Reasons Why You Should Visit Lima, Peru at Least Once in Your Lifetime

Barranco, a bohemian district with brightly colored houses and buildings, is known as Lima’s creative hub
Barranco, a bohemian district with brightly colored houses and buildings, is known as Lima’s creative hub | © RayR / Alamy Stock Photo
Brandon Dupre

Lima, the City of Kings, has plenty on offer to satisfy the keen traveler’s appetite. Whether it’s the world-class food, nightlife, colonial-style architecture or surfing, this Peruvian gem really does provide something for everyone.

Fancy exploring more of Peru? Join our eight-day epic adventure around the country – you’ll visit Cusco, marvel at Machu Picchu and eat your way around Arequipa with the help of our Local Insider.

The food

Lima has become the unofficial gastronomical capital of South America. The city boasts world-renowned chefs such as Gastón Acurio and Virgilio Martínez, who received the Chef’s Choice Award in 2017. Lima is also the only city to have two restaurants ranking in the top 10 of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants, Central and Maido.

Lima is known around the world for its vibrant culinary scene


The food is so good in Lima that it must be listed twice. There are many traditional, must-try Peruvian specialties, but no one should leave the country without trying some ceviche in Lima. The dish was invented by Peruvians and perfected in Lima. With the expansive Pacific Ocean just west of the city, there is no shortage of fresh fish and cevicherías. You can enjoy the dish at the fishing docks in Chorrillos, a bustling market or at a fine-dining restaurant in Miraflores. The options are endless.

1. Indulge in the nightlife of Miraflores

Architectural Landmark

© Christian Vinces / Shutterstock
If you want to go out and experience Peruvian nightlife, Lima is a must-visit. While there are bars all over the city, most of them are concentrated in Miraflores, Barranco and the historic center. If you head to Pizza Street in Miraflores or La Plaza in Barranco, you’ll find plenty of music and dancing going on all night. Peruvians don’t head out until about 11pm, so plan on staying out late. The city also has boutique bars such as Ayahuasca, which is an old colonial-style mansion turned into a three-story, carnival-fun-house bar.

2. Surf at Punta Roquitas

Natural Feature

© Culture Trip
Surfers shouldn’t miss the opportunity to spend time in a capital city with some of the best waves in the world. Shortboarders can enjoy a day at Punta Roquitas, with its punchy crossed-up sections, while longboarders will want to head down to Playa Waikiki. Both breaks are only a short walk down from the boardwalk in Miraflores. If those aren’t enough, visitors can catch bigger waves in Chorrillos, the home of La Herradura, a world-class, left-hand point break.

3. Admire the architecture at Plaza de Armas

Historical Landmark

Standing in the Plaza de Armas, staring at the large colonial-style buildings, you’ll feel the history of the City of Kings and be transported to the past when this city was Spain’s capital of South America. To the east of the plaza resides the Palacio Arzobispal, which has ornate Moorish-style balconies, something unique to Peruvian architecture. In the northeast is Palacio de Gobierno, a grandiose Baroque-style building that serves as the residence for Peru’s president.

4. Barrio Chino

Historical Landmark

Check two things off the Peru to-do list in one trip: eat chifa cuisine (Chinese-Peruvian food) in Barrio Chino. Head to this busy neighborhood, where you can enjoy the Chinese decor and then sit down and enjoy some chifa specialties.

5. Museo Del Pisco


Peruvian cocktail called Pisco Sour made of Pisco Peruvian grape schnaps , lime juice, syrup, egg white, and some angostura bitter drops on top
© daniel san martin / Alamy Stock Photo
When visiting Peru, you must try pisco. Therefore, why not go to a museum to learn all about the Peruvian spirit while also enjoying some of the country’s famous cocktails? One part museum and one part bar, Museo Del Pisco is a must-visit.

6. Museo Larco


A must-see oddity is Peru’s pre-Columbian pottery-porn museum. While it’s most famous for its erotic collection, Museo Larco also holds some of Peru’s other pre-Columbian archaeological finds.

7. Paraglide over Miraflores

Natural Feature

Touristy tandem paragliding in Miraflores Lima
© Wu Swee Ong / Getty Images
Knock paragliding off the bucket list, and enjoy Peru’s beautiful coastal landscape at the same time. Several companies in the area offer this experience, charging on average 260 Peruvian soles ($75) for 10 minutes.

8. Bike along the Malecón de Miraflores

Natural Feature

The Miraflores boardwalk runs parallel to the Pacific Ocean, providing miles of stunning views. Rent a bike from one of the many rental companies and enjoy a bike ride up and down the coast.

9. Discover the Catacumbas

Historical Landmark

Underneath Lima’s Basilica and Convent of San Francisco lies the burial site of over 25,000 bodies. Tours of the underground catacomb are offered daily for around 15 soles ($4.30).

10. Larcomar

Shopping Mall

You’ll be hard-pressed to find any mall with more beautiful views. Lima’s upscale outdoor shopping center is located on a Miraflores cliff, overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

11. The bohemian charm of Barranco


© Culture Trip
This small barrio is sandwiched between up-scale Miraflores and Chorrillos to the south. While the neighborhood is tiny, it’s filled with so many things to do that an extra day is needed in Lima to explore it. Barranco provides an escape from the city’s pervasive grayness, with colorful houses and murals lining its streets. A short walk from the plaza, you will come to La Puente de los Suspiros (Bridge of Sighs), which at night looks like a Disneyland Pinterest photo.

For more South American adventures, join our eight-day trip to Ecuador for exploring Quito and the Amazon, or our eight-day getaway to Colombia’s Caribbean coast. Alternately, browse our collections of Epic Trips, Mini Trips and Sailing Trips to find your next exciting destination.

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