The capital of Peru, Lima, is a huge multicultural metropolis full of history and interesting places to visit. It has been called the gastronomic capital of South America. The food alone is reason enough to spend a few days in Lima, which has hundreds of restaurants offering seafood, Peruvian-Asian fusion, Andean cuisine and gourmet cuisine from around the world. However, we're not here to talk about the food, but what you'll want to know between courses.
We tell you what places to visit in Lima Peru if you have only 1 day in the city, if you have 3 days or if you are staying longer.
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Miraflores is the most touristic district and for some people the most beautiful of all Lima because of its beaches, parks and old houses. If you only have one day in the city, we recommend you to dedicate yourself to visit Miraflores. It is very likely that the hotel you choose is located near the Kennedy Park, also called Parque de los Gatos for the abundance of stray cats it has.
Around this park there are hundreds of cafes, restaurants and night spots to visit. Then we recommend a 15 minute walk to the Larcomar shopping mall located on the Miraflores boardwalk.
The Malecon of Miraflores has the most beautiful views of all Lima, because in addition to parks and elegant houses, it is located on a cliff that below has the beach and the sea. We recommend you to take a walk along this long boardwalk and, if you are lucky enough to be in Lima in summer, take the opportunity to walk down to the beach.
However, if it is very cold, it is a good idea to take advantage of the afternoon to visit the Huaca Pucllana, one of the hundreds of adobe pyramids that filled the fertile valley of Lima before the Spaniards arrived. This archaeological site is located in the middle of a beautiful residential area and has guided tours for you to learn about the ancient history of our capital.
If you have more than one day in Lima, after visiting Miraflores, we recommend you to go to the Historic Center of Lima, also called Cercado de Lima because it used to have a wall around it. Here you can see the churches and buildings of baroque architecture that adorned Lima since it was one of the most important cities of the Spanish Empire.
There is the Cathedral of Lima, the Convent of Santa Catalina that offers a tour of its catacombs and the Basilica and Convent of Santo Domingo. Also, we recommend you to visit the Plaza de Armas and see the changing of the guard that takes place in the Government Palace.
Downtown Lima also has several museums and cultural points not to be missed, such as the Museum of Religious Art, the House of Aliaga, the House of Literature and the Bodega y Cuadra Museum. If you decide to stay downtown for a night of fun, the Plaza San Martin has several lively bars and nightclubs.
Your third day in Lima can be dedicated to surround yourself with the bohemian and relaxed atmosphere of Barranco. This district is very close to Miraflores and is also in front of the sea, being possible to cross from the Malecón de Miraflores to the Malecón de Barranco.
The Plaza de Barranco is the center of the district and has very colorful and architecturally beautiful houses such as the Municipal Library. Nearby is also the famous Bridge of Sighs that passes over the Bajada de Baños, a magical path surrounded by restaurants and cultural sites that leads down to the beach.
Barranco is also the artistic and cultural center of Lima, so it is full of art galleries and museums such as the Mario Testino Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art. There is also the Dédalo Gallery, located on the beautiful Malecón Saenz Peña. At night, Barranco is full of young people and adults who go to its bars and discos to dance or to enjoy a good drink and a good conversation.
Now, if you have five or more days in Lima, we want to give you options to choose what you want to do the rest of your stay in this huge city. You may enjoy staying in the city and continue visiting its historical and touristic sites. Or you may prefer to get away from Lima and take the opportunity to get to know its surroundings.
One of the most important archaeological sites in the entire Lima valley was Pachacamac, an ancient oracle to which people from all over the Inca Empire came to worship. Pachacamac is just outside the city and has guided tours and a very interesting site museum. Within the city is also the Larco Museum, a must if you enjoy history and pre-Hispanic art, full of ceramics and textiles from all the cultures of the country. A third museum is the Gold Museum, full of pre-Hispanic metallurgy, but also beautiful colonial pieces.
On the outskirts of downtown Lima there is also the Magic Water Circuit, a beautiful park with pools and light games; and not far from it, the Parque de la Exposición, where the Museo de Arte de Lima is located, which has a permanent exhibition of our Peruvian painting. Finally, you can go to the famous colonial port of Callao to see historical sites such as the Real Felipe Fortress, to stroll through the beautiful district of La Punta or visit the tourist boulevard Monumental Callao.
If you are bored with the city and want to get back to nature, we recommend three nearby one-day excursions. The first is Marcahuasi, a stone forest located at 4000 meters above sea level that has a magical atmosphere and where many people claim to have seen extraterrestrial activity.
This place has spectacular scenery, being more common to go camping for several days. The other two places are very similar and equally magical. The Lomas de Lachay and the Lomas de Lucumo are very beautiful ecosystems that form in winter, when humidity and fog settle on the arid hills of Lima.
In these, you will feel like you are on another planet surrounded by fog, and you can only see the green plants and the beautiful yellow flowers that adorn the ground.
To end this list, we recommend you to dedicate at least two days to the Paracas Bay, located in Ica, which is about three hours from Lima. This place not only offers beautiful beaches, but also boat trips to the Paracas National Reserve and the Ballestas Islands to see the marine species that have inhabited the Peruvian coast for thousands of years.
Paracas was also home to the famous Paracas culture, which has had the most beautiful textile art in the world and is famous for practicing skull deformations and trepanations that you can still see in the Paracas Culture Site Museum. Nearby are also the famous Nazca Lines, of the Nazca culture that was the successor of the Paracas. Ica is also home to the Huacachina Lagoon, an oasis in the middle of the desert where you can sandboard and ride ATVs.