Lima is a city where you can witness the past, present, and future dwelling in a unique kind of harmony, a town where you can time travel. One minute you are walking between modern high-rise buildings and the next stepping back in time while exploring mud pyramids from Pre-Inca cultures! Spend a few days in Peru’s vibrant capital, and you’ll start to understand why it’s proclaimed Latin America’s Gastronomical Capital over and over again. There’s a lot more to do in Lima than just walking its Historic City Center! Then, after careful deliberation, here’re our top 10 picks for incredible experiences you don’t want to miss out when visiting Lima – Peru:
#1 Get a taste of Peruvian food
Booming with delicacies, Lima is quickly becoming a paradise for foodies. The Gastronomic Capital of the Americas is ideal for a couple of cooking lessons and culinary tours. Go for a morning visit to the local market of Surquillo and get immersed between the Limeños (people from Lima) and their everyday shopping of native fruits, fresh vegetables, meat, seafood, spices – you name it! Then, learn the basics of Peruvian cuisine in a private cooking lesson, as you enjoy preparing ceviche and the famous Peruvian drink Pisco Sour.
#2 Up for dessert?
Did you know Peru produces some of the best cacao on the planet? You can explore more of this well-kept secret at Lima’s Chocomuseo. Located in the heart of the Miraflores district, the Chocomuseo allows you to engage in an interactive and fun activity, making your very own chocolate alongside a cacao expert. You’ll be encouraged to get creative as you choose between white, milk, or bitter chocolate, and mix it with the toppings you can find in front of you: salt, paprika, m&ms, peanuts, pecans, marshmallows, almonds… Sweet, right?
#3 Let’s go biking!
One of the best ways to experience Lima is biking along its famous malecón (ocean-view sidewalk) in the districts of Miraflores and Barranco. Renting a bike is pretty cheap, actually, and you can do so by the hour or per full day. We love biking on sunny summer afternoons because it means gorgeous, panoramic sunsets above like you’ll see in no other South American capital. Guaranteed, you’ll get front-row seats to see the sky turn from light blue to gold to crimson above the endless blue sea. Definitely, Lima must see!
#4 I believe you can fly! Let’s go paraglide.
If you’re in for a thrill, try soaring above Lima’s cliffs and beaches on a paragliding tour you’ll never forget. The ride begins in Miraflores and is carried out alongside professional instructors, who put safety first at all times and will give you the experience of a lifetime. This is a fantastic chance to get a bird’s eye view of Lima’s skyline. Both kids and adults of all ages love it!
#5 Aye aye captain! Sailing at the Palomino Islands
Hop aboard a boat at the Port of Callao and sail away to the Palomino Islands, right off the coast of Lima. Home to one of the most significant sea-lion colonies in Peru, and probably in the Pacific Ocean as well, the Palomino Islands are simply bursting in wildlife. You can see hundreds of sea lions, catch a glimpse of Humboldt penguins, see different species of sea birds, and enjoy the fascinating sights of the islands’ geology. Curious fact: did you know that the Port of Callao was attacked by pirates back in colonial times? The Spanish viceroy ordered a massive fortress to be built, the Real Felipe, to protect Lima and its treasures from future pirate attacks. After your visit to the Palomino Islands, we think it’d be great if you also visit this impressive fortress and maybe go inside the Abtao Submarine (now a museum)!
#6 Trekking, anybody? Discover Rupac!
But if sailing, flying, biking, and cooking aren’t enough, spend a weekend trekking to Lima’s very own Little Machu Picchu, the citadel of Rupac in the middle of the clouds. Unlike the Inca archaeological sites, Rupac is an off-the-beaten-path destination. There, you can genuinely feel like the first discoverer of this magical place. Also known as the Citadel of the Atavillos, this Pre-Inca site is surrounded by picture-perfect landscapes and starry nights. Get your hiking boots and cameras ready, you really don’t want to miss out on Rupac!
#7 Dine by a pyramid, Huaca Pucllana at night
Did you actually think Cairo was the only place where you could do this? Right in the middle of the Miraflores neighborhood lies Huaca Pucllana, a set of Pre-Inca mud pyramids where at least three different prehispanic cultures lived throughout history. Huaca Pucllana hosts one of the best restaurants in town, becoming a favorite spot for special occasions among locals and tourists in recent years. The setting itself is beautiful, juxtaposing the modern city with Pucllana’s illuminated pyramids. Great food, gorgeous atmosphere… it’s definitely worth a visit. We also recommend you take a tour of the archaeological site during the day to get a better understanding of Pucllana’s history.
#8 A night at the Larco museum
Take an evening stroll along the exhibits of Lima’s top-notch Larco Museum, home to a fascinating collection of Prehispanic artifacts such as jewelry, daily life utensils, textiles, and ceramics. Larco Museum is also well-known for its peculiar gallery of Pre-Inca erotic pottery – a collection which, we’re sure, you’ll see nowhere else. Larco Museum is one of the few museums in the world that allows visitors to wander along its storerooms! They let you see more than 35,000 pieces of Pre-Inca art not showcased in exhibition rooms. A nice finishing touch for your evening at Larco Museum is to have an exquisite, traditional Peruvian dinner at the museum’s restaurant, with a panoramic view of the museum’s gardens.
#9 Party-mode on
A fun way to experience nightlife in Lima while meeting locals and fellow travelers is to go on a bar-hopping adventure around the party neighborhoods of Miraflores and bohemian Barranco. Whether you choose to dance the night away or enjoy a few drinks, you certainly won’t regret bar-hopping in Lima! We’ll take you to the hippest places in the city, Lima’s hottest bars and clubs where you’ll mix with a crowd of locals and travelers. Places like Ayahuasca RestoBar, Santos, Victoria Bar, Barbarian, Dada, and Picas are around the most visited. Make sure to have at least one round of our Pisco Sour or try Chilcanos based on local fruits such as Maracuya or Camu-camu. Drink, party, sleep, repeat!
#10 Discover the Cradle of American Civilization, Caral
4500 years ago, right in the middle of Lima’s barren desert, an ancient civilization flourished. Its people lived in peace, in a society based on trade – archaeologists haven’t found a single sign of war or bloodshed. At present, Caral is known as the most ancient civilization discovered in all of the Americas, the place where it all started. Since it was barely just a few years ago that it was made known to the world, it’s yet pretty much off the beaten path. Still, we’re sure one day travelers will be crazy not to include this UNESCO World Heritage Site on their bucket lists. Caral and Aspero are located a 3-hour drive away from Lima, in the northern region of Barranca. It makes an ideal full-day trip, and while you’re in the area, you can also venture to explore some of Lima’s least known but equally gorgeous beaches.
Now you know what the best things to do in Lima are. Our capital is waiting for you to discover it. Ready to book your trip?
From Lima, with love.