Lima Peru: Our 2017 detailed guide from how to get there, where to stay, what to do and much much more!

Lima, Peru Brief Summary

  • Capital city of Peru.
  • It is the second largest desert city after Cairo.
  • Fifth largest city in South America, with a population of 9 million people.
  • Gastronomic capital of the Americas.

Below we have created our extensive guide to Lima based on our expert local knowledge having helped to transport over 30,000 tourists here since our formation in 2013.

Quick Tip: If travelling to or from Lima Airport, it is strongly recommended to use the luxury Airport Express Lima bus to get to or from your hotel. Safer and cheaper than a taxi with no baggage limit as well as free Wi-Fi and USB chargers onboard, it is ideal for travellers.

Lima Guide Contents:

1. How to get to Lima – Compare transportation options.
2. Sightseeing and Tours in Lima
– A list of the most popular activities for travellers.
3. Must see in Lima
– The sights you cannot miss.
4. Lima Safety Tips
– Safety issues to be aware of.
5. Photo Gallery
– A few of the best photos of Lima.

How to get to Lima

How to get to Lima:

  • Flights to Jorge Chavez International Airport. From the airport to the touristic districts of Miraflores and Barranco use the Airport Express Lima Service, or order a safe taxi. For more information see our Lima Airport Useful Tips page.
  • Public buses arriving at company specific bus stations (Lima does not have a central bus terminal)
  • Peru Hop bus with drop offs directly at your hotel/hostel in Miraflores or Barranco

Located in the dangerous district of Callao, Jorge Chavez International Airport is one of the busiest airports in South America. Add to the fact that the area is reasonably unsafe and at about 17 km from Miraflores and Barranco, it is important to find a safe and secure way to get to your destination in Lima. Usually travellers stay in the Miraflores or Barranco district. If you’re staying in one of these districts, it is best to use the service of Airport Express Lima (AEL). If you’re staying in another district you can opt for a taxi or shuttle service but keep in mind that these options are more expensive and, in the case of a taxis, often unsafe.

From essentially any city in Peru you can take a public bus to arrive in Lima. The majority of the trips from other departments could take more than 10 hours through windy, old roads with no stops. Although there have been vast improvements through the years, accidents are still frequent. On arrival, you will be dropped off in the companies’ terminal which could be located anywhere in Lima, often in districts unsafe for travelers. Although these public buses are often the cheapest option, you get what you pay for.

Peru Hop offers a safe option for making your way to Lima with stops along the way to appreciate the real beauty of Peru. With a variety of passes to choose from, all counting with an onboard bilingual guide to assist you, you will be glad to have discovered so many gems on the road to Lima. Best of all, Peru Hop will drop you off right at your hotel/hostel’s door in Lima.

Sightseeing and Tours in Lima

Sightseeing and Tours in Lima:

  • Walking tour of the Plaza de Armas in Lima City Center.
  • Walk along the beautiful Costa Verde (green coast) from Miraflores to Barranco.
  • Take a day trip to Caral, just 2hrs from Lima, it is the oldest city in the world and a UNESCO world heritage site.
  • Eat ceviche, causa de atun, lomo saltado, and other Peruvian cuisine.
  • Visit the black markets of Gamarra or Polvos Azules for cheap clothes and DVD´s. (Recommended to go in groups, if possible with native Peruvians, and always be very careful)
  • Hop to Mamacona in Winter on Sundays for a big suprise. (Trust us, this is not to be missed!)
  • Spend a night walking around Barranco’s Puente de Los Suspiros.
  • Go to Las Brisas del Titicaca for a traditional dance night in the City Center. (Wednesday – Saturday)

The Spanish colonial influences can be felt throughout the whole city, but Plaza de Armas is probably the crown jewel and heart of Colonial Lima. A simple walking tour is a great way to learn about Lima’s history.

If impressive views and an ocean breeze are down your alley, Lima offers other walking experiences as well. Take a walk along the Costa Verde and enjoy the breathtaking views of the Pacific coast from the cliffs of Lima.

Peru was declared the world’s leading culinary destination in 2012, with many world-famous chefs predicting Peruvian cuisine to be the next big thing, so don’t miss the chance to taste it in Lima, the heart of Peru. Lima has a thriving restaurant scene where you can taste for yourself why Peruvian cuisine has been attracting so much attention in recent years. We recommend hopsters try ceviche (the traditional raw fish dish cooked only with lemon), causa de atún, yucas, lomo saltado…we could go on and on! Quite often the best ceviche isn’t found in the most expensive restaurants, and can be found in some market stalls or street sellers, so our Peruvian guides will show you exactly where are the best and most affordable places to devour these incredible dishes.

Another often unknown fact about Peru is that it is famous for the quality of its textiles, and many world-famous brands like Lacoste manufacture their clothes here. Shopping in Lima is in abundance, from the beautiful Larcomar on the Costa Verde close to Miraflores to the monstrous Jockey plaza in Surco, which contains some of the most exclusive shops in Peru. If these malls are out of your hopster budget, there is a huge black market here in Lima, the 2 most famous markets being Gamarra and Polvos Azules. Here you can find many copies of brand name t-shirts, dvd’s, etc. for rock bottom prices, and we think you will be very surprised at the quality of these copies. Make sure all hopsters haggle for the best prices and usually most goods can be bought for one-half of the original price quotes, so play hard and get yourself a bargain. Be careful in these areas as pickpockets loom. Don’t venture too far off the main streets, and try to go along with a friend where possible.

Lima is a sprawling city, and away from the main tourist areas above, there are many gems 30minutes/1 hour north and south of Lima. In the south, there is a place called Asia, a stretch of about 50kms of beaches with modern restaurants, bars and nightclubs, and it is normal to see Lima’s top nightclubs deserted during Summer weekends as everybody flocks here to party. To the north there is a place called Caral, a UNESCO world heritage site thought to be the America´s oldest city (over 5,000 years old) and only recently made open to tourists. We can´t forget Pachacamac, 30 minutes inland to the South where we can visit the famous pre-Inca Citadel which attracts thousands of visitors every year, or Mamacona, famous for its bull ring and cock fighting that takes place every Sunday during the Winter and basically involves an all-day party. Trust us, move away from the tourist traps and Lima has a lot to offer the adventurous and intrigued hopster.

Must see in Lima

Must see in Lima:

  • Spend an evening witnessing an amazing light and fountain show at Circuito Magico del Agua. It’ll make you feel like you’re in the magical movie. A must witness for a great night.
  • See all the masterpieces and treasures full of Peruvian history at the Larco Museum.
  • See the ruins at Pachacamac, a pre-Inca Sanctuary located 30 minutes to the south of Lima.
  • Get the best view of lima from Cristo de Pacifico. This top-rated viewpoint is an included stop on all Peru Hop buses leaving from Lima at 7.00am.
Lima safety tips

Lima safety tips:

  • Be careful using ATM machines and avoid using them at night if possible.
  • Be aware of pickpockets and NEVER take your passport or credit card anywhere unless 100% necessary.
  • Lima City Center at night can be dangerous. Be careful, only day trips are recommended and try not to go alone.
  • Be very careful whenever stopping a taxi. Some try to scam travelers or in some cases rob them. Ask for your hotel/hostel reception to call a trusted taxi service if possible.
  • Taxis inside the airport are safer but a lot more expensive, those just outside are a lot cheaper and generally safe.
  • Currency Exchange – If you want to change cash then there are many people selling dollars and soles on the streets (almost everywhere in Peru accepts dollars and soles), or of course you can go to one of the local banks. If exchanging money on the street make sure you are in a safe district.
  • Try to avoid bringing credit cards or other valuables out at night. It is best to just bring what you need and store everything else in lockers at your hostel.
  • Listen to our Peru Hop Guides…they give you all the tips to ensure your stay in Lima is as fun and safe as possible.

Photo Gallery

lima peru photo gallery

To book a tour in Lima we recommend you use a search and comparison website for tours across South America.