When traveling to Peru, many adventurers skip Lima and head out straight to Machu Picchu, the Inca Trail, and other famous sites in the Cusco region.
While these sites should undoubtedly be on your must-visit list, if you give Lima a chance, you’ll see that spending some time there is a fantastic opportunity to experience a lively city full of culture, history, and Pacific sunsets.
Below, we’ve compiled a list of the ten top-rated things to do in Lima to help you discover all that Peru’s vibrant capital city has to offer.
|10 Top-Rated Things to do in Lima:|
Paraglide over the Lima Coast
Lima offers some of the world’s most spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean, so it’s no surprise that paragliding is one of the most popular things to do while visiting Peru’s capital.
Paragliding over the coast of Lima is a wonderful, adrenaline-boosting opportunity to see the city from above and even spot people surfing the turquoise waves below.
Lima’s paragliding tours take about 10 to 15 minutes and start at the city’s scenic cliff-top walkway Malecón de Miraflores. During each tour, you will be accompanied by a professional pilot, which means that you don’t need any prior experience to enjoy the scenery.
Visit Circuito de Playas
Among locals, Circuito de Playas refers to the beach circuit along Costa Verde that connects numerous beaches, as well as the distanced neighborhoods of Callao and Chorrillos.
Costa Verde (also known as the Green Coast) is located under the cliffs of Lima and boasts unmatched views of both the city and the turbulent Pacific Ocean. With more than 20 beaches, there is plenty to do within the Costa Verde.
This lively and dynamic circuit is a perfect place to go for a morning jog, enjoy a relaxing walk, surf, bike, or see the sun set.
Tour the Aliaga House
Located in the historic center, the Aliaga House (or Casa de Aliaga) is the oldest Colonial mansion in Lima, dating back to 1535.
While there have been several renovations over the years, Casa de Aliaga still stands out with an impressive facade and balcony, extraordinary inner patio, elegant salons, Colonial furniture, and an imposing wooden staircase.
Admire the Views from San Cristobal Hill
The San Cristobal hill is one of the symbols of Lima. The hill is 409 m (1,342 ft) high and features a lookout at its crown. The lookout offers stunning panoramic views of Lima that stretch out all the way to the ocean.
At the top, you will also find a big cross that was built in 1928. The cross illuminates at dawn, and can be seen from the city while exploring some of the top things to do in Lima at night.
Note: For safety reasons, it is recommended that you visit the San Cristobal hill with a professional guide only.
Visit the Lima Art Museum
The Lima Art Museum (MALI) hosts one of Peru’s most extensive art collections, tracing 3000 years of history. In fact, MALI is home to a spectacular collection of pre-Columbian textiles and ceramics, Colonial and Republican furniture, contemporary art, and a selection of paintings and photographic works.
The museum is located at the Exposition Park – a great place to go for a walk, enjoy the big gardens, and see picture-perfect Renaissance-style buildings.
Visiting the park is free. The museum entrance fee is $8 (S/ 30).
In recent years, the Peruvian coastline has become a hub for surfers looking to dive into the waves of the Pacific Ocean. With 250 km (155 mi) of coastline, the Lima province has plenty of premium surfing spots.
Whether you’re new to surfing or a seasoned surfer, Lima’s unique coastal position offers a broad variety of waves and conditions. You can sign up for surf or paddle board lessons and rent boards and wetsuits on one of the numerous beaches.
You can surf in Lima year round, though, it’s worth noting that during the summer months (late November to March), there are northern swells and less wind, and the water is generally warmer. During winter time (April/June to September/October), there are much bigger waves and both the water and air are colder.
Experience White Water Rafting
If you’re seeking adventure while staying in or near Lima, go for a white water rafting experience.
South of Lima is one of the most popular destinations for whitewater adventures – Lunahuana. There, you’ll find the Canete River and some of Peru’s best rafting routes.
Rafting down the Canete River combines amazing scenery and exciting rapids. You can find rafting tours for newbies, as well as for advanced rafters. Prices can vary from $20 (S/ 75) to about $60 (S/ 229) and, depending on your expertise, you can raft down different sections of the river.
Visit Paracas and Huacachina
Paracas and Huacachina are two magical places not too far from Lima. Paracas is a charming coastal town located 4 hours south of Peru’s capital. The Paracas National Reserve is one of the largest protected deserts in South America, featuring the captivating Ballestas Islands (also known as the Peruvian Galapagos).
Huacachina is South America’s only desert oasis. As one of Peru’s fastest-growing attractions, sandboarding down the dunes at Huacachina is a must for anyone looking for a once-in-a-lifetime adrenaline rush.
The Huacachina day tour is the perfect way to escape the city and enjoy the sunshine at Paracas and the tranquility at Huacachina. During the tour, you can go on a guided tour at South America’s oldest continuously operating distillery and taste Pisco (Peru’s traditional grape brandy).
If you’re looking for a more adventurous activity, you can also swap the winery tour for a visit to the Islas Ballestas where you can see penguins and sea lions in their natural habitat.
Rent a Bicycle and Ride Around Lima
Lima is a big city. Fortunately, it is also relatively flat, which makes it very convenient to explore by bicycle. Biking lanes can be found all over the most popular districts of Lima, including the beautiful Miraflores and San Isidro.
You can organize a self-guided biking tour and visit attractions at your own pace, or join an organized bike tour and learn more about Lima while also meeting new people.
Thanks to Lima’s booming culinary scene, you can find a great place to have a meal wherever your itinerary may take you. If you want to enjoy one of the world’s top culinary destinations, here are our recommendations for the best restaurants in Lima.
Explore the Ancient Inca Ruins
Located in the Miraflores district, these ruins host an array of temples, pyramids, and other fascinating structures. Dating back to 200 AD, the ruins are a must-visit site that can easily be combined with one of our Lima tours.
Huaca Pucllana – an adobe pyramid built with staggered platforms – is perhaps the most noticeable and intriguing structure of the ruins. The pyramid was used as part of various administrative and ceremonial tasks of the Lima society before the Spanish conquest of the region.
Lima Is Much More Than Just a Stopover on Your Peru Trip
Whether it’s the colonial-style architecture, excellent museum, surfing, or world-class food, Lima really does have something for everyone. If you’re ready to start planning your adventure – and make sure you don’t miss out on anything – check out our Lima travel guide.