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Things to do in Lima

Things to do in  Lima

Welcome to Lima

Lima, Peru has emerged from its reputation as a layover on the way to Machu Picchu to be a destination of its own accord, offering world-class art museums, preserved colonial plazas, and a trendy, destination-worthy culinary scene featuring a signature cocktail: the Pisco sour. Discover the city’s charms on a guided tour, visiting the collection of pre-Columbian artifacts at the Larco Museum, the Spanish-influenced Plaza de Armas, the dazzling fountains of the Magic Water Circuit, and the tomb of Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro in Lima’s City Centre, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Cultural tours of the city bring travelers in contact with local communities, artisans, and chefs through food, drink, and market tours for a taste (literally) of the daily life in the city. Contemporary charms abound in the bohemian Barranco District, while ancient Peru’s history is on display at the Pachacamac archaeological site, located 25 miles (40 kilometers) outside of the city. Those looking for outdoor adventure can indulge in a day of swimming and sun bathing on a day trip to the nearby Ballestas Islands and Paracas National Reserve or sand board at the Oasis of Huacachina, while those seeking to learn more about ancient Peru can fly above the famous Nazca lines or visit a number of nearby archaeological sites and still make it back in time to enjoy a drink on the veranda.

Top 15 attractions in Lima

#1
Nazca Lines

Nazca Lines

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The enigmatic Nazca Lines (or Nasca Lines) are second only to Machu Picchu as the most famous archaeological site in Peru. The mysterious geoglyphs at the UNESCO World Heritage Site range from geometric shapes and swirls to a hummingbird and monkey. Theories on their purpose include astronomical markers, irrigation canals, and alien messages—an enigma that has spurred intrigue since their 1927 discovery. The spectacular etchings likely date from 500 BC and 500 AD.More
#2
Miraflores

Miraflores

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The swanky beachfront suburb of Miraflores is one of Lima’s most sought-after zip codes. Here you’ll find the city’s best restaurants, shops, and hotels, plus waterfront mansions and high-rise towers. Lovely parks and beaches decorate the area, as well as the ancient ruins of Huaca Pucllana—a pre-Inca temple.More
#3
Ballestas Islands (Islas Ballestas)

Ballestas Islands (Islas Ballestas)

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A cluster of tiny islands off the Peruvian coast, the Ballestas Islands (Islas Ballestas) are often touted as the “Peruvian Galapagos,” famed for their spectacular variety of birdlife and rugged coastline of soaring cliffs, rocky beaches, and remote sea caves.More
#4
San Isidro

San Isidro

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San Isidro visitors may overlook its cultural attractions, opting instead for its beaches and shopping districts. But, the enclave’s tree-lined residential streets are home to stately mansions being converted to luxury hotels, high-end boutiques, art museums, embassies representing 40 countries, and the city’s best restaurants.More
#5
Barranco

Barranco

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Barranco is an atmospheric, seaside neighborhood in Lima known for its street art and hip, bohemian culture. The area was once a summer playground for fashionable Limeños and is full of old colonial buildings. Small cafes and artist-run boutiques buzz during the day, while bars and dance define the area at night.More
#6
Lima Plaza Mayor

Lima Plaza Mayor

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Plaza Mayor, formerly Plaza de Armas, is the heart and birthplace of Lima. The crown jewel of the city, this UNESCO World Heritage–listed square is flanked by many important buildings, such as the Government Palace (Palacio de Gobierno), Cathedral of Lima, City Hall (Palacio Municipal de Lima), and the Archbishop’s Palace (Palacio Arzobispal).More
#7
Historic Centre of Lima (Centro Historico de Lima)

Historic Centre of Lima (Centro Historico de Lima)

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Thanks to its designation as a UNESCO World heritage Site, the historical center of Lima is immaculately preserved. Encompassing the area between Plaza de Armas and Plaza San Martin, the core includes the majority of the city’s outstanding colonial attractions and palm-fringed green spaces, all within easy walking distance.More
#8
Huaca Pucllana

Huaca Pucllana

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Lima is dotted with sacred ruins and ceremonial sites known as huacas. Located in the coastal Miraflores neighborhood, the Huaca Pucllana complex, with its towering stepped adobe pyramid, is one of the city’s largest and most important ancient monuments. Built around 500 A.D, it was once an administrative and ceremonial center of the indigenous Lima Culture civilization.More
#9
Larco Museum (Museo Larco)

Larco Museum (Museo Larco)

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The Larco Museum (Museo Larco) is the only place in Peru that houses an extensive private collection of pre-Columbian artifacts. The museum displays more than 4,000 years of Peruvian history with tens of thousands of ceramics, textiles, pottery, metalware, and other excavated findings unearthed by the affluent Larco family.More
#10
Church and Convent of Saint Francis (Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco)

Church and Convent of Saint Francis (Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco)

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The Church and Convent of Saint Francis (Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco) is a spectacular example of Moorish-inspired Spanish baroque colonial grandeur, but the real highlight is the spooky labyrinth of catacombs underground.One of the best preserved churches in Lima, the Convent of San Francis of Assisi also has a remarkable library of antique texts and a tranquil cloistered garden.A guided visit to the Museum and Convent takes you through the buildings’ history and architecture, before venturing into the underground passages lined with the bones of 25,000 Lima citizens from over 200 years of burials.Bones were interred here until 1808, when Lima’s cemetery was established, and the catacombs lay undiscovered until 1943. A visit is not for the fainthearted, but those who do make the journey will be surprised to see the various skulls and thigh bones arranged in decorative patterns.On the tour you’ll also visit the library of antique books, the pretty cloister, the museum of religious paintings and artifacts, the carved choir stalls and the Moorish-domed church.More
#11
Magic Water Circuit

Magic Water Circuit

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In a lush 19-acre (8-hectare) nature reserve (Parque de la Reserva) on the outskirts of Miraflores, Magic Water Circuit (Circuito Mágico del Agua) is one of the most popular attractions in the city. Choreographed to classical and Peruvian music and colored lights, the circuit’s 13 interactive fountains entice you to watch and to play.More
#12
Plaza San Martin

Plaza San Martin

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The enchanting colonial Plaza de Armas in the heart of the Trujillo’s historical district built by the Spanish conquistadors upon founding the city in 1534. Nearly 300 years later, the resistance of Trujillo declared the city’s independence from Spain, the first municipality in Peru to do so.More
#13
Love Park (Parque del Amor)

Love Park (Parque del Amor)

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Dedicated to Lima’s lovers, Love Park (Parque del Amor) understandably attracts couples who come to enjoy sprawing Pacific Ocean views, especially around sunset. Located in the Miraflores district, the park bears a resemblance to Park Güell in Barcelona, thanks to the colorful mosaic walls displaying quotes on love spread throughout.More
#14
Sacred City of Caral-Supe

Sacred City of Caral-Supe

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The oldest city yet unearthed in the Americas, the Sacred City of Caral-Supe is among Peru’s most impressive archeological sites. This magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Site covers 148 acres (60 hectares) in the arid Supe Valley and was first inhabited between 2600 and 2000 BC. Today, the site is a popular day trip from Lima.More
#15
Iglesia de Santo Domingo

Iglesia de Santo Domingo

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With its Baroque pepper-pot belfry and an expansive convent, the Church of Santo Domingo is one of Lima’s most historic religious sites. Built in 1599, the impressive pink structure features a sumptuous neoclassical interior bathed in gold and turquoise, and an altar dedicated to Americas’ first black saint, San Martin de Porres.More

Trip ideas

Must-See Museums in Lima

Must-See Museums in Lima

How to Spend 3 Days in Lima

How to Spend 3 Days in Lima

Food Lover's Guide to Lima

Food Lover's Guide to Lima

Top activities in Lima

Private Full-Day Best of Lima Tour
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Recent reviews from experiences in Lima

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Our guide was very...
Terry_B, Aug 2022
Lima Cultural City Tour & Catacombs Visit
She spoke English clearly and helped us to gain a deep understanding of Lima’s rich history.
star-5
Lot of fun, great pilot, and a good way to see the Lima coastline.
Raleigh_P, Jul 2022
Paragliding Flights - Costa Verde Lima
It was a lot of fun, great pilot, a good way to see the Lima coastline, and they let you film with a go-pro/selfie stick.
star-5
I would recommend this...
Daphne_T, Jul 2022
Full Day Paracas Ica and Huacachina from Lima All Included
A unique experience to see an oasis in the desert.
star-5
What a Ride!
Rebecca_W, Jul 2022
The Bohemian Charm of Barranco Bike Tour
Fantastic way to see some cool parts of Lima.
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Lima highlights
Nicholas_H, Jun 2022
Private Full-Day Best of Lima Tour
This was a great day trip to see so many sites in Lima.
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Lima Private Tour
Paula_D, Jun 2022
Historic Downtown, Miraflores & Catacombs Private Tour
It was a private tour and he spoke excellent English and was very knowledgeable.
star-5
Excellent tour in a safe city
George_K, May 2022
Lima City Walking Tour with Pick-up & Drop Off Small Group
This tour was awesome and a great way to see the city of Lima.
star-5
Lovely evening!
Sierra_F, May 2022
Lima: Water Magic Circuit, Historic Downtown & Catacombs Night Tour
A Great way to see Lima!
star-5
Really a good way to see Lima.
Mary_A, May 2022
LIMA - Panoramic Walking Tour
He spoke perfect English and was super knowledgeable about all aspects of Lima and Peru’s history and presented it clearly.
star-5
Great walking tour, recommend highly
vs5fzg78r6, May 2022
Lima City Walking Tour with Pick-up & Drop Off Small Group
Great first or second day activity in Lima to learn the city and culture of the core attractions.
star-5
Very Nice Tour of Lima
Raphael_A, Apr 2022
Lima: Water Magic Circuit, Historic Downtown & Catacombs Night Tour
Italo our tour guide spoke good English, and was very thorough and easy to get along with.
star-5
Great Lima half-day tour
Carla_S, Mar 2022
Half-Day Lima City Sightseeing, Cathedral & Santo Domingo Convent
It was a perfect half-day to visit important parts of Lima.
star-5
Not just Barranco and Miraflores!
Danielle_H, Mar 2022
The Bohemian Charm of Barranco Bike Tour
We were able to see how most Lima residents really live.
star-4
See all Lisa has to offer.
Carra_F, Jul 2022
Lima City in 1 day (highlights) (Small Group)
This is a great way to see everything Lima has to offer- which in my opinion is not a lot but it is all spread out.
star-5
Great City Tour
Emilie_V, Jun 2022
Lima, the city of the catacombs!
We couldn't take photos, but it was such an amazing place to visit.
star-5
An excellent orientation to the city of Lima
Lulu_Z, Jun 2022
Half-Day Lima City Sightseeing, Cathedral & Santo Domingo Convent
You got to see a lot of attractions in the city within 4 hours.
star-5
Outstanding City of Lima tour
George_K, May 2022
Lima Full-Day Experience: Pachacamac, Historic Downtown and Magic Water Circuit
This tour was awesome and a great way to see the city of Lima.
star-5
Best Tour of Lima!
Eric_K, Apr 2022
Highlights of Lima - Private Half Day Tour
If you are staying in Lima for only a day or two, I highly recommend this tour to see all of the sites and learn more about the capital city.
star-5
Great time with markets, food, and new friends !!!
David_M, Apr 2022
Peruvian Cooking Class Including Local Market Tour and Exotic Fruit Tasting
Third - we walked through the local market, and it was amazing to see the fresh fruits, the fish, other foods ...
star-5
Wonderful 8-Day Peru Tour
Anne_H, Apr 2022
8-Day Peru from Lima: Cusco, Puno, Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca
The tours, lead by Spanish- and English-speaking guides, were excellent.
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All about Lima

When to visit

Lima’s sunny skies and warmer weather reside from December to April, making it a popular time to visit. In September, the annual Mistura festival offers a chance to taste some of the world’s best Peruvian cuisine, but be aware the city's humidity can reach uncomfortable heights during this month.

Currency
Peruvian Sol (PEN)
Time Zone
PET (UTC -5)
Country Code
+51
Language(s)
Spanish

People Also Ask

What is Lima best known for?

Known as the “City of the Kings,” Lima is known for its blend of history and contemporary culture and for being the Peruvian capital. Visitors can spend a day exploring pre-Columbian temples and colonial plazas. And then check out cutting-edge contemporary art and dine on dishes prepared by world-renowned chefs.

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How many days do I need in Lima?

You should try to spend at least two days in the capital. That should give you enough time to explore the UNESCO-listed historic center; enjoy the art galleries and ocean views of Miraflores and Barranco; dine at Michelin-starred restaurants and street food stands; and visit some museums and pre-Columbian ruins.

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How far is Machu Picchu from Lima?

Machu Picchu is about 312 miles (500 kilometers) from Lima. The easiest way to get there is to fly from Lima to Cusco; take a train from outside Cusco to Aguas Calientes; and then transfer to a bus for the short trip to Machu Picchu.

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Is Lima dangerous for tourists?

Yes. Lima is dangerous to an extent, but most people visit without any problems. Like in any metropolitan area, there is a risk of petty crime, mostly pickpocketing and bag snatching. Lima is largely safe if you stick to the main tourist areas, such as Miraflores and Barranco, and stay alert.

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Is Lima worth visiting?

Yes. Lima is worth visiting. In the past, travelers would often rush through Lima on their way to Cusco, but the city has become a destination in itself—largely thanks to its world-class food and art scenes. It also has a beautiful oceanside setting and excellent museums.

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Is Lima expensive?

No. While Lima is more expensive than many South American cities, costs are lower than found in most American or western European destinations. Of course, if you want to enjoy the city’s famous Michelin-starred restaurants, you’ll need to stretch your budget, but most other expenses will be low.

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Frequently Asked Questions
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