Peru Insider’s 16 absolute best things to do in Lima

Here are our recommendations for the best things to do in Lima suitable for all traveler types. If you don’t have much time in Lima, these are the must-dos!

Hola! My name is Trisha and I lived in Peru for over a year! I observed that many travelers skip the capital even if there are many interesting things to do in Lima.

If you are flying through and Lima is not your final destination, 2 days in Lima is enough. Within these 2 days, you can explore the must-dos in the city tremendously!

For 2 days in Lima, the three must-dos are exploring Lima’s food culture and visiting neighborhoods like Barranco and Miraflores.

You will find more things to do in Lima below. Feel free to browse and see what suits your taste! If you have any questions about traveling to Lima, leave a comment below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

🌟 Top-rated Lima things to do

Use the code PEINSIDER10 to get a 10% discount on all things to do in Lima, Peru!

1. Taste Lima’s food treasures through its markets

things to do in lima
By visiting local markets and eating at local stalls, your tour contributes to the local economy, supporting small vendors and artisans.

Lima is often considered the gastronomic capital of South America. A market food tour in Lima allows you to experience this culinary diversity firsthand, sampling a range of dishes and ingredients that are central to Peruvian cuisine.

Markets are where locals shop and eat, providing an authentic glimpse into everyday life in Lima. You get to see, smell, and taste the freshest produce and traditional dishes.

Food is a significant part of Peruvian culture. A market tour not only allows you to try different foods but also to learn about the history and cultural significance behind each dish.

2. Ride the Waves with Private Surfing Lessons in Lima

things to do in lima
What sets Lima apart is not just the quality of its waves but the backdrop of a vibrant, culturally rich city.

Lima, with its long Pacific coastline, presents ideal conditions for surfing, appealing to both beginners and seasoned surfers.

The city’s diverse range of beaches, from gentle waves at Playa Makaha for novices to the more challenging swells at Costa Verde, caters to all skill levels.

Surfing in Lima can be a year-round activity, thanks to its mild climate. Many beaches in Lima are ideal for beginners. These beaches typically have smaller, more manageable waves and a supportive surfing community that’s conducive to learning.

Playa Makaha and Playa Waikiki in the Miraflores district are popular choices for those new to surfing. The waves here are gentle, making it an excellent spot for getting comfortable with the basics of surfing.

3. Join our 14-day Peru Tour (full south)

ollantaytambo ruins
Our group tours to Peru are joined by citizens from all over the world, mostly from the United Kingdom and the US.

Every year, I host 12 people who are solo travelers to travel around Peru for 14 days from Lima to Cusco. The participants of this tour are usually solo travelers who wants to travel alone and join other fellow single travelers.

We visit everything, as in everything from Lima, all the way to the South including famous landmarks like the Machu Picchu (obviously!) and Sacred Valley.

This Peru tour is limited to a small group so if you wish to travel Peru extensively, join our group tours to Peru!

👉🏽 You might also like: How to get to Machu Picchu from Lima

4. Learn to cook a 5-course Peruvian feast

things to do in lima
A cooking class in Lima provides an authentic, hands-on experience to learn about and prepare traditional Peruvian dishes.

Attending a Peruvian cooking class in Lima is one of the most enriching things to do in Lima, especially for those looking to dive deeper into the city’s culture and cuisine.

Lima is not just Peru’s capital; it’s also a culinary hotspot, often regarded as the gastronomic heart of South America.

A cooking class provides more than just culinary skills. It often includes a market tour, where you’ll learn to select the freshest local ingredients. This is a chance to experience Lima’s vibrant market culture, interact with local vendors, and learn about native Peruvian produce.

Cooking classes are social affairs so this is one of the best suggested things to do in Lima for solo travelers and families with kids!

5. Bike through Miraflores

things to do in lima
Miraflores boasts some of Lima’s most picturesque landscapes, including views of the Pacific Ocean, lush gardens, and modern cityscapes.

Riding a bike in Miraflores is one of the most delightful and active things to do in Lima. Miraflores, known for its beautiful parks, stunning ocean views, and safe biking paths, stands out as a perfect district in Lima for a cycling adventure.

The district is known for its well-maintained and cyclist-friendly paths, particularly along the Malecón, a stretch of boardwalk overlooking the ocean. These paths make biking in Miraflores a safe and enjoyable experience for cyclists of all levels.

Plan your trip to Peru with us! Get expert travel advice and customized trip-planning itinerary from our local experts on the ground.

6. Explore the highlights of Lima on foot

things to do in lima
Many walking tours in Lima can be customized to suit your interests, whether you’re keen on history, food, art, or architecture, ensuring a personalized experience. | Photo: DepositPhotos.com

Going on a walking tour in Lima is an essential highlight among the many “things to do in Lima” for travelers seeking to immerse themselves deeply in the city’s rich history, culture, and vibrant street life.

Lima’s history is a complex and fascinating one, with layers of pre-Columbian and colonial history.

Walking tours often explore historic districts like the UNESCO World Heritage site of Lima’s Historic Center, where you can see colonial architecture, historic churches, and important landmarks like Plaza Mayor and the Government Palace.

Neighborhoods popular with tourists, such as Miraflores and Barranco, are generally considered safe to walk around in Lima. These districts have more frequent police patrols and are accustomed to having foreigners around.

At night, stay in well-lit and busy areas.

7. Explore Ancient Wonders at Pachacamac

things to do in lima
The site includes a museum that houses artifacts recovered from the area, including ceramics, textiles, and tools. These exhibits provide a detailed narrative of the site’s history and its significance in Peruvian culture. | Photo: DepositPhotos.com

Visiting Pachacamac stands out as a captivating and enriching experience among the various things to do in Lima for anyone interested in history, archaeology, and cultural exploration.

Pachacamac is an important archaeological site that dates back to pre-Inca times. It was a major ceremonial center, revered across multiple Andean cultures, including the Lima, Wari, and Inca civilizations.

The site features remarkable architectural remains, including temples, plazas, and pyramids. The Temple of the Sun and the Temple of the Moon are particular highlights, offering insights into ancient construction techniques and religious practices.

8. Experience Miraflores Nights and Explore Local Nightlife

things to do in lima
Miraflores is one of the safest districts in Lima, particularly in areas frequented by tourists. The streets are generally well-lit, and there’s a noticeable police presence, which helps in maintaining a secure environment.

Exploring the nightlife in Miraflores is often highlighted as one of the most vibrant and enjoyable things to do in Lima, especially for solo travelers or singles who want to party.

Miraflores boasts a wide range of nightlife options, from trendy bars and clubs to cozy cafes and live music venues. Whether you’re interested in dancing the night away, enjoying a quiet drink, or experiencing live Peruvian music, Miraflores has something for everyone.

The Miraflores neighborhood is one of the safest districts in Lima, particularly in areas frequented by tourists. The streets are generally well-lit, and there’s a noticeable police presence, which helps in maintaining a secure environment.

My favorite bars in Lima are Ayahuasca Restobar Lounge, La Emolienteria Bar, and BarBarian Bar. These three bars are often frequented by tourists and expats so you’ll meet a lot of people in these places!

9. Discover Wildlife at the Palomino Islands Sea Lion Colony: best things to do in Lima with kids

things to do in lima
The journey to the Palomino Islands itself is scenic, offering views of the Lima coastline and the chance to spot marine life such as dolphins and pelicans along the way.

Visiting the Palomino Islands is a unique and adventurous addition to the things to do on Lima list, especially for nature enthusiasts and those looking for an off-the-beaten-path experience.

Situated off the coast of Callao, a short distance from Lima, the Palomino Islands offer a remarkable opportunity for wildlife viewing and a chance to immerse in the natural beauty of Peru’s Pacific coastline.

One of the major highlights of visiting the Palomino Islands is the opportunity to swim with sea lions in their natural habitat. This is a rare and thrilling experience, allowing for close-up encounters with these playful and curious creatures.

If you plan to swim, be prepared for cold water! The water around the Palomino Islands can be quite cold, so a wetsuit is recommended for swimming. You can rent a wetsuit in surfing shops in Lima.

10. Savor Barranco’s street food culture

While street food is generally safe, it’s wise to be cautious, especially if you have a sensitive stomach. Stick to cooked foods and be mindful of raw ingredients. For example, the pisco drink has raw eggs!

Exploring the street food of Barranco is a must-do among the various things to do in Lima for anyone keen on experiencing the city’s culinary diversity and vibrant street culture.

Barranco’s street food scene offers a taste of Peru’s diverse cuisine, from traditional snacks like anticuchos (grilled beef heart) and picarones (sweet, doughnut-like treats) to innovative fusion foods.

The streets of Barranco are alive with music, art, and color, making your food adventure about more than just taste. It’s a sensory experience that captures the essence of Lima’s lively spirit.

You’ll want to try multiple dishes, so it’s best to start your food exploration with an appetite. I promise you’ll eat a lot – not only that Peruvian street food is tasty but it is also very cheap!

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11. Experience the Desert Rush with Huacachina Sandboarding Adventure

things to do in lima
The landscape of Huacachina is incredibly picturesque, making it a fantastic destination for photography enthusiasts.

Visiting Huacachina for a day trip is a thrilling and unique excursion among the many things to do in Lima. Located about four hours south of Lima, Huacachina is a small desert oasis, famous for its stunning dunes and picturesque lagoon.

Huacachina offers a striking contrast to Lima’s urban landscape, with its massive sand dunes and beautiful oasis setting. It’s a rare opportunity to experience a desert environment in Peru.

The dunes of Huacachina are perfect for adventurous activities like sandboarding and dune buggy rides. These exhilarating experiences are a major draw for thrill-seekers!

If it’s possible, stay the night! While a day trip is feasible, staying overnight can provide a more relaxed experience and the chance to see the stunning desert sunset.

12. See It All on a Lima Hop-On Hop-Off Tour Bus

Hopping on a Lima sightseeing bus is an excellent choice among the various things to do in Lima, particularly for first-time visitors or those looking to get an overview of the city in a convenient and informative manner.

Sightseeing buses typically cover a wide range of attractions, giving you a broad overview of Lima’s key sights, from historical landmarks to modern districts.

If your time in Lima is limited, a sightseeing bus can help you see a lot in a short period, ensuring you don’t miss out on key attractions.

13. Discover Street Delights in Barranco and Chorrillos

things to do in lima
Try the local cuisine in both districts. Barranco is known for its trendy restaurants and cafes, while Chorrillos offers fresh seafood near the fisherman’s wharf.

Exploring Barranco and Chorrillos is a must-do activity among the things to do in Lima, especially for those who appreciate art, culture, and scenic beauty.

These two districts, each with their own distinct charm, offer a rich tapestry of experiences that showcase a different side of Lima’s diverse character.

Barranco is known as Lima’s bohemian district, filled with art galleries, murals, and street art. It’s a hub for artists, musicians, and writers, offering a vibrant cultural scene.

The area boasts beautiful colonial houses, often brightly colored, and charming narrow streets, making it perfect for leisurely strolls.

Chorrillos, primarily a fishing district, offers beautiful coastal views and beaches. It’s a quieter alternative to the more bustling parts of Lima.

The district has historical importance, with landmarks from the War of the Pacific, and offers insights into a significant period of Peruvian history.

Being a fishing district, Chorrillos is an excellent place to try fresh seafood and traditional dishes.

14. Master Ceviche Craft in Peruvian Seafood Cooking

things to do in lima
Ceviche, Peru’s national dish, is not just a recipe but a reflection of the country’s rich coastal culture.

Learning how to make ceviche in Lima is an essential culinary adventure and a highlight among the things to do in Lima for anyone eager to delve into the heart of Peruvian cuisine.

Lima is the birthplace of ceviche. Learning to make this dish here, where it originated, ensures an authentic experience. Lima’s proximity to the ocean means access to the freshest seafood, a critical component of outstanding ceviche.

Mastering the art of making ceviche is a skill you can take home. It’s a way to relive your Peruvian journey and share it with friends and family!

15. Enjoy Enchanted Evenings at Lima’s Magic Water Display

things to do in lima
The park provides a beautiful and relaxing environment, perfect for unwinding after a day of exploring Lima.

Attending the Lima Live Water Show, officially known as the “Circuito Mágico del Agua” (Magic Water Circuit), is a spectacular and unique experience among the things to do in Lima.

The Magic Water Circuit holds the Guinness record for the largest fountain complex in the world, featuring 13 distinct fountains. The main attraction is the impressive display of water jets, synchronized with music and lights, creating a captivating and mesmerizing spectacle.

The water circuit is an ideal destination for families, as it offers interactive fountains where children can play and enjoy.

The show usually runs in the evenings, particularly on weekends. Make sure to check the latest schedule and arrive early to get a good spot.

Bring a light jacket as it can get cool in the evenings. If you plan to get close to the interactive fountains, you might get a bit wet, so dress accordingly.

16. Immerse in Local Life with a Shanty Town Experience

Listen and learn: Be open to listening and learning from the stories and experiences shared by the residents of Shanty Town.

Visiting Shanty Town in Lima, known locally as “Pueblos Jóvenes,” offers a unique and eye-opening experience among the things to do in Lima.

A visit to Shanty Town provides a deeper understanding of the socio-economic challenges and the everyday realities faced by many residents of Lima, which are often missed in conventional tourist experiences.

Many Shanty Town tours contribute to local community projects, such as education, health, and housing initiatives, making your visit not just educational but also beneficial to the community.

The visit can be a humbling experience, challenging perceptions and fostering a greater sense of global awareness and social responsibility.

Trisha Velarmino (43)

Trisha Velarmino is the Global Editor-in-Chief of the Insider Media Group operating in Europe, Asia, and North America. She lived in Peru for 1.5 years and has helped thousands of expats, digital nomads, and solo travelers easily visit Peru. Trisha has traveled Peru extensively from North to South.

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