With a population of almost 11 million people Lima, the capital of Peru is the second largest city in the Americas. The bright vibrant city offers plenty of things to do during your visit to Peru. The city is also home to the largest airport in Peru, serving as a stopover for those traveling to Machu Picchu or other inland cities throughout the country. I would recommend including a day or two in Lima for your Peru itinerary because this is a city you must visit!
This one day guide to Lima will provide you all you need to know, including where to eat, where to stay, and the best attractions for your adventure!
How to Get to Lima
Lima has one major airport, Jorge Chavez International Airport. It was bustling at 9:30 p.m. like you would expect to see at 7:00 a.m. back in the states so expect to spend some time there after landing. When we arrived in Peru- it was late, it was dark, and we’d been traveling for over 14 hours. Fortunately for me, I had slept the entire flight like I do most flights, so I was awake and ready to take on this new city!
As made our way through the crowd (I say crowd but it was more like a sea of sweaty humans) of cab drivers to the exit. We were immediately approached by several men screaming TAXI! My travel partner spoke about 3 words of spanish- but looks like he could be of Latin American decent- so as I responded to them in broken but decent spanish- they answered back in spanish… to my partner, completely ignoring me, despite his attempt at “no hablo espanol”. The whole interaction was frustrating and humorous at the same time. Eventually we “bargained a deal” (we totally got hosed) and we were loading our backpacks into the cab to check in at our AirBnb in Miraflores (along with a Swedish backpacker hitching a cab with us).
You can either take a taxi or rent a car from the airport. If you are planning on road tripping I would recommend renting a car. We had one day in Lima so we decided to take a taxi to and from the airport for our Cusco flight. To get around the city we mostly walked, but used the occasional Uber or Lyft for longer distances.
Take it from a couple travelers that learned the hard way- DO NOT pay more than 50 soles for a cab from the airport, I’m not even going to tell you how much we paid because it will just upset me. Thank goodness we had an incredible AirBnb waiting for us to do some cheering up 🙂
Where to Stay in Lima
There are several neighborhood options for you to stay in. We chose to stay in the popular Miraflores neighborhood which is located along the ocean shoreline. The area is about a 45 minute drive from the airport and offers beautiful parks and vistas to walk around. There are also plenty of cafes, restaurants, and shopping areas.
Don’t know what to pack for your trip to Peru? This packing list from Vida de Polilla has a free checklist so you don’t forget anything for your trip!
Where to Eat
Pan de la Chola
Starting my morning with coffee is a must, so the first stop of the day is almost always somewhere with coffee. This adorable shop was a perfect first stop to fuel up for the day. From tasty treats to savory sandwiches, Pan de la Chola of Miraflores is said to be Lima’s best panaderia. The sandwich breads are baked from local grown grains like kiwicha and my personal favorite- quinoa! Get anything with avocado- you can’t go wrong, I’m pretty sure the avocados in Peru are all magical. I had this sugary, soft croissant type pastry and a Peruvian latte (I also sampled off my friends plates) everything I had was delicious.
Barranco was my favorite district for many reasons, and the food was just one of them. Amoramar has an outdoor bar and dining area with a mix of peruvian and mediterranean type dishes (yes they have Ceviche and pisco sours). Dine like royalty, for an affordable price. We went family style- and just ordered a ton of random dishes to pass around the table so everyone could try a little bit of everything. It’s a little on the fancier side so I wouldn’t recommend showing up in your yoga pants (even though you’ll eat so much you’ll wish you had). In the order in which we ate them, check out all the deliciousness we ate.
Things to do in Lima
This is a six mile stretch of parks that winds along the coastline with breathtaking views the entire way. The parks are so pretty, and the fitness vibes of the city are abundant along here- there’s paved running and biking paths surrounded by beautiful flower gardens and built in workout equipment. People everywhere were either working out or walking their dogs (the dog watching of pure breds is more fun then people watching). We watched locals playing soccer in one park, while we made our way to the lighthouse. As we passed through the parque del amor i’m not sure what I liked more, the colorful mosaic walls, or the romantic love quotes they were covered in?
Mac Museo de Arte Contemporaneo
My love for contemporary art grows with each new museum I visit. Located just at the entrance of the Barranco district, MAC was my first international contemporary art museum visit. It was a little on the small side- with bright, colorful pieces, the artists were all Peruvian or Latin American. I’m an amateur photographer, and i’m always looking for unique opportunities to practice, this was a perfect opportunity! For 10 soles ($3 USD) it was time to take a break from the crazy city and better yet- support the local community.
What better way to wrap up your day then a stunning oceanfront sunset? There’s really no bad spot along the coast to watch the day come to an end. We walked off our food babies down to the beach a little early and watched the surfers catch the waves as the sun went down behind them for a 2 for 1 show. And I gave Dan a new photo tradition of me running away from the waves before they get me (which puts me up to 3 total photos (all different trips)).