31 Best Things To Do In Lima, Peru in 2024 [By a Local!]

George Alvarez
Written By:
George Alvarez
Last Updated:
January 3, 2024
Looking for the best things to do in Lima, Peru? During your time in this amazing city, you can explore markets, relax on beaches, or visit the catacombs!
best things to do in Lima
This guide is written by George Alvarez, our resident Peru specialist! After traveling most of Central and South America, he settled in Lima and has made it his task to discover everything this breathtaking country has to offer and share his experiences. Learn more about George here.

The bustling capital of Lima is slowly growing in popularity, and it’s not hard to see why.

As the fifth biggest city in all of Latin America, it’s naturally going to have a lot of gems going for it!

Most who head to Peru tend to skip Lima and head straight onto other popular destinations like Cusco or Iquitos. 

However this is a big mistake, since this city has so much going for it, and not to mention some of the tastiest cuisine in the Western Hemisphere too.

In this mammoth guide to Lima, we’ll explore everything you’ll need to know about the Peruvian capital. 

This includes the best time to visit, what to see and do, how to get there as well as my top recommendations for the best things to do in Lima.

Not only is lima the capital, but it's undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in Peru so let’s get started!

Note: Some posts may contain affiliate links. Read more in our Privacy Policy. Learn more about how we create and update content in our Publishing Guidelines.

Getting to Know Lima

Why Visit Lima?

Why visit Lima

This vibrant city is full of unique gems, with most of them still unheard of by visiting tourists.

With the laid back areas of Miraflores and Barranco, its wild beaches along the Costa Verde, and also some awesome museums in the centre, there’s really something for everyone here.

The capital of Peru also has many must-visit spots too, such as the San Francisco Catacombs, and the Plaza de Armas (where the current president resides).

Once you’re done trying the whole feast of amazing dishes on offer here, you’ll then want to get out and explore the surrounding region. 

There are some truly incredible destinations close-by which can easily be done as day trips.

You can go Sandboarding in Huacachina, wildlife spotting in Paracas and also hiking in the stunning mountains of Marachuasi.

As you can see, this incredible city has a lot to offer making it a must for any South America itinerary!

How to get to Lima

How to get to Lima


The Jorge Chávez International Airport is one of the best connecting hubs in Latin America, and is the easiest way to arrive into Lima (and Peru as a whole). 

If coming from Europe, then you’ll find most flights will connect via Madrid, with a direct, one-way trip costing roughly $500. 

Cancún is the best airport to fly from in North America, with a flight costing around $200.


Of course there is also the option of a bus, which I still recommend anyhow. 

This is best for those already in Peru, in neighbouring countries, or for those looking to save money. A good website to use for buses in Peru is Redbus.

However if you’ve recently crossed into Peru via the land borders of Ecuador or Bolivia in South America, then you’ll probably want to fly, given Lima is located right in the middle of the country (taking a good 24 hour bus ride from each land border!).

Getting around Lima

Getting around Lima

Although Lima is a pretty huge city, there are a variety of options to get around with ease. 

The most popular method is by using apps like Uber or InDriver, both of which are safer, and probably cheaper than a traditional taxi.

The local colectivos also connect all areas up well (since locals are always coming to and from work across the city). 

When heading into the Lima region, The main terminals you’ll be using are either La Victoria (in Central Lima), or the Terminal Norte (North Lima).

Where to Stay in Lima?

Where to Stay in Lima

As one of the biggest cities in Latin America, it can be quite overwhelming to even begin to decide where to stay! 

  • Miraflores -  The overall best district for those looking for a safe and bustling area is Miraflores, which is more developed. 
  • Centro Histórico - For those looking to be close to the main sites, as well as have good nightlife, then the Centro Histórico is your best bet. 
  • Barranco - Lastly, for those looking for a more chill place with the beach near, then Barranco is where you’ll want to go. 

My choice for the top budget option is M&M, which is located in Barranco. Providing cheap private rooms, this accommodation is also located in the heart of Barranco, just a short walk from the main plaza as well as the beach. 

For those looking to hit the sweet spot in-between cheap and costly, then you’ll want to go for the Selina Posada. Located in the heart of Miraflores, this hotel provides quality rooms, and you’ll also have entry to the adjacent hostel (there’s two Selina’s on the same street) where there’s lots of activities on daily. 

When it comes to comfort and luxury, then you’ll want to stay at the Hotel Diamond Lima. Just a couple of blocks from the Plaza de Armas, this hotel is located in a perfect location, close to all of the top sites of Lima. 

31 Best Things to do in Lima, Peru

1. Stroll around the Plaza de Armas

Taking a walk though the Plaza de Armas is one of the best things to do in Lima, Peru

The main plaza of Lima is the most important of all, and is a great place to kick off this best things to do list in the Peruvian capital. 

Also known as the Plaza Mayor, it was the birthplace of Lima, where Don Francisco Pizarro made the infamous announcement way back in 1535. 

This beautiful square, along with its perfectly shaped gardens, easily ranks as one of the most picturesque areas in the capital. 

There are many important buildings located around its rim, including the imposing Metropolitan Cathedral of Lima as well as the Municipal Palace. The Government Palace is also located here, which serves as the residence of the current president of Peru. 

The Plaza de Armas is located right in the heart of the Historic Centre, and the easiest way there is by walking along Carabaya Street (which is one of four avenues that intersect the square).

If you have the time, we really recommend heading on this city walking tour where you can not only learn more about the Plaza de Armas, but see many of the other gems in the historic centre.

2. Dive into the San Francisco Catacombs

Spooky San Francisco Catacombs in Lima

For those looking for a truly memorable (and somewhat creepy) experience, then this is one of the best places to visit in Lima, Peru!

These catacombs are located right underneath the San Francisco Convent, and are an amazing network of passages where skeletal remains have been laid. 

It’s reported that as many as 25,000 humans have been buried here! 

Once on the tour, you’ll enter into the catacombs, and start to weave through the underground hallways. 

There are many bones and skulls on display, so you’ll be able to get a pretty good idea of the sheer scale of it all. 

Speaking of which, these catacombs are actually the second largest in the world, after those in Paris

The San Francisco Catacombs are located within the Centro Histórico, just a few blocks east of the Plaza de Armas. 

It’s currently open daily, from 9:30am until 5:30pm. Just be sure to bring a jacket with you, since it can get somewhat cold down there (not to mention for any other chills too!).

This guided tour is great as you’ll have ample time to explore the Catacombs, as well as see some other notable sites in Lima.

3. Hike Marcahuasi

Breathtaking views atop Marachuasi

As far as natural sceneries go, Marcahuasi is home to some of the most incredible mountain formations within touching distance of Lima. 

A small plateau in the Andean mountains, these series of granite rocks are truly something to behold. 

Once you’ve hiked up to the peak, you’ll see many bizarre natural shapes that resemble anything from humans heads to different animals. And even more surprisingly, these are all naturally formed by erosion and other processes, unlike the usual idea that these were carved out by hand. 

Marcahuasi is also a popular place to camp, and once you’ve reached the 4000m+ peak, you can then set up your tent for the night. 

Here you’ll be able to see some truly incredible sunrise and sunsets, so trust me when I say you’ll have an unforgettable experience. 

Getting to Marcahuasi isn’t the easiest task, however this is always the case with the very best gems! 

Roughly 60km east of Lima, you’ll first need to take a bus from the Centro Histórico to Chosica, and then a colectivo (shared minibus) to the remote, mountainous town of San Pedro de Casta. 

From here you can start the hike up, which usually takes a few hours. Just make sure to take your time, since altitude effects will begin to come into play here.

Alternatively, you can head here with this fantastic tour, which is great as it takes out the guesswork of getting to Marcahuasi, and also includes a nice breakfast too!

4. Chill out in Barranco’s Centre

One of the awesome things to do in Lima is chilling out in Barranco's Centre

If after a while you feel the need to get out of the more congested parts of Lima, then the district of Barranco is where you’ll want to go. 

Almost like a town of its own, this district is perfect for walking around with many plazas and cute cobblestone streets lining the district. 

The Municipal Park is one of these, which is often regarded as “the most romantic park in Lima” with its beautiful fountains and charming atmosphere. 

From here you can then walk west along the Bajada de Baños, passing the picturesque Iglesia de la Santisima Cruz.

This is one of the most touristy parts of Barranco, but it’s still pretty relaxed, and usually has jazz players filling the air with their sweet, serenading songs. 

If you’re not too sure what else to do in Barranco, then this walking tour is great as they’ll also show you some secret gems, including some very artistic streets perfect for a photo shoot.

5. Relax on the Costa Verde Beaches

Costa Verde Beaches

The Costa Verde stretches for a good 20km, linking Lima to the Pacific Ocean all along the way. 

You’ll find many scenic spots perfect for a shot (such as La Punta, which we’ll cover later in this guide), and also many different beaches to hit the hay on. 

I would say the best beaches are those in Miraflores and Barranco. In Miraflores, you’ll have the giant rolling hills behind you, which makes for a perfect Insta shot. If you're looking to get the perfect photo then we've got some awesome photography tips if you're interested...

In Barranco it’s much more laidback, which is perfect for those who want some beach time without the crowds. 

The best time to visit these beaches would be in the summer, from December until February (when temperatures are at their hottest).

So, if you're wondering what to do in Lima then make sure you allow some time to just relax!

6. Explore Paracas

Incredible Ballestas Islands in Paracas

Paracas is one of the best coastal destinations you can visit in Peru. 

Despite this town being located further south than Lima, it’s actually much warmer due to its desert climate, and as such the beaches here are better for chilling out and bronzing up. 

However, the real reason Paracas is so popular is because it serves as the gateway to the Ballestas Islands

Known as “the poor man’s Galapagos Islands”, here you can head out on a boat tour and see lots of cool wildlife such as penguins, sea lions and endless rows of birds flying through the sky. 

Paracas is also a popular place to do water sports like Paragliding.

We recommend heading on this full-day day tour, where you’ll see the stunning islands, and also do some fun activities in Huacachina too.

Here's some more information on the best things to do in Paracas...

7. Step through time in the Larco Museum

Interesting Incan Artifacts on display at the Larco Museum in Lima

Peru has a really colourful and proud history, with many of its unique civilisations inhabiting everywhere from the low-lying coast to the dense jungles and soaring Andes.

With rare artefacts dating back as far as 5000 years ago, the Larco Museum also features many lesser known collections such as pieces from the Chimu, Nazca and Huari tribes. 

Here you’ll be able to enter several different rooms and see large collections of gold, statues, ceramics and garments. 

It’s also home to a pretty vivid display of pre-Columbian erotic pottery too, giving a bigger insight into how sexuality was viewed and represented in ancient times. 

The Larco Museum is located within the Pueblo Libre district, and is open daily from 10:00am until 7:00pm.

It's one of the most popular tourist attractions so make sure you don't leave this place off your itinerary!

8. Head on a Free Walking Tour with Selina

Barranco area in Lima

As I always say, locals really do know best. 

This is one of the main reasons to take advantage of free walking tours wherever you visit, especially as you don't have to pay! 

Selina, a hostel in Miraflores, organises a free walking tour through the bohemian district of Barranco. 

You don’t even need to be a guest to sign up, and you’ll have an expert guide with you to show you some of the most picturesque sights in the area. 

Barranco is notable for its abundance of street art, cute plazas and coastal views, in case you needed any further convincing! 

And after all is done, you can head back to Selina to throw down some Piscos with your new pals, given the bar there can get pretty heated at times. 

The Selina Hostel is located along Calle Alcanfores, which is in the heart of Miraflores. 

9. Take in the views of La Punta

La Punta, Lima

Located in the district of Callao in Northern Lima (close to where the airport is), La Punta is a wealthy area which is located on the coast. 

It has a distinct vibe from the rest of the city, and feels much more authentic and “Peruvian” than say Miraflores or Barranco. 

Here you can walk along the rocky coast, and take pictures of the many birds and pelicans that hang out in different spots along the malecón. 

I highly recommend coming in the evening, where if you’re lucky, the clouds may break to reveal the sunset in possibly one of the most picturesque locations of Lima. 

As well as walking around and admiring the old colonial architecture, you can also visit the Castle of Real Felipe, which was the last withstanding Spanish stronghold in the entire of South America! 

It’s important to mention that whilst this area is nice, Callao in general is pretty unsafe and not great for walking around. 

For this reason it's best to take an Uber directly to La Punta, to avoid the hassle of changing buses here.

10. Drink Pisco

Pisco cocktail

Once you’re done wandering around and exploring for the day, it’s time to let loose and enjoy the vibrant nightlife scene of Lima. 

When heading out and about, you’ll find a range of bars and venues serving everything from craft beers to cocktails. 

However the very best here in Lima is the Pisco. Peru’s National drink, Pisco is a spirit that you absolutely must try. 

You can find it in most places, and the Pisco Sour (one of the many mixed varieties) is one of the tastiest you can try, coming in different flavours such as Lemon (the classic), strawberry and even maracuya. Here’s a comprehensive guide to finding the best Pisco bars in Lima.

One of the best places to try Pisco is in the swanky Gran Hotel Bolivar in the Centro Histórico. For a more economical option, head to La Posada del Mirador in Barranco (one of my favourites).

You can also head on this fun Pisco tour, where you’ll tour the best holes in downtown Lima, trying the best varieties around!

The spirit has got quite a kick to it (another way of saying high alcohol content), so don’t blame me for what happens after you’ve had a few…

11. Pet Cats in Parque Kennedy

Cats in Kennedy Park

Having just downed a few Pisco’s, this one probably isn’t the best to follow on this list, yet each to their own! 

Parque Kennedy is one of the most bustling areas in the Miraflores district, and is perfect for a relaxing time-out when the urban sprawl becomes a bit too much. 

The other reason you should visit? For the cats!

Walking around the park, you’ll notice many local residents of the feline community living here, going about their business and accepting pats as they please. 

Sometimes it’s the simple things in life that we need, so if you’re bored (or have lost your mind) then come here and pet some cats. 

Since there’s so many of them (I think I’ve seen a good 40 one time just walking through the park), there’s now a dedicated team who come daily to feed them.

If you're a cat lover, then this place is a must if you're wondering what to do in Lima, Peru.

12. Visit the Lomas de Lúcumo

Despite Lomas de Lúcumo’s lesser known status, it's a real gem worth visiting when in the capital.

Located 35km south of Lima, in the district of Pachacámac, this landscape is dominated by bright green rolling hills. 

It’s perfect for hiking, with thin trails that weave in and out of the biome. 

With a size of around 150 hectares, there’s a chance to spot some rare wildlife too, with vizcachas and falcons roaming around. If you’re lucky you may even see the rare and exotic Turtupilín bird too. 

Walking around the Lomas de Lúcumo, you’ll also see many sinkholes, bizarre rock formations, some great mirador lookouts and even ancient cave paintings too! 

The easiest way to get here is with an organised tour such as this one, where you’ll not only visit the hills and best sites, but will also enjoy some rappelling too.

13. Explore the ruins of Huaca Pucllana

Huaca Pucllana

Peru is full of sprawling ruins!

From the legendary citadel of Machu Picchu, to adobe fortresses such as Chan Chan, this country easily ranks as one of the top in Latin America for its ancient complexes.

Whilst most are remotely located, you’ll be surprised to know that Lima has one of its own, and it may be around the corner from where you’re staying… 

Located in the heart of Miraflores, you can actually walk to Huaca Pucllana without much hassle, and it's a worthy site to visit. 

Built around A.D. 500 by the Lima civilisation, this structure was where the elite lived, and during excavation numerous tombs with mummies were found depicting great wealth. 

It’s located around 8 blocks north of the Parque Kennedy, and is open from 9:00am until 4:00pm most days of the week (apart from Tuesdays and Thursdays when it’s closed).

For those looking for a truly memorable experience, then this awesome tour, which includes dining right next to the ancient pyramids, is a must! As well as breathing in the sights, you’ll also enjoy a three course meal along with pisco sours included.

14. Hike up to Morro Solar

Spectacular view of Lima Skyline from Morro Solar

If you’ve ever walked along the coast in Miraflores, or driven along the Costanera, you may have noticed a giant cross on top of a hill in the distance (especially when it’s illuminated at night). 

That small mountain is called Morro Solar, which, in my opinion, is the best lookout point in all of Lima. 

Once you’ve hiked up to the top, you can breathe in the awesome views of Lima from the south, and also see how far the rolling sandy hills extend the other way (they’re very popular among mountain bikers, with many trails already marked). 

As well as getting your snap with the cross, you can also visit the Planetarium, which is a small dome that has a really awesome 360° view of the charted night skies (planets and all). 

There’s also a remote beach on the south side too, perfect for those looking for a quieter, relaxed time. 

To get to Morro Solar, you can either take a taxi or bus into the district of Chorrillos, and then begin the hike up (whilst you can take a taxi to the top, they’re notable for hiking up prices - so it’s up to you). 

From Miraflores it takes around half an hour, and a taxi shouldn’t cost more than 20 Soles one-way.

There are plenty of cheap things to do in Lima, but this place offers one of the most spectacular views!

15. Eat like a Local in Miraflores

As we’ve already touched upon, Lima is full of great dishes. 

Most travellers who head here, however, only ever head to the usual “safe” restaurants or worse, eat takeaways like Burger King and Pizza Hut daily (okay I’m also guilty of this at times too). 

Whilst heading on an organised food tour is a great introduction into the food scene here, you can go a step further and venture forth into the local eat-outs for a truly authentic experience. 

In Miraflores, there’s a street called Calle de los Pinos, and here there are three small diners back-to-back (right next to the Parque Kennedy). 

Here they serve many local favourites such as Ceviche, Papa Rellena, Lomo Saltado, Papa a la Huancaina and Tamales

As well as serving a range of these tasty dishes, they’re all pretty cheap too, with the executive menus (menu ejecutivo in Spanish, which includes a starter, main and drink) costing just 13 Soles. An absolute bargain if you ask me!

If you're after some more inspiration then here's a guide to the best restaurants in Miraflores...

16. Visit Caral

Caral, Lima

Over 5000 years old, the legendary town of Caral is in fact the oldest city of any civilisation in the entire of the Americas! 

Even though it’s a must-visit when in Lima, many still haven’t heard of it, so now is the time to go before the crowded buses start appearing. 

Roughly 180km north of Lima, Caral was the first city founded by the Caral civilisation, which developed between 3000-1800 BC. 

Here you can find many crumbling ancient structures such as pyramids, plazas, buildings and an amphitheatre. 

Even early human remains have been found in Caral, which led many scientists to believe that human sacrificial rituals were commonplace here. 

Only discovered as recently as 1948, excavation has since taken place, and Caral has now rightfully been declared as a Humanity Cultural Heritage site by UNESCO. 

The best way to visit and explore Caral is by tour, and this guided day trip is the best since you’ll be accompanied by a knowledgeable guide, as well as have all logistics to and from sorted for you.

17. Enjoy the Nightlife of Calle de las Pizzas

Like most major Latin American cities, Lima has a thriving nightlife scene, full of pretty much everything you could possibly want. 

The best place to kick off a night is in the Calle de las Pizzas (yep that’s right - “Pizza street” in English). 

Here you’ll find a variety of different bars and restaurants, which cater to most tastes. 

Some of my top recommendations include Strega Rooftop for some tapas and food, as well as Atrio Restobar for getting those first drinks in. 

After a few, you can then head to Son de Cuba where they play everything from contemporary styles to Latin and Salsa. 

Whilst there’s almost always something on (best to come after 8:00pm when things start to get moving), Friday and Saturday nights are by the far the liveliest and most popular nights to head out to Calle de las Pizzas. 

It’s located right next to the Parque Kennedy in Miraflores, and if you’re looking for bigger nightclubs after, you’ll need to head further north into Lima’s centre.

18. Walk along Puente de los Suspiros

Puente de los Suspiros
Source: Wikipedia via Ivan Brehaut L.

Built way back in 1876, this picturesque bridge is one of the most beautiful sights you can visit in Barranco. 

Connecting over the cute cobblestone street bound for the Pacific Ocean, Puente de los Suspiros (translated as the Bridge of Sighs) is a very popular place to visit in this area of Lima, and is frequented by poets and writers looking to get their next dash of inspiration (I’ll admit I’ve not been there that much yet though…). 

The legend goes that a rich young woman fell in love with a street sweeper, yet her father forbade her to ever see him again. 

She once sighed from her window so loud that people on the bridge could hear it. 

Whether or not you believe this tale, you can’t deny the beauty of it. 

This attractive bridge has a classic, red-stained design that really stands out amongst all of the yellow washed buildings that are dotted throughout the area. 

Be sure to jump on this small-group tour, where you’ll have plenty of time here, and get that perfect shot of the bridge. You’ll also visit other popular sights in the neighbouring districts of Miraflores and San Isidro.

19. Go Salsa Dancing

salsa dancing in Lima

Whilst not as spicy as the salsa scenes in Colombia or Cuba, Lima is still very much a Latin city, and as such you can find many good spots for strutting the night away. 

For those who have little experience or need a refresher through the basic steps, the Selina Hostel in Miraflores holds salsa lessons every Sunday, and is a great way to get into the swing of things. 

Have a couple of drinks and loosen up, and after you can head to some popular salsa clubs.

As already mentioned in this article, Calle de las Pizzas has some good spots and we recommend heading to Son de Cuba (the name kind of gives it away already). 

For those looking to go bigger, then be sure to head to the Casa de la Salsa in the district of La Victoria, which has live performances weekly.

20. Architectural Spotting in the Historic Centre

Lima Historic Centre

Of all the places you can visit in Lima, the Centro Histórico is by far the best for seeing classy, colonial architecture. 

One of the best sites to start off this mini-tour has to be the Palacio de Torre Tagla, which is a beautiful mansion with carved balconies and a giant wooden door. 

It currently serves as the headquarters for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Peru. 

From here you can then visit The Monastery of San Francisco, which is famous for its eerie catacombs, and also many interesting gems like its library and courtyard. 

You can then stop off at The Archbishops Palace, before arriving at our final stop in the Plaza de Armas. 

Here there are a few notable buildings including the Cathedral of Lima, as well as the Casa de Aliaga - one of the oldest mansions of the city (dating as far back as the 16th Century).

If you’re still tired from some of the demanding hikes, then you can also head on this relaxed tour. As well as having private transportation sorted for you, you’ll also save plenty of time too.

If you're looking for free things to do in Lima, then you can simply wander around and admire these architectural masterpieces from outside!

21. Bike along the Cliffs of the Costa Verde

 Costa Verde, Lima

One of the most picturesque, natural places to visit within Lima are its rolling coastal hills, which usually feature on most postcards. 

Whilst you can get a good glimpse of them on the beachfront, one of my favourite ways to see them is by bike, and I highly recommend for you to try it out too. 

There are many different companies you can rent a bike from here, and there’s also self-service “pay to use” stations where you can simply pick a bike up and go (such as City Bike Lima).

The best place to start is next to the Parque Salazar, which overlooks the beach down below. 

From here you can then choose where you want to cycle. You can head south towards Barranco and visit some of its best sights, or north through San Isidro, and even as far as Callao if you’re feeling up for a challenge. 

They’ve even made special bike lanes too, which makes it all the more safer when riding along here (which is pretty useful given that Lima isn’t exactly known for its great driving etiquette nor pedestrian courtesy).

You can also head on an organised bike tour, which is great fun as you’ll stop off along the different monuments and witness the best panoramic sights on the Costa Verde.

22. Eat Top Peruvian Cuisine at Central 

Whilst we’ve already covered some different ways of exploring Peru’s diverse food scene, here’s a more upscale way of digging your teeth in. 

Central is one of Lima’s most exclusive restaurants, and it really is a memorable experience rather than just eating good food. 

Ran by head chef and owner Virgilio Martínez Véliz, Central is best described as a fusion restaurant, where you can try many of his food creations that represent the varying altitudes of Peru. 

From seafood delights to foods of the Andes, here you’ll be able to try it all. 

The most popular menu includes 12 different dishes, which Virgilio designed himself using rare and exotic ingredients he found from his own travels throughout Peru. 

Whilst it’s quite pricey - around $200 for one person - it truly is an incredible experience, and if you have the funds I absolutely recommend going for it (not to mention the tasty desserts included too).

Central restaurant is located within the popular district of Barranco.

23. Sandboarding in Huacachina

Enchanting sand dunes in Huacachina

One of the most popular activities on this list, sandboarding is an absolute must when exploring the country.

It's undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Peru and I've got the perfect location for it...

Huacachina is a town located around 300km south of Lima, in the arid desert region of Ica. 

Known as the “Oasis Town” of Peru, it’s surrounded by huge dunes on all sides, and is the perfect place to go sandboarding. 

The best way to experience this is with this sandboarding tour from Lima, where you’ll first get strapped into a sand buggy for a pretty memorable ride around the dunes, which is then followed by throwing yourself down some dunes head-first on a plank of wood. 

Huacachina is part of the classic backpacking loop through the south of Peru, so it’s also worth heading here with your things instead of as a day trip from Lima. You can easily get around this loop by using Peru Hop.

To get here independently, you’ll first need to take a bus from Lima to Ica (which is around 5 hours), and then a 15 minute mototaxi to Huacachina. 

24. Explore the Convento de Santo Domingo

Convento de Santo Domingo
Source: Wikipedia via Ingo Mehling

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this religious complex is by far one of the top highlights in Lima’s Centro Histórico. 

The Santo Domingo Church and Convent easily ranks as one of the prettiest in Peru, competing well with the other usual contenders in cities like Ayacucho and Cusco. 

The church itself was built in the 17th century, however was originally destroyed by a series of large earthquakes, and subsequently rebuilt after

It’s home to a stunning altar, and walking around the convent you can see rooms with a comprehensive collection of religious scenes and depictions. 

Walking around the complex, you’ll also see layers of Azuelos lining the walls (tiles that were brought over from Andalucía in Spain). 

Here you’ll be able to visit the picturesque courtyard, perfect for an Insta shot, as well as a library that’s home to over 25,000 books (some of which are the oldest books to ever be used by the Dominicans). 

If you’ve already visited the Catacombs, then you would h ave seen the Convento de Santo Domingo, since it sits right on top of them! 

Usually when you buy a ticket it includes both trips, so we recommend taking your time to really appreciate the history and beauty of this building too. 

Just as a re-cap, the Convento de Santo Domingo is located just a few blocks east of the Plaza de Armas, and is open from 8:30am until 5:30pm daily.

You can also visit the Covent, along with its Catacombs on this Lima sightseeing tour. It’s better going with this company, since you’ll have an English guide as well as see some lesser known gems along the way (you’ll have all transport included too).

25. Get your fix at the ChocoMuseo

cocoa beans and chocolate

Even with a city like Lima being filled with lots of tasty dishes, you can be forgiven for wanting to satisfy your sweet tooth too. 

If that’s the case, then the ChocoMuseo is just the place for you, where you can munch on some pretty delicious chocolates. 

Here you’ll also be able to attend a workshop, where you can learn all about the chocolate making processes and different stages. You’ll even get your own opportunity to make the sweet stuff too! 

If heading during the winter time, then you’ll want to try the Melted Chocolate and Milk cuppa for some much needed warmth. 

There are two ChocoMuseos located in Lima, one in Miraflores and the other just off the Plaza de Armas in the Centro Histórico.

26. Go Surfing

One of the best activities you can engage in Lima is surfing

If you ever go for a walk along the Costa Verde hills in Miraflores, you’ll probably notice two things about the sea. 

Firstly, there are seemingly endless, perfect waves coming in every few seconds. 

And secondly that there is always a row of surfers along the coast taking advantage!

Although the waters aren’t exactly the Caribbean (spoiler they are pretty damn cold), it’s still one of the best places in Peru to go surfing

You can head down to the beach whenever you want, and you’ll find many surf instructors ready to give you a lesson. They also have board and wetsuit rentals too, so it’s all pretty easy and quick to organise. 

Of course the best time to go surfing would be between December and February, when the weather and sea are at their warmest, however you’ll find people surf here pretty much all-year round. 

La Herradura is the name of the popular surf point in Lima, and here you have both small waves and massive ones up to a pretty sizable 12ft! 

If these waters seem a bit too intimidating, then we recommend heading a couple of hours south to the beach of Cerro Azul, which is much more beginner-friendly.

You can also join these highly rated surf lessons, where you’ll be guided by a pro the whole way, which includes all equipment as well as hotel pickup.

Here's some more information about surfing in Lima...

27. Marvel at the Iglesia Virgen Milagrosa

As there are almost endless things to be getting busy with in Lima, the churches tend to take the back seat when it comes to viewing pleasure. 

However, if in and around the area, it’s always a humbling experience to visit one of these architectural delights. 

The Iglesia Virgen Milagrosa is one of the most beautiful to visit in the capital, and lies in the heart of Miraflores, right next to the Parque Kennedy. 

Built in 1930, this church is built with a typical neoclassical facade, with a stunning altar and dome-style ceiling above it. 

Of course if you’re around on a Sunday then it’s an ideal time for a visit, however it’s also open daily in the morning and evening too

So once you’re done petting cats for the day, you can then head into the church. Sometimes even the cats stroll in and out if you really don’t want to stop… 

28. Head on a Lima Food Tour

Peruvian food

I really can’t say it enough; Lima is a food lovers’ paradise (alright that’s the last time I’ll mention it in this article, I promise). 

Throughout Peru, many types of food have been created due to the varying needs of different civilisations, who live in extremely different and varying landscapes. 

As a result, what we now have today is a very diversified range of foods, which have all made their way to Lima. 

This food tour is one of the best, which explores the very best cuisine in the trendy neighbourhood of Barranco. Here you’ll try everything from popular dishes like Ceviche to local staples such as Papa a la Huancaina, as well a range of tasty Piscos too for good measure. 

The great thing about this tour is that you’ll also be able to learn how to make some Peruvian classics, so you can show off when you return home.

Here are some of the must-try foods in Lima...

29. Go Bargain Hunting inside The Inka Market

Inka Market in Lima

In true Peruvian style, there was always of course going to be a market with the name Inka in it. 

And that’s where we head to now, to quite possibly one of the most comprehensive souvenir markets in the capital. 

The Inka Market is undoubtedly one of the best markets in Lima. It's home to almost endless rows of stalls and small shops, and is the perfect place to pick up memories to bring back home. 

Here you can find anything and everything from Alpaca Gloves, Socks, Jumpers and other garments to Pottery, Ceramics as well as bottles of Pisco. 

Like much of Latin America, you’ll need to be armed with some Spanish and ready to haggle, since unsuspecting tourists are often charged more for things than locals (no need to get too mad, it’s just the way it is unfortunately). 

So once you’ve found an item (or 4), it’s now time to see how far you can negotiate. 

The Inka Market is located in the heart of the Miraflores district, just a couple of blocks north of the Parque Kennedy. 

It’s open daily from 9:00am until 8:00pm, aside from Sunday’s where the hours are usually shorter.

30. Try Paragliding

Paragliding in Lima

Now one for the adrenaline-seekers out there (that’s if the Sandboarding wasn’t enough thrills for you). 

If you ever walk along the cliffs of the Costa Verde or on the beaches, chances are you’ll see someone paragliding way over the rugged terrain. And that could easily be you! 

Launching off close to Parque Raimondi, you’ll be able to get a real birds eye-view of Lima, including the stunning Pacific Ocean, beaches of the Costa Verde and the bustling Miraflores district. 

Not only that, but you’ll appreciate just how huge the capital is too.

If you’re interested in soaring into the skies, then be sure to book with a reputable company, like this one here. You’ll also have a free HD video included in the price of this tour!

31. Enjoy the Circuito Mágico del Agua

Circuito Mágico del Agua

Last but not least, we’ll now spend an evening watching a beautiful water show. 

Translated directly as the “Magic Water Circuit”, here you can see 13 different fountains performing synchronised displays, each with its own vibrant colour, such as red, green and purple. 

Whilst there’s actually more than one of these water display shows in Lima, this one is by far the best and most popular to come and visit. 

The best time to come, of course, is at night, since the colours will stand out much more boldly against the night sky. 

The Circuito Mágico del Agua is open until 10pm everyday of the week, and whilst opening times can vary, it’s best to come after 6pm anyway (again for the best lighting). 

Visiting this magical display is one of top things to do in Lima so don't leave it off your itinerary! 

It’s located within the Parque de las Aguas, which is in the district of La Victoria. 

The easiest way to get here is with an Uber, especially since it's just off the BRT Metropolitan highway that runs straight through the heart of Lima.

You can also see the Circuito Mágico del Agua with this awesome tour, which includes a hearty dinner, as well as a folkshore performance too.

Lima Travel Tips & FAQ

When is a good time to visit Lima?

Lima is located along Peru’s Pacific Coast, roughly in the middle of the country. 

Since it’s situated between the coast and Andes, Lima has its own microclimate which is very different from the rest of the country.

First of all, it hardly ever rains in Lima. Whilst many parts of Peru have the usual dry and wet seasons, this city only sees 6mm over the entire year! No need to pack the rain jacket for this one then…

The overall best months to visit Lima are between December to February, which is the heart of the Peruvian Summer season. Daily averages range from 70-74°F, with highs of up to 80°F and lows of down to 65°F.

The Christmas and New Years holidays tend to be the most expensive (as well as some months in the summer). The ideal months to keep things cheap would be in late January and February.

How long should you spend in Lima?

Often people skip Lima altogether, and I think this is a big mistake!

I would say that 5 days is a good amount of time to spend in Lima. 

Of course more would be ideal, however it’s quite likely you’ll also be visiting other areas of Peru on your trip too. 

With 5 days, you’ll have plenty of time to get a feel for Lima, and relax on some of its stunning beaches along the Costa Verde. 

You’ll also be able to see the top sights, and fit in a day trip or two too (such as Huacachina or Paracas).

What is a good budget for Lima?

Here’s my take on a budget from my own experience here in Lima:

  • If you’re on a budget, then you’ll need roughly $25 per day (which is for food, accommodation and a bus here and there). 
  • If looking for a private room in a decent hotel, as well as eating out at good venues, then you’ll be spending between $40-50 a day. 

At the end of the day it really depends on you and your style. 

So if you want to grind and save further, then go ahead. If you want to break all spending limits, then by all means go for it too! 

It’s important to mention that the above budgets do not take into account flights and tours.

For those traveling on a shoestring, then you don't need to worry as Peru is one of the cheapest places to travel to, so your money will go far! 

Can you just book a tour for Lima?

When arriving into Lima, booking a tour (like this city sightseeing tour) is a good idea for those who don’t plan on spending much time in the capital.

Not only is it affordable, however you’ll also visit many important and cultural sights within a short time-span, whilst being led by a knowledge guide.

Additionally these are a few other great tours you may be interested in:

Where to go after Lima?

If you’re still not sure where to head to next, then consider visiting Arequipa, which is located in the south of Peru.

This stunning colonial city is covered in a blanket of white buildings, and is home to fiery volcanoes and some very deep canyons. 

The best way to see the highlights of Arequipa is with a tour, where they can take you to the top spots in good time. 

Consider heading on this 2-day tour from Arequipa as well, as you'll get to see the very best of the Colca Canyon too! 

Now over to you…

Are you planning on heading to Lima soon?

What was your experience like in Peru’s capital?

Drop a comment below and let me know!

For the best experience in the city, just remember to book tours like this walking tour in advance, as they can sell out quickly...

Here are some more Peru travel guides to help you plan your trip:

Disclaimer: Fully research your destination prior to travel, or any products prior to purchase. We can accept no responsibility for anything you experience as a result of the information found on this website. Some posts may contain affiliate links, which means we receive a small commission for some purchases, at no additional expense to you. Read more here
Some images courtesy of Deposit Photos.
Tinggly badge
Other posts
Country Guides
Destination Guides

Leave a comment

Let us know what you think!