One place that appears to be on everybody’s bucket record lately is Machu Picchu. The historical metropolis of the Incas is among the Seven Wonders of the World and might be the most well-liked vacation spot in all of South America.

In order to get to Machu Picchu, although, chances are high you’ll need to go via Lima. While you could be tempted to breeze proper via the Peruvian capital, I’m right here to point out you that there’s lots to see and do right here to warrant sticking round for some time.

Exploring the historic centre, paragliding excessive above the coast, feasting on Peruvian delicacies, dancing all night time in a hidden bar. These are just some of the various superior issues to do in Lima. Read on for an in-depth take a look at all that Peru’s capital has to supply.

best things to do in lima peru

1. Take a Free Walking Tour

There’s no higher option to get to know a metropolis than by exploring it by yourself two ft. It’s even higher when you are able to do so with an area information and a gaggle of like-minded travellers. The actual icing on the cake, although, is when the tour is completely free! 

Joining a free strolling tour is certainly among the finest issues to do in Lima, and it’s the proper place to start your journey in the Peruvian capital. While there are fairly just a few teams operating excursions lately, the unique free strolling tour is with Inkan Milky Way

These excursions final just a few hours and canopy a number of the highlights of Lima’s famed Historic Centre. All the whereas, you’ll be taught in regards to the historical past and tradition of Lima out of your information, who might be comfortable to reply any questions you might need. Be certain to ask for some suggestions on one of the best locations to eat, store, and drink whilst you can!

Tours function from Monday-Saturday at each 11AM and 3PM beginning at La Merced Church. For the sooner tour, a information will even meet you in Miraflores at 10:00 that will help you navigate the general public transportation to get to town centre. 

While the tour itself is certainly free, they function solely in your suggestions. If you benefit from the tour, make sure to tip your information. How a lot you tip is completely as much as you, however I really feel like round 20-30 soles ($7-10) per particular person is truthful contemplating what you get out of it. 

2. Explore the Plaza de Armas

While you’ll stroll via the Plaza de Armas on the free tour, you don’t have an entire lot of time to take all of it in. As such, you’ll need to return there by yourself in some unspecified time in the future for additional exploration. 

Also often known as the Plaza Mayor, this was the birthplace of Lima when the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro based town in 1535. As per the order of King Charles I of Spain, town was centred on a square-shaped plaza. 

The Plaza de Armas is surrounded by essential historic and cultural landmarks, such because the Lima Cathedral and Government Palace. It’s a ravishing tree-lined plaza with a fountain in the center and an amazing spot to loosen up for some time.

The cathedral has a stunning exterior, however you’ll must go inside to actually respect it. It’s free to enter to a sure level, however you’ll want 10 soles (about $3) to go additional inside and see the museum full of non secular artwork. 

As for the Government Palace, it’s the official residence of the Peruvian president. Tours are free, however you’ll have to rearrange them forward of time by calling the workplace at +51-(0)1-311-3908. If you don’t get on a tour, not less than make sure to catch the every day altering of the guard ceremony at midday. Those who do the early free strolling tour will be capable of see it. 

For instructions to the Plaza de Armas, click here

explore lima's main plaza one of the top things to do in lima

3. Visit the Catacombs in San Francisco Church

One of the most well-liked (and eerie) issues to do in Lima is taking a tour of the catacombs beneath the San Francisco Church. This stunning Spanish Baroque church was constructed in the late 1600’s and might be the best-preserved in all of Lima. 

In addition to the church, there’s an adjoining monastery with a really spectacular assortment of historical spiritual texts. Most travellers don’t come right here to learn, although. They come to move underground to see the catacombs.

This was the unique cemetery in Lima, and it’s estimated that as much as 75,00Zero folks had been buried right here. Many of Lima’s rich elite selected to be buried right here because of the perception that doing so would depart them nearer to God. 

In an effort to make visiting the catacombs much less terrifying for guests, the bones have been organized in creative patterns. I nonetheless suppose it’s a bit creepy, nevertheless it’s an essential a part of town’s historical past and price a go to except you’re extremely claustrophobic. 

The Church of San Francisco is open every day from 9AM-5PM. The church is free to go to, however you’ll want to affix a tour to go to the catacombs for six soles ($2). You can get instructions to the church here

4. Tour the Aliaga House

Back when Pizarro based town in 1535, he gave a plot of land close to his palace to one among his trusted allies, Jerónimo de Aliaga. Aliaga constructed a mansion there, and it nonetheless stands to this very day. Obviously, there have been a number of renovations to the home through the years.

Not solely is the home as previous as Lima itself, nevertheless it’s the oldest home in the Americas to be repeatedly occupied by the identical household. His descendants nonetheless dwell on the property in a contemporary wing, and the mansion is now a museum. 

Inside of the home, you’ll see a really spectacular assortment of Peruvian artwork and artifacts. Visiting the Casa Aliaga is certainly one of many prime issues to do in Lima Peru. 

Tours of the home have to be organized not less than 24 hours in advance by calling +51-(0)1-619-6900 or sending an e-mail to They’re not low-cost (about $40 per particular person), however they’re effectively value it for those who’re in artwork and historical past. You can discover the Aliaga House on the map here.

5. Sample Peruvian Cuisine (one of many prime issues to do in Peru!)

I’ve stated it earlier than and I’ll say it once more — Peruvian delicacies is one of the best in all of South America. Your style buds are in for an actual deal with whenever you journey to the Peruvian capital! 

Thanks to its lengthy multicultural historical past, Peruvian delicacies has fused flavours from many corners of the globe utilizing native components. From the Spanish conquistadors to Chinese immigrants, there have been many various influences on Peruvian delicacies over the centuries.

Eating your means across the metropolis is a significant spotlight of a go to to Lima. If you’re undecided what to do in Lima, go sit down in an area restaurant and plan your day as you get pleasure from a unbelievable meal. 

Perhaps essentially the most well-known dish in Peru is ceviche. This dish of uncooked fish marinated in lime juice is so essential in Peru that it even acquired its personal vacation. That’s proper, Peru celebrates National Ceviche Day yearly on June 28th! Eating a contemporary plate of ceviche is certainly one of many tastiest issues to do in Lima. 

In addition to ceviche, different must-try dishes embrace lomo saltado (stir-fried beef with onions, tomatoes, and French fries), aji de gallina (a spicy hen stew), and Chifa (Peruvian-Chinese meals). 

peruvian food in lima

6. Take in the Views from San Cristobal Hill

If you’d wish to admire the Centro Historico from above, make sure to embrace a visit as much as San Cristobal Hill to your Lima itinerary. At 400 metres above sea stage, that is the very best pure level in town. 

The hill is revered as an apu – a mountain deity that protects town. As they tended to do, the Spanish conquistadors imposed their beliefs on the indigenous folks by planting a cross right here. People nonetheless make choices to the mountains, and an enormous pilgrimage of Christians happens right here throughout Semana Santa. 

While you could be tempted to hike up the hill, that’s ill-advised. This isn’t the most secure a part of Lima, so it’s not one of the best place to be strolling round by yourself. The finest option to rise up the hill is by catching the bus in the Plaza de Armas. It prices 10 soles ($3) round-trip and offers you adequate time to benefit from the views and take photographs. 

San Cristobal Hill is positioned simply northeast of the Plaza de Armas, on the opposite facet of the Rimac River. You can test its location on the map here

7. Hang Out in the Cat Park

If you’re a cat-lover, you then’ll positively need to take a look at Parque Kennedy whereas in Lima. While the park is definitely named after John F. Kennedy, many individuals merely confer with it because the Cat Park lately.

Nobody is sort of certain the place they got here from, however the park is dwelling to effectively over 100 stray cats. One frequent concept is that it began when just a few cats escaped from a church the place they had been getting used to catch mice. 

Lima Cat Park
Here kitty, kitty, kitty! | Photo by Sasha Savinov

However they acquired there, the well-known felines have made themselves fairly comfy in the park. While many residents despise them (some have even been poisoned), there’s fortunately an amazing non-profit right here that feeds the cats, spays and neuters them, and helps discover a dwelling for them. 

Parque Kennedy is positioned proper in the center of the Miraflores district of Lima, which is principally backpacker central. There are a number of hostels across the park, making this a very fashionable place to remain. You can discover the precise location of the park here

8. Stroll or Bike Along the Malecon

Lima is named the Garden City, and that’s thanks in giant half to the attractive, cliffside Malecon. It stretches for a number of kilometers excessive above the Pacific Ocean in Miraflores and comprises a number of completely different parks.

Taking a stroll or using a motorcycle alongside the Malecon is well one of the vital enjoyable issues to do in Lima. The views of Lima’s Costa Verde (Green Coast) off to the facet are unbelievable, and there’s so much to see and do alongside the way in which.

One of the highlights of strolling the Malecon is the Parque del Amor (Park of Love). Here you’ll discover the large sculpture referred to as El Beso (The Kiss), which depicts the artist smooching his spouse. You’ll additionally discover many younger Peruvian {couples} re-enacting the scene themselves. 

There are bikes for lease alongside the Malecon close to the Larcomar mall, however these are far dearer than outlets in city. Instead, head to Lima Bike Rentals and Tours. They cost a extra affordable $9 for Three hours, $11 for 4, or $15 for a full day. You can discover them on the map here

9. Go Paragliding

For adrenaline junkies questioning what to do in Lima, the selection is straightforward — go paragliding! Thanks to the tall cliffs and robust winds that prevail in Lima, that is the proper spot for it. 

Just north of the aforementioned Park of Love, you possibly can join a fast flight above the Malecon and the Pacific Ocean. It’s arduous to beat the views from this vantage level, that’s for certain!

You don’t want to enroll in paragliding in advance. Just present up, pay the price (about $75 per particular person), and signal all the required paperwork. You’ll additionally get the video and photographs from the flight so you possibly can exhibit on social media later.

While it’s very secure, be sure you’ve acquired travel insurance earlier than leaping off a cliff in Peru! 

10. Beach Hopping and Surfing

While they aren’t precisely the nicest seashores in the world, it’s nonetheless enjoyable to hit la playa whenever you’re travelling in Lima. Doing so is sort of simple, as all you’ll want to do is stroll down the steps from the Malecon to entry Playa Waikiki. 

The shores are rocky and the water could be downright frigid, however that doesn’t cease folks from pulling up a lounge chair, cracking a cervesa, and having fun with the views of the ocean. Lima’s seashores are all the time bustling in the course of the busy summer time months of December-April. 

For those that want a bit extra pleasure than a seashore chair, browsing is among the hottest issues to do in Lima Peru. While you’ll must journey 1-2 hours outdoors of town to search out the actually good seashores and killer waves, the seashores in Miraflores and Barranco must do for those who’re brief on time. 

You can discover boards for lease and join courses in Miraflores at Pukana Surf School. They have courses 365 days a yr each two hours from 6AM-4PM. Group classes begin at simply $20. If you simply want a board and a wetsuit, it’s $10/hour to lease each. Check them out on the map here

11. Shop and Dine at Larcomar

Normally, I wouldn’t dare put a shopping center in a journey information. Just ask my spouse, and she or he’ll be fast to let you know how a lot I detest going to malls. That being stated, the Larcomar mall is fairly freaking cool and deserves its spot on this record of issues to do in Lima.

Their declare to fame is being the one shopping center constructed right into a cliff. How cool is that?! Thanks to this unconventional location, there are some unbelievable views from this open-air mall. 

Inside Larcomar, you’ll discover 17 eating places and over 70 outlets, so there’s lots to do right here to maintain you occupied. When we stayed in Lima in December, I even acquired my image taken with Papa Noel (Santa Claus) right here!

When you’re out exploring the Malecon, it’s positively value it to drop by Larcomar simply to test the place out. It’s a fast stroll right here from the centre of Miraflores. It’s open from 10AM-10PM day-after-day and could be discovered here

larcomar mall in lima peru

12. Ancient Ruins in the Modern City

While an increasing number of high-rises are going up in Lima, town nonetheless does an amazing job of preserving its previous. There’s no higher instance of that than the traditional ruins of Huaca Pucllana, that are positioned proper in the center of Miraflores.

Constructed again in the fifth century in the course of the time of a civilization often known as the Lima Culture, Huaca Pucllana is a sacred, 7-tiered temple manufactured from adobe. It was constructed for the elite clergymen who had been in cost to point out their authority and management over the pure sources of the realm.

A go to to Huaca Pucllana solely prices 6 soles ($2) and features a guided tour, which run fairly often in each Spanish and English. It’s not going to knock your socks off like Machu Picchu, nevertheless it’s a great warm-up for these headed on to the traditional metropolis of the Incas. 

The ruins are open from Wednesday to Monday from 9AM to 5PM. You’ll need to get there by 4:15 or so to be sure you get on a tour. Another possibility is visiting at night time to eat on the restaurant on web site. The temple is lit up, making for a really particular eating expertise. You can discover instructions to Huaca Pucllana here

13. Check Out the Larco Museum

If you don’t know what to do in Lima on a foggy, drizzly day (there are numerous of them), simply head to the Larco Museum. Housed in a former mansion and stuffed with hundreds of pre-Columbian artifacts, that is positively essentially the most spectacular museum in town.

There are some things in regards to the Larco Museum that make it stand out. For one, it was one of many first museums in the world to really open up its retailer rooms. You can peruse tens of hundreds of historical ceramics that aren’t on show in the museum.

What most individuals know the Larco Museum for, although, is its huge assortment of erotic ceramic artwork. The Spanish had been aghast after they discovered it, however you’ll in all probability simply giggle at seeing the Kama Sutra in clay.

The Larco Museum is open day-after-day of the yr from 9AM to 10PM. An entrance ticket prices 30 soles ($10), and you may as well join guided excursions in Spanish or English. Get instructions by heading here

14. Study Spanish

Many travellers start an prolonged journey round South America in Lima, as town has nice flight choices from North America and Europe. If you’re going to be spending a while in this a part of the world, it’s effectively value taking the time to select up some español. 

While it’s completely doable to get by in Peru with simply English and physique language, you’ll have a way more pleasing and rewarding expertise for those who can work together with folks in Spanish. Thankfully, you’ve acquired a number of selections for Spanish classes in the Peruvian capital.

A majority of the Spanish faculties are centred round Miraflores, which is handy because it’s additionally the most important vacationer hub. You can join something from just a few hours of personal classes as much as intensive group courses that meet 5 days per week for a month or extra. If you need to keep in Peru longer, signing up for Spanish classes is one of the best and best option to deal with the visa state of affairs.

I can personally suggest El Tulipan, as I took courses there for just a few weeks throughout our month-long keep in Lima. It’s solely 165 soles (about $50) for six hours of small group classes per week, which leaves you loads of time to discover town. Contact them in advance or simply drop in to speak to them about signing up.

15. Search for Street Art

I don’t find out about you, however I completely love in search of out road artwork once I journey. Museums are nice and all, nevertheless it’s good to get your artwork repair outdoors of a stuffy room with uppity guards following you round.

Street artwork lovers are in for an actual deal with in the Peruvian capital. Since it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and all, the native authorities positively frowns upon graffiti in the historic centre. That being stated, there are some hidden gems for those who poke round for some time there and get away from the Plaza de Armas and all its protected landmarks.

Lima Street Art
So a lot cool road artwork in Lima! | Photo by Sasha Savinov

Without a doubt, one of the best place to seek for road artwork in Lima is Barranco. How handy it’s, then, that Barranco simply so occurs to be the subsequent merchandise up on our record of one of the best issues to do in Lima!

16. Visit Barranco – Lima’s Hippest ‘Hood

Long a favorite of Lima’s creative neighborhood, Barranco is gaining floor amongst travellers as a preferred various to its extra fashionable and upscale neighbor of Miraflores. Even for those who don’t keep there, it’s best to positively take a while to go discover this bohemian enclave.

Barranco was initially constructed up as a seashore vacation spot for well-to-do Limeños, a reality that’s made evident by the quite a few palm timber that line the streets together with pastel-colored mansions. These days, it attracts in curious travellers in search of a extra laid-back, artsy vibe. 

There’s lots to see and do in Barranco to maintain you busy for some time. In addition to all the road artwork, the scenic plaza, and the gorgeous structure, the realm is dwelling to loads of distinctive outlets, eating places, cafes, and bars. Plus, for those who’re a Digital Nomad planning to get caught up on work whereas in town, there are some superior co-working spaces in this neighbourhood.

Also, be sure you participate in the native legend by holding your breath as you cross the Puente de los Suspiros (Bridge of Sighs). Make a want and make it throughout the bridge efficiently, and it’ll come true!

While Barranco is straightforward sufficient to go to by yourself, I like to recommend signing up for the every day free walking tour as an alternative. They run at each 11AM and 4PM, so take your decide. 

17. Drink Pisco Sours

You know that previous saying “When in Rome…”? Well, in Rome you drink wine, and in Lima you drink pisco. This high-proof spirit is made by distilling fermented grape juice, and it’s positively the booze of alternative in Peru.

Seeing because the well-known cocktail truly originated right here, one of many prime issues to do in Lima is certainly making an attempt a Pisco Sour (or three). This wonderful drink is made by mixing pisco with lime juice, easy syrup, egg white, ice, and Angostura bitters. 

Peru loves Pisco Sours a lot that they’ve a nationwide vacation for them! The first Saturday of February is widely known as Día del Pisco Sour. Salud!

I used to be a bit hesitant due to the egg white, however let me let you know one thing – after just a few sips, this grew to become my new favorite cocktail. It actually is a nice beverage, particularly when paired with a pleasant plate of ceviche. Forget wine and cheese, I’d a lot reasonably go together with Pisco Sours and ceviche.

drinking pisco sours is one of the best things to do in lima

18. Learn About Peruvian History

While you’re in the capital metropolis of Peru, you may as effectively be taught one thing in regards to the nation’s historical past. There’s no higher place to try this than town’s Natural History Museum. 

Just final yr, the Natural History Museum of Lima celebrated its 100th anniversary. There are a number of completely different exhibitions right here, with a number of the highlights together with the skeleton of a sperm whale and fossils of large floor sloths. 

One wonderful thing about this museum is that they’re open day-after-day of the week, simply with completely different hours. It’s open from Monday to Friday from 9 AM-5:15 PM, 9-4:30 on Saturday, and 10-4:30 on Sunday. You can discover it on the map here

There are a number of different nice museums value testing to be taught a bit in regards to the historical past of Peru. You can even go to the National Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology and History and the Museum of the Nation, for instance. 

19. See the Magic Water Circuit

Without a doubt, one of many coolest issues to do in Lima Peru is seeing the Magic Water Circuit in the night. It actually is a magical present, with a number of fountains, music, and loads of laser lights.

Located contained in the Parque de la Reserva, this truly made it into the Guinness Book of World Records as the biggest water fountain advanced. There are 13 completely different fountains which can be all illuminated at night time, making for fairly the spectacle.

While it’s enjoyable simply wandering the park and testing all of the fountains, you’ll need to make certain to time your go to to see the particular present with Peruvian folks music. The present occasions are 07:15, 08:15, and 09.30 PM. 

The park is correct subsequent to the National Stadium and is accessible by the Metropolitano bus. You can discover it on the map and get instructions here. The Magic Water Circuit is open from Wednesday to Sunday from 3-11 PM and entrance tickets price Four soles (about $1.25). 

things to do in lima peru visit the water circuit

20. Dance All Night

People in Lima positively know the best way to have a great time. No matter what night time of the week it’s, there’s one thing enjoyable occurring in this bustling metropolis of 10 million. Indulging in the nightlife a should when travelling to the Peruvian capital.

There’s one thing for everybody in terms of nightlife in Lima. You can discover craft breweries, dive bars, elegant cocktail joints, music venues, fashionable golf equipment, and extra. To actually expertise an evening out in Lima the native means, although, you’ll need to discover one of many metropolis’s peñas.

Peñas are small, typically hidden bars the place the social gathering revolves round Peruvian criollo music, a lot of dancing, and loads of Pisco. It doesn’t even need to be in an precise bar, as a few of them function out of individuals’s residing rooms. These are the sorts of locations the place the tables get pushed out-of-the-way after just a few songs so that everybody can bust a transfer. 

For the uninitiated, these could be arduous to search out and maybe a bit awkward to attempt to attend. Your finest wager is heading to Don Porfirio in Barranco, which is barely open on Friday nights. You’ll have to attend in line and pay a canopy cost of 25 soles ($8), nevertheless it features a Pisco Sour and is effectively value it! Find Don Porfirio on the map here

21. Take a Day Trip

Once you’ve gotten your fill of all of the superior issues to do in Lima, it’s time to got down to see extra of this wonderful nation. Rather than fly straight to Cusco on your Machu Picchu journey, why not take it gradual and expertise a number of the surrounding areas of Lima?

A number of of the close by must-visit spots embrace the ruins of Pachacamac (1 hour away), Palomino Islands (positioned simply off the coast at Callao), the fishing village of Pucusana (1 hour’ish away) and the seashore vacation spot of Punta Negra (1 hour away). 

There are many extra sights which can be a bit additional away, nevertheless it’s finest to go to them and spend the night time, reasonably than making an attempt to do a day journey from Lima. 

Ready For Lima Peru?!

While many skip out on Lima in favour of heading straight to Cusco, hopefully by now you possibly can see that town is value not less than just a few days in your journey to Peru. With a strong recreation plan and a little bit of motivation, you possibly can cross off loads of these nice issues to do in Lima in only a weekend.

Just take into consideration the variety of actions on supply in the City of Kings. In at some point, you possibly can go to historical ruins, go paragliding above the ocean, see a magic water fountain present, eat a number of the finest meals you’ve ever had, wash all of it down with just a few Pisco Sours, and dance till the wee hours of the morning. Welcome to Lima, amigos.

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