Life on the road can take a toll on the body. There’s the drinking, drugs, women, and all around hedonistic lifestyle. Without a little focus, it’s easy to let your physique and health go to hell. You truly have to learn how to stay healthy while traveling.
I remember my first trip backpacking in Central America. I was at a backpacking bar filled with degenerates in Bocas del Toro, Panama.
The place was located over the ocean, EDM music was blaring, drugs were plentiful, and people kept jumping into the ocean with their cargo shorts on.
It was an odd scene. Somehow I ended up chatting with a long-haired, skinny-fat dude who had to be the oldest guy in the bar. I wanted to chat up European backpacker babes, yet was in a conversation with this clown dick.
I was yoked at that point and my clothing attire made sure everyone in the bar knew it. Yet this chode tried to badger me about it:
“Man, you gotta have some fun. Why do you work that hard on your physique? You gotta to learn to enjoy life a little.”
I looked at him perplexed. Here I am drunk as hell on a Wednesday night in Panama, traveling the world, and some old guy who looks like shit is trying to lecture me about how to live life.
I politely exited the conversation when he tried to broach the topic, again. I just couldn’t relate. Why can’t you stay healthy while traveling? I wanted to have my cake and eat it, too.
Luckily, we can. Once I really learned how to stay healthy while traveling, things became simple. You get into a travel routine that can maximize the fun times, while you improve your overall health and fitness.
How to Stay Healthy While Traveling: 19 Quick Tips For Nomads
Now, we’re all different. Some of these tips may be useful to you, while others may seem weird. That’s cool. Take what works for you and discard the rest. When talking about how to stay healthy while traveling, there’s no exact science.
Without further ado, here’s a few quick tips for nomads looking to stay healthy while traveling:
Always Be Walking
The absolute best way to stay healthy on the road? Walk it out. Seriously. You’re in a new city and you want to explore. Just walk everywhere.
Walking is great for your health and probably the best way to really explore your new city. You’ll find places that would never be on Trip Advisor and burn calories while you do it. A win-win!
I’ll often walk 4-5 miles a day during the first couple days I’m in a new city. If the place I want to go is less than 30 minutes walking, I refuse to call an Uber. This lets me see a new side of the city and helps me stay healthy while traveling.
Sleep is Key
Most travelers get sick when they haven’t got a proper night sleep in a few days. You can’t expect your immune system to fight off new germs and illnesses in a far off land when you’re staying out late every night and getting less than optimal sleep.
Make sleep a priority while on the road. Get a private room at the hostel. Better yet, rent a whole private apartment on Airbnb.
If you go out late at night, don’t try to wake up early for a tour or excursion the next day. Turn the alarm clock off and sleep in.
If you have trouble sleeping while on the road, like I sometimes do, make sure to plan ahead. I always pack some ear plugs and a sleep aid, like cherry juice pills, to ensure I get a great night of sleep no matter where I am.
Always Join a Gym
Some people hit the road and decide to let their fitness go to shit for no reason. They might be on a four month backpacking trip, but they decide to not workout the whole damn trip.
Why? Every single city I’ve been to has a gym. Even cities with 10,000 or so people still have some type of gym. Many of these gyms are dirt cheap. I’ve been to gyms that only cost $0.50 USD a day in Central America.
The only city I’ve been where gyms are expensive is Lima, Peru. And guess what? The outdoor gyms on the malecon with Pacific Ocean views are free. You could run, do push ups, pull ups, dips and more here. There’s even free yoga classes on occasion. No excuses!
If you’re in a city for a week or more, always try to find a gym. Being on the road isn’t an excuse to stop working out.
After a few push ups at Machu Picchu.
Now, we’re all human. I get why some dudes decide to not hit the gym for months on end while traveling. It’s because they wake up every single morning with a massive hangover and can’t get up before noon.
We’ve all been there. That’s why I always pack pre-workout while on the road. Even when you’re hungover, you can still get a fantastic workout in when the stimulants from a good pre-workout kick in.
I’ve woken up hungover around 10 AM many a time and stumbled to a local breakfast joint, grabbed some breakfast, and then felt like shit for a couple hours. The gym was the last thing on my mind, but I mustered up the will to down some pre-workout and get to the gym
Then the pre-workout kicks in and I have a great workout. The workout reenergizes me and I’m ready for whatever afterwards.
I almost always rent apartments on Airbnb for two reasons. First, I value my privacy and sleep. I prefer to always sleep alone and like to get away from the hustle and bustle each day. You can’t do that in a hostel.
Second, you can cook your meals when you rent an apartment. With intermittent fasting, I usually cook 1-2 meals a day and eat one meal out.
I almost always cook breakfast, usually eggs, yogurt, fruit, and nuts. Then I eat out my second meal of the day.
If I’m lifting that day and don’t have protein, I’ll add a third meal to my schedule and eat a big serving of Greek yogurt with fruit.
Eating eggs, Greek yogurt, and fruits is much healthier than hostel pancakes every day. Trust me!
I didn’t cook this 😉
Keep Your Hands Clean
When you travel to new places, you expose your body to tons of germs. Taxis, buses, and metro systems are not clean places. Your new favorite restaurant might not be up to par with health standards back home. Plus, you meet dozens of new people every single day.
It’s important to keep clean with all this extra exposure. As such, I always travel with African Black Soap. I wash my hands with this soap before every single meal, if I can help it. Highly recommended!
Slow Your Roll
Travelers often get sick because they try to do too much. Dudes on a two-week trip might drink 4-5 nights each week and go on tours and excursions every single day. Then eight days into their trip they get sick.
No shit! You’re pushing your body too hard. Drinking every night, taking buses every other day, and only getting a few hours of sleep. Of course you’re going to get sick, bro.
If you want to stay healthy while traveling, then slow things down a bit. Spend at least a week, if not a month, in each city. Only drink 1-2 nights a week. Don’t try to do everything in one day. Just relax a bit and enjoy your travels.
Try to Avoid Back-to-Back Binging
I like to party just as much as the next guy. Hell, I couldn’t have wrote these nightlife guides if I didn’t:
Yet, you can’t binge drink every single night and expect to stay healthy on the road. That’s just not how the body works. Well, unless you’re a practicing functional alcoholic.
Luckily, there’s a simple solution. Don’t binge drink two nights in a row. It’s that simple. If you want to party, go out once on Wednesday/Thursday and then again on Saturday.
This avoids binge drinking on back-to-back nights and is infinitely healthier than trying to get hammered on Friday and Saturday.
Plus, Wednesday or Thursday is often ladies’ night. Drinks are cheaper and the crowds are often way more fun. People who go out on a weekday are looking to have a good time!
Partying in Bogota, Colombia!
Yoga is Ideal
Yoga and traveling are a match made in heaven. If you’re on the backpacking circuit, you’re sure to find a number of places to do yoga. Even some hostels offer short classes these days.
There’s also yoga studios in most big cities these days, although they can be pricey. Usually, I just bring my travel yoga mat, throw on a YouTube video, and do 20 minutes in the morning at my apartment.
Yoga is amazing for your health and I can’t recommend it enough to fit travelers concerned with their health on the road.
Hiking is a Workout
Never pass up an opportunity to go on a hike while traveling. Hiking is a fantastic form of exercise. You work the cardio vascular system, train your legs, and get some fresh air and sunshine. All great things for your health!
Plus, you get to enjoy nature, explore a new country, and see some stunning views. Truly a win-win! Hiking is also a great way to make friends with locals and travel buddies alike.
Relaxing after a three hour hike to a finca in Ibague, Colombia.
Get Your Electrolytes Up
You don’t want to get dehydrated while on the road. Trust me! This is especially true if you’re at a high altitude or have been drinking. Plus, there are times you won’t be able to drink the tap water, either.
So, you need to plan ahead. One easy way to get your electrolytes up? Pack a few of these for your trip. I prefer to mix these electrolyte packets with water over drinking Gatorade.
Gatorade has tons of sugar and just isn’t that healthy unless you’re playing a sport. These little packets have all the benefits of Gatorade without any of the adder sugar. Plus, they’re tiny and easy to pack.
Greek Yogurt Quickies
You’re going to be in a rush every now and then while traveling. Maybe you wake up around noon with a raging hangover, but you’re supposed to meet your buddy in 30 minutes for a tour.
You can’t ditch him, but you need some food first. Enter Greek yogurt. You can buy Greek yogurt in most countries around the world. Then simply add some fresh berries and nuts to it for a great, quick meal.
Plus, you don’t even need a full kitchen to make this meal. If you have a mini-fridge, then you’re set. This is my go-to quick meal while on the road. It’s healthy and there’s nothing you could prepare that’s quicker.
Handle Hangovers Properly
Drinking is part of traveling for many, especially the younger crowd. Thus, hangovers become a weekly ritual for most on the road. Luckily, they don’t have to be any longer.
After spending a month or so boozing pretty heavy in Bogota, Colombia, I knew it was time to lay off the sauce for a bit. So, I started looking into going out sober. I wanted to have fun without hindering my health.
Every single traveler has a tale of street food gone wrong. While some street food is absolutely delicious, there’s time where it’ll make you sicker than a dog.
I remember a buddy of mine who ate ceviche from a cart in Lima, Peru. Fresh seafood for $1.50? Yeah, I was skeptical and passed. Less than 12 hours later he was violently throwing up at our apartment for the next day and a half. It was the street ceviche.
Always be skeptical of street food. See how many locals eat from the vendor before buying anything. Watch how the vendor cleans up after a customer. Then see if you’re still hungry.
Not street food or even healthy, but damn delicious.
Try Local Produce
While I just hated on street food, I almost always buy produce from local vendors and markets. Not only is it cheaper, but it’s often much fresher than the supermarket, too.
I remember when I was living in the Dominican Republic. There was a fruit stand one block from my house. For $1.50 USD, the guy would chop fresh pineapple, watermelon, and more into a massive box – with a machete!
The fruit was fresh and delicious, prices were cheap, and ole’ dude used a machete. I went damn near every day.
Don’t Skip the Sunscreen
It’s almost a right of passage for a traveling gringo to get a massive sunburn while in the tropics. I can’t remember how many times I’ve seen a pasty looking dude fried to the gills and red as a lobster after a day or two at the beach.
Hell, I’ve been in the situation myself. Never skip the sunscreen, especially when traveling in tropical locations. The sun is just stronger down south. Even just a few hours outside could mean a massive sunburn.
Last, but not least – don’t expect your health and nutrition to be absolutely perfect while traveling. You might not get enough green vegetables one week. Your macros might get all messed up.
That’s perfectly fine. If you wanted the comfort and routine you had back home, you would have stayed back home.
Still, you need to make sure you’re getting proper nutrients. One easy way? Take a multi-vitamin each day.
While some hate on multi-vitamins, there’s no denying that replacing the vitamins and minerals lost after a night of drinking is beneficial. Plus, you’ll make up for any deficiencies in your travel diet.
Whew, that was a lot, but I hope the quick tips and tricks above help you stay a little healthier while on the road. In today’s day and age, there’s no reason to let your health and fitness go to shit because you want to travel for a bit.
If you have any health and fitness tips, sound off in the comments below. If they’re good, I’ll make sure to add them to the list!
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 bevy of digital nomads. There’s 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’s 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.
Lima can be a great place for digital nomads looking to date. Girls in Lima are exceptionally friendly and English levels around Miraflores and Barranco are good.
Some have said Peruvian girls aren’t that attractive, and there may be some truth to that. You won’t see the amount of stunning women in Lima that you would in Colombia.
The guys who say these things also spend most of their vacations swiping Tinder and going on online dates.
My take? There’s plenty of pretty Peruvian girls in Lima, especially around Miraflores. It’s a city of nearly 10 million people! There’s bound to be some cuties.
If you’re looking to date in Lima, get off Tinder and meet girls in person. Peruvians are friendly and always willing to chat with a traveler, especially if you make an effort speaking some Spanish.
Things to Do in Lima, Peru
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’s 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.
Rent a Baller Pad
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.
I remember my first time experiencing the fantastic nightlife in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
It was my first night in the country. A gringo who didn’t speak any Spanish looking to experience a real Latin culture.
I hopped off the plane just a few hours early and grabbed a taxi to my Airbnb apartment in Zona Colonial. The sea breeze hit my face as I stepped out of the airport and tried to hail a cab without getting scammed.
The Caribbean views were stunning as we drove to the colonial city. I was mesmerized. Romeo Santos was blaring on the radio as the taxi driver gave me the low-down on the DR in broken English.
After arriving, I checked in and quickly passed out. Hours upon hours of travel will do that to a man. Then I woke up to find night had fallen and a little rumba was about to be enjoyed.
Acting mature while enjoying Zona Colonial nightlife.
I looked at my phone to see a girl I had “met” before arriving was in Zona Colonial with her amiga. She wanted me to join them.
Being in a new country and not knowing anyone whatsoever, I graciously accepted the invite and threw on my best button down. It was time to party.
And party we did! The night was absolutely legendary. I visited nearly every club in Zona Colonial with two stunning Dominican chicks on my arms.
People had told me the girls would try to scam me before I arrived, but they just kept buying me Presidentes. I was baffled. They weren’t scammers at all. Just genuinely friendly girls.
Now, I won’t go too far into the details of how that night turned out. But, I’ll say it was a great introduction to nightlife in Santo Domingo. I was hooked!
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What’s So Great About Santo Domingo Nightlife?
Now, before we dive into the best spots and where to go on what nights, we need to discuss the “why” of la rumba in Santo Domingo.
Why should a gringo go party in Santo Domingo? Well, here’s a few reasons:
Dominicans Are Friendly
Dominicans are some of the friendliest people you’ll meet. Some say they have always have an angle to play, but for the most part, I found the people in the DR to be great.
Dominicans are always ready for a party and often willing to let you join their group. They’re outgoing and just love to have a good time. I’ve yet to find a more welcoming culture to party in, especially in Santo Domingo and Santiago.
It’s hot as hell in the DR. To me, that means people are full of energy and life – always willing to go out. There’s no winter in the Dominican Republic. The clubs pop off year around.
Plus, the Dominican girls love to wear skirts and high heels – and they can because the weather is so perfect. I certainly wasn’t complaining about this.
If you want to experience a true Latin culture with unique rhythms, then the Dominican Republic is for you.
Popular Santo Domingo nightlife spots often played a mix of reggaeton, bachata, and dembow. Shit pops off and people continually are dancing!
Tons of Spots
Santo Domingo is a huge city. As such, you’ll have a number of nightlife options in the capital. I’ve found there are three main zones in the city:
If you’re looking for a big night out in Santo Domingo, it’s likely you’ll end up in one of these three areas. While there’s a number of clubs and bars in each place, they are a bit far from each other.
Nightlife in Santo Domingo doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, it can be downright cheap. A bottle of rum in the club might only cost your $20-30 USD with mixers. A beer at the club might only run you $2 USD.
You can even get drunk before you go out at a local convenience store, called a colmado, for under $10 USD.
Many times the colmado will be filled with people downing Presidentes on a weekend night. Bachata will be blaring and it’s usually a pretty fun time. I almost always pre-gamed at a colmado before partying in the Dominican Republic.
Zona Colonial is stunning!
English levels in the Dominican Republic aren’t that high. You’ll have a much better time if you can speak a little Spanish.
How do I know? Because my first trip I couldn’t speak anything, but my second time in the DR I could.
While I loved the first trip, there is no denying I had a better time once my Spanish improved. You’ll just get a better feeling of the culture when you understand what people are saying and can actually interact with them.
One of the best things about nightlife in Santo Domingo is how cheap it is. Sure, you can spend some money, but you don’t have to!
Here’s a quick breakdown of how much nightlife costs in the capital:
Cover charge: $0-8 USD
Beer in club or bar: $2-5 USD
Drinks in club or bar: $3-8 USD
Bottle of wine at bar: $18-50 USD
Bottle of booze at club: $20-150 USD
A Gringo’s Guide to Nightlife in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Alright, now we’re getting to the good stuff. After spending countless nights out in Santo Domingo over the course of nearly six months and two extended trips in the country, I put together a list of my favorite spots. Many hangovers were had to bring you this information.
I spent most of my time in Zona Colonial and Piantini – so this list reflects that. Avenida Venezuela can be fun, but I prefer my Zona Colonial nightlife.
Here’s the best places to party for young gringos looking to have a good time in Santo Domingo:
Onno’s, Zona Colonial
If you’re staying in Zona Colonial, there’s a good chance you’ll end up here every time you go out. Onno’s is absolutely legendary. The place can be amazing – it just depends on the night.
I usually went to Onno’s every Thurday, as it gets packed due to ladies’ night. The small club is also fun on Saturdays, if you’re looking for a cheap night out. Overall, this is a staple of Zona Colonial nightlife.
Mamma Club, Naco/Piantini
A staple of the high-end nightlife scene in Santo Domingo, Mamma Club is where to go when you want a big night out.
The place isn’t cheap, but you’ll see some of the best looking people in the DR here every single weekend.
If you go to Mamma Club, you need to remember a few things. First, make sure you dress nice. That backpacker shit won’t fly here. Second, go with a few friends and buy a bottle. You’re wasting your time if you don’t.
VIP Room, Malecon
A buddy told me VIP Room is quickly becoming the “next” Mamma Club in Santo Domingo. The place is super high-end and some of the best looking Dominicans go here every single Saturday.
Like Mamma, you’ll need to dress well and open the wallet to make the most out of this club. I’m confident you’ll have a great night out in VIP Room if you can do those two things.
VIP Room in Santo Domingo.
I absolutely love Zambra. It might be the easiest place to meet sexy Dominican girls with jobs in the whole country. Plus, the music is fantastic and it was within walking distance of my apartment in Piantini.
Zambra isn’t a huge club. In fact, it’s downright tiny. But, the music is fantastic and the place gets packed on weekends. Plus, there’s a huge outdoor patio that’s perfect to chill out on.
Ibiza Club/Pool, Bella Vista
I believe this spot is located where the old Gold’s Dance Club used to be. Gold’s was known as the late night club in Santo Domingo. Ibiza replaced it and added a pool area, too.
A buddy said this spot could be fun, if the crowd is packed. However, I heard it’s still hit or miss at the moment. They throw pool parties, too – but I haven’t been to one yet. Worth checking out if your in Santo Domingo for more than a few weeks.
La Fabrica, Naco/Piantini
La Fabrica is an “underground” club in Santo Domingo. It’s located around Naco and Piantini, so it’s pretty damn upper-class. Actually, this is the only place in the DR where I’ve heard people got denied entry – even though they had on nice clothes.
Suffice to say, the place is classy. The one time I went it was a hell of a time, too. The music is great and the place just has a vibe to it. Would recommend if you can get in.
Parada 77, Zona Colonial
Another solid Zona Colonial nightlife spot here. While most places in the Dominican Republic play a lot of reggaeton, bachata, and merengue – Parada 77 in Zona Colonial also plays salsa.
If you’re looking to dance to Latin music all night long, then this is the ideal spot. They stick to salsa, merengue, and bachata pretty much the whole night. It’s great for a date, but I wasn’t a huge fan. Had free cover when I went.
75 Grados, Bella Vista
75 Grados is damn fun! If you’re looking for a rowdy night out and some rumba that’s 100% Dominican, then this is the spot. This places gets jammed packed and only plays dembow and reggaeton.
The dancing here is dirty and the only drinks you can get are sugar-packed frozen blenders filled with rum or vodka. Suffice to say, if you go to 75 Grados, it’s going to be a sloppy night.
Drinking blenders at 75 Grados.
Shots Bar, Naco/Piantini
Shots Bar is the only place I’ve been in the DR where I heard rock music and conversations in English. Lots of middle-class Dominicans who have spent time in New York like to come here.
If you’re tired of reggaeton music, Shots Bar may be a good place to check out. It’s not a club, but you’ll find people here Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
Santo Domingo Nightlife 101
It’d be damn near impossible to cover all the nightlife spots in Santo Domingo. These are just what I know. If you’re in the capital of the Dominican Republic, use this list to start things off and then go from there.
The one thing I know? Dominicans love to party and you’re sure to find somewhere fun on the weekends in Santo Domingo.
If you have any questions about nightlife in Santo Domingo, feel free to shoot off a comment below and I’ll do my best to answer.
Don’t forget to brush up on your Spanish before you go!
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…
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 the 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.