Discover Lima: A Guide to Peru's Captivating Capital
Arts & Culture
Lima, the vibrant capital of Peru, is a captivating city that enchants first-time tourists with its rich history, diverse culture and delectable cuisine. The city's unique blend of colonial architecture and modern skyscrapers, combined with a pleasant year-round climate, creates a mesmerizing backdrop for an unforgettable adventure. As a first-time visitor myself, I fell in love with Lima not only for its delightful weather and mouthwatering food but also for the sheer number of things to see and do. I'll guide you through the top sights and activities in Lima, focusing on three key districts: Downtown, Miraflores and Barranco. From historical landmarks like Plaza de Armas and San Francisco Church to contemporary attractions such as the Magic Water Circuit and MATE Museum, Lima offers a fascinating array of experiences for every traveler. Wander through bustling markets, marvel at ancient ruins and immerse yourself in Lima's thriving art scene. Whether you're a history buff, a foodie or an art lover, Lima has something special to offer you. So, let's embark on a journey through the city's most iconic sites and hidden gems and discover the wonders that await you in Lima, Peru.
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Where to stay in Lima, Peru
Belmond Miraflores Park Hotel
This luxury hotel combines personalized service, exceptional dining and indulgent facilities to create the perfect base from which to explore Lima.
$100 food / beverage credit.
Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.
Hyatt Centric San Isidro Lima
Upscale property located in the San Isidro district with polished rooms and suites.
$50 hotel / resort credit.
Upgrade & extended check-in/out, whenever possible.
Discover the charm of Hotel B Peru, a boutique hotel that blends historic elegance with contemporary flair, offering a captivating experience in the vibrant city of Lima.
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Things to do in Lima, Peru
Plaza de Armas (Plaza Mayor): The main square of Lima, surrounded by important historical buildings like the Government Palace, the Cathedral of Lima and the Archbishop's Palace.
San Francisco Church and Monastery: A beautiful church and monastery complex, well known for its catacombs and library.
Casa de Aliaga: One of the oldest colonial mansions in Lima, which has been inhabited by the same family for 18 generations.
Parque de la Muralla: A park built around the remains of Lima's old city walls, which also houses a small museum and offers panoramic views of the city.
Central Market (Mercado Central): A vibrant market where you can experience local flavors and find unique souvenirs.
Magic Water Circuit at Parque de la Reserva: A stunning water and light show in the evenings, featuring multiple fountains and colorful light projections.
Larcomar: A shopping center located on a cliff, offering stunning views of the Pacific Ocean.
Huaca Pucllana: A pre-Incan pyramid in the heart of Miraflores, which can be explored through guided tours.
Parque Kennedy: A lively park in the center of Miraflores, surrounded by cafés and restaurants.
El Parque del Amor (Love Park): A park dedicated to love, featuring unique sculptures and mosaics.
The Indian Market (Mercado Indio): A market offering a wide range of traditional Peruvian crafts and souvenirs.
Rent a bike and explore the Miraflores Malecón, a beautiful boardwalk along the coast.
Bosque El Olivar (San Isidro): Covering approximately 23 acres and dating back to the 16th century when the first olive trees were brought to Peru from Spain. In addition to over 1,500 olive trees, the park hosts a variety of flora and bird species, making it a popular spot for relaxation and birdwatching. Picturesque lagoon, walking paths and surrounding colonial-era mansions offer a serene escape from the bustling city life.
Paragliding: Enjoy a tandem paragliding flight over Miraflores, offering stunning views of the city and the ocean.
Puente de los Suspiros (Bridge of Sighs): A picturesque bridge surrounded by colorful houses and old mansions.
Plaza de Armas de Barranco: The main square of Barranco, with a beautiful church and lively atmosphere.
El Cacaotal: A chocolate shop and tasting room offering a variety of Peruvian chocolates.
Dedalo Arte y Artesanía: A unique art gallery and shop showcasing contemporary Peruvian art and handicrafts.
Jade Rivera Art Gallery: This gallery showcases the works of Peruvian street artist Jade Rivera, known for his vibrant murals that blend contemporary urban art with traditional Peruvian elements.
Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Lima (MAC Lima): This museum is dedicated to contemporary art, featuring a diverse collection of Peruvian and international artists.
Take a walking tour of Barranco, exploring its bohemian streets, street art and hidden gems.
Visit the Barranco viewpoint (Mirador de Barranco) for panoramic views of the ocean and the surrounding area.
Marcahuasi: Approximately 4,000 meters above sea level and 80 km (50 miles) east of Lima, Marcahuasi is a plateau known for its mysterious rock formations. The area is perfect for hiking, camping and stargazing.
Pachacamac: Just 31 km (19 miles) south of Lima, Pachacamac is an important archaeological site that was once a major Inca religious center. Explore the ruins, hike the surrounding trails and visit the on-site museum.
Lunahuaná: About 180 km (112 miles) south of Lima, Lunahuaná is a small town known for adventure sports like rafting, zip-lining, and ATV riding. The Cañete River offers thrilling white-water rafting experiences.
Palomino Islands: Take a boat tour to the Palomino Islands, located off the coast of Callao, and swim with sea lions in their natural habitat. The tour also includes a visit to the historic San Lorenzo Island.
Places to eat & drink in Lima, Peru
Eating in Centro
Antigua Taberna Queirolo: Queirolo Café: A historic café offering delicious coffee, pastries and sandwiches.
La Casa de la Gastronomía Peruana: A museum and café that serves traditional Peruvian breakfast.
La Mariscal: A popular local spot for traditional Peruvian dishes like anticuchos, tamales and ceviche.
El Cordano: A historic Lima bar serving sandwiches and traditional Peruvian dishes.
Central Restaurante: A renowned restaurant offering a modern take on traditional Peruvian cuisine, using ingredients from all over the country.
Astrid y Gastón: A pioneer in Lima's culinary scene, this restaurant offers a blend of Peruvian and international flavors.
La Casa del Alfajor: A must-visit for alfajor lovers, offering a variety of delicious Peruvian-style alfajores.
Heladería 4D: A popular ice cream shop with a variety of flavors, including local fruit-based options.
Eating in Miraflores
Tostaduría Bisetti: A charming coffee shop offering freshly roasted coffee and a selection of pastries.
El Pan de la Chola: A bakery and café known for its delicious bread, sandwiches and coffee.
La Lucha Sanguchería Criolla: A popular spot for Peruvian-style sandwiches and fresh fruit juices.
Panchita: A lively restaurant offering traditional Peruvian dishes, including a variety of anticuchos and grilled meats.
Maido: A top-rated restaurant offering innovative Nikkei cuisine, blending Japanese and Peruvian flavors.
Rafael: An elegant restaurant offering a mix of Peruvian and Mediterranean flavors, using fresh local ingredients.
Picarones Mary: A small street food stand serving delicious picarones, a Peruvian doughnut-like dessert.
Suspiros Limeños: A dessert shop specializing in the classic Lima dessert, suspiro limeño.
Eating in Barranco
Colonia & Co: A cozy café offering specialty coffee, pastries and breakfast options.
Bodega Verde: A casual café with a relaxing atmosphere, serving light meals, coffee and desserts.
Isolina Taberna Peruana: traditional tavern serving home-style Peruvian dishes.
Chifa Chung Yion: A popular local chifa (Chinese-Peruvian) restaurant offering a variety of tasty dishes.
Kjolle: A sister restaurant to Central, Kjolle offers a creative and seasonal menu showcasing Peruvian ingredients.
Amaz: A fine dining experience focused on Amazonian cuisine, using exotic ingredients from the Peruvian jungle.
Crem dela Crem: A popular ice cream parlor offering artisanal ice cream with unique Peruvian flavors.
Las Vecinas Eco Bar: A charming spot serving homemade desserts, including vegan options, made with organic and locally sourced ingredients.
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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Peru.