Lima is among the biggest metropolises in South America and it definitely has a lot to offer to all travelers. Many tourists stay here just for the night, but by doing so they miss out on many unique opportunities. It’s a pity that this city in Peru is really underestimated. If you have a short vacation in your hands and can’t spend more time here, there are many things to do in Lima, Peru even during one day. The fantastic cuisine of Peru, endless sand dunes and amazing architecture are only a small piece of what this place can offer. Here’s a short guide for travelers including the very best things to do in Lima. Read it and you will immediately get the urge to go and see this great city.
GUEST POST BY THOMAS GLARE
What’s the Best Time to Visit Lima?
This may be a dream vacation if you choose the right season to visit Lima. The best period to come here is from December to April when it’s hot, but you can go to the local beaches to alleviate that. Lima is amazing during these months and full of sunshine. However, the period from May to November won’t be too pleasant for travelers who desire to get all the perks of this metropolis. It’s like winter for locals because Lima weather is colder and the water is too cold for swimming. Fog and heavy rain clouds surround this area in Peru during the period.
A Few Facts about Lima
Here are 5 interesting facts you should know about Lima
- This metropolis is the capital city of Peru.
- Lima is considered to be the second-largest desert city after Cairo. The city receives around 80 % of the water from the river called Rimac.
- The city was founded on January 18th, 1535 by Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro. They have a celebration every year on this day and Plaza de Armas turns into an impressive background for amazing musical performances, folklore scenes and various other forms of entertainment. The whole thing ends with fantastic fireworks exploding in the evening skies. This event is a perfect excuse to spend some time in Lima.
- Lima was founded on the land belonging to native people. The Presidential Palace was built in 1535 on the ruins of the temple of the local chief named Taulichusco.
- Indian Market, located in the stunning Lima district of Miraflores, is a wonderful spot to buy souvenirs. Tourists spend hours here choosing gifts from the assortment of Incan jewelry, Chulucanas dishes, local Peru textiles, etc.
One Day in Lima Itinerary
Now it’s time to get acquainted with Peru and study the best tourism opportunities Lima has to offer. No doubt this will be an unforgettable trip and you may even want to stay longer in this place once you see what it has. Here’s what to see in Lima, Peru!
Top Things to Do in Lima, Peru
Here are the top things every traveler should do in Lima to have a great time in the capital city of Peru.
Book a Walking Lima Tour
Start your one day in Lima with a nice little tour. A guide starts the excursion every day at the Tourist Information Center located in Miraflores. This tour is a perfect chance to see real Lima and Peru in the same way local people see it. The guide will show historically significant places and modern urban life of the city. You can join the group at 9:30 in the morning every day except on Sundays. The tours are free.
Go to Plaza Mayor
Plaza Mayor is the heart of the city and the best answer to the question “What to see in Lima?”. All of the most famous historical destinations adored by locals and tourists alike are located right here.
You can get here from any district by bus or taxi. In the city center, you should visit Lima Cathedral, Archbishop’s Palace, Presidential Palace, and the city hall. You’ll also find the best restaurants in Lima in this district. This is the city’s heart in the truest sense of the word and you will sense Lima’s pulse here perfectly.
Visit Lima Art Museum
Checking out the local art scene when you come to a new city or a country can be very interesting. Use the opportunity you have while here to see traditional Colombian masterpieces and contemporary art of Peru. The MALI museum should definitely be a part of your Lima itinerary, and it is based in Palacio de la Exposicion in the downtown area of the city. It contains around 18 000 pieces of art.
Explore Catacombs and Basilica of San Francisco
See the Catacombs and Basilica of San Francisco, a sight in close proximity to Plaza Mayor (around 450 m away from that). They are a part of local cemeteries people used to build under churches. It’s hard to miss the Basilica of San Francisco due to its baroque architecture style. Definitely, a place you should see even if only visiting Lima for a day, primarily due to its cultural and historical significance.
Visit Huaca Pucclana
This is your chance to visit the real pyramids in Peru. They are located in the Miraflores district and are an absolute must during your 24 hours in Lima. It’s a construction divided by 7 platforms and built between 200-700 AD – the exact date is unknown. Buses 301-302 go there from the heart of Lima. You’ll only have to leave the transport at the Ayacucho bus stop and walk around 400 m.
Go shopping in Larcomar
What to see in Lima that’s a bit more modern? Well, this mall is located on the coast of the Pacific Ocean and occupies one side of a cliff, so it is quite a beautiful place.
Apart from doing some shopping, you’ll be able to enjoy fantastic sights, try traditional cuisine in its restaurants, and hide from the sun underground. The mall is located in Miraflores, a stunning tourism district, so you will enjoy yourself here very much.
Visit Parque de la Reserva
If you’re staying for just one day in Lima and don’t know what to do, Water Fountain Park is a wonderful place to see. In the evening they have a real show here!
The fountains light up and look like a real fairy tale. One person will pay 4 Soles to visit this park in Lima, but it’s definitely worth it, especially if you’re visiting the city with your girlfriend/boyfriend. Just relax and enjoy the colors.
Relax in Barranco District in Lima
Of the things to do in Lima, Peru, it’s a great choice to spend time in Barranco District. The area combines historical architecture, artistic vibe and a relaxing way of life in Peru, so it’s a great place to just chill out and relax after a long day of sightseeing There are many pubs, bars and restaurants in this area. Don’t miss the opportunity to cross the Puente de Suspinos bridge because they say your dream comes true if you hold your breath while walking.
Where to stay in Lima, Peru?
Spending 24 hours in Lima means finding a place to stay. Fortunately, the city offers a wide range of accommodation choices for people visiting Peru. You can rent an apartment and book a hostel or hotel room depending on your budget. We recommend paying attention to the following hotels in Miraflores, Lima:
Tierra Viva Miraflores Centro
Calle Alcanfores 162 Miraflores, Miraflores, LIMA 18 Lima
Tierra Viva Miraflores Centro is a perfectly located 3-star hotel in Lima, Peru. It’s situated in the Miraflores district and the Larcomar shopping center is 1,5 km from here. The hotel offers apartments for non-smokers, free Wi-fi, buffet breakfast, and all-day-round front-desk service (English and Spanish speaking managers).
Ibis Larco Miraflores
Av. Larco 1140, Miraflores, 18 Lima
Ibis Larco Miraflores in Lima, Peru is located 500 meters away from the beach and not far from Larcomar. It won’t take you more than 3 minutes to get to the mall. They have a 24-hour bar, free parking zone, buffet breakfast, and modern apartments.
Lima Rooms Co
Calle Ramon Ribeyro 914, Apartment 301 Miraflores, Barranco, LIMA 47 Lima
Lima Rooms Co is a great variant for a budget vacation in Peru. It’s located in Miraflores around 2 km from Larcomar. They offer apartments with private bathrooms, a dining zone for travelers and a bicycle rental service.
Day Trips From Lima
Staying here for a while? Day trips from Lima are a great way to use that time. Enjoy some truly amazing sights in Peru:
- Palomino’s Islands. It’s your once-in-a-lifetime chance to interact with sea lions, penguins too and enjoy the company of wild birds.
- Huacachina is not far from Lima in Peru. It’s a real desert oasis inhabited by around 200 citizens.
- Paracas, also called “Poor Man’s Galapagos”, with its archaeological sights, desert scenery and amazing marine wildlife of Peru.
Extra Tips for Visiting Lima
Keep in mind these tips when visiting Lima and creating your Lima itinerary:
- It’s better to pay in a local currency called Soles, but US dollars are still accepted. Change the money in banks and exchange stores. You can also pay with a credit card.
- In Lima, people usually choose a taxi to navigate the city. It’s rather expensive to take a cab near the hotels. That’s why it’s better to walk a little and find a taxi that will definitely cost less.
- What language is spoken in Lima, Peru? Locals speak in Limean Spanish, but you can try English, too.
Visiting Lima in a day is more than enough to become entranced by this city. This place is a real pearl located on the banks of the Pacific Ocean. It welcomes guests with endless beaches, amazing cuisine, impressive historical architecture, and so much more. Everyone will find plenty of things to do here. By the way, have you ever been to Lima or another destination in Peru? Tell us about your trip!
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Make sure you have everything you need
What to pack for your next trip?
Make your next trip as simple and as enjoyable as possible by packing smart. It’s amazing how much stress top travel items can save you, so choose carefully.
Things like lightweight travel backpacks, for example, are ideal for short trips and allow you to move around with ease, and a passport holder will make sure you keep your documents safe at all times.
Check our travel checklist guide for 2021 to make sure you haven’t missed anything, and travel to your next destination in style and with maximum comfort.
Thomas Glare is a freelance copywriter and a passionate traveler who has already been to 35 countries and he’s not going to stop. Thomas has a blog where he shares his tourism experience with readers and gives useful tips to people who also like to explore the world.