15 Terrific Things to Do in Lima, Peru – 2018/19 Edition
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.
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.
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.
Learn to Surf
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.
Workout On the Malecon
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.
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.
Relax At the Beach
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.
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:
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.
Learn more about Lima: