The Peruvian capital often gets a bad wrap for being one of South America’s most boring cities – but this really isn’t the case. While it may not have the splendour of other capitals in the region, there is certainly enough to warrant a couple of nights’ stay in Lima. Besides, Lima is the gateway to Peru and you’ll likely be passing through here en route to Machu Picchu and Cusco – so why not take the time to enjoy a new city!?
10 Best Things to Do in Lima
The heart of the city and also the birthplace of Lima, Plaza Mayor is a social place for both locals and visitors alike. Located in the central area of Miraflores, there is much to see and do in this part of town. Take a walk through one of the many alleyways and get gloriously lost while enjoying the gastronomic flavours of Peruvian cuisine (a blend of many other cuisines), shopping in small boutiques and soaking up the livelihood of Lima.
Monastery of San Francisco
You can’t come to Lima and not visit the Monastery of San Francisco. The exterior is indescribably impressive, particularly as the pigeons circle the air above. Inside you’ll be able to learn much about the history of Lima since the Spanish invasion, and this is certainly one of Lima’s top attractions. Entrance fee is about $2.
The Historic Centre
While you’re here, be sure to wander around the historic centre of Lima and appreciate the architecture and history that surrounds you. Lima is highly susceptible to earthquakes, but many of these buildings have managed to stand the test of time which is impressive in itself. Just by walking around the area of Miraflores you will be able to view a timeline of history – you’ll struggle to not be impressed!
Cathedral of Lima
If you enjoy observing church architecture, even by European standards the Cathedral of Lima is pretty impressive. Located in the Plaza Mayor, the interior of this cathedral is spectacular.
Archbishop’s Palace of Lima
Adjoining the Cathedral of Lima is the Archbishop’s Palace, the home of the Archbishop of Lima and the administrative HQ of the Roman Catholic Church in Lima, originally built in the 1600s. Quite impressive and not out of the way as you’re already amidst the historic centre of Lima.
Eat Peruvian Cuisine
If there’s one thing you can’t go without in Lima, it is good food. Lima has so many great restaurants to choose from that, to be honest, it might be the hardest choice you face for your entire stay. For this I’d recommend you play it safe and head to Trip Advisor to check out your options, as there are so many different cuisines to choose from that it all boils down to personal taste. Just be sure to book a table in advance as you won’t be the only traveller eager to taste the flavours of Peru and afar.
If you’re looking for a fantastic museum to visit in Lima, you can’t go past the Larco Museum. Inside you will find thousands of artefacts, ceramics and textiles sourced from over 3,000 years. Admission is $11.50 and the museum is open 9am – 6pm daily.
For a different take on the city of Lima, head down to the ocean and stroll the Miraflores boardwalk. The giant cliffs overlook the Pacific Ocean and even on a misty day (of which there are many in Lima), it feels almost magical. This is also a great spot for a picnic lunch, to take a moment away from big city life, or the perfect place for people watching.
Take a Food Tour
Because Lima is the gastronomic capital of Latin America (seriously, they know how to do food here!), why not maximize your food-tasting-abilities by joining a local food tour. There are a number of great companies running them, so feel free to shop around. Delectable Peru have a pretty solid reputation.
Torre Tagle Palace
Torre Tagle Palace is a foreign office building that more than likely won’t be on your radar, but could quite be the most beautiful foreign office in the world so why not take a look. It is located just two blocks away from the Plaza Mayor, found at Ucayali 363.
I visited Lima with Trafalgar as part of the 8 day “Highlights of Peru” tour. Lima was the first and last stop of the tour – combined with the likes of Cusco, the Sacred Valley, and Machu Picchu!