Things to Do in Lima Peru With Kids (or Without) – Lima Travel Blog

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If you’re looking for fun things to do in Lima Peru, then you’ve come to the right place. When most people think of Peru attractions and things to do in Peru, they first think of Machu Picchu. Indeed, Inca ruins are a great reason to visit Peru, but make sure that you spend some time in the capital exploring Lima Peru attractions, as well. Here are our tips on what to do in Lima Peru.

Things to Do in Lima Peru With Kids or Without - Lima Travel Blog

Things to Do in Lima Peru

There’s a lot to love about Peru: from the pre-Colombian history to today’s culinary scene. Lima was just a small fishing town before the Spanish arrived — a speck on the map until the conquistadors needed a port to ship all their gold away. Then quickly, Lima became the largest and most powerful city in South America. Its power came from both wealth and religion, as it was also the capital of Spain’s Catholic mission on the continent.

Fast forward to today, and the remains of Lima’s colonial past are now a UNESCO heritage site, while a more modern side of the city has emerged along the Lima’s boundless coastline. Art, history, food, architecture, and all manner of outdoor activities…Lima has it all.

There are loads of amazing things to do in Peru, but make sure to save time for the capital. Below we detail a few recommended things to do in Lima Peru. Then we’ll list up some advice on Lima weather, getting around Lima, where to eat in Lima and more.

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What to Do in Lima Peru: Our Favorite Lima Peru Attractions

Perched on cliffs above the Pacific Ocean, Lima is one of the most dynamic cities in South America. Many people visit Lima on their way to the Inca Trail or elsewhere in South America, but we think Lima is worth at least a few days of your time. Below are our top picks for things to do in Lima Peru.

Walk the Malecón in Miraflores

Things to do in Lima Peru

Out of all the things to do in Lima Peru, my favorite is the simplest. Take a walk along the Malecón, the paved path that meanders along the edge of the cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Along the path, you’ll find benches, parks, a lighthouse and more.

Nearly 10 kilometers long, the Malecón is dotted with sculptures, and a favorite with locals who bike, picnic or cuddle on the grass. This is one of the best people watching places in the city, and easily one of the easiest things to do in Lima Peru with kids, with a lover or on your own. Visit at sunset.

Go Hang Gliding or Paragliding

paragliding Things to do in Lima Peru

Thanks to the year-round wind coming off the Pacific, paragliding is one of the most popular Lima Peru attractions. Walk along the Malecón (see above) and you’re likely to see several colorful parachutes in the air already. We tried it the day after we arrived and it quickly became one of our favorite things to do in Lima Peru. Prices and launching locations vary.

Watch Our Video from Peru Paragliding with CondorXtreme

Book Now: Paragliding in Lima

Swim with Sea Lions

Palomino Islands penguins sea lions paragliding Things to do in Lima Peru

Holy crap. Our Palomino Island tour was not what we were expecting. We weren’t expecting much, but it quickly became one of our favorite Lima Peru attractions. When we first signed up for this half-day trip in Lima, we thought we’d see a few birds. Then we’d have a quick dip in the ocean for a view of a dozen or so sea lions…in the distance.

Instead, we saw thousands of seabirds, including Humboldt penguins, huge pelicans, and several types of cormorant. Then after that, we were floating next to hundreds upon hundreds of sea lions sunbathing along the rocky coasts of these islands. Our guides gave us wetsuits and we jumped into the frigid Pacific 63˚F/17ºC !! Within seconds, there were dozens of sea lions at our feet. We could feel their bristles on our toes!

It was exhilarating, to say the least. All around us were krill, the small shrimp-like creatures that provide food for this ecosystem. I always thought krill were translucent and super-tiny, but the Peruvian species were bright red and the size of a jellybean. Out of all the things to do in Lima Peru, this is the one the kids talk about the most.

Book Now: Palomino Islands Cruise and Swimming with Sea Lions Experience from Lima

Aviary Aroma

We loved this trip and consider it one of the most exciting and fun things to do in Lima Peru. However, I feel compelled to explain one caveat: the smell. These islands are covered in bird poop…and it smells like it. Not every moment, of course, but every so often a wave of stench would hit us hard. It was almost overwhelming. Look at the picture above. All the white on the rocks you see? That’s guano.

Also, I should mention that you’re in the water for only about 15 minutes of the total tour. At first, we thought that would be too short, but in practice, it was plenty. After all, the water is freezing, and after 15 minutes of sea lions tentatively sniffing (and in my son’s case, slightly nibbling) our toes, we were ready to get out and dry off.

Explore the Barranco District

Barranco street art. Palomino Islands penguins sea lions paragliding Things to do in Lima Peru

Lima’s Barranco District has a lot going for it: galleries, breweries, and a cool bohemian vibe. Part of that vibe comes from all the street art around the area. As you may know, we seek out street art, from Valencia to Ipoh to Mexico City. That’s why one of the most fun things to do in Lima Peru for us was to spend half a day wandering the streets of Barranco.

Then there was the MATE Museum, the galleries, and the places to eat. As for things to do in Lima Peru after dark, the Barranco nightlife is apparently a big draw. That may be true, but it’s an awesome area to explore during the daytime, as well.

Book Now: Barranco Bike Tour from Miraflores

Eat All the Things

One of our favorite things to do in Lima Peru (and everywhere else) is eat the local food. And here, there’s some really good stuff. We’ll get more into Peru restaurants later in the post. But it should be mentioned early on that culinary tourism in Lima Peru is amazing. Restaurants in Lima Peru offer an amazing array of options.

For the cautious eater, you’ll be happy with places like Calle de las Pizzas, (Pizza Alley). But for those who want to experience local cuisine, there’s a lot to offer. From sandwiches to seafood, Peruvians have their own style. And with each wave of immigrants over the decades, new hybrid cuisines are formed.

Book Now: Peruvian Cooking Class Including Local Market Tour and Exotic Fruit Tasting

Barranco Ultimate Peruvian Food Tour

Lima Food Walking Tour in Barranco Neighborhood

Lima Colors and Flavors Walking Tour

More Things to Do in Lima Peru

Okay, so now we’ve covered our favorite things to do in Lima Peru, but that’s not the only Lima attractions you should seek out. Everyone’s tastes are different, so when we choose what to do in Lima Peru, it might be different than what you’d select. Here are more options.

Parks in Lima

Parc del Amor Park or Love Barranco street art. Palomino Islands penguins sea lions paragliding Things to do in Lima Peru

Lima has some really beautiful green spaces worth visiting. In fact, Lima is considered desert territory, and you can tell the wealth of an area by how much vegetation you see. Most of the parks we saw were in the areas near the coast, and one of the best things to do in Miraflores, Barranco, and San Isidro is to admire the greenery. Here are a few of our favorite parks in Lima Peru.

Parque del Amor

There are lots of lush green lawns along the Malecón (see top things to do in Lima above), but our favorite is the small Parque de Amor. It isn’t a large place. Nor is it a wide-open space, as you’re likely to see crowds of people there taking pictures — especially at sunset. But that’s why you should go there as well.

The benches surrounding the main statue are covered in colored tile reminiscent of Parc Guel in Barcelona. And 100 meters away paragliders are launching. They hover so closely above this place that you almost think you can touch them. Set against the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean, this is an ideal place for family photos near sunset.

Kennedy Park

This isn’t a large park, but what it lacks in space it more than makes up for in personality. This is the heart of the Miraflores district, with excellent dining and shopping surrounding the patch of green. It’s a great place for people watching in the evenings or on weekends. And if you’re a feline lover (not me: I’m allergic), then you may appreciate Kennedy Park’s dual role as the city’s ersatz cat cafe. They live in the park, but by many accounts are tame, friendly and well taken care of.

Circuito Magico del Agua: Lima’s “Magic Water Circuit”

When I first heard about this Lima Peru attraction, I thought it was a simple water park with some colored lights. Not so. This huge complex has thirteen technologically advanced fountains. These fountains make pyramids, tunnels, and mazes. Some can be walked through without getting wet, while at others you should keep electronics and other valuables covered.

After the sun sets, the park’s main fountain (Fuente de la Fantasia) puts on a jaw-dropping music and laser show. One of the most popular Lima Peru attractions for domestic tourists.

Book Now: Larco Museum and Magic Water Circuit Evening Tour

Museums & Historical Sites in Lima

Out of all the modern cities in Latin America, Lima may have the most stories to tell. It was once the heart of the entirety of Latin America, both financially and spiritually. There is much to learn in Lima. Here are a few of our favorite Lima museums and other historical things to do in Lima Peru.

The Catacombs at Basilica and Convent of San Francisco

catacombs Things to do in Lima Peru

If you’re planning to visit the UNESCO-cited historic center of Lima, then make sure to see the catacombs. In its heyday, Lima was home to the most powerful people in Latin America. It was the financial center and heart of the Spanish Catholic Mission.

Many wealthy Spaniards paid good money to be buried under the pulpit here, as they saw it as their fast-pass to heaven. Decades later, the bones were piling up. Now what’s left have been displayed in a semi-artful fashion. Kids, goths, and thrillseekers will consider this one of the coolest things to do in Lima Peru. We did, too. If possible, go with a guide, because the history behind these catacombs is fascinating.

Book Now: Lima City Sightseeing Tour

Museo Larco

This is one of the best things to do in Lima Peru if you want to learn more about the people before the Spanish arrived. There is a shocking amount of artifacts stored inside, and so many of them are in excellent condition. Not just fragments of gold or pottery, much of Museo Larco’s artifacts are almost completely intact.

There are golden headdresses and hundreds upon hundreds of pots with figures in various poses. Ah yes, the poses…perhaps some parents should be warned that many of the poses are explicitly sexual.

The restaurant and gardens here are also very beautiful. And it’s worth noting that the museum is open until 10 pm if you’re looking for something to do before a redeye flight.

Book Now: Larco Museum and Magic Water Circuit Evening Tour

An Evening at the Larco Museum with Dinner

Museo Oro del Peru (The Peru Gold Museum)

The name says it all: hundreds of golden items from the Incas to their Spanish conquerors. It’s worth having a guide to explain the stories and meanings behind many of the pieces on display, but even without it’s one of the most impressive Lima Peru attractions.

What a lot of people don’t know is that there is also a very large weapons section of the museum. Expect case after case of ornate knives, swords, guns, and other elaborate weapons.

This can be one of the most interesting things to do in Lima Peru for some travelers, but there’s one challenge. The Gold Museum is out of town, and the taxi ride can range anywhere from 20 minutes to well over an hour, depending on time and traffic. Is it worth the ride? It all depends on how much you like ancient weapons and rooms full of golden exhibits.

ChocoMuseo

With locations all over Latin America, the Miraflores branch of the ChocoMuseo chain is a place to learn about chocolate. And maybe make some, too. Like many Chocolate Museums around the world, the “Museum” is always on the way to the gift shop.

ChocoMuseo, however, has several interesting and reasonably-priced classes. For example, in the “Bean to Bar” workshop, you’ll learn about the process of making chocolate and be able to take home sweets you made yourself. An excellent thing to do in Lima with the sweet tooth in your life.

Book Now: Lima Miraflores ChocoMuseo: Bean to Bar Chocolate Workshop

The MATE Museum

MATE Museum Barranco Things to do in Lima Peru

This refurbished colonial mansion is a repository of work from photographer Mario Testino. One of the most famous and prolific fashion photographers of all time, Testino is from Lima and chose to show some of his selected works here.

The first few rooms are full of his famous spreads for magazines like Vogue, GQ and Vanity Fair. Massive portraits of people like Lady Gaga and David Beckham don the walls. There is some nudity in some images but of the tasteful, fashion-magazine type.

Peruvian Still Life

Our favorite rooms are in the back. Here you’ll find vibrant, life-size images of indigenous Peruvians in traditional dress. These images are worth the price of admission alone, and if you’re not interested in fashion, simply walk through to the Peruvian section. Testino also shot some of the most famous pictures of Lady Diana, and there is a room dedicated to this, as well.

On an unrelated note, I should mention that in 2018, Testino was more or less kicked out of the fashion world. Sexual harassment accusations have laid him low, and magazines like Vogue have stated publicly that they will no longer work with him.

That is not to discourage you from visiting. Far from it. In fact, I used it as an opportunity for discussions. My daughter and I talked about sexual harassment, and when, how or if one should separate an artist’s work from his/her actions.

Markets & Shopping in Lima

Lima Market Things to do in Lima Peru

Whether it’s shopping or window shopping, the malls and markets of the city offer fun things to do in Lima Peru. If you’re interested in local markets and food stalls, then head to Mercado de Surquillo northwest of Miraflores. Then there’s the massive Mercado Centro just a few blocks from the Plaza de Armas in the historic district.

Handicraft Markets

For handicrafts, I’ve heard people recommend the Feria Artesanal and the Indian Markets. We didn’t visit the Feria Artesanal, but we did visit several of the Indian Markets and Artisanal Markets in Miraflores. They go by several names — Mercado Artesanal, Inka Market, Mercado Indios, etc. — and they are very popular Lima Peru attractions.

That said, we weren’t terribly impressed with the ones we visited. Then again, we weren’t interested in buying woven ponchos, alpaca sweaters and small souvenirs, which is what almost every stand was selling. Well, actually my daughter wanted to buy a few knick-knacks for her friends, so we checked prices. We were told that everything would be cheaper in Cusco, and in our experience, it was.

One handicraft store that we really did like was Dedalo Arte y Artesania in the Barranco neighborhood. This place is much more than arts and crafts. Here you’ll find everything from jewelry to kitchenware to Peruvian books and CDs. And there is a beautiful cafe in the back. Recommended.

Supermarkets and Other Goods

If you’re looking for mountain gear, pirated DVDs and a lively atmosphere, then head to Polvos Azules. This is ground zero for Peru’s bootleg goods, although I urge you to consider what you’re buying before you purchase anything.

If you’re just looking for a good supermarket, then we can recommend chains like Wong, Metro, and Vivanda. The outlets we visited had a great selection of produce and bakery items. Also, the Vivanda on Av. José Pardo in Miraflores had a cafe upstairs with decent coffee and reasonable breakfast prices.

Last but not least, let’s talk about Larcomar: the super-fancy shopping mall in Miraflores. Yes, it’s just a mall, and you didn’t come to Peru to hang out in a mall. Neither did we. Yet Larcomar has a lot to offer some travelers.

For example, there’s a bowling alley, a very nice movie theater, good restaurants and a playground overlooking the Pacific Ocean. You’ll be in the area anyway hopefully (it’s in the middle of the Malecón). If you have kids that love Paddington Bear, then check the playground for his statue here. Paddington came from Peru, after all.

Tours and Classes in Lima

You can find even more things to do in Lima Peru when you check out the many tours and classes offered there. We love taking cooking classes as we did in Vietnam, Chiang Mai, Mexico, and other places. In Lima, however, we didn’t have enough time to schedule a Peruvian cooking class. Maybe next time!

Book Now: Peruvian Cooking Class Including Local Market Tour and Exotic Fruit Tasting

Other tours in Lima Peru that you may enjoy.

Local Markets & Food History Tour

Lima Shanty Town Tour

Lima City Sightseeing Tour

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Day Trips from Lima / Overnight Trips from Lima

Nazca lines. Things to do in Lima Peru

Some of the best things to do in Peru involve leaving town for the day. Or maybe two days. There are some great day trips from Lima and some even better overnight trips from Lima worth looking into.

Just keep in mind that Peru activities are very spread out. That results in a lot of Peru day trips starting at an ungodly hour. Seriously: a 4:30 am pickup is not unusual. That said, there are lots of other great things to do in Lima Peru and beyond that. Here are a few more Lima Peru attractions beyond city lines.

The Nazca Lines

Aside from Macchu Picchu, the Nazca Lines are Peru’s biggest mystery. These enigmatic lines were carved into the desert floor centuries ago, and can really only be viewed in their entirety from the sky. That’s why lots of people do a day trip or overnight trip from Lima to an airfield and take a short flight to see them. Why were they built? Who were they for?

Ica

If you love wine and are ready to escape the concrete jungle, then Ica is the perfect day trip from Lima. There are loads of vineyard tours where you learn about Peruvian grapes, Peruvian wine, and that all-too-Peruvian spirit: Pisco. This day trip from Lima combines well with Huacachina, which is located nearby.

Huacachina

Huacachina Things to do in Lima Peru

Lots of people know about Peru’s mountains and jungles, but surprisingly few know about its deserts. Take a bus a few hours south of Lima and you reach the Ica region, with sand dunes as far as the eye can see. Tucked in between the dunes is the small oasis town of Huacachina.

For thrillseekers, one of the most popular things to do in Peru is to come to Huacachina for sandboarding. That’s right: it’s snowboarding, but on sand dunes. There’s lots of dune buggy riding here as well. Sandboarding and dune buggy rides (sometimes referred to as “tubulares” Spanish) are offered as day trips from Lima, but you can also do it as an overnight trip. Keep in mind that it can get loud at night here. It’s a small place, and between the youth hostel bars and the dune buggies rolling through, it’s worth bringing earplugs if you’re a light sleeper.

Ballestas Islands

Often called the “Poor Man’s Galapagos,” Peru’s Ballestas Islands are known for their wildlife and easy access from Lima. The Ballestas Islands are three hours south of the capital. The distance makes them worth considering either as an overnight trip or a day trip from Lima. Like the Palomino Islands mentioned earlier, you’ll find loads of seabirds (including penguins), as well as hundreds of sea lions. Just keep in mind that this area is a protected refuge, so you won’t be getting in the water with them.

Parracas

Here is where the desert meets the ocean. Parracas town is small and quiet. There’s little nightlife, but a huge national park and some outdoor activities such as paragliding and hiking. Have some cash before you arrive, as ATMs here are few and temperamental. One of the most underrated attractions near Lima.

Tours to Consider

Nazca Lines Tour from Lima Including Lunch

Paracas and Huacachina from Lima with Ballestas Islands and Sand Boarding

Where to Eat in Lima Peru

El Enano Restaurant in Miraflores Things to do in Lima Peru

One of our favorite things to do in Lima Peru is to stuff our faces. Looking for where to eat in Lima? You’ll be spoiled for choice. We discovered so much Peruvian food to love. Yet we also found restaurants in Peru also serve plenty of standards like pizza, burgers, and sandwiches. Chinese in Peru food is also fantastic. Here I’ll talk about not only Peru restaurants and where to eat in Lima, but also what to eat, including a few Peruvian foods and food styles we loved.

Restaurants in Lima Peru

I’ll be honest with you: we barely had time to scratch the surface of great restaurants in Lima Peru. Having said that, I think we did pretty well in the time we’ve had thus far! Here are a few Lima restaurants we’d recommend.

Punto Azul

Our top choice. This place is one of the most famous restaurants in Lima for a reason. And an excellent selection of ceviches, as well as fantastic fish and seafood dishes. Exquisite desserts, too.

Delphino Mar

Another higher-to-mid-end seafood and ceviche place in Miraflores. Blocks from the Malecón, good service and large portions.

Ollas del Mar

We stumbled across this place while looking for somewhere else. We liked it so much that we went back. This seemed to a local spot that filled up during lunch hour. A variety of lunch sets with a starter (ceviche or soup) and an entree for 25-35 soles. Included a pitcher of juice, as well. I liked the Picante de Mariscos so much I ordered the same thing the second visit (lots of abalone, and not very spicy).

Lobo del Mar

A small Nikkei restaurant (mixing Peruvian and Japanese traditions). Lots of fresh seafood, but limited seating, so arrive early.

Tanta

Branches in the Larcomar Mall, the airport and many other locations. We went for a lunch of fancy sandwiches and a cocktail or two, but I was told that their entree menu at dinner is also good.

Manolo

A Miraflores institution known for its churros, Manolo also has a full dinner menu. However, you may have to wait to be seated on weekend evenings.

El Enano

This simple sandwich stand is anything but simple. The number of sandwich and juice combinations is staggering. The service is lacking, but we went back twice anyway. The price was just too cheap and the juice was great. It comes in its own little pitcher.

La Lucha Sangucheria Criolla

For a quality Peruvian-style sandwich, this is where to go. La Lucha has several locations — including the Lima airport — and I think we visited three of them. Fantastic crusty, flaky bread, but don’t dismiss their pork and chicken dinners as well. Can feed two, really.

BLU

This is a gelato place in the Barranco district. There are several gelato joints in the neighborhood, but my daughter and I preferred this one. It’s a little off the square with the park, but is organic, fair-trade, and has comfy seating upstairs. They also make non-traditional flavors (I tried cherimoya and lolu).

Chifa Tau Tau (and Chifa Food in General)

“Chifa” cuisine is Peru’s answer to Chinese food. When you see restaurants with “Chifa” in the name (there are hundreds) you’ll know that it’s basically a Chinese place. One of the things to do in Lima Peru is trying different cuisine, and Chifa is it’s own thing, for sure.

I’m recommending Chifa Tau Tau (on Calle Berlin) here because it was the only Chifa we had while in town. It wasn’t the best Chinese food I’ve ever had. But it was pretty good, and if you’re looking for Chinese food (or simply want something veggie) then it’s worth seeking out a Chifa place. We don’t get much Chinese food in our Central Mexico home base, so I was ready to go out for Chifa even more.

Lima Travel Tips

Things to do in Lima Peru

As you prepare for your Lima holiday, here are some travel tips to get the most out of the city.

Lima Weather / Best Time to Visit Lima

First of all, before planning things to do in Lima Peru, let’s start with the basics and remember that Peru is in the southern hemisphere. That means that the seasons are in reverse order from what they are in Europe and North America. In other words, December is summer in Lima and July is winter in Lima. And because of Peru’s diverse topography, each region has its own weather, so the best times to visit Lima and other Peru cities will vary. For example, the best time to visit Lima is different than the best time to visit Peru’s Amazon jungle.

Regardless, you can visit Lima year round, but each season is different. Personally, I recommend Peruvian Summer (December > February) and Autumn (March > May). Both of these seasons are fairly sunny and dry. An added benefit to visiting Lima in summer is that many residents are out of town on their own beach vacations.

Fall and winter in Lima are also possible. The temperature doesn’t dip significantly, but a heavy fog — known as Garúa — descends on the city and doesn’t fully dissipate for months. With everything so wet, it can limit your opportunities for things to do in Lima Peru.

Getting to Lima

The Peruvian capital is one of the most accessible cities in South America. There are direct flights to Lima from many airports in North America, Latin America, and Europe. Below are some of the cities with direct flights to Lima Peru. Of course, in addition to these, there are countless more connecting flights — usually through these cities.

Lima’s Main Airport: Jorge Chavez International Airport
Airport Code: LIM

Direct Flights to Lima

  • New York to Lima Peru: Direct flights JFK or Newark to Lima take about 8 hours
  • Toronto to Lima Peru: Direct flights Toronto to Lima take around 8 hours
  • Miami to Lima Peru: Direct flights Ft Lauderdale or Miami to Lima take between 5 and 6 hours
  • Atlanta to Lima Peru: Direct flights Atlanta to Lima take around 7 hours
  • Houston to Lima Peru: Direct flights Houston to Lima take approx. 6.5 hours
  • Los Angeles to Lima Peru: Direct flights LA to Lima take approx. 8.5 hours
  • Mexico City to Lima Peru: Direct flights Mexico City to Lima take approx. 5.5-6 hours
  • Santiago Chile to Lima Peru: Direct flights Santiago to Lima take approx. 4 hours
  • San Jose Costa Rica to Lima Peru: Direct flights San Jose to Lima take approx. 3.5-4 hours
  • Amsterdam to Lima Peru: Direct flights Amsterdam to Lima take approx. 13 hours
  • Madrid to Lima Peru: Direct flights from Madrid to Lima take approx. 12 hours
  • Barcelona to Lima Peru: Direct flights from Barcelona to Lima take approx. 13 hours

Cheapest Flight to Lima: Kiwi.com Flight Search

Getting Around Lima

The Peruvian capital is a sprawling mess, with loads of traffic to boot. That’s the bad news. The good news is that we found it fairly easy to navigate by car and on foot. There is a fairly comprehensive public transportation system in Lima, but we haven’t used it. Instead, we’ve preferred to walk or take a taxi or Uber.

Sidewalks, Speedbumps & Stoplights

Neighborhoods like Miraflores, San Isidro, and Barranco have lots of nice sidewalks. In addition, there are speed bumps everywhere to keep traffic slow. That said, many crosswalks have no traffic lights, so there are times when you just have to gauge if drivers see you.

Taxis & Uber

You’ll see taxis everywhere, but in general, I recommend having a hotel or restaurant call you one when possible. Taxis are unregulated so anyone can charge whatever they like. If you do hail a taxi on the street as we did, just make sure to agree on the total price before you get in. Confirm three things with your driver: X soles for Y distance for Z people. For example, we heard that some taxi drivers may say 10 soles for the distance, but then ask for 40 soles (4 times more) if there are 4 people.

It’s best to have small bills to avoid “not getting change” as well. Also, be sure to only hail taxis that (a) don’t look like they’re falling apart and (b) have a registration number attached to the car. We had no problems when we did that.

As for Uber, we used them multiple times and much preferred the experience. The Uber experience we had in Lima was the same as any other large city.

Airport Transfers

Keep in mind that Lima’s Jorge Chavez International Airport is at least 40 minutes from downtown Lima. In bad traffic, the drive to town could take twice that long. In general, we suggest arranging an airport transfer ahead of time. This could be through your accommodation or booking one online yourself.

For example, during our last visit, we used Quick Llama. They had multiple pickup times, but they didn’t match our arrival time so we booked them for a private shuttle. If you take them, keep in mind that they may arrive and park in the very back of the parking lot waiting for you. We lost 15 minutes because we didn’t see the van in the very back. Aside from that, we were happy with the service.

More Lima Travel Tips

Now that you know when to go and how to get there, here are a few more Lima travel tips for once you arrive. What’s missing?

Late Nights & Early Morning Starts

There are some great things to do near Lima, but “near” is a relative term. Some of the best things to do in Peru are at least three or four hours from the capital. That means you may have some very early wake-up calls in order to catch your ride. It’s not uncommon to have a 5 am bus somewhere. Sometimes earlier.

Same goes for flights. Lots of planes arrive in Lima after midnight. By the same token, many departures (both domestic and international) leave at 5 or 6 am. The slower you travel, the easier it will be to cope with Lima travel days like these.

Oh, and a side note on early flights: the restaurants and shops were all open very early in the morning. Our return flight was at 7 am, which meant we wanted to be at the airport at 4 am. We’d miss breakfast at the hotel and were worried we’d miss it at the airport too, as everything would still be closed. Not so. To our surprise, everything was open and operating in the Lima airport at 4 am. I never confirmed when they closed, but it’s possible that they’re open 24 hours? We were able to eat a decent meal before boarding.

Miraflores Ain’t Cheap

There are more hotels in the Miraflores neighborhood of Lima than possibly in any other area. Lots of people will point you in the direction of Miraflores when looking for where to stay. Including me.

Having said that, keep in mind that Miraflores is popular because it is safe, cultured, and upscale. That also means it’s a high-rent district. You can find accommodation in Miraflores for just about any budget. However, you may have to walk a few blocks to find a cheap place to eat if you’re on a budget.

For us, we ate some nice meals (ie. seafood at Punto Azul) and then ate some cheap ones (ie. sandwiches at El Enano). Another solution is to stay at a place with a kitchen.

Summer Breezes

We last visited in December, which is summer in Lima. During the day, I was wearing a T-shirt and flip-flops, wishing I had put on more sunscreen. But after sunset, Keiko and I both wanted a light jacket or windbreaker. Unlike Cusco and Puno, Lima altitude is basically sea level. Yet the city sits on a cliff above the Pacific Ocean, which helps a wind kick up and cooler breezes after the sun sets. Of course, if you’re from a cold-weather place, the dip in temperature might feel nice to you. But if you’re cold wimps like us, then make sure to have another layer. You’ll need layers if you’re headed to Cusco anyway.

Lima Money & ATMs in Lima

Peruvian money is called soles. You’ll also find that lots of places take US dollars, as well. You can probably use your credit card, too (Visa is the most commonly accepted). We used our card at restaurants, supermarkets, and souvenir shops countrywide. However, small exchanges will require Peruvian money. For example, we paid for taxis in soles. Street food and snacks at a convenience store, too. We tipped guides in dollars or soles (case-by-case) basis.

ATMs in Lima Peru

To get our money, we used ATMs and local money exchange shops. We never exchanged money at the airport as it’s known to have terrible rates. Well, to be honest, Keiko had to look around to find the right rates at various exchange shops in Lima. For example, we arrived with a lot of Mexican pesos and planned to exchange them, but the sole-to-peso rate was terrible, so we just held onto them.

ATMs are easily available in Lima, but the frustrating thing about ATMs in Peru is that the maximum amount you can withdraw is very low. For example some Peru ATMs we used only allowed us to take out  S/400 (about US$ 120). Some let us take out as much as S/700 or S/1000, but we didn’t always have time to find them. Of course, you are charged for fees every time you use an ATM. It adds up. Nevertheless, I still think it’s better to use ATMs instead of carrying loads of cash just to avoid bank fees. Using credit cards as much as possible also help you to withdraw less money.

Keep Small Change Handy

The ATMs in Lima may hand you big bills. But there’s a problem: a lot of places can’t make change for big bills. Just like in Mexico, in Costa Rica and in other Latin American destinations, there always seems to be a short supply of small change. So if you try to buy a soda or pay for a short taxi ride, be wary of pulling out large denominations. Sometimes the driver or cashier will be “fresh out” of change simply because they want to keep the difference for themselves. Yet most of the time, they really don’t have correct change for you. You can tell because of the annoyed face they make.

Counterfeit Money in Lima

Apparently, Peru has a serious counterfeit money problem, both with soles and US dollars. That said, we’ve had no problems during our time there (knock on wood). Who knows? Maybe we had it and passed it onto some other unsuspecting cashier!

With this in mind, get in the habit of looking your money up and down during exchanges. Whether you know what you’re looking for or not. From what I’ve read, you should be looking for watermarks and “color-shifting” ink, which changes color when you turn it in the light. The texture of fake bills tends to be smoother as well. I wouldn’t worry about it too much, but getting in the habit of checking may prevent someone from trying to hand you fakes. As I said, we’ve had no problems.

Be Wary of Ripped/Damaged Money

This is another warning someone told us about. We never encountered it but it could perhaps affect you while looking for things to do in Lima Peru. Some establishments will not accept bills that have even the slightest rip or tear. This may be related to counterfeit money (mentioned above), but we haven’t encountered this.

Lima Internet, Power, & Phones

When you’re looking for the best things to do in Lima Peru, you’re very likely going to rely on the city’s internet and the power grid. Here are a few pointers.

Lima Voltage & Plugs

Peru also uses two plug types. They use Type A (flat prongs like the USA) and Type C, the round prongs seen in Africa, Asia, and Europe. Peru’s voltage is 220 volts, like much of Europe (voltage in North America is between 100-120 volts). We found our hotels in Lima had dual-plug, dual-voltage outlets. That means you could plug both Type A and C in, and there were outlets marked with each voltage. Apartment rentals were different for us.

Most of our hotels in Lima didn’t have enough outlets in general and we had to unplug a lamp to plug in a laptop. Or pull out a plug strip.

Internet and SIM Cards in Lima

We found most of our hotels to have poor wifi. In contrast, our apartment rentals had decent signals. But overall, we were glad that we got SIM cards for our unlocked phones. We did not get our SIMs at the airport as I was told that it was extremely overpriced. Instead, we waited until we were in Miraflores.

At first, we went to Movistar because it was the biggest Telecom company in Peru and supposedly had the best coverage. In fact, we actually went three times, and each time someone told us that the “computers were down” after we waited several minutes to be served. After the third time, we gave up and went to their competing telecom: Claro. To get our SIMs at Claro, it was S/30 for 3GB of data service over 30 days. That was enough for us to use maps, check in with each other via WhatsApp, and search for things on the internet.

Do You Know of More Thing to Do in Lima Peru?

There are so many things to do in Lima. This post is far from complete. Have you been to Lima? Do you know things to do in Lima Peru? What’s missing? What Lima attractions should I add? Let us know in the comments!

Further Reading:

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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links for things to do in Lima Peru. This costs you nothing, but when you use our links, we might receive a small commission if you make a purchase or book a hotel in Lima. My opinions are my own and I only recommend things to do in Lima Peru that I believe will genuinely help you enjoy your Peru family holiday even more. 

 

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