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Local Customs in Lima

Limeño greetings, particularly in commercial settings, are of a friendly yet formal nature. Normally salutations, depending on the time of the day, begin with “Buenos días,” “Buenas tardes,” or “Buenas noches,” followed most commonly by the appropriate title of Señor, Señora, Caballero, or Señorita.

When meeting or leaving a friend or relative, a quick kiss, really more of a brushing of cheeks, is the norm between men and women, women with each other, and sometimes between men within the same family. When meeting someone for the first time, it is most common to simply say “hola” and to shake hands.

For Peruvians mealtime, and particularly lunch or “Almuerzo,” is a very important social event of each day. With a more or less “official” Monday through Friday lunchtime of 1:00 pm, offices are all but abandoned until 2 pm as workers crowd area restaurants.

Although many Peruvians have jobs that require them to work half days on Saturday, Sundays are sacred. This day is reserved for family and usually centers around a large communal meal in mid to late afternoon. To be working on this day, unless mandated by your profession in retail or the restaurant industry is almost sacrilegious.