A Complete Guide for the Capital of Peru: Things to Do in Lima

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Being the capital, it is no wonder that there are so many great things to do in Lima, Peru. It is an absolute must see when you are visiting the country, and definitely a great place to start your Peruvian travels.. Not only is it the main hub for Peru, but it is also one of the biggest main hubs in all of South America

If you are traveling from North to South America (or vice versa), there is a good chance that there will be a layover in Lima, and if there isn't, it might be something to consider. This city is one of the cheapest places to fly to and from, so stopping here for a day to break up your trip is something that we highly recommend! 

Not only is it well communicated with the rest of the Americas, but it is a great city with a variety of different places to see, activities, and great food. Check out below everything to know about the capital of Peru, things to do in Lima, and more!

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Where is Lima, Peru on the Map?

Lima is located along the coast, in the center of Peru. The country of Peru is also located along the coast in the center of South America, and is bordered by Ecuador to the north, Chile to the South, Colombia to the North East, Brazil to the East, and Bolivia to the South East.

Lima Peru on the map

Lima is located along the coast in Central Peru.

How to Get to Lima in Peru

Lima is the biggest hub in Peru, and also one of the biggest in South America. It is well connected to many big cities around the world, and is also the easiest city to get to from any other city in the country.

Flying to Lima

Domestic cities that fly to Lima include Arequipa, Cajamarca, Chiclayo, Jauja, Juliaca, Piura, Puerto Maldonado, Tacna, Talara, Tarapoto, Trujillo, and Tumbes.

Other international cities that fly to Lima include Asuncion, Atlanta, Ayacucho, Bogota, Buenos Aires, Cali, Cancun, Cartagena, Cordoba, Cusco, Fort Lauderdale, Guayaquil, Houston, Huanuco, Iquitos, Jaen, Los Angeles, Madrid, Medellin, Mexico City, Miami, Montevideo, Newark, New York, Panama City, Paris, Porto Alegre, Punta Cana, Quito, Rio de Janeiro,  San Jose, Santa Cruz, Santiago, and Sao Paulo.

Flight Tip: Did you know that there are flights to Lima from the USA as low as $100? Using Skyscanner you can check the calendar to see which are the cheapest dates to fly there from your city.

Search for a flight to Lima:

 Buses to Lima

Lima is also very well connected by buses, and there are a ton of overnight ones that even have seats that recline all the way.

Here are some popular bus routes that you can book:

Here is an international bus that goes to Lima:

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Entry Requirements for Peru

Before planning a trip to a new place, you'll need to keep in mind the different requirements for entering the country. Here's everything you need to know for traveling to Peru.

Visa Requirements for Peru

Most nationalities from countries in the Americas and Western Europe can visit Peru visa-free for up to 183 days. The only thing you'll need to enter is your passport, and it needs to valid for at least 6 months from the date of departure. Citizens of ArgentinaBoliviaBrazilChileColombia, Paraguay, and Uruguay may visit Peru with just their national identity document. If you'd like to know if you need a visa to visit, make sure to check with the local embassy.

We also do suggest getting your yellow fever vaccine as well, since it can be a risk, and is required in many countries throughout South America.

Covid Requirements for Peru

Peru is still requiring travelers to either be fully vaccinated, or to have a negative Covid-19 test taken within 48 hours of their flight. Make sure to keep your vaccination card on you, as certain places will require it in order to enter their establishments. Also you should make sure to carry a mask on you, as it's still required to wear one on public transportation throughout Peru (updated December 2022).

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Local Adjustments for Lima, Peru

Whenever you visit somewhere new, there are things that you may forget about. These could  change from where you are coming from, and are what we call local adjustments. Here are the different local adjustments for Lima, Peru.

What is the Official Language in Lima?

The official language in Lima is Spanish. Peruvians speak pretty clearly, so they are actually much easier to understand than some of the nationalities from surrounding countries (such as Chile for example). Being the capital, Lima has plenty of people that do speak English though. However, it certainly helps to speak Spanish so that you can get better deals and avoid getting ripped off.

What is the Currency of Peru?

The currency used in Peru is the Peruvian Sol. Each 1 USD is equal to about 3.86 Sol right now (March 2024). While Lima has more places that any where else in the country that accept credit card, there are still plenty of establishments that only accept cash. We suggest taking out plenty of money from the ATM.

What Kind of Plugs are in Lima?

The outlets in Peru support both plug types A & C. Type A is the one with two flat pins (used in the US), and type C is type one with two round pins which are used in Europe. The standard voltage in Peru is 220V, and the frequency is 60 Hz. It may be a smart idea to bring an electrical adapter, as the outlets vary depending on where you go.

Can You Drink Tap Water in Lima?

The water is generally not safe to drink anywhere in Peru, even in the capital city. We suggest sticking to bottled water, and bringing a refillable water bottle to continually fill up with a larger jug.

Tipping in Lima, Peru

The tipping culture in Peru is a standard 10%, and they are always expected to be in cash.

The Capital of Peru: Things to Do in Lima for Sightseeing

One of the best things to do in Lima, Peru is to check out some of the historical and cultural areas of the city. Here are some of the most important places to see.

1. Historic District of Lima

This area is the center of Lima's culture and history, and is actually a UNESCO world heritage site! Beautiful architecture, street food, and plenty of shops & restaurants fill this area. Here are some places to visit inside the historic district:

Historical center-Peru things to do in Lima

The historical center is the heart of Lima, and a must while visiting the capital.

2. Plaza Mayor

Plaza Mayor, also known as Plaza de Armas, is the birthplace of the city of Lima, as well as the core of the city. It is located in the historic center, and is surrounded by the Government Palace, Cathedral of Lima, Archbishop's Palace of Lima, the Municipal Palace, and the Palace of the Union.

3. Palacio del Gobierno

El Palacio del Gobierno, or the "Palace of the Government" is also known as the House of Pizarro. This is the seat of the executive branch of the Peruvian Government, and the official residence of the President of Peru. If you are here, don't miss out on the "changing of the guard", which is displayed each day at noon.

4. Plaza San Martin

Plaza San Martin is one of the most representative parts of Lima, and is surrounded by beautiful white buildings, and a large green area with a statue in the middle.

5. Huaca Pucllana & Huaca Huallamarca

Huaca Pucllana, Peru things to do in Lima

Huaca Pucllana is an adobe clay pyramid right in Lima.

These are two great adobe and clay pyramids that date back to 200-700 AD. Huaca Pucllana, also known as Huaca Juliana, is located in the Miraflores district of central Lima, and was built from seven staggered platforms. Huaca Huallamarca, also known as "Pan de Azucar" is located in San Isidro.

Looking to book a tour? Here are a few options:

6. Jiron de La Union

Jiron de La Union, also known as Union street, was once one of the most important boulevards. This pedestrian street is full of pastel colors and exquisite architecture, and also has plenty of shops and restaurants.

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7. Basilica de San Francisco

The pastel yellow church that is located in the historical center of Lima, is great to stop by to admire its architecture. Here is also where you can check out the catacombs, and see where 25,000 people were buried!

8. Parque de la Muralla

This urban park has remains of the old city walls, walkways, and a children's train. Muralla park also has great views of the colorful neighborhood of San Cristobal.

9. Santo Domingo Monastery

The Church and Convent of Santo Domingo date back to the end of the 16th century. This is one of the best preserved in Lima, and is famous for being the only one with a real steeple.

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10. Lighthouse of Miraflores

Located in one of the most popular areas of Lima, lies an active lighthouse. This colorful structure is not able to be entered, but is a nice stop, as it sits high on the cliffs of the city.

11. Parque del Amor

Parque del Amor, also known as the park of love, is located along the Malecón in the Miraflores district of the city. This landscaped park overlooks the ocean, and has a huge kissing sculpture, mosaic walls & a snack stand.

If you take the path down, you will also find a beach with black sand, making this a perfectly romantic spot!

12. Barranco

The neighborhood of Barranco is considered the "SoHo of Lima", as it is the hipster area of the capital, full of artists and musicians. This colorful area is one of the best places to go to experience the vibrance of the city, whether it is day or night.

Check out the graffiti, people watch from the bridge of sighs, or enjoy a cocktail in one the chic bars, where you can enjoy one of the coolest neighborhoods in Lima.

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14. Callao

The colorful neighborhood of Callao is definitely a great area of Lima to visit, and is where you can find art galleries, decorative murals, cute shops, beaches, and the San Felipe Fortress

Fugaz is another place to check out if you are in the area. This quirky, rooftop lounge,  is great for having a drink and taking in the views. When we were there they closed once it got dark out, so we definitely recommend coming earlier to make the most of this place. Rumor has it, that it also only opens on weekends, so make sure to double check before going.

Callao is located close to the airport, as well as the terminal for cruise ships. However, we do not recommend staying in this area, as it can become a little dangerous. Many people recommended to us not to stay there after dark, and to be very aware of our belongings.

Callao, Peru things to do in Lima

Callao is a neighborhood full of color and art.

Looking for a city tour in Lima? Here are a few you can choose from:

The Capital of Peru: Things to Do in Lima for Activities

Not only does the city have tons of  places to see, but there are so many great things to do in Lima Peru. Being near the sea, and located on cliffs, you can never be bored in this capital. Check out all of the different ways to have fun in this city.

Don't have time to read the whole article and want to save it for later? Just pin it!

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Peru things to do in Lima  pin
Peru things to do in Lima  pin

15. Swim with the Sea Lions

A once in a lifetime experience, is right here in the capital! Swimming with the sea lions is definitely the top of our list for the best things to do in Lima Peru.

Take a boat trip out to see the beautiful islands off the coast. Here you will see all types of wildlife including penguins, but the best part of the boat trip is arriving at a small island covered with hundreds of sea lions!

swimming with sea lions in Peru, things to do in Lima.

Swimming with the sea lions is one of the best things to do in Lima Peru.

This isn’t like swimming with dolphins in Mexico, where they are captivated and tortured. These are all wild sea lions, and you can swim around with them in this playful and exciting environment.

16. Go Paragliding

One of the most exhilarating and stunning experiences in Lima is the opportunity to go paragliding! For $80-$100 USD you can soar from the great cliffs. You will get the best views, and finish by landing on the city's beautiful beaches.

paragliding- best things to do in Lima Peru

Paragliding is one of the most fun things to do in Lima Peru.

17. Walk Along El Malecon

The Malecon is a six-mile stretch of parks, and is situated along the cliffs of Lima. High above the Pacific Ocean, here is where you will get some of the best views, and is also a great place to bike, jog, or just take in the fresh breeze.

18. Watch the 'Circuito Magico del Agua'

Located at "Parque de la Reserva" in downtown Lima, is a nightly show that is not to be missed. A series of fountains in the park come to life with a beautiful spectacle of colors and music. There are three shows each night- one at 7:15, 8:15, and 9:15 pm. The entrance is just 4 soles (a little over $1 USD), and it's truly magical.

circuito magico del aguas, Peru things to do in Lima

The circuito magico del agua is a fantastic water show that occurs nightly.

19. Watch a Monk High Diving

This is one of the most peculiar and unique things to do in Lima Peru.

Located in the district of Chorillos, there is a man that re-enacts a tragic love story. The story of the "salto del fraile" is a year old tale of forbidden love between a young couple in love. This professional diver, for thirty years, has been dressing as a monk, and jumping off the cliffs here, in memory of the 100-year old tale.

20. Take a Cooking Class

One of the best ways to indulge in the culture and cuisine of Peru is to take a cooking class! This chef led cooking class includes ceviche, lomo saltado, and pisco sours, making it the absolute perfect culinary experience in Lima, Peru.

21. Gamble in One of the Casinos

Lima has several large casinos, and they are all conveniently located in the Miraflores area. Check out Atlantic City, Fiesta, or Majestic Casino for a fun night, and maybe to even win some money!

Atlantic City casino, Peru things to do in Lima

There are a ton of casinos scattered throughout the city of Lima.

22. Enjoy the Nightlife

Being the capital, one of the best things to do in Lima Peru is to enjoy the nightlife.

This city has some great bars and clubs. With several neighborhoods, rooftop lounges, night clubs, and endless bars, there is something for everyone. Our personal favorites were the areas of Barrato and Miraflores.

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The Capital of Peru: Best Things to Do in Lima's Outskirts (Day Trips from Lima)

Lima is a great city, with plenty to do inside. But if you have time, there are so many cool places to explore that are just a few hours away! Here are a couple of our favorites things to do in Lima Peru outside the city.

23.  Beach Hop in Paracas

If you want to see some really great beaches, take a trip down to Paracas. Just 3 hours away from the capital, you can visit some beautiful spots. Check out the beaches with high cliffs and brightly colored sands. and eat some really tasty seafood.

This small beach town is usually overlooked on people's South American Itineraries. However, we're here to tell you a few great reasons to travel to Paracas, Peru.Just a few hours from the capital, this can be a great day or weekend trip from Lima. Also, it can be the perfect

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24. Check Out the Desert Oasis of Huacachina

Huacachina is one of the most unique places we've visited in Peru! A desert oasis awaits you, where you can sand board, ride dune buggies, or take a dip in the lake.

It can be done as a day trip from various tour companies in Lima, but we really liked spending a night here, if you have the time. check out all that this crazy place has to offer in our full Huacachina travel guide.

You can either rent a car and go on your own to Huacachina, or you can join this Paracas tour from Lima which includes Tacama Vineyard.

25. Nazca Lines

The Nazca Lines are one of the most peculiar and extraordinary places to visit in Peru.

Located in the small town of Nasca, are hundreds of giant geoglyphs which date back to 2,000 years ago. The drawings were carved into the land, and are mysteriously still there after 20 centuries, making it a fascinating site to see via helicopter.

There's an awesome Nazca Lines excursion you can take from Lima which also includes Huacachina!

Nazca Lines, day trips from Lima

Photo by Seiji Seiji on Unsplash

Nazca lines

Cuisine of Peru: Things to Do in Lima for Food & Drink

Since Lima is close to the sea, the number one thing to eat here is seafood! The most famous dish here is ceviche, and it is something you cannot leave without having. Avenida Mariscal la Mar, located in Miraflores, is lined with great seafood restaurants. We dined at La Mar, and ordered a seafood platter, which we highly recommend!

Seafood in Peru, things to do in Lima

One of the best things to do in Lima Peru is to try its amazing seafood.

Another dish that is very popular from this city is Causa Limena, which is a cold potato entree that's unlike any other dish in the culinary world. The yellow potato and yellow chili pepper mash is assembled in layers, with avocado, and chicken or seafood.

For some quick snacks, you can find street vendors selling picarones from small carts, These are mashed sweet potato and squash topped with cinnamon and sticky syrup, which are fried right on the spot.

How to Get Around Lima, Peru

Being the capital, Lima is a very easy city to get around. Here is everything you need to know for navigating in the capital of Peru, things to do in Lima's outskirts, and more.

Is Lima a Walkable City?

Many areas of the city of Lima are actually within walking distance. While you can't walk everywhere, we do encourage trying to walk as much as possible, since there is so much to see and do. 

Public Transportation in Lima

If you do need to get around from one end of the city to the next, there are plenty of buses (known as colectivos). These are the cheapest way to get around the city, and you'll need to carry cash on you to ride the public buses. While all routes aren't on Google, we suggest just asking locals for which buses to use to get around.

Can You Use Uber in Lima?

Lima does have Uber, as well as taxis that are readily available. You can easily flag taxis down, or call an Uber if you'd like to pay with card, or have an extra level of safety added to your trip.

Is it Good to Rent a Car in Peru?

We personally love renting cars, and being that there is so much going on in and around the capital of Peru, things to do in Lima are much more easily reached across town by having your own car.

Also, If you plan on doing some day trips from Lima, then it would be super helpful to rent a car. There are plenty that you can rent from the airport. We just recommend booking in advance for the best prices and availability.

Here is a site we use to book our car rentals:

Where to Stay in Lima, Peru

Miraflores is hands down, in our opinion, the best area to stay in Lima. It is upscale, but not too expensive. There are plenty of places to shop, eat, and go out at night.

As well,  it is easily reachable from each area of the city. We rented a place for just $25 USD per night., and it was comfortable, clean, and we felt very safe there.

Miraflores in Lima Peru

Miraflores is one of the best neighborhoods to stay in Lima.

Want to look for a place to stay in Miraflores? Just check out the map below:


Is Lima Safe for Tourists Now?

Being a South American capital, you'll want to be a little extra careful in Lima. Overall, we felt pretty safe. However, most South America cities are notorious for petty crime. We definitely suggest being in a group if you walk around at night, and avoid poorly lit areas. Make sure to watch your belongings at all times, and have a bag that zips so it isn't an easy target for pickpockets.

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Other Things to Know About Visiting Lima, Peru

Now that you know the best things to do in Lima, Peru, and all the basics, we have a few more things to share with you.

Weather in Lima, Peru

The weather in Lima stays pretty consistent for most of the year, and only varies slightly from month to month. The warmest time to visit Lima is during the months of December to March, and the colder months are July and August.

The Best Time to Visit Lima, Peru

The best time to visit Lima is in the summer, so that you can enjoy the beach, as well as the warm nights.

Packing For a Trip to Lima, Peru

Here are a few things we suggest packing from your trip:

  • Sunscreen 
  • Reusable Water Bottle (we use this water bottle from Cafago because it holds the temperature)
  • Flip Flops for the beach (we personally always get Havaiana flip flops, as they are comfy and long lasting)
  • Comfortable shoes for sightseeing
  • Zippered Bag or Backpack to secure your belongings - take a look at these backpacks for travelers!
  • Lock if you decide to stay in a hostel
  • Power Bank (we use Anker power banks, as they are super long lasting and sturdy)
  • Bathing Suit for the beach or swimming with the sea lions
  • Drone (We use the Mavic Mini Pro 3 because it's super light and doesn't sacrifice quality)
  • Action Camera for swimming with the sea lions or paragliding (we use the Insta 360 X3 because it's small & waterproof)
  • Case Mate waterproof Phone Pouch for swimming with the sea lions (we use the Cafago Waterproof Phone Pouch)
  • Travel Adapter (we use Insignia travel adapters as they are affordable and reliable)

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Lima is one of the most vibrant and culturally diverse cities in Peru, and in South America. There are so many ways to enjoy this city. Spend a couple of days here exploring all of the different neighbors, trying the different foods, and meeting some locals.

Want to see more of this country? Check out 10 Places You Need to Visit in Peru!

Ready to start planning your next trip? Well now you can save both time and money along the way! Scratch Your Mapa is dedicated to creating you the perfect itinerary, without the crazy commissions that most travel agencies charge. Want to learn exactly how it works? Take a look at the different travel planning packages that we offer.

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