The Best Things To Do In Lima

Written By: Oliver Payne

There aren’t too many desert cities which enjoy a mild, soothing climate, or are excellent surf locations for that matter. And that is far from being all that makes Peru’s expansive capital of Lima, a much-loved holiday destination. The city actually boasts the greatest number of garden parks in spite of its location and also features ancient historical ruins. Its plethora of awesome qualities are mostly due to its location on the coast where it lies north of Pisco and Nazca and west of Huancayo. If you enjoy lovely parks, upscale shopping and a touch of extra excitement thanks to paragliding and surfing, all you have to do is book your flight and hotel and set off for an exhilarating vacation in the Garden City.

This city of parks and fountains is a major flight hub in the region making getting to it pretty easy. Visitors from the famous city of ruins, Cusco, will be able to arrive at Rodríguez Ballón Airport in less than two hours while visitors from Arequipa will enjoy a slightly shorter trip of one and half hours. On your arrival in Lima, you will find its express bus service, Metropolitano extremely effective when it comes to getting around the city. Its train service, Metro de Lima is also another great alternative which serves specific parts of the city.

When it comes to winding down from the rigors of your trip, a leisurely bicycle ride or stroll along El Malecon comes highly recommended. Especially since it is an excellent opportunity to soak in the relaxing ambience of its parks while taking in views of its ocean cliffs. Lima is also a great place for indulging in some retail therapy with the Larcomar being one of the most popular spots for doing so. A visit to the vast complex will provide you with the opportunity to shop at retail outlets belonging to international brands. You will also be able to enjoy a leisurely lunch or drink afterwards at a restaurant or bar with views of the ocean.

If you have always wanted to try your hand at surfing, you will find Lima an ideal place to begin thanks to the waves off its coast being pretty calm and great instructors prepared to help you conquer them. The cliffs off El Malecon are also a fantastic spot for paragliding and you too will be able to experience the exhilaration and excitement of floating over them with the beach and ocean stretched out below.



When you visit Lima, be sure to take a stroll around the affluent suburb of Miraflores, located right on the beach. Expensive restaurants and shops line the streets, and the houses are only for the wealthy. It won’t be cheap, but you can have a great night here, in the bars, the hotels and the many nightclubs on offer. Visit the parks and beaches, or people-watch for the afternoon; you might even see the paragliders taking off from the beach cliffs!


Catedral de Lima

Built in the 1530’s – and despite suffering from several earthquakes over the centuries – the Roman Catholic Catedral de Lima towers over the Plaza de Armas in central Lima. As you approach, the baroque architecture and twin towers display its splendour, and the interior is beautifully decorated, with lofty ceilings and paintings adorning the walls. Explore the majestic history with a guided tour and enjoy this beautiful landmark for an afternoon.


Jiron de la Union

Dive into the culture of Lima, and get your bearings of the city while you’re at it, with a stroll along the length of Jiron de la Union. Covering five blocks in the centre of the city, you won’t be annoyed by cars as its pedestrian only! You’ll be free to explore the boutique shops and hop from café to bar, and then on to the next one! Along the way, you will pass several landmarks, so pencil them in for a visit!


San Pedro Church (Iglesia de San Pedro)

In the heart of Lima, you will find the San Pedro Church (Iglesia de San Pedro); the primary church of the Jesuit Order. Built in 1638, this church is beautifully preserved, and decorated with Moorish carvings. Full of history, a guided tour will unlock the stories of it’s past, but you can also wander through at your own pace, and admire the striking architecture as well as the crypt below.



Lying by the coast, the district of Barranco is a great place to visit. Stroll the streets and take in the beautiful colonial architecture, and bright painted homes that stand in contrast to Lima’s normal suburban life. With a reputation for being a magnet to those with artistic skills, Barranco could be a good place to pick up a treasured memento! Head to the Plaza San Francisco and grab a coffee while you people-watch, and explore the popular beach nearby.


Lima Plaza de Armas (Plaza Mayor)

As you explore the centre of Lima, you are sure to come across Lima Plaza de Armas (Plaza Mayor), a massive open space built in the sixteenth century. As you wander through the plaza, imagine its history as a bull fighting ring, and as the site of gallows! Sit for a while and admire the bronze fountain and the statue of Francisco Pizarro, and watch the locals go about their busy day. The plaza is close to many landmarks, so stay for the changing of the guard at midday, and then head off to your next destination.


Iglesia de Santo Domingo

Built in the sixteenth century – and restored many times since, when it was destroyed by earthquakes – the Iglesia de Santo Domingo stands tall in the city of Lima. As you approach, study the pink exterior and the grand steeple, enjoy the central gardens, and stroll through the beautifully decorated interior. The church is the resting place of several important relics, including the skulls of San Martin and Santa Rosa held in a shrine near the altar.


Pachacamac Itshma Temple

Take a day trip to Pachacamac Itshma Temple – just 40 kilometres from Lima – and explore the ruins of this ancient site, dating back to around 200AD.The ruins are impressive and show the scope of the temple as it once stood. The current excavations are fascinating, and you should also make sure you visit the museum to take in the spectacular views of the ocean!


Iglesia and Museo de San Francisco

Dating back to 1673, the Iglesia and Museo de San Francisco has an abundance of history, fascinating architecture, and amazing catacombs that just have to be seen. Explore this very well preserved church and admire the Spanish Baroque style construction, as well as the beautiful decoration in the church and monastery, which holds over 25,000 ancient texts. Take the time to head underground, where an estimated 25,000 bodies were interred up until 1808. It’s somewhat macabre, but a totally unique experience!


Ballestas Islands

For a fantastic day trip, take a 90-minute boat ride from Paracas and visit the inlets of the rocky Ballestas Islands. The trip out is fascinating enough, as you pass the Candelabra Geoglyph; a six-hundred foot high etching above the coastline, with a history that remains a mystery! While you cannot walk on the islands, the boats will get you very close to sea lions and penguins, and a host of birds such as cormorants and boobies.


Nazca Lines

The amazing Nazca Lines are massive etchings, carved into the dark, red-stone surface of the Nazca Desert. Depicting animals, plants, and geometric designs, some are over 90 metres long, the collection of which is spread over fifty miles! The history remains a mystery, although a prominent theory is that they represent an astrological calendar created by mathematicians, between 400 and 600AD. To really appreciate the enormity of this achievement, head to hilltops, or even better, take a flight over the desert!

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