The nightlife in Peru is something I’ll never forget. I remember my first trip to Lima like it was yesterday. I went to Gotica Club in Larcomar every weekend for months on end. The place was truly legendary.
On Fridays and Saturdays, the giant club overlooking the Pacific Ocean would fill up with gringos and Peruvians looking to have a good time. The music ranged from reggaeton to salsa to electronic. Hell, sometimes they even played a little hip-hop.
I became a regular. Well, more like an alcoholic. But that’s beside the point.
Gotica was one of the best clubs in Latin America. It may have been one of the favorite clubs I’ve ever been to.
Now, it’s closed. I was damn depressed to hear Gotica had shutdown upon arriving in Lima for my second trip.
I had no idea where I’d party in Miraflores any longer. While Lima nightlife certainly has a variety of options, I couldn’t imagine anywhere being as fun as Gotica.
Luckily, I found some of the best nightlife in Peru during my second trip. I’m talking places that even rival my beloved Gotica.
Understanding Peru Nightlife
Before we dive into the absolute best places to party in Peru, let’s dig a little deeper. Here’s what you can expect when enjoying the nightlife in Peru:
Nearly all of the four million tourists that visit Peru each year end up in Lima and Cusco. That means many a business in both cities caters to tourists and gringos.
As such, there’s a distinct international vibe throughout the bars and clubs in Miraflores, Cusco, and even Arequipa.
The bars and clubs in Peru tend to be Western-style if you stay in the upscale, tourist areas. This means more open spaces, more mingling, and people engaging with each other around the bar.
This isn’t small town Colombia where all the clubs are filled to the brims with tables and big groups of co-workers.
Types of Music
As the international vibe is strong throughout Peru, you’ll find a variety of music. It’s not like Cali, Colombia where all you’ve got is salsa and more salsa music. Lima and Cusco have everything.
Typically, I found reggaeton and electronic hits were the most common types of music played here. A little hip-hop and rock are played at certain spots, while you can find salsa and Bachata in others.
Safety in Peru
Is Peru dangerous? Personally, I’ve never had any safety issues in Peru. If you stay in tourist areas like Miraflores in Lima or Cusco, you shouldn’t have any problems. Places that make money off tourism tend to focus on keeping travelers safe.
Common sense should keep you safe while partying, too. There’s no culture of drugging unsuspecting tourists in Peru – like there is in Colombia.
Is Spanish Important?
You’ll find a number of Peruvians that speak good English while partying in Miraflores, Barranco, and Cusco. Peruvians that work in tourism make more money when they speak decent English.
Once you get outside the most touristic areas of Peru, you’ll find English levels are abysmal. While speaking Spanish isn’t a requirement for partying in Peru, it definitely helps.
It’s incredibly frustrating to try and have a conversation with that cute local while at the bar – only for things to fizzle out because you can’t speak a little Spanish. Instead, learn a little Spanish before you go to Peru!
Best Nightlife in Peru: Top 9 Places to Party in the Country!
Enough with all that jazz, let’s get to the good stuff. If you’re about to head to Peru, you want to know the absolute best place to enjoy a little rumba while on vacations. I get that!
So, here are the best places to enjoy a little nightlife in Peru:
Bizarro: This Miraflores club is a classic. If you want to party on Wednesday or Saturday, then Bizarro is the spot. I’ve been here over a half dozen times and the place never disappoints. While it’s not my absolute favorite club in Lima, it’s damn close. No matter what, come here on Wednesdays!
Lima Bar: If I could only choose one place to party in Lima, Peru on a Saturday night, it might be Lima Bar. This place is located where Gotica used to be in Miraflores. While it’s not quite as reckless, there’s still a lot of fun to be had at Lima Bar. This is an upscale club, so dress appropriately.
Help Disco: For many gringos, Help Disco is their favorite club in Lima. The rock club is located in Barranco and can get pretty rowdy on certain nights. The best night to visit Help is on Thursdays, where the club is host to the best Thursday night party in all of Lima.
Ayahuasca Bar: This might be the coolest bar I’ve been to in all of Peru. The vibe at Ayahuasca Bar is just perfect. It’s relaxed and bohemian – yet still upscale. If you want to unwind with a few cocktails or bring a date somewhere nice, this is the ideal spot in Lima.
Lima nightlife picks up once the sun goes down!
Mama Africa: I’m not sure there’s a more icon club in all of Peru. Mama Africa is the popping nightclub in Cusco. The place has been around forever and many a gringo has popped their Peru nightlife cherry here. I’ll never forget my first night in Mama Africa – but that’s not a story for this article 😉
Wild Rover Hostel Bar: This large hostel bar holds nightly theme parties almost every day. If you’re looking for a great place to start off a night of partying in Cusco, look no further. Many a wild night has started at Wild Rover Hostel Bar. Typically, the party starts here and then rolls over to Mama Africa once it gets later in the evening.
P.S: When I was enjoying Cusco nightlife, Temple Club was still open. It’s closed now, but there’s no doubt the club was one of the best places to party in Peru!
Deja Vu: If you’re a gringo who goes to Arequipa, there’s a damn good chance you’ll end up in Deja Vu. This club is the spot for gringos and Peruvians to party in complete harmony in Arequipa. It’s a staple of the nightlife diet in Peru’s second biggest city. If you’re looking to party in Arequipa, I recommend starting here.
Loki Hostel Bar: Honestly, if I had to pick only one place to party ever again in Peru, it would be at the Loki Hostel in Mancora. The pool, the beaches, and the hostel party here is amazing. To say this spot is legendary would be an understatement! Just come here in high season and see what I mean. Don’t plan to get a ton of sleep, though.
Noa Iquitos: I’ve never been here, but a buddy told me he had a couple crazy nights at Noa in Iquitos. Hell, he hyped it up so much that I’m planning to book a trip to Iquitos the next time I’m in Peru. Noa Iquitos is the biggest club in all the city and filled with Peruvians and some traveling gringos.
Everything You Need to Know About Peruvian Nightlife
That’s about it. The top places to party in all of Peru. If you wanted to know where to enjoy the nightlife in Peru, I hope this guide helps.
Peru is a fantastic place to party because the locals are friendly and the nightlife caters to tourists. You’re never far from a good party in this country. Trust me!
Curious about cities in Peru? Looking to see if there’s more to this South American country than Lima, Cusco, and Machu Pichu? Well, you’ve come to the right place.
After my second extended trip in the country, I learned a thing or two about Peruvian cities. I’ve lived the big city life in Lima, explored small towns along the Pacific coast, and so much more.
Peru has a lot to offer the intrepid traveler and digital nomads. Infrastructure is always improving and tourism is filled with amazing nature. So, let’s dive in and take a look at the best cities in Peru for your vacation.
If you’re looking for a quick breakdown on some of the most popular Peruvian cities for tourists, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s an in-depth list of popular cities in Peru:
Population: Nearly 10 million!
What It’s Like: Lima, Peru is one of the biggest cities in Latin America. The huge metropolis is bustling with energy and things to do. Yet, many travelers only spend a few days in Lima and then head elsewhere. While that’s fine, Lima offers digital nomads and long-term travelers a lot of value. I’ve spent months here and have nothing but good things to say.
Pros: Huge city, great nightlife, ocean views, lots of things to do, access to good Internet.
Cons: Expensive, especially for Peru. Bad traffic, dangerous areas, tons of gringos around at all times, “vanilla” culture.
Best For: Digital nomads and travelers looking for good Internet, great nightlife, and a big city vibe.
What It’s Like: A decent sized city that reclaims the feel of a small town. Cusco has become the backpacker hotspot in all of Latin America. Every gringo comes here before going to Machu Pichu. The bars here are filled with just as many foreigners as there are local Peruvians. If you like nature, mountains, and partying – you’ll absolutely love Cusco.
Pros: Tons of nightlife for a small city, amazing tourism opportunities nearby, great energy in the city, cheap prices.
Cons: Too many tourists, some tourist scams, high altitude requires a quick adjustment.
Best For: Cusco is great if you like backpacker nightlife, want to visit Machu Pichu, or prefer cheap cities.
What It’s Like: No one actually lives in Machu Pichu right now, but the town below the mountain is called Aquas Calientes. It sucks, but you’ll have to stay a night or two there while touring Machu Pichu.
Pros: Machu Pichu is one of the most important landmarks in all of Latin America. It’s truly an amazing place and a MUST visit while in Peru.
Cons: The town of Aquas Calientes is difficult to get to and all the people working in the town suck. They’re scam artists looking to bleed your wallet dry during the 24-72 hours your in their little town.
Best For: Visit Machu Pichu and then leave. There’s no reason to stay in Aquas Calientes longer than you have to.
Population: Over 1 million people.
What It’s Like: I haven’t been, but the couple of buddies who have absolutely raved about this place. The prices are dirt cheap and the people friendly. There’s tons of nature nearby and the nightlife is surprisingly good. In fact, it’s on my radar the next time I’m in Peru.
Pros: Cheap city in Peru that’s filled with beautiful nature and architecture. Good mix of locals and a few tourists.
Cons: Hard to get to, not ideal for digital nomads, and Arequipa could get boring after a month or so.
Best For: Travelers looking to base up for a few weeks to a month and experience what Peru’s second biggest city has to offer.
What It’s Like: Honestly, I found Trujillo to be absolutely terrible. The city is somewhat of a shithole and there’s just not much to do. I stayed for a few nights, but would never go back. A buddy was thinking of going to Trujillo for a month and I convinced him out of it. Suffice to say – this isn’t one of my favorite cities in Peru.
Pros: Cheap, decent sized population, close to the beach.
Cons: Ugly city, not a lot to do, and overall – Trujillo just sucks.
Best For: Stay for a night or two if you must. I wouldn’t recommend it, though.
What It’s Like: In a word? Awesome. If you’re looking for a dirt cheap place to base up and surf, this is paradise. If you’re looking for lightning fast Internet and first-world amenities, Huanchaco isn’t great. Come here for the low prices and great surf. Just don’t expect things to be like back home.
Pros: Cheap as can be, great surfing, stunning ocean views, a little backpacker nightlife.
Cons: Small surf town with bad Internet, not a lot going on, can get boring.
Best For: Surfers or people looking to surf. Huanchaco is also ideal if budget is a concern. You can find rooms for $100 USD a month here.
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Population: 10,000, but it’s filled with tourists almost all the time.
What It’s Like: Mancora is hailed as a beach resort town for Peruvians. However, I found the beach kind of sucked. If you’re from the United States, this isn’t like the Mayan Rivera or the Dominican Republic beaches. That being said – I’d go back in a heartbeat. Why? Because of the parties at Loki Hostel in Mancora. It’s truly a legendary place and one of the nicest hostels I’ve ever been in.
Pros: Decent beach, fantastic backpacker nightlife, surprisingly good food.
Cons: Not much to do outside hangout at the hostel, lay at the beach, and party. Mancora is also hard to get to and the Internet is terrible.
Best For: Backpackers looking to party in a beach town.
Ica / Huacachina
Population: 250,000 give or take.
What It’s Like: Ica is a small Peruvian city that’s not especially impressive. However, tourists from around the world all come here for one reason – Huacachina. Huacachina is a small oasis/pond located in the sand dunes outside Ica. Here you can enjoy a ton of fun activities, like sand boarding and dune buggies.
Cons: Only worth a few days, suspect Internet, and Ica isn’t impressive.
Best For: Travelers and digital nomads looking to enjoy some tourism for a few days.
Population: 500,000 give or take.
What It’s Like: While I haven’t been, Iquitos is high on my list the next time I’m in Peru. The city is located on the Amazon River and is the largest city in the world without roads entering it. The tourism here is spectacular and many come here to try Ayahuasca. While I suspect the Internet sucks, I’m confident I would enjoy myself for a week or two.
Pros: Amazon River tourism, unique cultural experience, decent nightlife.
Cons: In the middle of nowhere, hard to get to, bad Internet, not as safe as other parts of Peru.
Best For: A week or two of adventure without work.
Other Cities in Peru
While the list above is a great start for tourists in Peru, it’s by no means extensive.
Peru is a giant country and it’d be damn hard to visit all of the cities in Peru. Here are a few more that many gringos visit:
A Gringo’s Guide to Cities in Peru
While Peru doesn’t have a giant population like Mexico or Brazil, there are tons of cities in Peru worth mentioning. The ecotourism in Peru is truly world-class and infrastructure is improving in all of the big cities.
I expect tourism in Peru to continually grow over the next few years. If you have any questions about cities in Peru, sounds off in the comments. I’d love to know what I missed!
Lima, Peru certainly isn’t a digital nomad hotspot as of writing. In fact, I didn’t meet many location independent workers while in the city. You’ll find tons of travelers, backpackers, and people visiting Machu Picchu in Lima.
You just won’t find a bevvy of digital nomads. There are a few expats and some online poker players, but that’s about it. It just isn’t a nomad hub city like Playa del Carmen or Medellin.
Yet, Lima very well could be. Miraflores is tailor-made for life as a digital nomad. You have solid Internet, good infrastructure, safety, and more in this world-class neighborhood in Peru.
A Digital Nomad’s Guide to Lima, Peru
So, without further ado, let’s dive in and see why Miraflores could be an ideal spot for digital nomads. Here’s my digital nomad’s guide to Lima, Peru:
Getting to Lima, Peru
It’s pretty easy to get to Lima, Peru from the United States. Jorge Chavez International Airport offers dozens of direct routes. You can get to Lima direct from:
The airport is also well connected throughout South America, too. You can find cheap flights to Colombia, Chile, and more from Lima.
I prefer to fly JetBlue to Lima. They have direct flights from Ft. Lauderdale to Lima. These flights are comfortable and cheap. Highly recommended!
Once you arrive, a taxi from the airport to Miraflores or Barranco should cost between 60-80 Soles. I always use the “Green” taxi company at the airport. Their cheap, safe, and reliable.
United States passport holders won’t need to pay for a visa before or upon arrival in Peru. Just make sure you have two free pages in your passport before you arrive.
Peru allows your to stay 183 days a year on a tourist visa (Source). However, most immigration officials won’t give you the full 183 days upon entry unless you ask for it.
The country issues tourist visas in 30, 60, 90, and 183-day increments. Unless you ask for 183 days, they’ll generally issue your visa until your return ticket. For example, if you plan to stay 45 days in Peru, they’ll issue you a 60-day tourist visa.
If you plan to stay 183 days, then make sure to ask for the full amount of days. You cannot extend your tourist visa while in Peru, so this is important!
Where to Stay
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – stay in Miraflores or Barranco. There’s really no reason to stay anywhere else while in Lima, Peru.
Personally, I believe digital nomads will find Miraflores far preferable. the infrastructure is just better in the neighborhood than anywhere else in the whole country.
Ideally, you’d stay somewhere within this map while in Lima:
Best area in Lima, Peru!
Above is the absolute best location in all of Lima. You’e within walking distance to Parque Kennedy and the Malecon if you live anywhere on this map.
Barranco is great, too. It’s damn cheap. However, there’s just less going on in Barranco than there is in Miraflores. Unless you’re really trying to save money, Miraflores is better.
Cost of Living in Lima, Peru
While Peru is a fairly cheap country, the cost of living in Miraflores just isn’t that cheap. Miraflores is a great neighborhood and one of the safest in all of Latin America.
You can walk around with you iPhone here without any worries, but it’ll cost you. Lima is the most expensive city in Peru, and one of the more expensive cities in South America not located in Brazil.
Expect to spend at least $1,500 USD a month living in Miraflores and around $1300+ in Barranco. Monthly Airbnb apartments will run you at least $600-800 a month at minimum.
Internet in Peru isn’t spectacular, but it’s not horrible. In northern Peru and near Cusco, you’ll struggle to find a consistently fast connection.
In Miraflores, you shouldn’t have much issue with Internet. All cafes and coworking spaces in Lima, Peru should have solid WiFi.
In Airbnb apartments, you’ll need to ask the owner if the place you’re renting has a dedicated router. Many hosts will try to throw 2-4 apartments onto one router and things will seem slower than they should.
If you have a dedicated router in your apartment in Miraflores, you should have good enough Internet to upload YouTube videos, trade shitcoins, and publish blog articles with ease.
Is Peruvian Food Good?
One of the best things about living and working in Lima? The absolutely fantastic Peruvian food.
If you’re a foodie, you’ll absolutely love living in Miraflores. There’s dozens of world-class restaurants and tons of interesting dishes to try.
Outside of Mexico, you’re unlikely to find better cuisine anywhere in Latin America. Hell, if you’ve visited places like Colombia or the Dominican Republic, you’re sure to think Peruvian food is a gift from God!
While in Lima, make sure to try these dishes:
Aji de Gallina
Ceviche is fantastic!
English Levels in Lima, Peru
Being able to speak Spanish in Peru is pretty important. Outside of Lima, you’ll struggle to get by only speaking English. However, in and around Lima, things are a little different.
There are tons of English speakers in Miraflores. As tourism is huge in Lima and throughout Peru, there are many people who speak English because they work in the industry.
In Miraflores, you won’t have to speak much Spanish to enjoy your couple of weeks in the city. That doesn’t mean being able to hold a conversation in Spanish won’t be beneficial.
If you can speak a little Spanish before you get to Lima, your time living or visiting the city will be so much better.
In my first trip to Peru, I couldn’t speak much Spanish. Life was a little harder, but I still had a great time. My second trip in Lima I could hold conversations in Spanish.
The trip was so much better and I was able to connect and build relationships with local Peruvians.
Lima, Peru is located on the Pacific Ocean. The stunning views from Miraflores are damn near impossible to beat.
While there isn’t a lot of nature in the city, you’re sure to find the ocean and malecon a nice retreat from big city living.
Weather in Lima, Peru is a whole different ballgame. From November to May, the city offers almost perfect weather. I’m talking sunny skies and warm, springtime temperatures.
From June through October, it’s a little bit cooler in Lima – but that’s not my issue with the weather during this time. The problem? During these months, you won’t find much sun in Lima.
The skies are grey and clouds cover the sun nearly everyday. It’s kind of miserable. If you have a choice, try to visit Lima during November through May. Outside these months, the sun just doesn’t shine and there’s not as much energy in the city.
How Safe is Lima, Peru?
Peru is much safer than other Latin American countries. Violent crime in Lima is nearly non-existent when compared with Bogota, Colombia or anywhere in Brazil.
You can walk around Miraflores in the middle of the night, stumbling drunk – and you shouldn’t have any issues. The neighborhood is completely safe and even petty crime is pretty rare in the areas foreigners stay.
For active digital nomads, Lima offers a lot of things to do. While sightseeing isn’t great in Lima, the city is located on the ocean and has enough to keep you busy.
You have the beach (although not great ones), surfing, outdoor workouts on the malecon, paragliding, and so much more in Lima. For a big city, there’s some fun things to do outdoors in Lima.
While the best tourism in Peru tends to be south of Lima, you shouldn’t get bored here. Read this post about things to do in Lima for more information.
Paragliding in Lima.
Transportation, Uber, and More
I found it easy to move around Lima, Peru. Uber works incredibly well. The Uber drivers in Lima don’t have any battle going on with taxi drivers in the city and prices are incredibly cheap.
Many of my Uber rides in Lima only cost $2-4 USD. Even 30+ minutes rides in traffic only cost me $5-6 USD – unless going to the airport.
I didn’t test out much public transport, as Uber was so cheap. However, you can take buses between Miraflores and Barranco for 1 Sole – like $0.30 USD. You’ll spot these buses all over the neighborhoods and they’re pretty quick and safe.
If you want to take bus trips from Lima, I highly recommend using Peru Hop. The service is professional, prompt, and makes tourism from Lima so damn easy. Plus, it’s safe – which is huge when traveling by bus in Peru.
A Digital Nomad’s Guide to Lima, Peru – My Verdict
Overall, I’ve found Lima, Peru an ideal digital nomad spot in Latin America. While places like Medellin and Playa del Carmen tend to be popular, there’s no reason nomads can’t base up in Miraflores for 3-6 months a year.
Pro-Tip: The absolute best months to live and work in Lima, Peru are December through April.
If you come at the right time, the weather will be amazing and the infrastructure is good enough. Enjoy some delicious Peruvian food and make plans to check out Machu Picchu during your stay!
Miraflores is the safest neighborhood in Latin America. Barranco offers bohemian charms and character. Peruvian food is fantastic and the nightlife is popping. Suffice to say – there are tons of terrific things to do in Lima, Peru.
If you get bored in the capital of Peru, it’s probably not the city. It might be you! Hell, Lima is even situated on the Pacific Ocean and offers great views.
After two trips to the South American capital, I wanted to throw together a list of things to do in Lima. The city has so much to offer travelers, but a lot of tourists get stuck looking at silly sites – instead of experiencing the culture.
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15 Terrific Things to Do in Lima, Peru – 2018/19 Edition
Sure, I’ve included some typical tourist stuff on this list. But, you’ll also find cool ways to learn about Peruvian culture and experience Lima on a different level.
Without further ado, here’s my favorite things to do in Lima, Peru:
You MUST go paragliding while you’re in Lima, Peru. Honestly, this is my favorite thing to do in Miraflores. The cliffs situated off the Pacific Ocean create absolute perfect conditions to paraglide. The wind from the ocean shoots up over the cliffs and makes floating hundreds of feet in the air easy.
Plus, it’s safe and pretty cheap. When I was in Lima, my 15 minute ride cost around $80 USD and came complete with a video of the entire ride. The views are something I’ll never forget.
Paragliding in Lima, Peru.
Enjoy a Little Rumba
The nightlife in Lima, Peru is legendary. If you’re a gringo who enjoys a little party while on the road, this city won’t disappoint. In fact, outside of Bogota, Colombia – I’ve yet to find a city in Latin America with better nightlife than Lima.
Peruvians are friendly people and enjoy hanging out with travelers from all over the world. The bars and clubs in Miraflores have an international vibe. I have no doubts you’ll have a great time enjoying a little rumba in Lima. Make sure to check out Lima Bar and Bizzaro in Miraflores.
The waves in Miraflores aren’t spectacular. They’re beginner waves. If you’re a good surfer, they’re probably not even worth your time. For rookies like me, the waves in Lima, Peru are absolutely ideal.
When the weather is good, you’ll see 4-6 dozen people learning to surf in the Pacific Ocean directly below Miraflores. If you want to join them, just walk down to the beach in Miraflores and ask about lessons. Board rentals and lessons come with a wetsuit.
Swim with Sea Lions
I regret never going to Islas Palomino while in Lima. The islands are just a short ways from Miraflores and have been dubbed the “little Galapagos of Lima” due to the unique nature.
Overall, it’s is a great day trip while in Lima. The best part? You get to swim with sea lions while on the tour. If you have more than a week in Lima, make sure to check out the Palomino Islands.
Try Peruvian Food
South America isn’t exactly known for culinary excellence. Go eat Colombian food for a month straight and then tell me how your tastebuds feel. Peruvian food is a little different.
In fact, Peruvian food is absolutely amazing. Outside of Mexico, I’d venture to say the food in Peru is the best in all of Latin America. Try out some Ceviche or Lomo Saltado if you don’t believe.
While this might not appeal to many of you, working out on the malecon was one of my favorite things to do in Lima, Peru. The area overlooking the ocean in Miraflores is packed with great spaces to workout.
When it’s nice out, I’d walk or jog down to the area and do some pull ups, push ups, and ab work at one of the many outdoor gyms on the malecon. Between sets, I’d enjoy stunning ocean views and great sunshine.
Tons of Peruvians and travelers walk and workout along the malecon each day, too. It’s a great place to socialize and get in shape.
Go to a Bullfight
If you’re looking for a unique cultural experience and have an open mind, then I highly recommend checking out bullfighting while in Peru. No matter your take on the “sporting” aspect of the event, there’s no denying it’s quite a spectacle.
I went to the bullfighting championships at Plaza de Los Toros de Acho in Lima. The ring is massive and can hold nearly 14,000 people. It was sold out when I went and the crowd was into everything.
Ask around and see if a local can find you a schedule. They have half a dozen or so big bullfighting events each year in Lima. Highly recommended.
Bullfighting in Peru.
Don’t Go to a Cockfight
After enjoying bullfighting so much, I decided to satiate my blood-thirst by going to a cockfight. I figured it’d be just as cool as the bullfights. I was wrong.
Seriously, don’t go to a cockfight. It’s not a spectacle. It’s not even exciting. My buddy and I planned to stay for a few hours. We left the cockfight after 20 minutes. This was my least favorite thing I did in Lima.
Practice Speaking Spanish
Peruvians are some of the friendliest people you’ll meet. The country is safe and the people are always willing to chat with a foreign traveler, especially if the foreigner speaks Spanish.
While you can get by with just English in Miraflores, you’ll have such a better time in Lima if you speak a little Spanish. You’ll gain a better understanding of the culture and develop deeper connections with the locals.
The beaches in Lima, Peru aren’t great. I’m not going to lie to you. I never plan to spend time at the beaches in Miraflores unless I wanted to surf. However, the beach in Barranco is a little better.
In the summer months of December through May, you’ll see many a local relaxing on the beach near Barranco. While it’s certainly not the Caribbean, you can enjoy some sun and get a quick, cold swim in.
Pacific Ocean views in Lima.
Head to Playa Asia
If you’re looking for better beaches while in Lima, then head down to Playa Asia on the weekend. During the summer months, you’ll find many a Peruvian spends weekends at the beach in the Asia District.
This area 45 minutes south of Miraflores is filled with gorgeous beaches and great nightlife. Enjoy the beach during the day, then party at night. Punta Hermosa tends to be a great place to stay here.
Visit the Historic Centre of Lima
If you’re looking to get a couple cool Instagram photos, then head down to the historic centre of Lima. There’s not much to do, but it’s fun to check out the unique architecture for an hour or so one afternoon.
Just note – it takes about 30 minutes to get here from Miraflores unless there’s no traffic. Not one of my favorite things to do in Lima, but many people enjoy the area during the daytime. At night, it gets a little sketchy here.
Since Miraflores is located on the Pacific Ocean, the city features absolutely stunning views and sunsets. As such, there are many sweet apartments overlooking the ocean. These places often have great balconies and can be found on Airbnb.
I decided to rent one of these spots for a short time and live the big baller lifestyle. It was fantastic! Plus, my place only cost about $80 a night and featured some of the best views I’ve ever seen.
Highly recommended! Just look at this photo:
Sunset from the balcony of my Airbnb apartment in Miraflores.
While Miraflores is all high-rise buildings and stunning ocean views, Barranco is a little different. The neighborhood offers a laid-back, bohemian vibe along with a decent beach just below the malecon.
It’s fun to explore Barranco for an afternoon. Take in the unique architecture, explore the cafes, and grab a meal a Javier’s as the sun goes down. Plus, everything in Barranco is pretty damn cheap. You can find delicious set lunches here for $2 USD.
Take a Peru Hop Tour
If you want to do some sightseeing and exploring in Peru, but hope to make it back to Lima by nightfall – Peru Hop is for you. The service, ran by two foreigners, makes long day trips from Lima a breeze.
You can go sand boarding in Huacachina and check out the Ballestas Islands on a one-day tour with Peru Hop. The prices are affordable and the service is professional. Highly recommended!
Great Stuff to Do in Lima, Peru!
That’s it! Some of the absolute best things to do in Lima, Peru. If you’re headed to the country, don’t sleep on Lima. While many tourists make a beeline for Cusco, the capital has a lot to offer the typical traveler.
Know of other cool things to do in Lima, Peru? Sound off in the comments and I’ll add it to the list.
Being able to speak Spanish in Peru is important, but it’s not the end of the world if you’re still learning.
My first trip to Peru I could barely utter a word in Spanish. I was luckily to get past “Como estas?” without sounding like a complete and utter moron.
Luckily, I was traveling around with my buddy who was fluent in Spanish. So, I didn’t need much Spanish speaking ability. If we ever got in a sticky situation, he handled all the talking and translating.
I just stood there looking like a charming, handsome gringo and flashed the occasional nod with a smile – like I understood what the hell was going on.
I didn’t. But, I quickly learned it wouldn’t have really mattered.
See, Peru is a hotspot for international tourism. Due to Machu Picchu being one of the world’s greatest tourist attractions, the country is filled with tourists all year long.
As such, many a Peruvian are used to interacting with travelers who can’t speak a lick of Spanish. Many locals, especially those involved in tourism, speak decent English and have no problem communicating in the language.
You can get by in Peru without speaking Spanish, especially if you spend most of your time in Miraflores and Cusco.
English Levels in Peru
Why is it easy to get by without speaking Spanish in Peru? Because many Peruvians speak English due to the tourism sector being such a major part of the economy.
If you spend most of your time in the tourist districts of Lima, like Miraflores and Barranco, you’ll interact with a plethora of people who can speak some English – no matter what you’re doing.
Miraflores is an upper class neighborhood in Lima filled with tourists. Speaking some English is pretty important for a number of Peruvians working and living in the area.
In Cusco, the city thrives on tourism. The locals have a huge incentive to learn some English. If they can communicate in English, they’ll get a better job in the tourism industry.
As Lima and Cusco are the two most visited cities in Peru, you’ll probably be spending most of your time in the country in them – where you can get by without much Spanish.
Now, if you venture off the beaten path in Peru, you’ll want to learn some Spanish. You won’t find a ton of English in the north of Peru.
English levels aren’t horrible in Arequipa, but speaking Spanish is more important than in Lima.
Overall, if you plan to visit Peru with little to no Spanish speaking skills, I’d recommend spending a lot of your time in Lima and Cusco. Once you get outside those areas, things will become a lot more difficult without Spanish.
Does Speaking Spanish Make Life Better In Peru?
While you can get away without speaking Spanish in Peru, I’m not sure I’d recommend it.
My second trip to Peru I was able to communicate in Spanish. I’m by no means fluent, but I can have conversations and understand nearly everything people say – as long as they leave out the local slang.
It made the trip so much better. I could relax a bit, interact with people, and enjoy myself. I didn’t have to ask every person who I was speaking with if they spoke English.
There’s really no comparison. If you have the ability to speak Spanish in Peru, the whole country opens up and you’re sure to have a much better time.
Sure, you can get by with English in Peru, but the experience just isn’t the same. With a little Spanish, you’ll have such a better time exploring Peru.
Bullfighting in Peru.
How to Learn Spanish
If you’re ready to learn a little Spanish before heading to Peru, you’ve come to the right place. After trial and tribulation, I found three great ways to learn the language before a big trip.
The absolute fastest way to learn a language is to travel in a Latin American country. You’ll hear the accents, understand how people communicate, and pick things up 10X faster than if you were back home.
You’ll want to have some type of baseline before you head out, but the easiest way to learn is by getting away from English speakers and having almost all of your daily conversations in Spanish.
The learning curve is steep, but you’ll retain so much more by doing it this way.
Now, you want to have some type of baseline before you go. If you’ve never even muttered an “Hola” – then things are going to be pretty tough on you.
One of the best ways to learn before traveling? Taking Skype lessons with native Spanish speakers.
That may sound a little expensive to you. I know I figured Skype lessons would break my bank, too.
Miraflores was once known as THE gringo hangout in Lima, Peru. Backpackers, long-term travelers, and Machu Picchu visitors spent nearly all their time in Lima in the swanky neighborhood.
After all, Miraflores is one of the safest neighborhoods in all of Latin America, and certainly one of the nicest in all of Peru. Why would a traveler stay anywhere else?
Then Barranco burst on the scene, and the Miraflores vs. Barranco debate began among the ragtag group of gringos that venture to Lima, Peru.
At first, I was baffled. My first trip to Peru I never even considered Barranco. It was viewed as a grungy backpacker hangout for budget travelers wouldn’t couldn’t afford Miraflores.
But, when I began researching Airbnb apartments, I started to see some of the benefits Barranco provided the average traveler.
So, what’s the best neighborhood in Lima? Miraflores vs. Barranco? Well…
Click here to learn more!
Miraflores Vs. Barranco: The Best Neighborhood in Lima?
Enough of the hearsay. Let’s dig in and find out. Here’s my take on the Miraflores vs. Barranco debate:
Cost of Living
One of the biggest differences between Miraflores and Barranco is the cost of living. Make no mistake about it – Miraflores is more expensive than Barranco.
Miraflores is an upscale neighborhood, it’s safe, and has every modern amenity a traveler could ever ask for. Even the medical services are pretty good in Miraflores.
Barranco has a lot to offer, but don’t make the mistake of thinking Barranco is on the level as Miraflores when it comes to amenities. There’s a reason it costs more to live in Miraflores.
Generally, you’ll pay 15-20% in Miraflores – for everything! For example:
Hostels: The Point Hostel in Barranco costs around $10-12 USD a night for a dorm bed. Loki Hostel in Miraflores costs $13-14 USD.
Airbnb Apartments: Monthly Airbnb apartment rentals tend to start at $750 a month in Miraflores. That’s for a full studio or one-bedroom with a kitchen, WiFi, and hot water. A similar spot can be found in Barranco for $550-600 USD per month – depending on how you negotiate.
Food: To eat at a good “menu” in Miraflores, you’re looking at 12-15 Soles per set lunch meal. In Barranco, the best menu restaurant I’ve found was 10 Soles. Upscale meals at Peruvian restaurants in Larcomar usually start around $12-15 USD. At Javier’s in Barranco, you can get an amazing meal with a view for $9-12 USD. Learn more about Peruvian food here.
Airbnb apartment in Miraflores.
Vibes & Views
Barranco is known as a bohemian neighborhood filled with travelers, artists, and locals alike. You’ll find unique architecture, laid back vibes, and more.
Miraflores is a residential and commercial district. Wealthy Peruvians live here, while everyone else comes to the neighborhood to work and play.
While many a backpacker call Miraflores home while in Lima, there’s no doubt the culture of Barranco is more conducive to budget travelers looking to relax and unwind.
You’ll have to decide for yourself what you prefer – laid back vibes in Barranco or the hustle and bustle of Miraflores.
Luckily, both neighborhoods offer stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. While Barranco offers easy access to the beaches below, it’s damn near impossible to compete with the amazing Malecon in Miraflores.
I’ve yet to find such a tranquil spot in a big city. Here you’ll watch waves crash below as the sun rolls in. People come to the Malecon to work out, do yoga, and walk the dog. I loved the place!
For vibes, Barranco may be better. For views, Miraflores is tough to beat.
I’d venture to say both Barranco and Miraflores are safe neighborhoods. In fact, you can feel pretty damn comfortable stumbling home drunk at 4 a.m. after a night out in either district.
Peru just isn’t that dangerous. We’re not talking about Colombia here. Murder rates throughout the country are low, and you just don’t have much to worry about in either of these upper-class neighborhoods.
That being said – nothing in Latin America is as safe as Miraflores. It’s probably the safest neighborhood in South America. For real!
You can fly your drone, snap selfies with your iPhone X, and generally move around without a care in the world in Miraflores.
Sure, Barranco is safe enough, but it’s not Miraflores safe. If safety is your main concern, stick to Miraflores while in Lima.
Maybe you don’t want to enjoy yourself. Maybe you’re trying to really rumba. You’re looking for algo duro.
Well, there’s no right or wrong answer. I’d break it down by budget. The best backpacker bars are in Miraflores at some of the hostels. You can have fun on a cheap night out in Loki or Pariwana.
For big spenders, Miraflores wins, again. Starting the night off at Open Tapas Bar until midnight before rolling to Lima Bar is a combination that’s simply impossible to beat. My best night in Lima I followed this plan and enjoyed some solid high-end nightlife.
However, Barranco wins in the midrange. If you’re looking to hit some fun clubs and party a little without breaking the bank, then Barranco has a lot to offer.
Clubs like Dali, Noise, and Help are all great spots to party in Barranco. Plus, Ayahuasca Bar is probably the coolest place to pre-game in all of Lima. The place just has a vibe to it.