Lima is not just Peru's capital and largest city, it's also one of the largest in Latin America. It was founded in the early 1500s and was extremely important during more than three centuries of Spanish rule. As is the case with other colonial cities in Latin America, Lima's city centre is the tourist core. In fact, the historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and this is where you'll find most of the major attractions and many notable buildings.
Because Lima is such an enormous city, it can be difficult determining where best to stay. You will no doubt save money by choosing among the Lima hostels that are outside the city centre, often closer to the business district - but staying further from all the sights means more time spent in transit every day. It's advisable to stay as close to the centre as you can afford so that you can take advantage of all the city has to offer without spending so much time travelling.
Lima, an economic powerhouse in Peru, is very much a modern city that draws people from all over the country in search of work. It has long been a centre for learning, as well, with a university started in 1551 still in operation today. There are several important churches worth visiting, most of which are in the historic centre and include a 17th century monastery and the city's 16th century cathedral. If art and architecture doesn't interest you, however, there are far worse ways to spend your time in Lima than by sampling liberally from the city's restaurants. You'll quickly understand why Lima is a noted destination for food-loving travellers.
When city attractions have worn you out, don't forget that Lima is right on the Peruvian coast - time spent relaxing on one of the nearby beaches can be the perfect antidote to tourist fatigue. The beaches are understandably crowded (with residents and visitors alike) during the hot summer season, and along with the restaurants and shops along the beach there are also hotels you can choose if you know you'd rather spend more time lying in the sun and less time admiring the architecture.