Modern Miraflores with its fancy oceanfront shopping mall and cute organic cafes may not be what you first think of when you hear “Peru,” but rest assured it’s just as Peruvian as the ruins and panpipes of the Andes. In Miraflores, you can dine at the best international and Peruvian restaurants in the country, mingle with locals at the iconic Parque Kennedy, enjoy delicious coffees and pastries by day and dance your heart out at night. Browse our Miraflores guide below for essential facts, travel tips, and top attractions.
At A Glance
When Lima emerged from its late 20th century slump, Miraflores became one of the city’s brightest lights. Today this enduringly popular coastal district is home to a fantastic blend of eateries, museums, boutique shops, and hotels spread between the seafront Malecon and the bustling Parque Kennedy.
Sometimes called Parque Central, this large public space forms the social heart of the Miraflores district. It’s a hub for travelers and for entertainment-seeking Limenos alike. The park almost always bustles with activity, whether it’s people snacking on their favorite street food or gathered around to watch an impromptu performance. The surrounding streets host an endless variety of restaurants, cafes, bars, shops, bookstores, hotels, tour agencies, and other services.
From Parque Kennedy, the Parque del Amor on the Miraflores cliffs is less than 1 km (10-15 minutes) away. On the south end of the park, the Virgen Milagrosa Church provides a scenic backdrop for souvenir photographs. Behind the church on Av. Larco, the Miraflores Municipal Gallery (Sala Luis Miro Quesada Garland) displays works by up-and-coming local artists.
One of Lima’s most scenic areas, the 10-km coastal promenade on the edge of Miraflores is a great escape from the traffic, noise and chaos of the city center. Most hotels in Miraflores are within walking distance or a short taxi ride away. The paved walkway leads through landscaped gardens filled with sculptures, fitness areas, and plenty of places to sit and relax while taking in the sights and sound of the crashing waves down below.
Parque del Amor is a notable landmark along the Malecon. The famous sculpture “El Beso” by Victor Delfin sits in the nook of a small amphitheater tiled in beautiful mosaic murals. The mosaic includes quotes from Peruvian artists and writers. A handful of paragliding schools use a nearby cliff as a launch point to catch the air currents over the sea.
The Larcomar complex is not just a place to go for shopping, dining, and entertainment overlooking the Pacific ocean. It’s also an architectural emblem that embodies the energy and dynamism of 21st century Lima.
At the end of the 1990s, city planners demolished the old Parque Salazar, excavated the cliff to create usable square footage for Larcomar, an indoor-outdoor structure that melds into the cliff and that also extends out from it. You can stand on any of the multiple terraces to get fantastic views over the ocean.
Inside the mall, popular entertainment options include a bowling alley and a theater showing the latest movie premiers. From the food court to sit-down restaurants, Larcomar has plenty of choices for hungry stomachs. And the fun keeps going when the sun goes down. The nightclubs Aura and Gotica attract a mixed crowd of locals and party-seeking travelers.
Paradise for chocoholics is the Choco Museo. The interactive space offers various options for cacao-lovers depending on how much time you have. The small museum displays the history and methods of chocolate making, while the 2 hour workshops teach participants how to make chocolate from scratch. If you’re short on time, go to the cafeteria to get a coffee and/or chocolate fix or to the shop to stock up on chocolate goodies. Choco Museo has additional locations in Barranco, Cusco, and Ollantaytambo.
Casa Museo Ricardo Palma
Ricardo Palma is the author of Tradiciones Peruanas which was innovative in collecting popular stories from different periods in Peru’s history and is now one of the Americas’ most famous literary works. Palma lived the last years of his life in a house on a street in Miraflores which is an example of early 20th century Limeno architecture. The house was sold after Palma’s death, but was later acquired by the government and converted in a museum in 1962. Today it serves as a research center and museum dedicated to the author’s work and the interior features original furniture, paintings, and personal objects donated by his daughter and other family members.
Amano, Pre-Columbian Textile Museum
Housing the private collection of the Japanese-born businessman Yoshitaro Amano, Museo Amano is a small museum that displays a remarkable collection of pre-Columbian textile art and artifacts. First opened in 1964 and refurbished on its 50th anniversary, the museum has four thematic exhibits with close to 500 textile pieces on display. It is a thrilling introduction to the creative genius of South America’s oldest civilizations.
The archaeological site Huaca Pucllana is among the oldest in Lima, and yet, for many years, it was neglected and widely regarded as a pile of trash and dirt. In fact, Huaca Pucllana was one of the principal temples of the Lima Culture (200-700 AD) which expanded into the Rimac river valley around 500 AD. Conservation of the site began in 1981 and was declared an intangible archaeological zone in 1987. The site has now been excavated and conserved. Visitors can view the central pyramid and explore the complex of adobe walls. An onsite museum displays objects found during excavation as well as model recreations of what life might have been like for the Lima culture.
Trendy Miraflores has a history that goes back thousands of years.
Earliest history:Archaeologists have excavated the remains of semi-sedentary communities who populated the Lima coast more than 3,000 years ago. They were fishermen who lived from the sea and used cotton fibers to make fishing nets. The earliest centralized populations inhabited the river valleys of Supe, Chancay, Chillon, Rimac, and Lurin.
200 – 700 AD: Development of Lima culture. The Huaca Pucllana adobe and clay pyramid complex was built in the 4th and 5th centuries.
1535: City of Lima founded. When the Spanish expedition arrived, large indigenous settlements populated the fertile river valleys.
mid-1700s: San Miguel de Miraflores becomes a “balneario,” where the wealthy elite of the city build their summer residences.
1821: Peru gains independence from Spain.
mid-1800s to early 1900s: Immigrants from various European and Asian countries arrive in large numbers, and establish small communities or intermarry with the local populations.
1857: Miraflores district established.
1881: During the War of the Pacific, Chilean soldiers invade Lima and a battle is fought in Miraflores. After 4 hours of fighting, the Chilean army overtakes the defending soldiers and sets fire to the town. For the bravery of the Peruvian soldiers who fought to defend the city, Miraflores became known as “Ciudad Heroica.”
early 20th century: In the early 1900s, Miraflores has a population of around 1200 residents. In the 1930s and 1940s, Lima’s increasing urbanization and industrialization attracts more migrants and Miraflores begins to transform into a commercial and residential area.
1960s: Via Expresa and Circuito de las Playas de la Costa Verde are constructed and contribute to further growth and expansion in Miraflores. During this time, many older buildings are demolished to make way for new houses and businesses.
1990s: A campaign begins to preserve old buildings, build green areas, and clean the streets of Miraflores.
21st century: As tourism to Peru revives at the turn of the century, Miraflores is developed as a central hub for traveler services, nightlife, and accommodation.
The geology of Miraflores tells another side of Lima’s history — one that goes back millennia.
Tall, sandy-brown cliffs that measure dozens of meters in height form the barrier between Miraflores and the Pacific Ocean. These cliffs were created by violent seismic movements that uplifted the earth’s crust.
Walking along the Malecon today is like standing on a natural balcony overlooking the sea. The pebbly beach down below is popular among surfers, but not suitable for swimming.
The district of Miraflores itself is trisected by three main avenues — Manuel Pardo, Jose Larco and Diagonal — while the Circuito de Playas runs parallel to the coast and links to neighborhoods north and south.
The main hub of Miraflores, Parque Kennedy, is located about 11 kilometers (7 miles) from the Plaza de Armas and about 18 kilometers (11 miles) from the Lima airport.
In Miraflores, the mix of old and new is what makes this district so charming. Wander the quiet side streets and you’ll see traditional homes called ranchitos alongside modern apartment complexes. To see a typical example of the old Miraflores architectural style, visit the Casa Museo Ricardo Palma, which has been restored and decorated with early 20th century furnishings.
Things To Do
Hang out in Parque Kennedy
“When in Rome, do as the Romans,” goes the saying. And in Peru, the people enjoy going to the nearest park or plaza to eat, chat, rest, and watch the world go by. In Lima, specifically, you can “do as” by joining the crowd in Parque Kennedy. It’s a friendly and festive atmosphere. On evenings and weekends, you might catch a dance or music performance.
Eat, Drink, and Dance
Seeing the sights always revs up the appetite for food and fun. In Miraflores, you’ll find an endless number and variety of venues to satisfy your tastebuds. Later, depending on your style you can find a bar to chat over beer and cocktails or a nightclub where you can mingle with mixed crowd of locals and travelers.
Bike on the Malecon
After indulging in loads of Peruvian food and pisco cocktails, you might be ready to burn some calories. There’s no better place to do so than on the designated lanes along the coastal promenade. Your hotel concierge can help you arrange bicycle rentals.
Paraglide on the coast
A handful of aerial sports outfitters in Miraflores cater to adrenaline seekers who want a thrillingly unique perspective over the city. Tandem paragliders take off from the coastal cliffs near Parque del Amor.
Miraflores is popular among Lima locals for its shopping malls filled with brand name stores. But travelers tend to favor the handicraft and souvenir markets. On Av. Petit Thouars, you’ll find Mercado Indio, host to the largest and best selection of artisan wares. Throughout Miraflores, you’ll also find shops selling alpaca goods and silver jewelry.
Watch the sunset
If you visit Lima in the summer, watching a sunset in Miraflores is almost requisite. Pack your camera and head to the Miraflores coast for an unforgettable sunset over the Pacific Ocean. In Lima, they call this “cielo the brujas,” or witches’ sky for the enchanting spectacle of colors reflected in the clouds.
JW Marriott Lima
Avenida Malecon de la Reserva 615, Miraflores, Lima
The glass sculptured JW Marriott in Miraflores is a distinctive marker on the city skyline. All 300 guest rooms spread over 25 floors and offer impressive views of the Pacific Ocean. Facilities at the hotel include a spa, beauty salon, gym, sauna, steam room, and a rooftop pool (open for summer) that offers birds’ eye views of the nearby Salazar Park and the Larcomar shopping center. The restaurant La Vista serves excellent lunch and dinner buffets, while the JW Sushi Ceviche Lounge is ideal for a quiet start to an evening. On the ground floor, guests will find a post office, casino, upscale shops, and a Starbucks coffee shop.
Calle Ernesto Diez Canseco 344, Miraflores, Lima
The newly opened Innside Miraflores is centrally located in Lima’s popular district of Miraflores close to a variety of restaurants, cultural and entertainment options. The hotel showcases a fresh design that’s modern and fun. All the rooms are equipped with black out curtains and soundproof windows for superior comfort. Enjoy the heated rooftop pool and bar, fitness center, and cuisine at 352 Gastrobar Restaurant.
Best Western Urban Larco
Av. Larco 1251-1253, Miraflores, Lima
Located in the heart of Miraflores, this newly opened hotel by Best Western is just minutes from Lima’s oceanside walkway and Larcomar shopping center. Rooms feature modern and clean furnishings. Room amenities include soundproof windows and mini bar, and the hotel itself features an onsite restaurant, business center and bar.
Calle Atahualpa 199, Miraflores, Lima
If simple comfort is what you seek, book a stay at the stylish Allpa Hotel in Miraflores, inaugurated in 2010. Modern light fixtures illuminate the cozy lobby and create an overall feel of homey warmth. Guestrooms are spacious and smartly accented with red decorative highlights. Upgrade to a Superior room or Allpa Suite for extra amenities at a great value. Suites include a separate living room area, an en suite Jacuzzi stocked with aromatherapy treats, and bathrooms with Spanish showers.
See all Lima Hotels
Where To Eat
Amazonian cuisine is the focus of this popular restaurant. Specialties are a mix of typical Peruvian food and Amazonian dishes. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Reservations recommended.
Av. La Paz 1079, Miraflores
Astrid & Gaston
Consistently voted among the best restaurants in South America, Acurio’s flagship restaurant provides an emblematic dining experience in Lima. Sophisticated and chic best describe both the restaurant and its clientele. Reservations recommended.
Calle Cantuarias 175, Miraflores
Brujas de Cachiche
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 Bolognesi 472, Miraflores
Gourmet dining that showcases Peru’s exceptional diversity in regional products from the mountains, rainforest, and sea. Recommended dishes include tuna tataki and chocolate moelleux. Reservations recommended.
Calle Santa Isabel 376, Miraflores
Embarcadero 41 Fusion
Casual with great service, this chain restaurant serves Peruvian classics with a fusion twist. Popular midday dining option. Open daily from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Reservations recommended.
Panchita presents traditional criollo (creole) cuisine with a modern twist. Enjoy generous portions of classics such as anticuchos, pastel de choclo and cochinillo. Open daily for brunch, lunch, and dinner. Bank cards accepted. Reservations recommended.
Calle 2 de Mayo 298, Miraflores
Enjoy a cozy dining experience with spectacular views at this restaurant built at the end of a pier on the Lima coast. Recommended dishes include nikkei (Peruvian-Japanese fusion) and funghi crayfish risotto. The classic chicken florentine is also great.
Ceviche in Miraflores
You can ask 5 people and get 5 different answers about the best cevicheria in Miraflores and others will tell you that the best ceviche is in the Lima center or Chorrillos. Our list of favorites includes:
- La Mar Cevicheria, Avenida La Mar 770
- El Mercado, Hipolito Unanae 203
- El Kapallaq, Av. Reducto 1505
- Costa Azul Seafood, Jiron Belin 899
- Pescados Capitales, Av. Mariscal la Mar 1337
Like the rest of Lima, Miraflores enjoys a mild climate year round. During the winter months (June, July, August), the low fog called garúa descends upon the coast and brings gray skies, cooler temperatures, and high humidity. Light drizzle is common in the morning.
Summer temperatures in Miraflores are warmer. Mornings and evenings can be quite humid. The hottest month is February, with an average maximum of 27 C (80 F) and a minimum of 20 C (68 F).
The transitional months of May, September and October bring comfortable temperatures.
Best time to visit Miraflores
Anytime is a good time to visit Miraflores and enjoy the district’s many cafes, restaurants, bars, nightlife. For warm temperatures, visit during the summer months (May to December).
Miraflores is located 18-19 kilometers from the Jorge Chavez International Airport. There are safe taxi counters inside the arrivals hall where you can arrange a transfer to your destination in Lima city. Many hotels and travel agencies also organize private transfers.
The district of Miraflores is a great area to explore on foot. Grab a map and head to Parque Kennedy, the Malecon, or the artisan market on Av. Petit Thouars. You can also flag a taxi from the street or arrange transportation through your hotel. Taxis in Lima are not metered; fares vary with destination and you should negotiate before you get into the car. The Metropolitano bus system has fixed fares and provides a fast and easy way for independent travelers to get to/from the historic center of Lima.
Miraflores is among the safest neighborhoods in Lima especially during daylight hours. However, as a highly touristed area, you should take normal precautions to avoid becoming a target for petty thieves. Keep your belongings close to you at all times. Carry your backpack with both straps on your shoulders and your purse across your body, instead of over one shoulder.
During the late evening, avoid poorly lit areas and if possible take a taxi back to your hotel, especially if you have been drinking.
Currency exchange offices are easy to find in Miraflores. Carry local currency in small denominations to pay for taxis and small purchases. You can pay with credit card at many hotels, restorations, and tour agencies. As of August 2015, 30 Soles (PEN) is roughly equivalent to $10 USD.
ATMs are easy to find in Miraflores. Before you travel, check with your bank about international fees.
Should I stay in Miraflores or the Lima historic center?
Depends on your interests. If you have 2 or more days to explore Lima, it doesn’t really matter where you stay as it is easy enough to get around with taxis or public transportation.
Most travelers prefer to spend the night in Miraflores because it offers endless options for restaurants, shopping, nightlife, and of course, easy access to the Malecon overlooking the Pacific Ocean. However, if your main interest is to visit the churches and museums of the historic center, then you might consider booking a hotel in that area.
I’m booked on an early morning flight from Lima airport. Should I stay in Miraflores or at the airport?
The main advantage of staying at the Lima airport hotel is that you’ll save time transferring to/from your hotel. On the other hand, if you’re staying in Miraflores, morning traffic conditions are usually good (but highly variable). Depending on your flight time, you’ll need to factor in minimum 45-60 minutes of travel time.