Lima's physical atmosphere is slightly dreamlike, mostly because of the garua--a mist that settles over the city between May and October. Under its blanket, Lima's inhabitants meet at the penas (bars offering folk and Creole music), shop at the open marketplaces, and dine at Lima's celebrated restaurants. Several museums display and preserve Peru's golden past, including most notably the internationally famed Museo Nacional de Antropologia y Arqueologia.

South of Lima, long white beaches washed by the cold waters of the southern Pacific stretch away in an uninterrupted string, backed by row upon row of huge, brilliant white sand dunes. In contrast to the tourist beaches of warmer climes, these shores have few amenities other than small restaurants and cafes. One of the best of these remote beaches, as if to confirm its tranquillity, is known as El Silencio. Like Lima itself, these beaches seem to exist in an eddy of time, pleasantly removed from the relentless pace of more frequented destinations.