The Peruvian capital of Lima is an ancient city founded five centuries ago. It is very interesting but quite dangerous. Once upon a time, the indigenous people of South America lived here, but the Spanish conquistadors took this land from them.
Cool facts about Lima
- Officially, about 10 million people live in Lima, which makes it one of the largest cities in the world. But in fact, there are much more residents here. No one knows the exact number, since there is no population census in the slums.
- Due to the proximity of the Pacific Ocean, the weather in Lima is almost always hot and humid, but it rarely rains here. Humidity is usually close to 100%. Interestingly, Lima never actually experiences heavy rain – only drizzle.
- There have always been many foreigners living in Lima. It is home to the largest Chinese diaspora in South America, as well as one of the largest Croatian diasporas. From 25% to 35% of the population are descendants of European colonizers.
- Almost all of the Peruvian industry is concentrated in Lima. The capital produces about 70% of the GDP of this country. There are more than 7000 industrial enterprises located here. It is profitable for them to work in the capital since there’s a lot of cheap labor in Lima.
- The main transport in Lima is the bus. There are about 1000 routes here, and they belong to ~500 different private companies, so it’s easy to get caught up in them. Also, a bus ride may be unsafe for foreigners.
Facts about crime in Lima
- Not only the police patrol the streets of Lima but also the military. This is necessary since numerous local gangs are sometimes more numerous and better armed than city police officers. However, the Peruvian capital is not the most dangerous city in Latin America. Some cities are even more dangerous! For example, Caracas in Venezuela and Tegucigalpa in Honduras.
- The streets leading from the city center to the slums are blocked by gates at night. This is done in order to make it difficult for gangs from the slums to enter the city.
- Despite the high level of criminogenic danger, most of the locals are very friendly toward foreigners. If a tourist by mistake or unknowingly takes a turn to a dangerous area, he or she most likely will be immediately warned that it going there would be reckless.
- Locals usually sit facing the entrance when they come to a cafe or restaurant. This minimizes their chance of being robbed if bandits suddenly break into the venue.
- More than 30% of Lima’s population lives in slums. Two largest slum areas here are called Cono Sur and San Juan de Lurigancho, their total population is more than 3 million people. Some slums are relatively safe, some others are so dangerous that even police rarely visit there.
- The enclave city of Callao is located inside Lima. Callao is surrounded by the capital on three sides and the Pacific Ocean on the fourth. De jure, it is still considered a separate city, but in fact, it has long been part of the metropolitan agglomeration. There are more than 1 million residents in Callao.
- Lima was founded in 1535 by the Spaniards. It became the capital of all the Spanish colonies in South America and for many centuries was the richest city on this continent. In 1821, it became the capital of Peru.
- When Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizzaro founded Lima on the river Rimac on January 18, 1535, he called it the Ciudad de Los Reyes, which means “The city of kings”. However, people called the city “Rimac”, after the Rimac River. Over time, the word “Rimak” turned into “Lima”.
- Lima is the largest city of Peru, 5th largest city in South America, the 28th largest in the world, and the 2nd largest capital in the desert (after Cairo).
- Lima is the fifth largest city in South America. Its metropolitan area occupies approximately 1,089 sq. miles (2,819 sq. km). New York, for example, occupies ~472 sq. miles (1223 sq. km) which makes it twice smaller.