About Lima, 4 Questions I’ve Got Answered

All the places in the world have got their own particular questions and their answers or explanations of why they are like that. For me personally I believe that knowing and understanding the “why” of the things makes us more adaptable. Below I’m sharing my 4 “Why’s” about Lima which I’ve got some very good answers.

1. Why Lima doesn’t have a proper public transportation?

I don’t remember too many capitals in this world which don’t have any transportation from the airport to any basic and decent public transportation. But Lima is one of them. There is a fast bus which takes 2 lanes out of an express highways which crosses the city, one train which gets into the suburbs and that’s it. No underground, nothing. Panamericana highway crosses Lima instead of surrounding it.

We are talking about one of the biggest economic centers of the Americas, a city of 11 million people. What happened in Lima in the ’70s-’80s that it hasn’t been built the public transportation system?

Terrorist, they told me. The terrorism from the ’80s stopped everything. In the ’90s the terrorism has been exterminated, but it was not that easy to start growing the infrastructure overnight.

2. Why Lima has got a traffic jam at any time of the day?

Living in Lima, at a certain point, I had the impression I live in an eternal traffic jam which doesn’t make sense for me for such a spread out city, independent of the number of people staying in Lima. I was wondering where all these people go out at all times of the day? Don’t they work? Nobody works in this city? But everybody works a lot in this city. Then.. how come Lima is almost an eternal traffic jam?

  • They do work, but they have different schedules some start very early, some later, some at noon
  • people get out their cars to go lunch
  • everybody uses the main avenues and the traffic gets concentrated on main roads instead of being spread on the small streets as well
  • the way of driving makes it quite dangerous to ride a bike or a bicycle

3. Why Lima has got such a huge population?

11 million people, out of 30 millions of Peruvians live in Lima. Is one third of the country’s population live in this city in the middle of nowhere. Lima is literally a home made oasis in the middle of the desert. But about how this city was formed I will talk in another post.

There are several reasons why Lima, the capital of Peru, has got to have such a disproportional population compared with other cities:

      • the geography, the entire Peruvian coast is a desert. You drive for hours and there is nothing else than sand. It is very difficult to build cities in such difficult relief, but it’s easier to build near Lima, just extending the city
      • during the terrorism era, it was very dangerous to exit Lima, so people were trapped in the city for their entire life
      • the economical booming of the city attracts more and more people

4. Why Lima is so big?!

Lima is a very spread out city. If you think it’s not that bad, just try to cross it from south to north. It may take you more than 4 hours (by car, not by foot) depending on the traffic. Some of the reasons they gave me for Lima being such extended city are:

      • Lima is a desert, there is plenty of space to build everywhere
      • because it’s a seismic zone, in Lima the buildings are short. Recently they started building skyscrapers.

If before knowing all these, I was complaining a lot, especially about the lack of public transportation, now I can’t say too much. This country has got a different history, challenging times, modest and pacific attitude, and one as a guest has got to respect it.
Enjoy traveling!

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