Before you head to Cusco to hit the Inca Trail and visit Machu Picchu, you’ll likely first fly into Lima, Peru. Lima is often overlooked as a tourist destination, but this coastal city is a true gem with a rich history, vibrant culture, and delicious cuisine. From exploring the historic city center to indulging in delicious ceviche and pisco sours, Lima has something for everyone. If you want to make your trip an unforgettable one, make sure to check out these top fifteen things to do in Lima, Peru.
Is It Safe To Visit Lima, Peru?
Lima, Peru is generally a safe city for tourists, but like any big city, it's important to take some precautions to stay safe. Petty theft and pickpocketing can occur in crowded areas, so it's important to be aware of your surroundings and keep your belongings close. Overall, as long as you take some basic safety precautions, you can have a wonderful and safe experience visiting Lima, Peru.
Solo female travelers may want to take extra precautions, such as avoiding walking alone at night and sticking to well-lit and populated areas. It's always a good idea to do your research and stay informed about the latest safety recommendations before traveling to any destination. During my time in Lima, Peru as a solo female traveler, I never once felt unsafe or nervous about my surroundings.
Where To Stay In Lima, Peru
Whether you’re a budget backpacker or looking for a little more luxury, Lima, Peru has somewhere for you to safely spend the night. After exploring the city, enjoy some shut-eye at the following spots.
Budget Option: Pariwana Hostel Lima
Pariwana Hostel Lima is a great budget option conveniently located in the trendy Miraflores neighborhood. It offers dormitory and private rooms and a range of amenities such as free Wi-Fi, a bar, a restaurant, and a rooftop terrace with views of the city. While staying here, I loved that the hostel organized various activities, such as pub crawls, cooking classes, and city tours. It was a great way to see the city and make new friends.
✈️ Pro Tip: We uncovered How To Find The Perfect Hostel to make sure you always get a good night’s sleep while on the go.
Mid-Range: Second Home Peru Bed and Breakfast
Second Home Peru is a charming bed and breakfast located in the bohemian Barranco neighborhood. The property was once the home of the famous Peruvian sculptor Victor Delfin, and it still features many of his works of art. The rooms are spacious and comfortable, and there's a beautiful garden where you can relax and enjoy the sunshine. The bed and breakfast also offers a delicious breakfast each morning and is within walking distance of many great restaurants and cafes.
Luxury: Belmond Miraflores Park Hotel
The Belmond Miraflores Park is a luxurious five-star hotel located in the upscale Miraflores neighborhood. The hotel offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and is within walking distance of many great restaurants, bars, and shops. The rooms are spacious and elegantly decorated, and the hotel offers a range of amenities such as a spa, a fitness center, and an outdoor pool. It's the perfect option for travelers who want to indulge in a little bit of luxury during their stay in Lima.
The Best Things To Do In Lima, Peru
Lima, Peru has so much to offer. Pack good walking shoes, because the following fifteen things will have you excitedly racing around the city. Let’s dive in!
Take a Walking Tour of the Historic Center of Lima
Take a guided tour of the city's historic center to explore the beautiful architecture and learn about Lima's fascinating history. Some of the highlights of the tour include the Plaza Mayor, the Presidential Palace, the Cathedral of Lima, and the San Francisco Monastery.
Visit the Famous Larco Museum
The Larco Museum is one of the most famous museums in Lima and home to an extensive collection of pre-Columbian art, including ceramics, textiles, and gold and silver objects. The museum's beautiful gardens and restaurant make it a great place to spend an afternoon.
Take a Cooking Class and Learn to Make Traditional Peruvian Dishes
Lima is known for its incredible cuisine, so why not take a cooking class and learn to make some traditional Peruvian dishes yourself? I took a ceviche cooking class by Sky Kitchen, but they also offer amazing pisco sour cocktail-making classes.
✈️ Pro Tip: I had a few too many pisco sours while in Lima, but luckily packed everything on the Jessi’s Journey medication packing list. Seriously saved my head and stomach!
Go Shopping in the Trendy Neighborhood of Barranco
Barranco is a hip and trendy neighborhood that's home to many artisanal shops and galleries. Some of the must-visit stores include Dédalo Arte & Artesanía, where you can find unique Peruvian handicrafts, and MATE, a museum and gallery dedicated to the work of Peruvian photographer Mario Testino.
Take a Bike Tour Along the Coast
Explore the city's beautiful coastline on a bike tour, where you can enjoy stunning views of the ocean and the city skyline. I loved cruising around Lima with Bike Tours of Lima. The tour takes you by bike along the cliffs of Miraflores and visits the charming neighborhood of Chorrillos.
Try Ceviche, Peru's National Dish
Ceviche is a must-try when visiting Lima, and there are many great restaurants to choose from. Chow down at some of the best restaurants Peru has to offer, like La Mar, Pescados Capitales, and Canta Rana.
✈️ Pro Tip: I packed everything on the Jessi’s Journey Best Solo Travel Safety Gear list while in Lima, Peru for extra peace of mind.
Visit the Colorful Neighborhood of Miraflores
Miraflores is one of the most popular neighborhoods in Lima, and it's easy to see why. With beautiful parks, shops, and restaurants, it's a great place to spend an afternoon. Some must-visit spots in Miraflores include El Parque del Amor, Parque Kennedy, Huaca Pucllana, and the Larcomar shopping center.
Take a Tour of the Huaca Pucllana
The Huaca Pucllana is an ancient adobe pyramid located in the heart of Lima. Taking a tour of the site is a great way to learn about the ancient Peruvians who once lived there and their culture. The restaurant located on-site, also called Huaca Pucllana, is a great place to enjoy traditional Peruvian cuisine while taking in the incredible views of the pyramid.
Go Paragliding Over the Cliffs of Miraflores
If you're feeling adventurous, why not try paragliding over the cliffs of Miraflores? It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience that's sure to take your breath away. Some popular companies offering paragliding tours include LimaTours and Parapuerto.
Visit the Magic Water Circuit
The Magic Water Circuit is a park full of beautiful fountains that light up at night. It's a great place to take some Instagram-worthy photos, and the park even offers a laser light show in the evenings.
Learn to Dance Salsa at a Local Club
Peruvians love to dance, and salsa is one of the most popular styles. Why not learn to dance salsa yourself? There are many great clubs in Lima where you can take salsa lessons and dance the night away.
Visit the Monastery of San Francisco
The Monastery of San Francisco is a beautiful and historic monastery located in the heart of Lima. The monastery includes a church, library, and catacombs, and taking a tour is a great way to learn about the history of the area.
Explore the Ruins of Pachacamac
Pachacamac is an archaeological site located just outside of Lima that was once an important religious center for the ancient Peruvians. The site includes ruins of pyramids, temples, and palaces, and taking a tour is a great way to learn about the history of the area.
Enjoy a Cocktail at a Rooftop Bar
Lima is home to many beautiful rooftop bars where you can enjoy incredible views of the city while sipping on a delicious cocktail. Some popular rooftop bars include the Belmond Miraflores Park Hotel, Huaringas Bar, and Ayahuasca.
Take a Day Trip to the Ballestas Islands
Located just a few hours south of Lima, the Ballestas Islands are a beautiful and unique destination that's home to an incredible array of wildlife, including sea lions, penguins, and dolphins. Taking a boat tour of the islands is a great way to get up close and personal with the animals and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
Lima, Peru is a fantastic destination for travelers looking to experience the rich culture and delicious cuisine of South America. From exploring the historic city center to indulging in delicious ceviche and pisco sours, there is no shortage of things to see and do in this vibrant city. Bon voyage!
Is Lima, Peru on your bucket list? Tell us in the comments!