Lima Guide: Everything You Need to Know
Despite being one of the largest and most vibrant cities in Latin America, Lima is often overlooked by travellers in favor of more well known tourist spots like Machu Picchu. Even travellers who do spend some time in Lima usually stick to the Miraflores district, but Lima has so much more to offer as a destination, rather than just an airport layover.
One of the biggest draws of Lima is the food. Not only does Lima contain world class fine dining, but Peruvian food is among the best in the world. Due to heavy migration from the provinces to the city, Lima contains shops which serve authentic dishes from every part of the country. Everything from Tacacho and exotic juices from the Amazon, Papa a la Huancaina and Cuy from the Sierra, Criollo favorites like Anticucho or Lomo Saltado, or Lima/Callao classics like Ceviche or Pollo la Brasa, as well as Peruvian takes on the cuisine of other countries like Chifa (Peruvian Chinese food), Peruvian style Hamburgers, Crepes, and Tacos.
The last thing anybody wants to deal with after getting off a long plane journey is having to sit through the busy city traffic of Lima, home to over 11 million people! As if being jet-lagged and tired wasn’t enough, just as you’re about to start your vacation now you have to deal with a language you don’t speak and go to a hostel room full of strangers who have no idea what privacy means. Well luckily, this is no longer an issue thanks to Pool Paradise Lima.
What better way to start a fresh day in a fresh city than by relaxing beside an amazing swimming pool in the sunshine. Located in the heart of the Miraflores district, this new hostel is close to many restaurants, bars and other activities found in the area. Pool Paradise Lima is the only hostel in Lima which has a pool, giving you a chance to relax in the sunshine.
Due to Lima being a big chaotic city with a lot of traffic, chilling by a pool in a leafy garden is one of our recommended things to do in Lima. The barbecue and lounge in the garden beside the pool is also at your service all day to ensure that nothing interrupts your day of relaxation. It is exactly the type of place to spend your day if you decide you want to while away some hours reading a book, sipping a cocktail and enjoying the pool or to come back and unwind after exploring the city.
If you do decide to leave to explore the city, the hostel is located very near to public transportation so it is really easy to get around and see all that Lima offers.
Lima is also a great spot for lovers of rock climbing, with both several indoor climbing gyms and many natural rock formations perfect for both bouldering and traditional climbing.
Lima can be confusing to get around, but once you get the hang of the system, it is quite convenient, and you can get almost anywhere with two blocks or less of walking. Most of the public transportation doesn’t have publicly available transit maps, and with a plethora of private companies, the situation can get quite chaotic. This is where the excellent app TuRuta comes in. TuRuta crowdsources finding the routes of the myriad of combis and busses in the city, and finds you the quickest and cheapest way to get where you’re going.
Lima also has an amazing nightlife, both in tourist standbys like Miraflores and Barranco, but also in places more popular with locals, such as Av. Arenales and Arequipa in Lince, or the Quilqa in the Center of Lima, for the Bohemian, Metalhead and Punk crowd.
Lima hosts a large number of music, film, and cultural festivals, including the Playa Rock Fest, a punk and hardcore music festival that takes place at the Punta Hermosa beach, and the Lima Independente International Film Festival, which has showcase categories for International, Peruvian, Latin American, and Experimental films to promote the art of independent filmmaking.
Accommodation-wise, Lima has a huge range of options. Everything from budget backpackers hostels and local hourly “hostales” to four star hotels can be found here. Lima also has a growing and vibrant couchsurfing community, which is an excellent way to find a place to stay and meet locals, as long as you follow the usual precautions on the crowdsurfing website. It is also a great way to get the real Lima experience, rather than just what the typical tourist sees.
Lima also contains many beautiful parks, chief among them Parque Mariscal Castilla in Lince, which serves as a Limeño counterpart to New York’s Central Park and is very popular with joggers, dance clubs, and musical jamming groups, and Parque La Pera del Amor in San Isidro, which overlooks the Pacific Ocean and is well known as a romantic spot frequented by young lovers. Parque de la Reserva hosts an amazing water and light show, one of the largest on earth, for only 4 soles ($1.30).
The best way to get into Miraflores to start exploring Lima is through Airport Express, the official transit service of Lima Airport. Airport Express has free wifi and usb chargers, and comfortable reclining seats. It has six stops in Miraflores conveniently near the main hotels and hostels, and with 60 trips a day, you can catch it at almost any hour. Tickets are available by reservation, or can be purchased at the airport or your hotel.
A great way to find events and activities in Lima, or anywhere else in Latin America, is through our partner, FindLocalTrips.com. Find Local Trips connects travellers with local small business owners offering tours, guides, classes, hikes, daytrips, and other activities throughout Latin America. Everything available on Find Local Trips is carefully screened for safety, quality, and business ethics. With Find Local Trips, your money goes straight into the local economy, rather than to an unscrupulous multinational tourism company.
Once you’ve had your fill of Lima, there’s a lot more of Peru left to see! With Peru Hop’s hop on, hop off bus service, you can get off at any stop along your route, spend as much or as little time as you like, then take the next bus heading along your route. Peru Hop is safer and more enjoyable than other bus services, and hires local bilingual guides with personal experience with the locations on our routes, so you can get more than just the standard experience. With endpoints in Lima, Cusco and La Paz and stops in Paracas, Huacachina, Nazca, Arequipa, Puno, and Copacabana, Peru Hop is your best bet for getting around southern Peru and northern Bolivia.