:Buenos Aires
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Mar 10, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite

34 Night
World CruiseDetails

1,014 Reviews
Leaving:New York
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Aug 16, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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14 Night
South America CruiseDetails

729 Reviews
Leaving:Miami
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises
Dec 7, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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12 Night
South America CruiseDetails

Cruise Line:Silversea Cruises
Jan 4, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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40 Night
Grand South America & Antarctica VoyageDetails

533 Reviews
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Oct 7, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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34 Night
South America CruiseDetails

982 Reviews
Leaving:Los Angeles
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Dec 1, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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74 Night
Grand South America & Antarctica VoyageDetails

561 Reviews
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Jan 3, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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More about Lima

Why go to Lima?

Pros:

Take tours to must-see spots including Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca

Cons:

You'll have to take a cab to get into Lima from Callao

Bottom Line:

Lima is a sprawling ancient city with a dazzling array of historical sites and interesting neighborhoods

Lima Cruise Port Facilities?

There is little to do near the dock, but one landmark worth seeing is the pentagonal-shaped Fortaleza del Felipe Real , a stone-walled, octagonal fort, built in the 18th century to fend off pirate attacks. It played a role in Peru's war of independence from Spain in 1821. For those interested in military relics, a military history museum is located inside the fort, with a naval museum near Plaza Grau. You can also take a boat tour of the islands off Callao to see the seabirds, sea lions and Humboldt penguins. Unfortunately, the suburb of Callao itself has many unsafe areas, so if you're not visiting the aforementioned sites, you're betting off heading into Lima.

Good to Know?

Crime isn't a major risk if you use the same common sense you would in any large city. Stay alert for pickpockets in busy marketplaces, on crowded streets and anywhere in downtown Lima. Don't carry your wallet or passport in a back pocket. Avoid wearing expensive jewelry, and keep expensive cameras or electronic devices out of view when not in use.

Getting Around?

At the pier, you'll find authorized taxis for traveling from the dock in Callao to Lima and for sightseeing in the city. Fares in Lima generally range from 4 to 10 soles (about $1.40 to $4.20), but taxis don't have meters, so agree on the fare in advance by asking, "Cuanto cuesta?" If you're on your own in Lima, a hotel or restaurant can call for a secure taxi. For getting around in Lima, avoid buses or mini-buses, which are cheap but slow and crowded, making tourists an easy target for pickpockets. If you're trying to cover a lot of ground in a short period of time, you can hire a taxi for around $10 per hour and have the driver wait for you at each stop.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

The nuevo sol is Peru's currency (currency sign S/.); check www.xe.com for current exchange rates. Most hotels, restaurants and shops accept U.S. dollars, but they'll give change in Peruvian soles. Major banks include Banco de Credito (BCP), Banco de la Nacion, BBVA Banco Continental and Scotiabank. Bank hours are Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and many are open until noon on Saturday.



ATM machines are plentiful, and it's preferable to make withdrawals in very populated areas or at ATM's that are inside banks with guards on duty. Some ATM's dispense cash only to local account-holders, so look for machines with the Cirrus or Plus logos. Credit cards are widely accepted in Lima, with VISA being the preferred card, although some businesses tack on a 12 percent surcharge.

Language?

Spanish and Quechua (native language of the Incas) are the official languages. In Lima and other main cities, English is widely understood in hotels, restaurants and shops.

Where You're Docked?

The port of Callao (pronounced Kay-ya-oh) is about seven miles from central Lima and 11 miles from Miraflores. There's no terminal building, shopping, ATM's or Internet access at the pier; there are telephones that require a calling card (available for sale at the pier). Authorized cabs are reasonably priced and available at the port gate. Depending on traffic, the ride into Lima can take between 30 and 45 minutes and cost around $12.


Lima Cruise Reviews
Lima looked like a great place to more thoroughly, but we just passed through coming back from the magnificent MacchuPicchu. Read More
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djack77494
I’ve been to Lima several times previously. So just shopped and had a huge salad for lunch. So much better than salads on the ship. Read More
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SantaFeSkier
Stayed at JW Marriott. Went to ruins for self guided tour. Enjoyed LimaRead More
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Raydoc
Great city tour - saw the changing of the Guard. Good shoppingRead More
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leiba1

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