Geography of Lima, Peru

Lima is located in the coastal desert of Peru, in the foothills of the western slope of the central Andes of Peru. Although the settlement of Spaniards was located on the valley of the Rímac river, in the domains of taulli Chugo, today it extends over extensive desert areas and even over other valleys. While the main square is located at an altitude of 161 meters above sea level, the district of Lurigancho reaches 950 meters above sea level.

It borders the coastline from Km 50 of the Panamericana north, at the height of the District of Ancón on the border with the Province of Huaral, to the District of Pucusana at the height of km 70 of the Panamericana south, on the border of the Province of Cañete. What makes an extension of little more than 130 km of Coast and Beaches. Towards the east it extends to approximately kilometer 50 of the Central Highway in the Chosica District, bordering the Province of Huarochirí.


Lima’s climate is especially particular given its situation. It combines a practical absence of rainfall, with a very high level of atmospheric humidity and persistent cloud cover. Thus, it is surprising for its strange characteristics despite being located in a Tropical area at 12 degrees south latitude and almost at sea level. The central Peruvian coast shows a series of atypical microclimates due to the influential and cold Humboldt Current that derives from Antarctica, the proximity of the mountain range and the tropical location, giving Lima a Subtropical, desert and Humid climate at the same time.

It can be said that Lima has a warm climate without excessive tropical heat or extreme cold that requires heating at home, except for very few winters. The average annual temperature is 18.5 to 19 ° C, with an annual summer maximum of about 29 ° C. Summers, from December to April, have temperatures that oscillate between 28 and 21 ° C. Only when a Phenomenon of El Niño occurs, the temperature in summer can exceed 31 ° C. Winters go from June to mid-September with temperatures ranging between 19 and 12 ° C, with 5 ° C being the lowest temperature recorded historically. The spring and autumn months (September, October and May) have mild temperatures that range between 23 and 17 ° C.

On the other hand, the relative humidity is extremely high (up to 100%), producing persistent haze from June to December until the beginning of summer when the clouds are lower. It is sunny, humid and hot in the summers (December-April), cloudy and mild in the winters (June to September). Rain is almost nil. The annual average is 7 mm reported at the airport, being the smallest amount in a metropolitan area in the world. Lima has only 1,284 hours of sunshine per year, 28.6 hours in July and 179.1 hours in January, exceptionally low values for latitude.

The combination of climatic phenomena are presented as follows: The cold Humboldt Current that runs along the coast sensibly cools the temperature of the water. This is much colder than what would correspond to the tropical latitude in which Lima is located. Thus, cold conditions at sea level with a warmer upper atmosphere due to solar action generates a thermal inversion that prevents the phenomenon of convection, by which warmer and less dense air rises. This, together with the surrounding Andean mountain range, causes an almost permanent layer of extremely low thick cloudiness to appear (less than 500 m from the ground) that prevents the passage of direct solar radiation. In turn, the blockage by a layer of hot air above, prevents the formation of vertically developing Cumulonimbus clouds, which explains the absence of precipitation. This is the reason for the paradox of having an extremely cloudy and humid climate and yet desert. The scarce rainfall (less than 8 mm per year) known as garúa is the product of the condensation of the low cloudiness that forms the system.


In terms of morphology, desert pampas predominate in the coastal area, framed by hills, in many cases interrupted by oases formed by rivers that carry water all year round. They are the coastal valleys, where cities are settled and agriculture thrives. The most important features are isolated hills or forming systems, dry streams, river and marine terraces, and undulating reliefs, as well as coastal cliffs.

National capital

Lima is the capital city of the Republic of Peru. As such, it is the seat of the three powers that make up the Peruvian State. Thus, the Executive Power has its headquarters in the Government Palace located in the Plaza Mayor. The Legislative Powerof Peru constituted by the Congress of the Republic and the Judicial Power of Peru with its highest organ, the Supreme Court of Justice, are also in the city.

In the same way, all the Ministries have their main headquarters in the city of Lima. At the international level, the city is also the headquarters of the General Secretariat of the Andean Community of Nations and the South American Community of Nations, among other regional and international organizations.

As practically all the political, industrial and financial power of the country is concentrated in Lima, it has produced a serious centralism, which is demonstrated in the population and economic disproportion of the capital city compared to other important cities in the country, such as Arequipa, Trujillo or Cuzco.

local government

There is no governing body of the city as such. The city is included in the Province of Lima, which is subdivided into 43 districts, so the local authority is the Metropolitan Municipality of Lima, which, unlike other municipalities, is the only one that has the “metropolitan” character. The Municipality has jurisdiction over the entire territory of the province. Each of the 43 districts over which the city extends has its own District Municipality, which has jurisdiction over its own district, but they also have an obligation to coordinate with the Metropolitan Municipality. The current mayor of the city is Marco Parra Sánchez, who has held the Municipal Armchair since the resignation of Luis Castañeda in October 2010.

Political government

Unlike the rest of the republic, the Metropolitan Municipality of Lima also exercises Regional Government functions since it is not part of any administrative region, according to Article 65 of Law 27867 of Regional Governments of November 16, 2002.

However, the previous political organization is maintained in the sense that there is still a “Governor” who is the political authority in the entire scope of the department of Lima and the city itself. The functions of this authority are more police and military. The city administration itself is assigned to the local municipal authority.

Judicial function

Lima is the seat of the Superior Court of Justice of Lima, the governing body of the Lima Judicial District. According to the Peruvian judicial organization, the city of Lima has the largest judicial burden despite the fact that it only has jurisdiction over 35 of the 43 districts that make up the province of Lima. Thus, there are one hundred and fifty-three justices of the peace (65 non-legal justices of the peace and 88 legal justices of the peace); two hundred and twenty-nine specialized courts(89 civil, 21 family, 6 commercial, 29 labor, 69 criminal and 15 mixed); and thirty-three superior courts (eight civil, two family, one commercial, six labor, and 16 criminal).

Likewise, within the territory of the city there is the “Superior Court of the Northern Cone”, the governing body of the Northern Cone judicial District, which includes twenty-four justices of the peace ; forty-one specialized courts (7 civil, 7 family, 1 labor, 19 criminal and 7 mixed); and six superior rooms (two civil and four criminal).

The city

Before the Viceroyalty , the so-called City of the Kings was an important religious center for its residents, proof of this is the archaeological complex of Pachacámac, which was invaded and looted by the Spanish. Later in the Viceroyalty, Spain was in charge of building, in the Hispanic way, on the foundations of indigenous buildings, large houses, cathedrals and squares. Lima was also known as the “garden city” due to the large number of parks it had, especially at the beginning of the 20th century. Today the city tries to recover the greenery that characterized it at that time. Beautiful parks, ornamental fountains and tree-lined avenues can be seen in multiple neighborhoods.

Geography of Lima, Peru