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Best Thing To Do In Lima Peru

A vibrant city square with historic yellow buildings, featuring wooden balconies, and several palm trees. Benches and street lamps are scattered throughout, with people leisurely strolling. Crosswalks and well-maintained lawns add to the picturesque scene.

Wondering what to do Lima Peru? Discover a city where history, culture, adventure, and cuisine fuse into a vibrant urban tapestry. Explore the architectural wonders of the Historic Center, bask in Miraflores’ modernity, and awaken your senses in the artistic hub of Barranco. This guide will steer you through Lima’s must-visit spots without the fluff—let’s dive in.

Key Takeaways

  • Lima’s historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage site, highlighting key monuments like the Government Palace and Lima Cathedral, and showcasing the city’s unique colonial architecture, cultural heritage, and historical significance.
  • The Miraflores district combines modern appeal with natural beauty, offering attractions such as the Parque del Amor and Larcomar Shopping Center, as well as opportunities to experience local cuisine and coastal views along the Malecón.
  • Barranco district is celebrated for its bohemian atmosphere, vibrant art scene, and notable landmarks like the Bridge of Sighs and Pedro de Osma Museum, making it a key destination for culture and history enthusiasts.

Discover Lima’s Historic Center

Lima, affectionately known as the ‘Ciudad de los Reyes’, has been an important city since the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro founded it in January 1535. The historic center of Lima, a UNESCO World Heritage site, boasts a unique blend of indigenous and Hispano-American Baroque architecture. As you wander through its streets, you’ll encounter grandiose colonial constructions and unique ‘box’ balconies that create a distinctive urban landscape.

Key historical monuments in Lima include:

  • The stone bridge over the Rimac River
  • The Paseo de Aguas
  • The Government Palace
  • Lima Cathedral

These landmarks are integral components of Lima’s heritage and the fusion of their architectural styles lends to the unique aesthetic appeal of downtown Lima.

The historic center of Lima is more than just a collection of beautiful buildings. It’s a place where the past and present intersect, where the echoes of history reverberate through the bustling city streets. Whether you’re a history buff or a casual traveler, discovering Lima’s historic center will leave you with a deep appreciation for the city’s history and its enduring cultural significance.

Plaza de Armas

Stepping into the Plaza de Armas feels like stepping into the heart of Lima. Known for its monumental architecture, it is surrounded by important buildings, each with their unique historical significance. As you walk around this historic heart of Lima, you can’t help but marvel at the structures enveloping the plaza, including the majestic Governmental Palace, Lima Cathedral, and Archbishop’s Palace.

The Governmental Palace, for instance, is not just a powerful symbol of authority but also an architectural masterpiece that beautifully represents the Spanish colonial era. Similarly, the Lima Cathedral stands tall, a testament to Lima’s religious history and architectural grandeur.

Across the plaza, the Archbishop’s Palace grabs your attention with its ornate wooden balconies, an architectural element typical of Lima. Together, these structures offer an architectural feast for your eyes and a deep dive into Lima’s past.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast, architecture lover, or a photographer, Plaza de Armas and Plaza Mayor provide a rich tapestry of Lima’s past waiting to be explored. The plazas’ vibrant atmosphere, combined with their historical significance, makes them must-visit locations in Lima.

San Francisco Monastery and Catacombs

Beneath the bustling streets of the historic center, a different side of Lima awaits to be explored – the catacombs of the San Francisco Monastery. This underground labyrinth gives you a glimpse into the city’s past in the most unconventional way.

A chilling yet intriguing sight awaits as you venture into the catacombs. Here, you will find:

  • Thousands of human skulls and bones displayed in an eerie circular arrangement
  • A subterranean world that was once Lima’s first cemetery
  • Over 25,000 crypts

This unique experience offers visitors a glimpse into the history and culture of Lima.

The catacombs of the San Francisco Monastery serve as a stark reminder of the city’s history, offering an experience unlike any other in Lima. Walking through these ancient tunnels, you’ll feel a chilling connection to the past, as you come face to face with the remnants of lives lived centuries ago.

But the catacombs are not the only attraction here. The monastery itself is an architectural gem, adorned with beautiful frescoes and carved ceilings. Together, the monastery and its catacombs offer a unique blend of beauty and mystery, making it a must-visit spot when touring Lima’s historic center.

Experience Miraflores District

From the historic center, we transition to a more modern side of Lima – the Miraflores district. Known for its lush green spaces and stunning coastal views, Miraflores is an oasis of tranquility amidst the bustling city. It’s an ideal environment for strolls, where you can appreciate Lima’s natural beauty and savor local street food.

Bosque El Olivar, a serene landscape within Miraflores, is home to 1500 olive trees and a charming koi pond. But if you’re seeking a more adventurous experience near San Isidro, a sunset catamaran cruise is the perfect choice. As you embark on this memorable journey, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of the sun dipping below the horizon.

While exploring the district, don’t miss out on tasting local delicacies like pan con chicharron and picarones. Miraflores also hosts significant historical sites, offering insights into the region’s ancient past. One such site is a large and popular pre-Incan pyramid, a testament to the city’s rich history.

Miraflores is not just a district; it’s a slice of Lima’s life, brimming with history, cuisine, and natural beauty.

Parque del Amor

Nestled within Miraflores lies the Parque del Amor, a beloved destination for couples and a symbol of Lima’s romantic side. As you stroll through the park, the iconic ‘El Beso’ sculpture catches your eye. Created by Peruvian artist Victor Delfín, it depicts himself and his wife locked in a passionate embrace.

The park’s location along the Malecón Cisneros, part of a series of parks along the coastline, offers dramatic views of the Pacific. But the park’s appeal extends beyond these views. It’s a place where love stories unfold, where proposals are made, and where memories are created.

The park also offers opportunities for leisure activities. Just a short walk away, you can experience the thrill of paragliding at the nearby Parque Antonio Raimondi. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker or a lover of serenity, Parque del Amor is a must-visit when exploring Miraflores.

Larcomar Shopping Center

For a unique shopping and dining experience, head to the Larcomar Shopping Center. Uniquely built into seaside cliffs, Larcomar offers a dynamic experience set against the stunning backdrop of the Pacific Ocean.

Boasting a broad selection of stores and restaurants, Larcomar caters to every taste. Whether you’re in the mood for a retail therapy or a gastronomic adventure, this chic open-air shopping center has got you covered.

Larcomar is more than just a shopping destination. It’s a place where families can find solace from the hustle and bustle of the city, where friends can gather for a meal, and where memories are made.

Whether you’re a shopaholic, a foodie, or simply looking for a relaxing spot with panoramic ocean views, Larcomar is a must-visit destination in Miraflores.

Unearth Barranco’s Art Scene

After exploring the modern charm of Miraflores, let’s step into the vibrant Barranco district. Known for its bohemian vibe, Barranco is a paradise for art enthusiasts, with its colorful street art and bustling art galleries.

In Barranco, creativity is not confined within gallery walls. It spills onto the streets, inviting you to engage with the local culture through unique and thought-provoking artworks. The district also hosts cultural events and gatherings that spotlight both established and emerging artists, allowing you to experience the local art scene in all its vibrancy.

As you stroll through the enchanting streets of Barranco, lined with cafes and colorful murals, you’ll find yourself immersed in its artistic soul. Whether you’re an art enthusiast or simply a culture vulture, Barranco’s art scene is a feast for your senses and a window into Lima’s creative heart.

Bridge of Sighs

One of the most iconic landmarks in Barranco is the Bridge of Sighs. This architectural and cultural landmark has captivated the creative hearts of poets, artists, and musicians over the years. There’s a local legend that adds to its romantic allure – if you hold your breath while crossing the Bridge of Sighs for the first time, your wish will be granted.

The Bridge of Sighs is not just a bridge; it’s a symbol of love and longing, a source of inspiration, and a testament to the district’s romantic charm. Spanning a small ravine and offering ocean vistas, the bridge serves as a quintessential gathering spot for lovers and musicians.

Whether you’re in the mood for a leisurely stroll or looking for a romantic spot, the Bridge of Sighs offers a unique experience. Crossing this bridge, you’ll feel the timeless charm of Barranco and understand why it has inspired countless love stories and songs.

Pedro de Osma Museum

For art connoisseurs, a visit to the Pedro de Osma Museum is a must. This museum, located in the heart of Barranco, showcases an extensive collection of Peruvian colonial art.

The museum’s exhibits span a range of styles and works, from colonial paintings and sculptures to intricate 16th to 19th-century silverware. But the museum doesn’t just house permanent exhibits; it also hosts temporary exhibits and creative workshops, offering a dynamic cultural experience for visitors.

The museum itself is a work of art, housed in a beautifully preserved 1920s mansion. As you explore its collection, you’ll be transported back in time, gaining insights into Peru’s colonial history.

Whether you’re an art enthusiast or a history buff, the Pedro de Osma Museum offers a fascinating and enriching experience.

Dive into Peru’s Rich History at Museums

Lima’s vibrant arts scene is complemented by its rich history, which can be explored through its many museums. The Larco Museum is particularly renowned for its collection of pre-Columbian art and artifacts. Boasting a collection of over 45,000 objects, the Larco Museum offers an unparalleled peek into Peru’s ancient past. You’ll find intricate pottery, exquisite jewelry, and textiles, with its most well-known exhibit being a unique collection of erotic pottery.

Another treasure trove of Peruvian history is the Pedro de Osma Museum. Housing one of Peru’s most critical collections of viceregal art, it offers a deep dive into the country’s colonial history. Whether you’re a seasoned historian or a curious traveler, Lima’s museums offer a wealth of knowledge. Guided tours in Spanish and English further enhance the experience, providing insights into the advanced weaving techniques of ancient pre-Columbian civilizations.

Taste Authentic Peruvian Cuisine

Lima’s cultural richness extends to its culinary scene, offering delicious Peruvian cuisine. As Peru’s culinary capital, Lima is a paradise for foodies, with famous gourmet destinations such as Astrid y Gaston and authentic local markets like Bioferia, Mercado Central, and Mercado Surquillo.

A visit to Lima would be incomplete without tasting ceviche, Peru’s national dish, and savoring a Pisco Sour, the country’s signature cocktail. The district of Barranco hosts El Cacaotal, where you can engage in tasting courses and learn more about Peru’s rich offerings of cacao products and specialty coffee.

Peru’s diverse climatic zones provide access to a variety of exotic produce and superfoods. This, combined with the creativity of Lima’s chefs, has led to a gastronomic revolution in the city. Whether you’re a seasoned foodie or a culinary novice, tasting Lima’s authentic Peruvian cuisine is an experience you wouldn’t want to miss.

Take in Coastal Views at the Malecón

After exploring Lima’s history and gastronomy, it’s time to immerse ourselves in its natural beauty. The Malecón, a picturesque cliffside pathway located in Miraflores, offers stunning views of Lima’s coastline and a tranquil setting.

The Malecón is an ideal environment for leisurely strolls or bike rides, offering a unique way to explore different neighborhoods of Lima. As you walk along the pathway, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, making it a perfect spot for photography or simply soaking in the beauty of nature.

Notable stops along the Malecón include the iconic Miraflores Lighthouse, the Gaudi-inspired Parque del Amor, and the pivotal Villena Rey Bridge, which connects key sections of the promenade. The Malecón is also adorned with parks featuring vibrant flower gardens and sculptures, showcasing the creative works of Peru’s esteemed artists.

Whether you’re an adventure enthusiast or a nature lover, the Malecón offers a unique blend of leisure and beauty. It’s an escape within the city, where you can enjoy a moment of tranquility while being captivated by the stunning coastal views of Lima.

Explore Ancient Archaeological Sites

Having experienced the modern allure of Lima, it’s time to delve into its ancient past. The Huaca Pucllana archaeological site, located right in the heart of the city, offers a glimpse into the region’s ancient history.

This grand adobe pyramid was built around 400 CE and served as an important administrative and ceremonial center for the ancient Lima culture. Excavations have uncovered significant findings such as female mummies from sacrificial rituals and an undisturbed Wari culture grave with mummies, shedding light on the region’s ancient practices.

Another significant archaeological site, besides Machu Picchu, is Pachacamac, a pivotal cultural, trade, and pilgrimage hub in pre-Colombian times. Here, you’ll find remains from the Huari and Inca Empire civilizations, most notably the Temple of the Sun, the largest pyramid at the site.

Whether you’re an archaeology enthusiast or a history buff, exploring these ancient archaeological sites offers a fascinating insight into Lima’s past and a deeper understanding of its rich cultural heritage.

Adventure Awaits: Paragliding and Surfing

For those seeking a dose of adrenaline, Lima offers a range of thrilling adventures. If you’ve ever dreamt of soaring like a bird, Lima offers the perfect opportunity with paragliding over its stunning coastline.

For water sports enthusiasts, Lima’s Costa Verde beaches, including Playa Costa Verde, are a paradise. Whether you’re a seasoned surfer or a beginner, these beaches offer good breaks year-round, especially during the summer months from January through March. You can enhance your aquatic adventure by taking surfing or paddleboarding lessons, available for those who wish to learn or improve their skills in the water.

Whether it’s gliding through the air on a paraglider or riding the waves, Lima offers plenty of adventure for thrill-seekers. So if you’re someone who likes to mix travel with a bit of adventure, Lima will not disappoint. Some of the exciting activities you can try in Lima include:

  • Paragliding
  • Surfing
  • Sandboarding
  • Jet skiing
  • Parasailing

Get ready for an adrenaline-filled experience as you visit Lima, the heart of central Lima, metropolitan Lima, Lima Peru!

Experience Lima’s Nightlife

When the sun sets, Lima comes alive with a vibrant nightlife scene. Whether you’re in the mood for dancing, sipping on cocktails, or simply people-watching, Lima’s nightlife has something for everyone.

In Barranco, the Ayahuasca bar offers a compelling mix of history and pisco cocktails in an 1880s mansion. Meanwhile, the Victoria Bar invites patrons to dance on their patio-turned-dance floor. Each bar and club in Barranco offers a unique atmosphere, ensuring an unforgettable night out.

Over in Miraflores, the BarBarian brewery is a haven for craft beer enthusiasts. Here, you can sample a variety of beers infused with Peruvian flavors, offering a unique twist to the craft beer scene.

Whether you’re looking to dance the night away or enjoy a quiet evening with friends, Lima’s nightlife offers a diverse range of experiences. So put on your dancing shoes and get ready to experience Lima under the moonlight.

Day Trips from Lima

While Lima itself offers a wealth of experiences, there are also several unforgettable day trips you can take from the city. These excursions offer a chance to immerse yourself in the diverse facets of Peru’s historical legacy, cultural richness, and breathtaking landscapes.

For adventure seekers, a trip to Huacachina is a must. Here, you can sandboard and go off-roading in the sand dunes, providing a thrilling experience. Alternatively, you can enjoy the exhilarating experience of canyoning outside Lima.

Another fascinating day trip in South America is to the Caral Archaeological Site, the oldest civilization in the Americas. A guided tour of the site includes exploring temples, sunken plazas, and large terraced pyramids.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast or an adventure junkie, these day trips from Lima offer unique experiences that add to the richness of your Peruvian adventure.


The Summary on Lima

From its historic center to its modern districts, from its vibrant art scene to its rich history, from its culinary delights to its natural beauty, Lima offers a diverse range of experiences. Each district, each museum, each restaurant, and each beach tells a story, contributing to the city’s unique charm.

Whether you’re wandering through the streets of the historic center, exploring the art scene in Barranco, tasting authentic Peruvian cuisine in Miraflores, or taking a day trip to an ancient archaeological site, Lima offers a wealth of experiences just waiting to be discovered. So pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in Lima, the heart of Peru.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Lima Peru good for tourists?

Lima, Peru has many incredible things to do and see, but it requires a little more effort to find out what and where they are. Despite being as safe as any large South American city, there are noted high levels of petty theft and other security concerns. Be cautious while exploring.

Is there much to do in Lima Peru?

Yes, there are plenty of free things to do in Lima, from museums to mountains and pre-Inca pyramids to panoramic views. So, there’s a lot to explore without breaking the bank.

What is Lima popular for?

Lima is popular for its award-winning Peruvian gastronomy, scenic parks along the Pacific coast, museums, and colonial Plaza de Armas, as well as being the capital city with government buildings and palaces. These are the main attractions that draw visitors to Lima.

Is 2 days in Lima enough?

Two days in Lima is enough to explore the main attractions, neighborhoods, and even venture to the coastal areas and ancient temples. It’s a good amount of time to get a good feel for the city and see some of its top sights.

What are some must-visit places in Lima’s Historic Center?

You must visit the Plaza de Armas, the Government Palace, and the Lima Cathedral in Lima’s Historic Center for a rich cultural experience.