Lima, Chiclayo & Trujillo, Cusco & Machu Picchu - 11 Days
Lima, the country’s capital since Spanish rule, is a city of historical layers and cultural undertones upon which the forces of modernity are supported and propelled. Not only is Lima a symbol of Peru’s historical past and its prosperous future, it also has an unrivaled view of the vast Pacific Ocean, which most certainly adds to its charm and appeal.
Every street, park, building, museum, and relic in Lima tells a tale of Peru’s transition and growth into a modern society. The longer you stay in this remarkable city, the more intrigued you will become of its story and its people.
Lima, Chiclayo & Trujillo, Cusco & Machu Picchu - 11 Days
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The sprawling Peruvian capital comprises 43 individual neighborhoods, or distritos, covering roughly 2,672.2 sq km (1,031.7 sq mi). With roughly 8.5 million people and a population density of about 3,008 people per square kilometer, Lima ranks among the top ten most populous cities in Latin America.
Every year, the number of tourists increases dramatically. In 2013 alone, Peru received about 3.1 million visitors. Lima is the primary international hub of the country and most visitors arrive to Peru via the Jorge Chavez International Airport.
Lima’s attractions and highlights include spectacular cityscapes, pre-Inca ruins, a rich colonial past, and a diverse population from all over Peru and around the world. As the gateway to Peru, Lima provides a broad lens to understand the country, its people and history. Take some time to explore the city and learn about its culture, visit museums and cathedrals, and sample the delicious and internationally acclaimed cuisine.
The Plaza de Armas, also called Plaza Mayor, is located at the heart of Spanish colonial Lima, known as the Historical Center of Lima and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988. The Plaza is a large public square surrounded by the Presidential Palace (Palacio de Gobierno) and the Cathedral of Lima. Though it constitutes just a small part of the modern city, the Plaza de Armas manages to reflect Lima’s beginnings as a Spanish colonial town as well as the immense changes the city has undergone in the five centuries since its founding. Adorned with tall palm trees and landscaped gardens, surrounded by beautifully restored architecture, and populated by Lima locals carrying on with daily life, the Plaza de Armas is a must-see on a trip to Lima.
The Palacio de Gobierno occupies the original site of the palace of Lima’s last indigenous chieftain. It was formerly the mansion of Francisco Pizarro and it was also the site of his assassination in 1541 at the hands of his former associate Diego de Almagro. Upon falling to the floor after the fatal blow, Pizarro is said to have kissed the crucifix that he carried with him. To this day, many believe the grounds are sacred. The Palacio de Gobierno is currently used as the official residence of the President of Peru as well as the headquarters for Peru’s executive branch. The building is surrounded by an imposing wrought-iron gate and guarded by soldiers in ceremonial uniform.
The Cathedral of Lima is one of the most visited historical buildings in Lima, and for good reason. Modeled in reference to the Renaissance-style churches of Seville, the Cathedral was constructed in the 17th century. Having suffered severe damage from earthquakes over the years, the Cathedral was rebuilt and remodeled in 1940 to reflect an eclectic and unique version of the original colonial construction. The building also houses the Museum of Religious Art and Treasures, which displays collections of paintings and artifacts from the 17th and 18th centuries. A glass-coffin containing the mortal remains of Francisco Pizarro is located under the the cathedral’s main altar.
Just east of the Plaza de Armas sits the Church and Convent of San Francisco, consecrated in 1673 and still standing despite considerable damage to its structure from centuries of earthquakes and tremors. The Iglesia de San Francisco is perhaps most famous for its subterranean catacombs, which were used as the first burial grounds of Lima. Only recently discovered in 1951, the catacombs display an estimated 70,000 skeletons arranged in different patterns.
The church also contains a library whose prized holding is a Bible dating from 1571-1572, as well as a museum displaying a number of famous paintings, including a rendition of the Last Supper where Jesus and his disciples sit to a feast of a guinea pig served with aji peppers and potatoes.
Constructed in 1535, Casa Aliaga shares the same foundation date as the city of Lima, making it the oldest colonial-era residence on the South American continent. Captain Jeronimo de Aliaga Ramirez was a trusted comrade of Francisco Pizarro. After Lima was seized from the indigenous people, Pizarro rewarded Aliaga with a large plot of land just north of the Plaza de Armas. The Aliaga family still owns and maintains the property and graciously welcomes visitors to view the mansion and its large salons, which are elaborately decorated with art and furniture from various historical periods.
A restored 18th century vice-royal mansion provides the setting for the wonderful Museo Larco, a private collection of pre-Columbian relics dating back more than 3,000 years. It is one of the largest pre-Columbian museums in the world, with over 50,000 individual pieces. Upon entry, floor-to-ceiling displays provide an impressive testament to the long history of Peru’s Inca and pre-Inca cultures. Separate galleries showcase gold and jewelry pieces, textiles, metals, ceramics, and lithics. The museum’s vaults and storage rooms contain thousands of additional artifacts, which are not part of any exhibit but which are accessible to the public. The display cases lined with row after row of artifacts are a truly impressive sight.
The internationally acclaimed Erotic Gallery, a sort of clay-cast kama sutra, is among the most impressive of the Larco Museum’s holdings. These figurines were crafted by the Moche culture (also known as the Mochica) in the years 200-700 AD and they celebrate sexual reproduction and sexual pleasure through explicit portrayals coitus, childbirth, and other life events. Each huaco (ceremonial ceramic pot) is sculpted with meticulous detail. The collection is one of the rarest of its kind since most of the sculptures were destroyed during the Spanish conquest.
According to sources such as The Economist and Bon Appétit, Lima is the gastronomic capital of South America. Peru in general is a mecca where food lovers delight in sampling fresh seafood dishes, exotic jungle fruits, unusual delicacies such as cuy (fried or baked guinea pig), and decadent desserts. Each region of the country has its own specialty dishes, and Lima brings together the best of the best. In September, the city hosts a 9-day food festival known as Mistura to celebrate the important place of Peruvian cuisine in the country’s cultural heritage. It is a great place to try Peru’s most famous dishes, such as lomo saltado, cau cau, aji de gallina, ceviche, chupe de camarones and sudado de pescado.
Lima is home to a number of internationally acclaimed chefs and restaurants. Gaston Acurio, arguably the most famous chef in Peru, has pinned his name with a level of service and culinary prestige. Acurio owns a number of Lima’s most popular restaurants, including La Mar (cevicheria), Astrid & Gaston (fine dining Peruvian cuisine), Madam Tusan (chifa), and Tanta (moderately priced Peruvian cuisine).
In 2014, Lima’s Central restaurant received the San Pellegrino Award for Best Restaurant in Latin America. The spotlight chefs, Virgilio Martinez and Pia Leon, are known for their use of authentic Peruvian ingredients and unique cooking techniques. Central restaurant offers traditional Peruvian cuisine in an elegant restaurant atmosphere that is sure to please all the senses.
The district of Miraflores is one of the most popular districts in Lima, where locals and visitors gather to enjoy trendy cafes, bars and nightclubs, upscale restaurants and hotels, endless shopping, and scenic parks. Miraflores borders the Pacific coast and visitors flock to the Malecón (coastal promenade) to take in views of the sea below the cliffs and cool ocean breezes.
Because of its amenities, most travelers with an overnight in Lima choose accommodations in the Miraflores district. The district is about 30-40 minutes by car from the Jorge Chavez International Airport.
Most of the action in the Miraflores district is centered around Parque Kennedy, named after U.S. President John F. Kennedy. It is surrounded by cafes, restaurants, and nightlife, while also hosting handcraft markets, playgrounds for kids, live music and dancing, local art, and so much more.
Barranco is a trendy place with plentiful art galleries, hipster hangouts, and an overall eclectic vibe. It is regarded as the most bohemian and the most romantic of Lima’s districts. Generations of Peruvian poets, artists, and intellectuals have made their homes here. The facades of 19th and early 20th century homes are painted in vibrant colors, while detailed wall art, murals, and graffiti brighten small alleys and major avenues.
Barranco’s main attraction is the Bajada de Baños, a walkway that runs down the center of the ravine, with a patchwork of bars, restaurants, small shops, and galleries positioned on either side. In the early 20th century, the walkway was the primary entrance to access the beaches. El Puente de Los Suspiros (The Bridge of Sighs) spans over the bajada. Couples come here to walk hand-in-hand, breathe in the fresh salty air, and wish for eternal love as they admire the view of the ocean.
A handful of important cultural institutions are based in Barranco, including: the contemporary art museum MAC-Lima, a collection of Mario Testino’s photographs at Museo MATE, and a stellar collection of colonial-era art, furniture, textiles, and engravings at the Museo Pedro de Osma, a beautifully maintained house which is itself a work of art.
This upscale shopping center is situated on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Miraflores. Over 80 different international and Peruvian-owned stores sell a variety of apparel, alpaca products, jewelry, and Peruvian crafts. Tourists and locals alike come to enjoy a meal with sweeping ocean views. The open-air food court is the perfect place to eat on-the-go; or choose from one of the sit-down restaurants, such as Havanna, Chili’s, Tanta, TGI Friday’s, Mangos, and Pardo’s Chicken. Click here for a complete listing of food establishment at Larcomar.
Looking for easy-paced evening entertainment in Lima? Watch a movie at UVK Larcomar, (Insider tip: Movie ticket discounts are offered on Tuesday.) For family-friendly fun, visit the bowling alley or the games arcade at Coney Park.
Lima is a desert city, the second largest in the world after Cairo in Egypt. But a seaside location means that Lima also boasts a beautiful green coastline. To cultivate this reputation as the “Garden City,” the government has funded the development of a 6-mile stretch of parks and manicured greenery along the cliffs overlooking the Pacific. Weaving along the edge of the cliff is a pathway known as El Malecón. It is an ideal place to ride a bicycle, jog, skate, or just meander leisurely while appreciating the ocean below. The dozens of parks that dot El Malecón are places where locals and tourists alike go to unwind, play soccer, or practice yoga. Stop by Parque del Amor (Love Park), which displays an iconic statue of two lovers in deep embrace, created by artist Victor Delfín.
Lima’s modern areas sit in splendid contrast to the scattered archaeological remains of pre-Inca civilizations, which are known as huacas. These Huacas -- which is Quechua for 'temple' -- can be found throughout the city. One of the most visited huacas is Huaca Pucllana, also called Huaca Juliana. Once a ceremonial and administrative center of the Wari civilization, the huaca is over 1,500 years old, and was used as a religious sanctuary for human sacrifices, burials, and other rituals.
Archaeologists are still excavating the site, finding artifacts and even mummies, which are displayed at the on-site museum. The onsite restaurant, called Restaurant Huaca Pucllana, serves local and international cuisine. Take the afternoon to explore the ruins and visit the museum, while settling in for a delicious dinner prepared by internationally-trained chefs.
The Parque de la Reserva is located in the Center of Lima near the National Stadium, and was recently renovated to include a fantastic display of synchronized water fountains called Circuito Magico del Agua (Magic Water Circuit). Illuminated fountains with different themes emit sprays of water nearly 80 meters (262 feet) into the air in orchestrated sequences that make for a memorable evening.
How to get to Lima: Most international travelers enter Lima through Jorge Chavez International Airport. Once in Peru, it is easy to get to and from Lima via plane or bus. Airlines that operate flights to Lima include LAN, TACA, Delta, United, American Airlines, KLM, Jetblue, and Air Canada. Average taxi fares from the airport to hotels in Miraflores and Barranco range from S/. 40 to S/. 60. Most hotels can also arrange transfers by taxi or private car.
Transportation within Lima: Taxis are by far the easiest and fastest mode of transportation within Lima. However, if you plan to be in Lima for an extended period of time, you can opt to take the public transportation option in the form of micros (large public buses), combis (smaller buses or vans), or the Metropolitano (a standardized bus route connecting the center of Lima to the coastal districts. The public transportation options in Lima are significantly cheaper than taxis, but they can be confusing to navigate if you are not familiar with the layout of the city. If you are only spending a few days in Lima and you want to get around the city quickly, taxis are the best option, but know that fares are not standardized and often the price to get from point A to point B is at the discretion of the driver. Therefore, it is important to negotiate the price before getting in. We recommend asking your hotel to contact a taxi for you.
What to pack: Remember that what you pack for a few nights in Lima might be drastically different than what you pack for the rest of your trip to Peru. The country’s diverse geography - desert coast, high mountains, and humid jungle - results in local weather patterns that can vary widely by altitude and region.
For summer time in Lima (December through February), make sure you bring sunblock, sunglasses, and warm weather clothing. Nights tend to be cool and breezy, so best to bring a light jacket or sweater.
Lima winters (June through August) are chilly and wet. You will probably want a scarf and hat, jacket, pants and close-toed shoes.
For Spring (September through November) and Fall (March through May), most people are comfortable with a light sweater or a long-sleeved shirt.
Currency info: The national currency of Peru is the Peruvian Nuevo Sol, currency code PEN. In everyday exchanges, you will see prices abbreviated S/. (amount). You can expect food and services to be relatively cheaper than in your home country, but there are upscale restaurants, clubs, and bars that set their prices on par with those in developed countries. Foreign currency can be changed for Peruvian soles in banks or exchange houses, called casa de cambios.
Banking: Banks and ATMs are in abundant supply in Lima, so it is easy to withdraw money, as well as exchange foreign currency. Main banks in Peru include BCP, Scotiabank, BBVA Continental, and Interbank. ATMs, called cajeros automaticos, are located in large supermarkets, shopping centers, and gas stations. ATMs usually dispense both American dollars and Nuevo soles, but beware of international transaction and currency fees when using a foreign debit card.
Tipping etiquette: Coins are best to have for tipping. Give 2 or 3 soles to the bellhop, and tip 10% of the bill at restaurants. It is not necessary to tip taxi drivers.
General Health & Safety Tips:
It is a good idea to avoid eating food from street vendors, mainly because it is difficult to tell how fresh it is or if clean water was used during the preparation.
Although fine for brushing your teeth, don’t drink the water from the tap. Bottled water is best.
Like in most major cities it is important to be aware of your surroundings at all times. Keep your valuables close and preferably hidden from sight.
Take a half day tour of the city: To get an overview of Lima, a Mirabus Tour is a great way to sample the city’s main sights. The tour involves a 3-hour bus ride through the city and stops at the Cathedral of Lima in the Plaza de Armas. It picks up at Parque Kennedy in front of the church and costs about US$20. Tours are offered in both English and Spanish.
Explore the restaurants, shopping and nightlife of Barranco, Miraflores and San Isidro: After visiting the museums and the Historical Center of Lima, you can explore the upscale districts of Barranco, Miraflores, and San Isidro. Barranco is known for its exquisite art galleries and vibrant nightlife, while Miraflores is known for having the best views of the ocean and excellent shopping. If heights don’t make you nervous, enjoy the ocean views from the cliff-hanging outdoor shopping center known as Larcomar, or soar above the cliffs with a paragliding experience at Parque del Amor.
Trip extensions: Lima is the starting point for most Peru tours/vacations because of its international airport. From Lima, lots of visitors hop on a plane to other popular Peru destinations, like Cusco to see Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley, Puno to explore Lake Titicaca, Arequipa to see the condors and hike Colca Canyon, or Puerto Maldonado or Iquitos to venture in to the Amazon Rainforest.
However, there are some popular extensions that can be added to a Lima tour. About 3 hours to the north of Lima, visitors can take a trip to see the ancient ruins of Caral, the oldest pre-Columbian city in the Americas dating back more than 5,000 years.
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Traveled to: Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu
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Traveled to: Nazca Lines, Ballestas Islands, Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca, Puerto Maldonado
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Traveled to: Cusco, Machu Picchu
Lima is built upon an arid coastal floodplain regulated by the northward flow of the Humboldt Current. The city experiences relatively mild temperatures and little rainfall, but high humidity all year round. As a result of its moderate climate, Lima is a great place to visit at any time of year.
Lima is located in the Southern Hemisphere with seasons opposite to those of North America. Summer extends from December to February, with sunny, warm and humid days and an average temperature of around 27°C (80°F). Mornings and nights are usually cool with the possibility of periodic light drizzle.
Winter is from June to August. Lima experiences cooler temperatures around 15°C (60°F) with mostly cloudy days. During the winter, a hazy fog, which locals call garúa, blankets much of the city, but it does not dampen the energy of the country’s capital.
The modern region of Lima has a human history going back thousands of years. Excavations such as El Paraiso, Caral, and along the Río Chillón indicate that ancient civilizations thrived in the region as far back as 7500 BC. These rank among the oldest proof of human presence in South America.
Lima was also part of the vast Inca Empire, and the conquered tribes were permitted to rule themselves semi-autonomously while paying tribute to the Inca royalty in Cusco. In 1535, Spanish Conquistador Francisco Pizarro and his army successfully dismantled the Inca Empire. On January 6 of that year, they established Lima as the place from which to govern their newly conquered territories, and named the city, “La Ciudad de los Reyes,” meaning “City of Kings”.
The Spanish Viceroy of Peru continued to rule from Lima until July 28, 1821, when revolutionary leaders Simon Bolivar and José de San Martín led Peru to declare its independence from the Spanish crown. For the remainder of the 19th century, Peru was involved in political and territorial conflicts as South America’s newly independent countries sorted themselves out. In the 1880s, Lima suffered a humiliating and destructive 3-year occupation by Chilean forces during the War of the Pacific.
During the late 19th and early 20th centuries thousands of French, Italian, and German immigrants came to Peru and settled in Lima, integrating themselves into the culture while adding a facet that is uniquely Peruvian. A great number of Asian immigrants, especially from Japan and China, also settled in neighborhoods near downtown Lima. They usually found work on farms and in the domestic services, filling positions which were previously held by African slaves prior to the abolition of slavery in Peru in 1854.
While economic industrialization began to take hold in Lima in 1930s, the 1940s were a time of extensive urbanization, prompted primarily by the influx of migrants from the Andean provinces who sought to escape the violence and poverty of the countryside and highlands.
The population of Lima during this time grew exponentially from an estimated 0.6 million to nearly 1.9 million in a span of just two decades. At the start of this growth period, the urban area was confined to a triangular area bounded by the city’s historic center, Callao to the west and Chorrillos to the south. In subsequent decades, settlements spread in all directions. New arrivals sought to expand the confines of their worker ghettos, originally centered in downtown Lima, through large-scale land invasions that gave rise to the proliferation of shanty towns, known as pueblos jovenes (literally meaning “young towns.”)
Today, Lima is indisputably the center of industry and finance for Peru and is home to many national and international companies. The Metropolitan area, with around 7,000 factories, spearheads the industrial development of the country, thanks to the quantity and quality of the available workforce, cheap infrastructure, and an extensive system of routes and highways in the city. The most relevant industrial sectors are textiles, clothing, and food. Chemicals, fish, leather, and oil derivatives are also manufactured and/or processed in Lima. Most of the foreign companies operating in the country have also settled in Lima, which has led to the concentration of economic and financial activity in the capital. For this reason, there has been a noticeable increase in light industries, services, and high technologies.
In the city of Lima, you can dine out for a whole week and not run out of enticing options for your next meal, be it breakfast, lunch, and dinner. To help narrow down your choices among Lima’s vast selection of restaurants, we’ve profiled our favorite places to eat and drink in the City of Kings.
Walk-ins are possible for any of the restaurants listed below, but it’s better to make a reservation in advance. You’ll avoid the potential for long waits and/or disappointment.
Av. La Paz 1079, Miraflores
Cuisine: Peruvian fusion, jungle cuisine
Menu choices range between US$10-30
Amazonian cuisine is the focus of this popular restaurant. Specialties are a fusion of typical Peruvian food and jungle classics. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Reservations recommended.
Astrid & Gaston
Calle Cantuarias 175, Miraflores
Cuisine: Peruvian fusion, Gaston*
Prices vary US$ 25-100, depending on meal and drink selections
Consistently voted among the best restaurants in South America, Acurio’s flagship restaurant provides an emblematic dining experience in Lima. Sophisticated and chic describe both the restaurant and its clientele. Reservations recommended.
Brujas de Cachiche
Calle Bolognesi 472, Miraflores
Cuisine: Peruvian traditional
Starters and main courses US$ 15-45; desserts US$ 7; cocktail US$8-10 (check website for exact pricing)
This classy restaurant serves delicious Peruvian regional cuisine. Choose from a range of starters, entrees, and desserts and pair it with wine or a drink from the bar. Recommended dishes include lomo saltado (the best!), sancochado and rocoto relleno. Reservations recommended.
Calle Santa Isabel 376, Miraflores
Gourmet dining that showcases Peru’s exceptional diversity in products from the mountains, jungle, and sea. Recommended dishes include tuna tataki and chocolate moelleux. Reservations recommended.
MalabarCamino Real 101, San Isidro
Rosa NauticaEspigon 4 beach circuit, Miraflores
La Mar CevicheriaAvenida La Mar 770, Miraflores
El AlmaZenRecavarren 298 Miraflores
Madre NaturaJr. Chiclayo 815, Miraflores
This casual bakery, cafe and health food store surrounds a nice courtyard. Try one of many delicious juices. Closed on Sunday.
Raw CafeCalle Independencia 587, Miraflores
Av. San Martin 130, Barranco
Bar and lounge, converts into nightclub
Bar HuaringasCalle Bolognesi 472, Miraflores (a part of Brujas de Cachiche restaurant)
Circuito de playas, Barranco
http://calarestaurante.com/ (Select English or Spanish)
Restaurant, bar, lounge
Lima’s hotels cover a wide spectrum of quality and style. There are budget hotels and hostels throughout the city, as well as high-end luxury suites with ocean views. The best places to stay are in the districts of Barranco, Miraflores and San Isidro, mainly because they are safe, walkable, and have a welcoming ambiance for tourists. We use these hotels as our preferred choice.
Avenida Malecon de la Reserva 615, Miraflores, Lima The glass sculptured JW Marriott Hotel Lima is awe-inspiring. From your windows, sweeping views of the Pacific unfold for an equally breathtaking experience. Located just opposite Parque Salazar and overlooking the gardens that border Lima's Pacific Ocean beaches, this luxurious Lima hotel features all the amenities and services a guest could hope for during their Peru vacation. The gardens, shopping, gambling, dining, and museums that surround this 5-star establishment will beckon you. Experience a new era of luxury while you explore Lima's opulent past and catch a glimpse of its future.
JW Marriott Lima Hotel
Avenida Malecon de la Reserva 615, Miraflores, Lima
The glass sculptured JW Marriott Hotel Lima is awe-inspiring. From your windows, sweeping views of the Pacific unfold for an equally breathtaking experience. Located just opposite Parque Salazar and overlooking the gardens that border Lima's Pacific Ocean beaches, this luxurious Lima hotel features all the amenities and services a guest could hope for during their Peru vacation. The gardens, shopping, gambling, dining, and museums that surround this 5-star establishment will beckon you. Experience a new era of luxury while you explore Lima's opulent past and catch a glimpse of its future.
Calle Schell 452, Miraflores, Lima
One of the new additions to the famous chain of hotels Casa Andina, the beautiful Casa Andina Select Miraflores is ideally located right in the center of Lima’s modern district. It is only a couple blocks away from Parque Kennedy where you can find many excellent restaurants, shops, and bars, and is close to the modern Larcomar shopping mall. The hotel offers the perfect combination of great service, excellent amenities, and good location, all at an affordable price. Guests will find a fully equipped health center, bar, and business center for their convenience.
Calle Atahualpa 199, Miraflores, Lima
The brand new Allpa Hotel, opened in July 2010, is located in the heart of the popular Miraflores neighborhood and close to many of the main attractions in Lima. Comfortable, chic, and convenient, this smart hotel is an excellent option for savvy travelers who want a great value hotel with all the modern amenities. Crisp white walls, cleanliness, and a contemporary touch characterize this modern and minimalist hotel. All rooms are spacious and tastefully decorated, creating a comfortable resting area for guests. Try the excellent Italian restaurant located in the hotel’s lobby.
What’s the best way to get around Lima?
To get around Lima, there are three main modes of transportation: taxis, combis and micros, and the Metropolitano. Taxis are by far the easiest and most efficient way to navigate the city, but they are the most expensive compared to the other forms. For the average traveler, a taxi ride from the airport to your hotel will be your most expensive fare since the airport is located in Callao and removed from most of the action in Lima. It will most likely cost you about S/. 40 to S/. 50 to get from the airport to a hotel in Miraflores, Barranco or San Isidro. We recommend only using registered taxis. If in doubt, check with your hotel's concierge, and ask them to call a taxi for you.
How is the weather in Lima?
It is important to remember that seasons in the Southern Hemisphere are opposite of those in the North. So if you are traveling to Lima in July (typically the hottest time of year in the United States) it will be the coolest time of the year in Peru.
Can we change money in Lima? What money issues should we be concerned about?
Lima is full of places to exchange currency (look for casa de cambio). Always check the exchange rate before handing over your money and count what you are given before leaving the window.
What are the best places to eat? Drink? Shop?
Restaurants: Peru is famous for its excellent cuisine, and Lima has numerous options to sample it all. Check out our Lima Restaurants section for a selection of places to taste local specialties.
Nightlife: Lima boasts an exciting nightlife that you can enjoy well into the early hours of the morning. The city's most vibrant nightlife is centered in Barranco and Miraflores. In Miraflores, there are lots of places to choose from around Parque Kennedy and Calle Berlin, and in Barranco, Avenida San Martin near Puente de Suspiros is lined with lounges, bars and clubs.
Shopping: The capital has the greatest variety of shopping in Peru, from tiny boutiques and designer stores to artisan and antiques shops. Miraflores is where most shoppers congregate, although there are also several outlets in Lima Centro and elsewhere in the city.
What else can we do in Lima?
Lima is a huge city with endless attractions beyond shopping, partying, and eating. Its coastal location makes it a perfect surfing venue, particularly for beginners. Also along the coast, paragliding can be found in Parque del Amor (Love Park) in Miraflores. Lima also offers horseback riding, water parks, cycling, and has numerous interesting museums.
How much do things cost in Lima?
Costs of living in Lima vary wildly depending on which distrito (district) you are in. Food and services are relatively inexpensive, while imported good are significantly more expensive. Expect to pay about S./ 40 (US$ 13.80) for a bottle of sunblock and S/. 6 (US$ 2.05) for a delicious freshly made sandwich.
What districts are the most popular for travelers in Lima?
Most travelers will stay in Miraflores, Barranco and San Isidro because these districts have great hotels, restaurants, parks and nightlife. For more information about these districts, see the Attractions in Lima section.
Do you have any tips for travelers in Lima?
You will likely find that traffic is rather disorderly and drivers can be less than considerate. With that in mind, be cautious when crossing the street (even when you have the right of way) and stay alert at all times.
Crime in Lima is primarily petty theft, pick pocketing, and the like. You can avoid this by using good judgment and common sense: keep your valuables at your hotel; stow your money under your clothes in a zippered or sealed container (wearing it around the neck is popular); wear backpacks on your front when in crowded areas; and in general stay alert and aware of your surroundings.
Lima is a city of mostly warm, friendly, helpful people. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or directions; most Limeños are glad to be able to provide assistance.
Feel free to contact your travel advisor for more insider tips on visiting Lima.
Are spa services available in Lima?
Manicures, pedicures, massages, and more can be found in Lima for a fraction of the cost of their North American and European counterparts. For example, a combination manicure-pedicure costs as little as 25 soles (about $9) in some Miraflores spas, while an hour-long Swedish massage can be had for as little as 55 soles (around $20). Your hotel can book these for you; however, you’ll run across many such places in Miraflores and Barranco. Feel free to explore and see what you can find!
Does Lima have any kid-friendly activities?
Great nightlife and dining are not Lima’s only charms. If you’re bringing your kids, there are plenty of activities to hold their attention during your visit. Lima has a zoo, a gigantic water park, and plenty of playgrounds scattered around Miraflores and Barranco. Parque de las Leyendas, which also houses the zoo, features a go-cart track, amusement park rides for small children, a maze, a train to climb on, and the usual assortment of swings, see-saws, and slides. Kids may also enjoy watching the surfers and paragliders at the beach, or catching a pro soccer match.
What can we expect at the Lima airport?
The Lima airport is fairly easy to navigate. When you land, you’ll have to go through immigration. Your passport and Andean Migration Card (TAM) will be stamped with a maximum permitted stay (usually 90 or 183 days). Keep the TAM because you will have to return when you leave the country. After picking up your luggage, you will have to go through a final luggage check at customs.
When you exit the baggage area, you will see an area of certified taxis, such as the Green Taxi service. The drivers will have identification badges. Since the Lima airport is not connected to public transportation, you will need to take a taxi. There should be a list of set prices, so be sure to check this before heading to the curb with your driver.
If you are traveling with Peru For Less, one of our representatives will be waiting for you here, holding a sign with your name on it.
In both Cusco and Lima, be prepared to pay a departure tax ranging from $5 for domestic flights to $31 for international flights. As of 2011, the departure tax is included in most international flights. You will be told if you need to pay an additional tax or not before you board the plane. If you need to pay, you will be directed to a teller window.
What should I pack?
Above all, pack light! Lima is a huge capital city, and there isn’t much you’ll miss while staying here. You can find virtually everything you need here (or a comparable substitute). Moreover, you’ll want to leave room in your luggage for the souvenirs you’re sure to buy while in Lima.
Larcomar – a dining, shopping, and entertainment complex perched above the sea – retakes the ocean front in Lima and serves as an architectural emblem of a city that has found new energy and vigor in the 21st century.
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The neighborhood of Barranco is a Peruvian artists' muse. Enjoy its unique taste of colorful architecture amid a budding art scene.