Lima, Peru: population: about 9.8 million for the city and the entire metropolitan area—11.3 million. Lima is a big city, one of the largest in the Americas. Lima was originally founded as "Ciudad de Los Reyes" (City of The Kings).
Lima has a desert climate, also said to be mild with subtropical temperature ranges. The average daytime high of 22° C (72° F), and the night average low of 17° C (63° F). The city's elevation ranges from sea level to more than 1500 meters (5000 feet). Lima averages 6.4mm (.25 inches) of rain per year. Yeah, that's right, a quarter of an inch of rain per year. That equates to an average of only 18 days a year in which a tiny bit of rain is recorded. Humidity is consistently between 80% - 85% throughout the year. Foggy mornings are common, and when I was on the bus entering the city it was quite foggy. Here's an interesting fact: Lima averages 1284 hours of sunshine annually. Compare that to London, England at 1653 hours and Moscow at 1731 hours. Yet, here it is in a desert along the coast near the equator.
Lima's history dates back previous to the Inca's conquest of the local peoples, three different groups that lived in the area. The Incas conquered them all and incorporated them into their own settlements in the 15th century. In 1535, the Spanish conquistadors conquered the indigenous people and founded the Ciudad de los Reyes. Today it is called Lima. The 1600s saw immense growth and construction in Lima. In 1687 there was a huge earthquake, estimated to have been 8.4 - 8.7 on the Richter scale, which wiped the Port of Pisco by a tsunami, and three ships were swept over the city's remains. That earthquake was also the end of the huge Peruvian wine industry. In 1746 another strong earthquake (estimated to have been 8.6 - 8.8 on the Richter scale) hit the area and destroyed the neighboring city of Callao. In the 1850s a boom in economic growth occurred and saw such things be built as the Central Market, a new slaughterhouse, a mental asylum, a penitentiary, and a hospital. A railway was built between Lima and Callao, and in 1870 an iron bridge was built over the Rimac River. 1879 - 1883 saw the War of the Pacific, a war between Chile and Peru where Chilean occupiers looted museums, libraries, and other public institutions. The 20th century started with a lot of new growth and construction. The population was estimated at 600,000 in 1940, then reached 1.9 million by 1960 and 4.8 million by 1980.
Limas economy is mainly based on industry, with at least 7000 factories in the city. They produce just about anything and everything including textiles, clothing, food, chemicals, fish, leather, and oil-derivative products. The 120-acre seaport in Callao is one of the main seaports in South America for fishing and commerce. Lima also hosts the headquarters for at least 9 national and international banks. Tourism is huge for Lima. The Historic Center is a UNESCO Heritage site (you'll find more than 1600 balconies on the buildings) and countless archeological sites are located everywhere in the area. The beaches are lined with expensive hotels and resorts. There are also many museums in Lima. But, having said all of that, Lima does suffer from air pollution as do most if not all big cities. Lima has built many billboards that serve as air filters, they suck the pollutants out and put fresh clean air back out.
So, my impressions: When I first arrived and left the bus station I walked across town to my hotel, actually a studio apartment. In the part of town where the bus station is there were many piles of garbage bags, especially alongside the river. There are pics in the photo album. But, as I walked across town things changed, the streets became clean and neat, and the parks well-kept. Lima has many many many parks, I have noticed that. And get this, the noise level of Lima traffic is much lower than in many smaller cities. There is very little horn honking and I haven't noticed any atrocious 3-wheel motorcycle taxis. Oh, and I met one, count him, one English-speaking person. Peter was from England but has been living in Lima with his Peruvian wife for 13 years. He works as a security guy in a shopping center. He loves it here and said it's his favorite city of all the many he has visited on 4 continents. While I am looking for a small city or a town to make my new hometown, Lima is the only big city I have visited (on 4 continents as well) that I would actually choose to live in.
This is my goal: to find a new place to live. So to reach that goal I am traveling most of South America, visiting the countries of Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Chile, passing through Argentina, visiting Paraguay, passing through a bit of Brazil, and finally visiting Uruguay. I have a list of towns, about 70, that meet these qualifications: Cities with average day temperatures of 22-28° C (72-83° F) and night temps of 14° C (57° F) and higher; and a population between 28,000-300,000. I analyzed climate and population data of around 700 towns in the countries mentioned above and then pulled out the ones that meet the previously mentioned criteria, which leaves about 70. My preference leans towards towns of less than 100,000 people. And, now that I have visited more than 30 towns/cities, I've decided I will probably want an inland town. I love the beach and walking in the warm water, but, getting sunburned is just too easy, even on a cloudy day. At least, here in Ecuador. I've also decided that any town with more than 100,000 population will be too big. I've decided that any small town/city (less than around 80,000 population) that meets the temp specifications and has a supermarket and ATM is one worth considering to live in.
My goal is to visit the towns and discover which one calls out to me - "Chip, Chip, make your new home here, this is your new home town". That hasn't happened yet, but the four towns listed below are very close to giving me that feeling. At any rate, I am not visiting tourist attractions or archeological sites, etc, those will have to wait for another trip through South America.
At this point in my journey I have four towns on my Top 10 list - Tingo Maria, Moyobamba, La Merced, Peru, and Catamayo and Puyo, Ecuador. In my travels in Ecuador, I visited 31 towns/cities.
Next up: Mala, Peru.