If you’ve only got a day in the world’s second-largest desert city , you’ll need to prioritize. Here are some top tips on what to do, see, and eat in Lima.
Drink some Peruvian coffee
Kick-start your day with a few shots of the finest Peruvian coffee. Much of Peru’s coffee comes from certified organic farmers and is known for its vanilla-toned sweetness and nutty, aromatic flavor . If you are feeling adventurous, try one of Lima’s traditional herb-infused drinks such as emoliente. The water is boiled with grains, herbs, and sugar, or with the addition of maca, a traditional root from the high Andes.
Take a stroll around the sights
Brave Lima’s infamously chaotic, but delightfully affordable, combi or larger micro (yes — bigger, but micro!) minibuses and head to Óvalo de Miraflores — a central roundabout fifty minutes away from Jorge Chávez International Airport .
There, visit Miraflores Central Park and the larger Kennedy Park and enjoy the boutiques, bars, and street-side ceviche cafés along the way to the coast. Don’t miss the Parque del Amor with its kissing couple statue and mosaics, as well as the Miraflores Lighthouse.
For a stroll with a view, walk along the cliffside Malecón promenade to the artsy and bohemian Barranco district , famously home to stunning sea views and sunsets. You’ll soon come to the Bajada de Baños walkway, which will take you to the iconic Bridge of Sighs — a 102-foot bridge fabled to grant wishes.
Try Peru’s finest food
Having built an appetite with your coast-side walk, it’s time to find out what South America’s gastronomic capital has to offer . Try authentic Peruvian cuisine — and the freshest seafood — at the many casual restaurants on Calle Berlin and surrounding streets. If seafood’s not your thing, Peru’s choclo con queso (corn with cheese) is a must-try, as is the papa rellena potato dish, with Peru’s signature spicy chili sauce, aji.
Discover the fascinating history of Lima
Having seen the sights and filled your belly, it’s time for some culture. Learn about the Peruvian capital’s history starting at Lima’s main square, Plaza Mayor (or Plaza de Armas), a thirty-minute drive from Miraflores. This UNESCO World Heritage site is surrounded by other heritage buildings, including the Presidential Palace and the Cathedral of Lima . From there, explore the city center’s pedestrian-only Jirón de la Unión and find your way to the Museum of Inquisition and Congress, which tells the bloody — and torturous — history of the Spanish Inquisition.
Experience Lima’s nightlife
If you’re not tired, there are plenty of things to do in Peru at night. Circle back to Kennedy Park in Miraflores to see weekend performance artists or seek out Lima’s mysterious peñas in Barranco, where couples perform traditional dances to live music in hidden-away basement restaurants. Of course, you can’t leave Lima without trying Peru’s national drink, the Pisco Sour. Visit the Museo del Pisco or any bar or restaurant that serves up its take on the famous cocktail.
This guide on the best things to do in Lima barely scratches the surface of this vibrant and multifaceted city. There’s no better way to spend a day in Lima than uncovering the secrets of its eclectic neighborhoods. Why not make it a day of discovery?