Top 11 Things to Do in Lima, Peru

Hey Goofball! Are you planning a vacation to Peru? Very happy to see you landed here because you are going to find the answer to your research: the best and unmissable things to do in Lima!

When people think of Lima, the capital of Peru, the first thing that probably comes to their minds is local Andeans posing with their Llamas in front of picturesque mountain peaks. But NOOO people, Lima is so much more than that! It is a huge metropolis located right on the Pacific coast and has plenty to offer for every type of traveler ~ from soaring mountains and beautiful coastlines to colonial architecture and rich museums.

Being the third-largest city in the Americas, so appearing a little bit chaotic, Lima is also renowned for its wonderful cuisine and nothing is more evocative for a traveler than associating a flavor with a destination along with super-friendly locals!

Whether you’re an outdoors person, an art or history buff, or even a party animal, you will find something that piques your interest in Lima; keep reading and you will find great tips and recommendations on what to see in Lima!

Everybody, strap yourselves in because Giorgy aka G-Extreme is about to share the most beautiful Unmissable Things to Do in Lima, Peru!

NOTICE: The information here is updated as best we can in light of COVID-19. Please check before you go anywhere what modifications have taken place to avoid any inconvenience!

#1. WALK AROUND THE PLAZA ARMAS

What is it?
The Plaza de Armas of Lima, or Plaza Mayor, is considered the heart of the city, so it’s a pretty good starting point for your trip!
Local says “No journey is truly complete without experiencing the heart of the cities you’re visiting”; there you go!

Why go?
It is located in the historic center of Lima and surrounded by numerous remarkable buildings such as the Cathedral, the Municipal Palace, the Government Palace, and Archbishop’s Palace with its elegant Moorish-style balconies.

Although most of the buildings from the original city were lost due to earthquakes, the splendid bronze fountain erected in 1650 still stands at the center. Travel back in time by taking a walk around the Plaza de Armas and admire the stunning architecture that surrounds it! 

#2. CATHEDRAL BASILICA OF LIMA

What is it?
Lima’s main Cathedral was built in 1535 and is perhaps the city’s most iconic building. It is also home to the tomb of Francisco Pizarro, one of the Spanish conquistadors of Peru, as well as the best museum of religious art.

Why go?
This church was damaged multiple times due to earthquakes and was almost completely destroyed by an earthquake in 1746. As a result, it has gone through a lot of renovations and reconstructions until its current appearance. The church mixes baroque, neoclassical, and gothic styles and the front façade of the Cathedral features sculptures of Jesus and the apostles.

Inside, the church has 14 chapels as well as carved choir stalls, a carving of Jesus in the chapel of St. John the Baptist, and the altars in the ornate Spanish Baroque style known as churrigueresque. Entrance to the cathedral is free, but in order to go into the museum of religious art, you have to pay an admission fee of 3 euros. 

#3. SPEND SOME TIME WALKING AROUND MUSEO LARCO

What is it?
The Larco Museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in art and history and it’s also one of the most important museums in the Americas. 
Founded by Rafael Larco Herrera, the museum is located in an 18th-century vice-royal building that was built on the site of a 7th-century pre-Columbian pyramid.

Why go?
The Larco museum is home to collections that span 5000 years of Peruvian pre-Colombian history arranged chronologically. One of the most well-known collections in this museum is the pre-Columbian erotic pottery collection.

It also includes a collection of over 40000 pieces of magnificent ceramics from different indigenous cultures such as the Moche and Chimú cultures. 

Hey Goofball! Book your admission ticket here in order to avoid the line. If you have time, I recommend stopping by the Cafe del Museo which is situated across a private garden filled with bougainvillea. 

#4. HAVE A BLAST AT CIRCUITO MAGICO DEL AGUA AKA MAGIC WATER TOUR

What is it?
Found in The Parque de la Reserva in downtown Lima, the Magic Water Tour opened in 2007 and holds the record of the largest fountain complex in the world. 
It has 13 separate water fountains, some of which are interactive and shoot from the ground. At night, these fountains are transformed into magical water, lights and sounds show.

Why go?
The Fuente Mágica is the largest fountain in the park and it shoots a jet of water more than 80 meters high. Other highlights include Fuente Túnel de las Sorpresas, a 35 m walk-through tunnel of water, and the Fuente de la Fantasia which includes a laser and picture show, with jets that are synchronized to music.

Hey Goofball! This is the perfect place for a fun family night or a romantic date! Why not combine it with the Larco Musem tour by ending the night at the Magic Water Tour? or the Lima night tour that ended at the Water circuit.

#5. DISCOVER THE BARRANCO DISTRICT

What is it?
Barranco is a lively district in Lima with a bohemian atmosphere. This vibrant district is splattered with brightly painted houses, small inns, colorful street art, and delicious food!

Why go?
Barranco will give you a taste of Lima’s authentic culture as well as a respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. One of the most popular places of interest in this district is the Puente de Los Suspiros or Bridge of Sighs.

Legend has it that if you make a wish and hold your breath during the walk across the bridge, your wish will come true! Other highlights include the Parque Municipal and Museo de Arte Colonial Pedro de Osma. 

Hey Goofball! I personally suggest doing a bike tour in order to have a look around the Barranco and Miraflores district. The tour is pleasant and lets you go around Lima with ease.

#6. CONVENTO DE SAN FRANCISCO

What is it?
The Convento de San Francisco is known for its astonishing architecture and it is part of the Historic Centre of Lima, which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1991.

Why go?
The monastery also has an impressive library that has thousands of antique books as well as an incredible collection of religious art including a painting of the last supper, done by Diego de la Puente, in which, instead of European meals, he uses guinea pigs, potatoes and chilies.

However, the monastery is most famous for its catacombs which are the burial site for over 25,000 bodies. 

Hey Goofball! Visiting the catacombs might be difficult for those who hate confined spaces as ceilings are low and doorways between chambers are even lower. You can definitely skip them as they are at the end of the tour of the monastery anyways! (I really don’t want anyone having a panic or dying)

#7. WANDER AROUND THE MIRAFLORES DISTRICT

What is it?
Miraflores is an upscale suburban district in Lima and is probably the most famous district among tourists; it also offers Malecón a BoardWalk offers staggering cliff-side views overlooking the ocean while wandering around the district.

Why go?
The district is nicknamed “Heroic City” because it was an important site during the Pacific War. Miraflores is considered the entertainment district because it features beautiful coastal views, upscale shopping places as well as world-class restaurants.

Some of the activities you can do include paragliding, surfing, and walking the BoardWalk for about 8 km along the coast perfect for any kind.

Miraflores also includes a couple of interesting museums such as the Amano Pre-Columbian Textile Museum and The Place of Memory, Tolerance, and Social Inclusion. Not to forget to catch speechless sunset from there too!

Hey Goofball! Down the Miraflores district there is the Circuito de Playas (as the name says: the beach circuit along Costa Verde) getting you to the closest to the Pacific Ocean but of a total of 25 km!

#8. DO NOT MISS HUACA PUCLLANA

What is it?
Located in Miraflores, Huaca Pucllana is one of Lima’s most important monuments. It is a great adobe and clay pyramid that was built from seven staggered platforms and served as a significant ceremonial and administrative center for the early Lima culture between the years of 200 AD and 700 AD.

Why go?
The area is divided into two sections: one section contained benches and evidence of deep pits where offerings of fish and other marine life took place in order to attain the favor of the gods, while the other was an administrative area.

Hey Goofball! I would recommend visiting this area with a tour guide as it will help you understand this complex historic monument better! My guide was just the perfect one I could ask for.

#9. PARQUE DEL AMOR AKA LOVE PARK

What is it?
This park’s name already speaks for itself. Parque del Amor is located in Miraflores it was built in 1993 and was first opened on Valentine’s day to celebrate love.

Why go?
It’s the perfect place for a serene date because of its lovely coastal views and beautiful mosaic designs covering its walls. 
The park’s centerpiece, El Beso (The Kiss), is a large sculpture of a couple created kissing by Peruvian sculptor Victor Delfí.

Hey Goofball! Not so distance, you can find the Miraflores Central Park known as Parque Kennedy full-field of many handicraft artisans and shops around it!

 #10. MUSEO NACIONAL DE ARQUEOLOGIA, ANTROPOLOGIA, Y HISTORIA AKA ARCHAEOLOGY, ANTHROPOLOGY, AND HISTORY MUSEUM

What is it?
The Museo Nacional de Arqueología Antropología e Historia del Perú is the largest and oldest museum in Peru. It contains more than 100,000 artifacts that trace the history of Lima from prehistoric times to colonial times.

Why go?
These artifacts include thousands of ceramic, textile, stone, metal, and wood objects, tools, and technologies. It also contains more than 2,000 musical instruments and the remains of ancient humans. These collections are organized thematically and chronologically, so you will not be confused or overwhelmed by the items on display! 

#11. LEARN MORE ABOUT HISTORY AT ALIAGA HOUSE

What is it?
Casa Aliaga is the oldest Colonial mansion in Lima and it should be missed while in Lima!

Why go?
Owned by a Spanish conqueror (Francisco Pizarro) in 1535, this house survived several earthquakes for about 5 centuries! The interior spaces, the original furniture, rooms and so on are going to blow up completely your mind because you will feel being back during Colonial and Republican times!

Hey Goofball! Book your tour with the official guide here.

OVERALL

Hey Goofball, Giorgy is about to share some useful tips for getting around the city:

  • Walking Tour: Do not forget this tour is free and it gives you a deep insight into Lima and walking is a good way of exercising LOL! But if you are not that extremes I recommend the traditional Hop-on/off Bus Tour.
  • Exploring Lima by Bike: Bikes in Lima are quite cheap and an easy, better say the best way to explore the city. Indeed renting a bike is going to cost you 15 dollars for the whole day! This way you have the absolute freedom of visiting and discovering the whole city at your own speed;
  • Food That You Should NOT Miss: You should not miss anything at all, indeed you should jump on a culinary tour that offers you the chance to go on a ride through Peruvian gastronomy! Well, why not? Lima is also home to a few most tasteful restaurants in the world! The food you should NOT miss out on Causa Limena, Ceviche, Aji de gallina, Lomo Saltado, Picarones, Pollo a la brasa, Carapulcra, Arroz chaufa. If you are a Vegetarian aka Vegan like Giorgy, you should go ahead on this tour, I did it and I was amazed at how tasteful the food was!
  • Drink PISCO Sour: Peruvian alcoholic drink and created indeed in Peru! It’s a drink worth trying, but don’t drink it as water otherwise, you are going to find yourself dancing on the table (LOL speaking for experiences). I won’t reveal to you how it made out otherwise you won’t even try it tho (just not a drink for vegans :)) ~ Pisco Tour

BOOK THINGS TO DO, ATTRACTIONS, AND TOURS OUTSIDE OF LIMA

As you can see, Lima is a city that has tons to offer to travelers of every taste and preference, quite out of the ordinary!

I hope you are going to have an unforgettably wonderful time in Lima with these unbeatable things to do when you are over there. What would you add to this list? I’d love to hear in the comments below! 

 

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