Lima, Peru Travel Guide!
Ah Lima, I miss you already with your bustling, honking, yelling, chaotic, thriving, smiling, proud, generous, curious people. We began and ended our trip in Lima and we barely scratched the surface of this beautiful city. Although Peru is a developing country, parts of Lima feel like a city you would find in the United States.
We stayed in the district of Miraflores and I HIGHLY recommend you do the same! There are tons of amazing restaurants, night clubs, bars, coffee shops, hostels, Airbnbs, ocean front parks, metro stops, banks, EVERYTHING! The main reason we decided to stay in Miraflores is because it’s considered one of the safest areas in Lima while also being within walking distance of tons of fun things to do.
A breakdown of what we did while we were there is below:
We stayed in Miraflores during our time in Lima. This Airbnb was central to everything I listed above. There was a coffee shop underneath the building, a metro station 10 minutes away, sea side parks about 5 minutes away and about 10 minutes down to the oceanfront (all walking distance times). The location was AMAZING and we felt incredibly safe the entire time were were here. Link to our Airbnb HERE.
What you won’t find in Miraflores is authentic charm like in the Old Historic Quarter. Because the neighborhood is so new, you’ll feel more like you’re in an area of New York City instead of a neighborhood in Lima. However, Miraflores is considered one of the safer areas in the city. As always, exercise caution especially at night and keep an eye on your belongings at all times. Don’t keep cash or other valuables in your pockets and just don’t be an idiot in general.
If you’re a foodie or just love food, Miraflores is known as the area that has some of the best restaurants in the city! Here is what we tried (click the link for more pictures and information):
This restaurant was two blocks away from our AirBnb and just all around amazing. We both opted for the 16 course tasting menu and every single dish was amazing from alpaca tartar to assorted mushrooms from the Amazon to ceviche. Each dish has traditional flavors with a modern twist. The walls inside are covered in plants and the ambiance is peaceful and warm. Read more about our experience here ->
Voted the best ceviche in Lima, the second I found this place I knew I had to go and we did... twice! La Mar is an open air restaurant that's always busy from open to close. La Mar is serious about promoting sustainable seafood sourcing and they only use fresh fish of the day in order to alleviate over-exploited fish species. This was easily the best ceviche that I've ever had in my life! Read more about our experience here ->
Panchita pays homage to traditional Peruvian street food and it is SO good. The restaurant serves generous portions for Peru (pretty standard American portions). The wood oven slowly roasts all the meat on the menu and there is a huge selection of criollo dishes. Pictured is some of the "traditional street food" which is chicken hearts, beef hearts, chicken gizzards and beef livers all cooked up in spices and served with lots of sauces.
La Mora Pasteleria
A little cafe/bakery a few blocks away from the sea, this was the perfect place to duck in and grab some breakfast. We had traditional peruvian quiche and Americanos before starting our day.
Mi Tercer Lugar
While craft brews are popular in the United States, they're still not very popular in Peru. However, you can find every Peruvian craft beer and more at Mi Tercer Lugar!! Be sure to brush up on your Spanish before drinking here to better communicate with the staff ;)
While in Lima we used a few different ways to get around. Uber is very much in Lima and you can open the app almost anywhere and grab a car. This is a great way to get around because the rate is already negotiated. We only used Uber once. We also grabbed a taxi a few times. Taxis are readily available almost anywhere in the city but you must negotiate a price before getting into the car. We would flag down a cab and ask for a ride + however much we were willing to pay. "Vamos a Miraflores. Veinte soles?" We were never denied a ride. The last way we got around was by the metro which I'll explain below. We never used any of the buses.
There are three metro stops in Miraflores: Estacion Benavides, Angamos and Domingo Orue. We used Estacion Angamos and it was about a ten minute walk from our AirBnb. The ride into Lima Centro (Old Historic Quarter) was about twenty minutes and the train was ALWAYS packed full of people so get ready to be squished. When arriving to the metro station you will have to go to the employee in the booth, not the machines, and ask for a metro pass ("Una tarjeta de metro por favor!"). The employee will preload the card with one trip's worth of currency. If you need to load your card you can do so at any metro station stop just use the directions on the screen. If you cannot understand Spanish I recommend asking someone for help or just copying the person in front of you (everyone loads cards the same way).
What To Do
Explore Lima Centro: Lima Centro is where all the action is. It's a hustlin' bustlin' part of the city and we could have spent entire days sitting in the little cafe's around the squares and people watching. The smaller square is called Plaza San Martin and the larger square is called Plaza Mayor de Lima. Both are beautiful!
Visit the Lima Art Museum (MALI): The museum is located in the Palacio de la Exposición. The collection includes 3,000 years worth of Peruvian art and includes ceramics, textiles, paintings, photographic work and sculptures. Some of the textiles date back to pre-Columbian times. A MUST see when in Lima if you love art.
Explore Parque del Amor: The Park of Love is a gorgeous little park situated on the top of the cliffs beside the ocean. The walls in the park are decorated with mosaics and in the center of the park is the statue "El Beso" (The Kiss) that shows two lovers in an intimate embrace. The views of the ocean and amazing from here as well! We checked out this park before heading down the cliffs to the ocean.
Go Down to the Beach: The beach in Lima is below the cliffs on the edge of the ocean but there are multiple places where you can hike down to the edge of the water. We hiked down from Parque del Amor. You'll find surfers almost every morning out on the water!
Go Parasailing or Paragliding: We didn't do this but it's very popular for tourists and locals alike. The cliffs above the ocean provide a great starting off point to cruise above the shoreline and enjoy the views of the beautiful city.
Explore the Cathedrals and Churches: ya'll... the churches around Lima are seriously so amazing. Our favorites were the Basílica y Convento de San Francisco de Lima and the Church of San Pedro and they were both near the main squares in historic downtown.
See Huaca Pucllana: this historic site is a great adobe and clay pyramid located in the Miraflores district of central Lima, Peru, built from seven staggered platforms. While it genuinely isn't that great to look at, the history of the area is worth a quick trip.
Explore Miraflores: Miraflores is one of the most affluent districts that make up the city of Lima. There's upscale shopping, some of the best restaurants in the entire city, beaches and much more. All of the resturants that I have listed above (minus the brewery) are all in Miraflores.