A collection of Ideas on what to do when visiting Lima
A Taste of Life in Lima
A little bit about Lima
Not only is Lima the capital city of Peru, it is one of the largest cities in the Americas. The city is located in the arid coastal region. Although its history is generally associated with the infamous Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro, Lima has a rich and diverse history dating back thousands of years before the colonial period. The people who inhabited this region contributed immensely to the efforts which turned the desert stripe between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes into the lush oasis that it has been transformed into.
The ‘City of Kings’ as it was once called is the perfect location for a holiday vacation. Lima is a cultural hub, home to people of many different ethnicities who give it the warm and unique vibe it has, as far as the diversity tourists can expect from this Peruvian city. Its architecture reflects various aesthetics and incorporates a mix of styles. There’s a bit of colonial architecture with Spanish and French influences. There are several parks near downtown Lima where you’ll find plazas with majestic monuments, water fountains and statues. Before you even start contemplating what to do in Lima, Peru you need to first understand why it’s such a tourist hot-spot.
Why Lima in Peru should be top of your travel list
What makes Lima ideal for holiday travel is the fact that the climate in this region of Peru is humid subtropical and mild, but without the extreme hot or cold weather which creates a perfect balance. The climate tends to be dry and warm along the coastal areas. Although the country’s seaboard is situated within the tropical zone, it actually does not display an equatorial climate. The best time to visit Lima in Peru depends on your preference but between January and June the weather is dry with the warmest months being March. May is usually very dry and June tends to bring with it some much needed rain. The temperatures drop around August. All in all, the weather in Lima is conducive for a great vacation pretty much throughout the year.
Peru is very much accessible destination with affordable flights from many parts of the world. A popular destination among global travelers in particular backpackers, Lima is a go-to destination for travelers coming from other South American countries. Sharing borders with countries such as Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Ecuador – Peru is along the popular exploration routines which are gateways to the rich and diverse landscapes and cultures of the region. Popular with tourists coming from the USA and other countries, the easiest passage is for travelers from the European Union who are not required to have visa in order to be granted entry into the country.
Living La vida in the Districts of Lima, Peru
As one of the most popular places for tourists to go shopping and expats to get great accommodation, Miraflores is also favored by locals who indulge in the great culinary culture. There are lovely cafés, bars and clubs. The district has an exceptional mix of traditional and modern influences. There are old buildings and modern architectural masterpieces. You can find hotels, casinos and places that offer great entertainment. Miraflores overlooks the Pacific Ocean and has grown into a thriving commercial and residential area. A lot of the stunning old buildings have been demolished and sky scrapers built in their place. The original beauty has not been totally overshadowed and those who have an affinity for historical charm can still enjoy it but with the conveniences of modern amenities around the area.
Some of the nicest sights in Miraflores include Parque Central and Parque Kennedy which are the main parks in the heart of this gorgeous location. One of the things to do in Lima, Peru is to visit the beautiful coastlines. Buzzing with surfers, Costa Verde in Milaflores is nice for exploring. You can also choose to visit the local theatres, art gallaries and museums where you will find some of the most wonderful textile and ceramics of the Chancay culture. The Museum Amano and Enrico Poli Museum exhibit wonderful works that will give you a great perspective on the culture. Those who simply love to shop ‘til they drop can visit Av. Larco which is the main shopping street. Larcomar is a boutique building atop a mossy cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Its design is marvelous and has won numerous awards. You can find over 150 stores, boutiques and vendors selling all kinds of fascinating memorabilia for your trip.
There is an Indian Market on Avenue Petit Thouars where you can buy Peruvian handcrafts and souvenirs. If you like some unique fashion pieces you will definitely find an abundance of colorful alpaca scarves and sweaters, woven bags, wallets, and jewellery for surprisingly fair prices.
The Barranco district is considered by many world travelers the bohemian heartland of Lima. There are plenty of things to do in Lima, Peru but Barranco is arguably one of the must-visits areas of the capital city. Renowned for its art galleries, attractive boutiques and trendy cafes, Barranco offers visitors a unique experience with loads of street, live music and lively bars. The Barranco area is situated along the costal cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean, right next to Miraflores, and it is definitely one of the best locations to view Lima’s spectacular sunsets.
Barranco is more famous for its restaurants than conventional shops. You can also make some fascinating finds if you visit the museum of electricity or some of the prominent food markets. What’s great about this location is the fact that you can literally traverse the entire place with ease because it is considered quite safe even for people who are new to the area. Although the beach in Barranco is surrounded with pebbles rather than sand, the views are simply too inspiring and you’re bound to love it.
Some of the wonderful sights to visit in Lima, Peru will definitely include the Pedro de Osma museum, the Las Pallas Art Gallery, which are both located in Barranco. For some entertainment you can visit Posada del Angel which is a uniquely decorated bar and where you can enjoy Latin American music. Close to Posada del Mirador you will find Chala which is renowned for its amazing food and great décor. Those who appreciate art and cultural history can enjoy checking out the Lucia de la Puente art gallery or Pedro de Osma museum. If you want to meet people and have a great time you can visit the Main Square and when you need some peace and serenity just enjoy watching the sunset from the beautiful Barranco boardwalk.
This low-key location has all the traditional charm of Lima although it is not known by a lot of tourists. It used to be a fishing village and is home to the stunning Malecon where you can great views over the whole bay of Lima. There are many restaurants offering delicious Peruvian food.
Chorrillos attracts most of its visitors in the summer months. La Herradura is particular is one of the beaches which attracts a lot of surfers. Other notable sights in the Chorrillos District include Agua Dulce and Playa Pescadores which host a number of top rated restaurants for local cuisine. If you’re a bird watcher you should definitely make an effort to visit Pantanos de Villa.
San Isidro District
San Isidro one of the upscale districts of the Lima and is known as a financial center. If you’re travelling to Lima for business and wondering what are some of Lima, Peru’s points of interest then San Isidro is one of those locations to consider.
It is deemed Lima’s “garden’ district because of its green zones and exclusive residential areas. If you want to experience fine dining, San Isidro has some of the best restaurants in Lima. The lush greens around this fabulous location give you a sense of comfort and leisure that you need when on a holiday getaway.
One of the popular spots is the Parque El Olivar, which is an enormous green area housing an old olive grove. The surrounding area has old colonial mansions which still hold that ancient grandeur, giving San Isidro its quaint attraction. Another fantastic site in San Isidro is the Huaca Huallamarca which is also recognized as an important archeological site in the district. Here you can also enjoy where concerts and exhibitions.
Other wonderful places to see and things to enjoy in Lima, Peru
Lima is full of outstanding attractions, places to visit and sight to see. Some of them include:
Torre Tagle Palace – constructed in the 18th century, the Palace is one of Lima’s best reflections of Sevillian Baroque style colonial architecture. It has a stone carved doorway entrance and shows off the Torre Tagle family coat of arms as you make an entrance into the building. It also has wooden balconies which are just great to look at. Although the palace is not open to the public, you can still secure a tour if you make arrangements in advance. Torre Tagle Palace is a couple of blocks from Lima’s main Plaza de Armas.
Pachacamac Ruins – this historical site is considered to have been one of the prestigious religious centers on the Peruvian Coast. South of Lima and at the foot of the Pacific Ocean, Pachacamac Ruins is an archeological site truly captivating for anyone with a love for culture and history. Regarded as an iconic pilgrimage centre in ancient Peru, you can relish the fascinating pyramids, temples and plazas while enjoying the awesome views of the Pacific Ocean and the fabulous Lurin Valley. There is also the Museum of Pachacamac for those enthusiasts who may want discover even more.
Huaca Pucllana – The Huaca Pucllana is an adobe and clay pyramid built on a series of seven platforms and was an important administrative and ceremonial structure for the Lima Culture This is one of the few archaeological remains open to the public in Lima and gives tourist a chance to get some insight into the substantive history of this part of South America and shine a spotlight on its significance in our world today. Anyone with a passion for relics of the past will find this site a delight of good proportions.
Gastronomy House – another one of Lima, Peru’s points of interest has to be the famous House of Gastronomy. The House of Gastronomy hosts private and public exhibitions, conferences, tasting events and other events that give you a taste of the country’s culinary diversity. You get an exclusive tour of more than five centuries of recipes and get a real appreciation of the rich and wholesome culinary culture of Lima, Peru.
Acho Bullring – the Plaza de Acho is a leisurely walk away from downtown Lima. The atmosphere around the bullring is buzzing with vendors and bullfighting fans. On this street you can see people having a great time. From people enjoying drinks to entrepreneurs selling sombreros, beer and food, you can see it all. All these are more expensive inside the stadium. Drinks you can buy range from sangria, wine to cocktails and beer.
Every year the Acho bullring hosts a bullfighting celebration which is a highlight of their annual calendar with many people taking part. If you’re into some raw and pure entertainment and want to soak in the true spirit of Lima, Peru traditions then this is the place to be. You have no reason to say you never knew what to do in Lima, Peru.
Lima Art Museum – this wonderful museum houses the most extensive collection of art in Peru, and the only one hosting works from pre-Columbian societies through to the modern times. There are many things to in Lima, Peru but this is probably one of those absolutely worthwhile stops you can hope to make on your journey of exploration. It will provide a solid basis that will help you understand the culture and enrich your interactions. A significant portion of the museums is also dedicated to contemporary art which is a welcome balance. It’s like travelling through time when you visit this important landmark.
Music – music and dance lie at the very heart of Peruvian culture and if you’re a fan of music then exploring the lively and diverse musical influences bring the city of Lima to life would be top of the list of things to do in Lima, Peru. With popular bands such as Dengue Dengue Dengue the rhythms of this great city will keep you grooving. Cholas Bravas, with the rooftop view of Magdalena is a fantastic venue. There’s nothing better than listening to live music on their rooftop terrace on a summer evening. Ekeko bar has Monday night poetry if you prefer more intimate settings. Latin music is really alive in this part of Lima.
Traditional folklórico music that originated in the Andes is popular in Peru and the sound has surreal pan-flute melodies and rhythmic charango guitars. Folklórico music is often sung in a mix of Spanish and Quechua, which happens to be the indigenous language of the Inca. Huayno is also another traditional genre similar to folklórico. There are all sorts of different genres you can find around the music spots in Lima and some of them even play música criolla which has Spanish influences and African rhythms. You can see major artists in Lima such as Eva Ayllon and Chabuca Granda performing this type of Peruvian music. Lima is a city where you’ll find much of the urban working class gravitating to the Chicha music genre, which is a fusion of rock, cumbia and huayno. Chacalon is considered a pioneer of this genre but groups such as Guinda, Los Shapis and Centella, have really contributed to the rise in popularity of this type of sound. Lima clubs and bars play a variety of Latin American music with several places offering salsa nights but you can also find places where they play reggaeton and hip-hop.
There is a big electronic music scene with DJs and electronic groups such as Elegante & La Imperial, Mari Yá, Chakruna, Shushupe and Deltratron dominating the music circles. At places like Magdalena, you can enjoy a rooftop Peruvian folk concert and in places like Miraflores, there is a lot of Afro-Peruvian music. Barranco is definitely a salsa hotspot so there are plenty of trendy bars waiting to be discovered and great music in Lima for all those music lovers.
Activities you can try when you visit Lima, Peru
Paragliding – if you’re a thrill seeker who is not afraid of heights and want to try something which will get your adrenalin going and give you that exhilarating sense of adventure, then you might want to try some of the paragliding tours offered in Lima. You can paraglide in Miraflores with the awesome views of the ocean and the Costa Verde. The ‘Parapuerto’ located in the Raimondi Park, alongside the Parque del Amor is especially designed and built specifically for takeoff and landing of paragliders. Lurín which is just over a half hour drive from Lima has a few centers where paragliders practice in the sand dunes. In Pachacamac which is south of Lima, it famous for its thermodynamic flights. Pasamayo is great for experienced paragliders. Here you enjoy the dynamic flight and can reach heights of roughly 1000 meters. Cerro San Cristobal presents the perfect opportunity to fly over the historic center of Lima.
Biking – bike tours have become quite popular and another of Lima, Peru’s point of interest. You can easily get you on a tour and take your bike with you past some awesome stops including the much talked about bohemian bars. Lima is loved for its biking circuits such as Lima Bay. Urban biking fans can enjoy the seafront trail and riding along the seafront roads and sidewalks of Miraflores and Barranco districts. You can even ride down to the Barranco beaches or ride along the coastal bike lane. If you’re into riding the street trails then you can start in Miraflores, using the main cycle lane then go to Pucllana site, Olive Park, Huallamarca in San Isidro District. You can then continue along the seafront and head back to Miraflores. This is great for seeing sights such as the Love Park and the Lighthouse.
Mar Adentro Excursiones – take a beautiful boat trip and soak in the views of the picturesque islands. Explore the history and see nature in all its glory. If you love bird-watching then this would be the ideal treat for yourself while on your holidays in Lima, Peru. You can check out sea lions and enjoy relaxing swims.
Sand boarding – whether you’re a first time sand boarder or you already a seasoned athlete, whenever you find yourself wondering what to do in Lima, Peru. You can book a guided tour and have an unforgettable experience.
Horseback riding – if you love a little horse riding adventure then by getting a reliable horse riding tour guide you can ride Peruvian Paso horses. This is perfect for couples and families. Participating in such activities is an awesome way to help you explore your surrounding while staying connected to nature. You can find stables located near the valley of Lurin and Pachacamac where you can ride Peruvian Paso Horses and take a tour through the valley and along the Pacific Ocean. If you love taking excursions then you can ride through the valley and by the sands of the seashore. You can even ride past the archaeological sites of Pachacamac.
Festivals & Celebration in Lima, Peru
Finding things to do in Lima, Peru is actually not that difficult. With locals keeping a calendar celebrating so many occasions you’re sure to encounter some of these festivals along your travels. Lima has a longstanding tradition of feasts and festivals. These are generally artistic in nature with cultural and religious significance or gastronomical, artistic and sport affiliations. If you’re lucky, your visit might coincide with some of Limas popular parades with fireworks and dancers.
Because Peru is home to several Andean cultures, each holds their own festivals and you can witness the colorful costumes, music, food and drink at its best all in this one city. It is truly a sanctuary for the free spirited.
Some of the popular festivals and celebrations include the Dakar Rally, Chilcano Week Festival Lima, Lima Founding Anniversary, Cercado de Lima, Peru Gift Show, Peru Fair which offers a wide selection of high quality crafts, gifts and decorations handmade in Peru. The Nuit Blanche is famous for its varied activities including electronic music, footraces and all kinds of artistic undertakings. The X Fair Museums, Exposition Park, Fiestas Patrias, and of course the biggest event of the year which is the Festival of Music and Gastronomy.
If you love to have a good time and want to find interesting things you can do in Lima, Peru then you ought to try some of the finest cuisine and flagship products that are sold all over the capital city. This South American metropolis hosts some of the region’s finest chefs.
Reasons why you should make Lima, Peru your next holiday destination
We have explored what sets Lima apart from other holiday destination and clearly it is evident why this location is one of the most desirable places you could possibly visit. We found out that not only does the prestigious history of Lima draw people to it but its favorable climate is another big reason why it continues to rank highly. We also touched on the fact that its proximity to other popular destinations such Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Ecuador make Peru a backpackers favorite.
I hope some of the curiosities you had about Peru, in particular Lima have been satisfied. We looked at some of the monumental spots in the city. From the museums to the best places to shop, the best beaches to surf and catch sunsets, etc. We even explored some of the great outdoor activities that you can participate in to make sure you keep yourself busy during your stay.
Now that we touched on several of Lima, Peru’s points of interest and you now know what to do in Lima, Peru you should check your holiday opening and start making plans to come and experience the magic for yourself. Lima is definitely one of the places you should add to your list of places to visit because it has so much to offer and it’s a one-of-a-kind experience that you certainly should not miss out on.