Lima, Peru will forever hold a special place in my heart. Both my parents are from there and I spent all my summers growing up visiting family in the coastal capital of Peru. Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to explore more of the city and I’m excited to share them with you.

This city of about 13 million people is big so expect lots of traffic, people, and honking. There are 43 districts, but visitors tend to stick to about 3 which we’ll go over. You can explore beyond the ones people tend to visit but do be careful. Pickpockets are plenty in the city so always be mindful of your things.

Food is one of the main reasons aside from Machu Picchu that people visit Peru, so you cannot leave without doing a food tour to try traditional meals and drinks. Learn how to prepare the ever popular ceviche and Pisco sour.

smiling brunette in a black shirt and pink jacket standing in front of a view of Lima
View of Lima on a sunny day, Chorrillos

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Getting around Lima

Now that you have arrived in Lima, you need to know how to get around. Lima doesn’t have a typical metro system like most cities and its bus system is pretty complicated if you don’t know the city’s layout. The metro line that does exist only runs through a part of Lima where commuters mainly come from and need to go. I’ve only taken it once but have heard that during rush hours there can be lines all the way onto the street.

The combis as the buses are called do have routes they follow but the stops and prices can be irregular. When I lived in Lima I got used to taking it around to my usual places, but I never learned how to take it anywhere. If you want the local experience then take one in Miraflores or Barranco for a few stops.

There is the Metropolitano which runs along the Via Expresa, a highway. The downside is it only goes along a certain route and probably not too close to where you’re headed. 

The easiest, safest, and most direct way of getting around Lima is Uber or DiDi. Due to traffic this may not be the fastest, but there really isn’t a faster way. It’s more economical compared to the US but high compared to the local salary.


Miraflores is one of the most popular neighborhoods for visitors to spend time in and stay in. Lots of hostels and hotels are located here and it’s very possible you’ll choose to stay in the area. It’s one of the more pricier neighborhoods for Limeños to live in.


Larcomar was one of my favorite places to visit growing up. It’s a shopping mall overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Here you’ll find lots of stores, restaurants, bowling, and a nightclub. 

Parque del Amor (Love Park)

Also located on the Miraflores Malecon (seaside) is the Parque del Amor. The reason it’s called this is because of the statue found right in the middle of the park. The statue is of a couple kissing and embracing each other. There are also little mosaic tiles located around the border of the park.

Parque del Amor - Love Park
Parque del Amor

Parque Kennedy

This park is also referred to as the cat park. There’s such an array of cats as you walk around but it’s a nice green space right in the middle of a bustling city. There’s benches, food vendors, and a church you can visit. Some evenings you’ll find people dancing in a circular spot.

Huaca Pucllana

If history and archaeological spots are your thing then you don’t want to miss this spot. Huaca Pucllana is from 200-700 AD and has a museum plus tours. It’s crazy to see the clay and adobe remains of the stepped pyramid surrounded by modern day buildings.


Morphology is a concept clothing store, but the reason you should visit is for the butterflies they have in a part of the store. The walkway where they’re located is all green and goes downwards around the open space area. 

Morphology Butterfly Garden Things to do in Lima

Place of Memory, Tolerance, and Social Inclusion (LUM)

Peru has a dark history that many outsiders don’t know about but there was a time when terrorism reigned here. This was a bigger issue in the mountains and near the rainforest where there are less restrictions and security. People who opposed certain leaders would be kidnapped never to be seen again. This museum is called Lugar de la Memoria, la Tolerancia y la Inclusión Social (LUM) or Place of Memory, Tolerance and Social Inclusion. Learn about the history here. I’d recommend at least half a day to visit.


Surfing is a popular activity in Lima as the waves can be pretty great for new and experienced surfers. There are classes available regardless of your skill level!

Chinese Park

Located on the malecon of Miraflores is the Chinese Park. It was created for the commemoration of the Bicentennial of the Independence of Peru. You can find statues, a red temple and koi ponds that momentarily transport you to another world. It also seeks to represent the 172 years of Chinese immigration to Peru.

Miraflores Chinese Park
Chinese Park

Artisanal Markets 

About 5 blocks from Parque Kennedy there are a few artisanal markets. These will be pricier compared to the ones you’d find in Cusco, Puno, and other cities. If you didn’t get a chance to do shopping at those though and still need to get gifts whether for yourself and others then this is the spot to go. You can find an array of goods from clothes, souvenirs, artwork, and much more.


If the weather is optimal aka during spring, summer or fall or at least a sunny winter day, then you should try paragliding. You do it right off the malecon and it feels like you’re jumping off the cliff. The views are spectacular and you get to see the city from above. It’s such a unique way to observe the city.

brunette paragliding over Miraflores on a sunny day (things to do in Lima)
Paragliding in Miraflores (Feb 2016)

Bar Crawl

Get to know Miraflores’ best nightlife spots with a bar crawl! Explore at least 4 spots with a discounted drinks and a free shot. You’ll meet people from all over and get to have a fun experience.


Oh Barranco. This neighborhood holds a special place in my heart because both my parents were born and raised here. Coming here feels like being able to relive part of my family’s history. In a church close to the limit with Miraflores is actually where my parents got married.

Municipal Park

Right in the center of Barranco is the Municipal Park. Here you can find people hanging out, drinking or during certain times of the year there’s events held here. At those festivals there’s usually food, music, and some sort of activities. There’s a little gazebo in the park and the streets surrounding it have restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. 

Street Art

Barranco is now known as the bohemian neighborhood. It’s cute, chic, and a bit trendy. That has not stopped the appearance of lots of street art. This isn’t regular graffiti though, they’re done by artists and will have you wanting to take lots of photos.

Barranco Street Art
Barranco Street Art, February 2022

Puente de Los Suspiros (Sighing Bridge)

This is one of the most popular wooden bridges as many couples go to take engagement or wedding photos here. My parents also took photos here when they got married. The bridge overlooks the Pacific Ocean from above.

Bajada de Baños

Barranco has lots of bajadas, or pathways, leading down to the beach. One of the most popular is right below the Puente de Los Suspiros, the Sighing Bridge, which is the bajada de baños. There’s hostels, restaurants, and bars on the way down that you can check out.

Museo de Arte Contemporaneo (MAC)

This is your spot if contemporary art is your thing. It’s located near the limit with Miraflores. It’s right on the cliff so you’ll get a nice view of the water from the outdoor park.

Downtown Lima

My family always said that the center of Lima was dangerous and pretty much to avoid at all costs. I know many tourists that visit and over the years I finally made it here to check it out. There are things to do and it’s a good place to check out whether for the day or a couple days. Some people opt to stay here as usually downtown is the most popular place, but I would recommend staying in Miraflores instead. Whether you stay downtown or not, a colonial city tour with a catacombs visit is a must!

Free Walking Tour

Get to know Lima’s historic center best with a walking tour. The guide will take you to all the important spots and you’ll get to know your surroundings better. It’s the best way to first learn about a new city!

Plaza Mayor de Lima (Main Square)

Every city/town in Peru has a main square which is called the Plaza Mayor or Plaza de Armas as that’s where the military, bank, post office, and city hall building would be around a park. In Lima it’s where the Presidential Palace and Residence is found, the Cathedral, and the municipal palace.

Lima sign in Playa Mayor at nighttime
Lima sign in Playa Mayor, July 2022

Lima Cathedral

Located in the Playa Mayor is the huge baroque-style Roman Catholic cathedral of Lima with a gold-plated altar and an on-site religious museum. 

Plaza San Martin

Five blocks from the Plaza de Armas is Plaza San Martin. In the center is a statue of Martin with benches and some trees. On one side is the Hotel Bolivar which is famous for its Pisco sours so definitely grab one when you’re in the area! 

Plaza San Martin
Plaza San Martin, July 2022

Mali Museo de Arte de Lima

This museum has Peruvian art on display with works from the pre-Columbian period up to the recent past. It’s located just a few blocks away from Plaza San Martin.

Magic Water Circuit

Technically not in downtown, but close enough is the Magic Water Circuit. This is a place to visit in the evening to enjoy the water light shows they have. Definitely a picturesque place to get some cool pictures. Do keep in mind it can get rather busy.

Magic Water Circuit Things to do in Lima
Magic Water Circuit, August 2016

With this list we have only touched the surface of what Lima has to offer, but it’s a great jumping off point if you have never visited the city.

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Latina Traveler

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