Lima Travel Guide

2024 Update

lima Brief Summary:

  • Lima is Peru’s capital city, located on the coast and home to more than 10 million people!
  • Miraflores is the main hotel tourist zone, San Isidro the business district.
  • How to get to Lima: Use Latam Airlines within Peru or Peru Hop Bus.
  • Top Things to do in Lima: Day Trip to Paracas & Huacachina, Free Walking Tour, Cooking Class (Lima is the gastronomic capital of South America).
  • Top Restaurants & Bars: Maido, Central, and SAHA are all great food options. Bunker Bar, Dada Bar, and Ayahuasca Bar are all good nightlife options.

How to get to lima

Lima is located right alongside the Pacific Coast and is the starting point of travel for most visitors coming to Peru. There are a few ways to get to the bustling capital city:

  • Flights to Jorge Chavez International Airport
  • 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

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.

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, San Isidro and Barranco, it is important to find a safe and secure way to get to your destination in Lima. Usually travelers stay in the Miraflores, San Isidro or Barranco districts. If you’re staying in one of these districts, it is best to use the service of Airport Express Lima. 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.

Find The Perfect Pass To Get To lima

Must do & see in lima

Free Walking Tour of the Historic Center of Lima, Miraflores, Barranco, and/or Foodie Tour

Check out the loved, free tours operated by Lima Walking Tour! Going on a jam-packed free walking tour is a great way to learn about Lima’s history, visit many spots you normally wouldn’t alone and meet other travelers all at the same time. Each tour lasts around 3 hours and you’ll be guided by a friendly tour guide giving you all the details and history of the city. Departures are every day from the Tourist Information Center located in Miraflores.

Sample ceviche, causa de atún, lomo saltado, and other traditional Peruvian cuisine.

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 everyone try ceviche (the traditional raw fish dish cooked only with lemon), causa de atún, yucas, lomo saltado…we could go on and on! If possible you can try booking at Central (ranked #1 restaurant in the whole world) or Maido but chances are all slots are full. For best value we recommend SAHA Rooftop!

Hand-ons cooking experience at Luchito’s Cooking Class

While we’re talking about food, why not experience it the best way possible: by making it yourself! Master the skills needed to make iconic dishes such as Ceviche and the world famous Pisco Sour in just 3 hours. No cooking experience needed and is a great activity for all travelers.

For more information, check out the best-rated click cooking class in Lima!

Discover the markets in Lima

All over Lima you can find unique markets filled with fresh foods, souvenirs, traditional products and a whole range of random and unique items. It’s the perfect way to get the taste of Peruvian Culture. Make sure to atleast check out one of these 5 markets in Lima!

Make a quick escape to the traveler favorites Paracas and Huacachina

Fancy discovering a unique desert oasis? Or the “Peruvian Galapagos” full of sea lions and penguins? Take a short round trip from Lima to Paracas and Huacachina! There are 1 day, 2 day, and 3 day round trips from Lima to see and do a lot whilst basking in the all year round sunshine that exists south of Lima.

Lima is a vibrant and culturally rich city and you should make the most of its generous selections of museums and galleries while visiting. No matter the taste or preferences, Lima truly has something for everybody. At Peru Hop we have selected the following places that we love and that we think you should not miss while passing through this exciting city.

MALI: Museo de Arte de Lima

MALI is located in the area of the Palace of Exhibitions, one of the most beautiful eclectic architectural treasures in the historical centre of Lima. With more than 17 000 pieces, it is the most ample collection of the Peruvian art history, hosting art gems from pre-Columbian times to the present day. Moreover, the museum organizes interesting projects, most of them for free. On the first Friday of each month, the museum holds the Night at MALI, when the museum is open to the visitors for free of charge.

Address: Paseo Colón 125, Parque de la Exposición, Cercado de Lima

Museo Arqueológico Larco

Archeological museum Larco is located in the traditional neighbourhood of Pueblo Libre, in an impressive colonial mansion from the 18th Century, built on the pyramid from the 7th Century. It was created in 1926 by the famous Peruvian archeologist Rafael Larco Hoyle who wanted to share his passion for archeology and pre-Columbian civilizations. The museum overlooks a nice, colourful garden. It has recently been renovated and exhibits a remarkable collection of pre-Columbian art, such as crowns, masks, vases and gold jewellery decorated with semiprecious stones. The museum has a section dedicated to the Erotic Gallery in which metal jars and ceramic pots – in a realistic and humorous manner – demonstrate sexual life of pre-Columbian cultures. The Larco museum is one of the few museums that allow tourists to enter the storage area, which adds to the unique experience. In total, there are over 45, 000 pieces to explore, making the Museum Larco an unforgettable and special experience.

Address: Avenida Bolívar 1515 Pueblo Libre

Pre-Columbian pottery collection in Larco Museum, Lima

MAC: Museo de Arte Contemporáneo (Museum of Contemporary Art)

Located at the beginning of bohemian district Barranco and a short walk from the coast of Miraflores, MAC is an interactive art space that focuses on contemporary visual arts. To make sure you get the most out of MAC experience, follow their event program on social media. The museum organizes everything from art and photography exhibitions, to the concerts of Peruvian iconic punk music bands.

Address: Avenida Miguel Grau 1511 Barranco

MATE: Museo Mario Testino

MATE contains a permanent exhibition of a famous Peruvian fashion photographer Mario Testino.

The museum also exhibits works by other Peruvian artists under the supervision of Mario Testino, and organizes several workshops and special events related to photography and visual arts in general.

Address: Avenida Pedro de Osma 409 Barranco

Museo Pedro de Osma

Museum Pedro de Osma is situated close to the museum MATE and holds a personal collection of works of art, primary from the colonial era.

Address: Avenida Pedro de Osma 421 Barranco

Palm trees around white colonial building of Museo Pedro de Osma in Lima, Peru

Museo Textil Precolombino Amano

Amano Museum of Pre-Columbian Textiles holds one of the most important collections of textiles from pre-Columbian era in Peru. The museum also exhibits archeological pieces of great value, such as artefacts from pre-Columbian cultures of Chavín, Paracas, Moche, Wari, Chimú and Chuquibamba. The museum also holds various temporary exhibitions of contemporary art, a lovely gift shop and a nice coffee shop with a terrace.

Address: Calle Retiro 160 Miraflores

Espacio Fundación Telefónica Lima

Situated conveniently on the bus route between Miraflores and the centre of Lima, this great creative space of art, digital culture and technology is ideal if you are interested in discovering contemporary Peruvian innovation. For their unique events, check the program on social media.

Address: Avenida Arequipa 1155 Santa Beatriz

Monumental Callao

This urban-renewal project in Lima´s neighbourhood Callao has been created to support local social, cultural and artistic programs and to promote alternative tourism in the area. The project incorporates urban art, gastronomy and manifold cultural tours that were designed to promote community culture in the neighbourhood. Check out their great social media site to see everything this special project has to offer.

Address: Jirón Constitución 250 Callao

Colorful graffiti in Monumental Callao, Peru

Street Art in Lima

If graffiti and alternative art is your thing, Lima is the right place for you. Make sure to explore bohemian neighbourhood Barranco and street art of the neighbourhood Callao. Every year Lima holds international graffiti festival Nosotras Estamos en La Calle, when women from Peru and other parts of Latin America paint mostly marginalized neighbourhoods in the city.

La Noche de Barranco

La Noche de Barranco is an iconic place in Lima to enjoy live music and a great local atmosphere. The place offers everything from psychedelic cumbia to the Afro-Peruvian rhythms.

Address: Sanchez Carrion 199 Barranco

For Peruvian cinematic experience consult the social media sites of following cultural centres in Lima. They offer music, cinema and other events, most of them for free.

  • CC PUCP: Centro Cultural de la Universidad de la Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú
  • ICPNA Cultural
  • Goethe Institute
  • Centro Cultural Británico
  • Alianza Francesa
  • Centro Cultural de España en Lima
  • Instituto Italiano de la Cultura
  • Centro Cultural el Olivar
  • Gran Teatro Nacional
  • Microteatro de Lima Barranco
  • Festival de Cine de Lima
  • Festival de Cine Lima Independiente
  • Documental Peruano
  • Festival de Cine Al Este de Lima

If you are looking for an ultimately local experience and want to explore Limeño culture, such as local alternative music or the independent cinema scene, we recommend you check out these places:

  • Casa Fela: Jr Camana 323, Distrito de Lima
  • El Paradero: Jr Leon Velarde 982, Lince


The colonial turned-mansion in Barranco is a must visit. It has a wonderful attractive interior with many rooms to get lost in and a selection of pisco cocktails.

Colonial turned-mansion bar in Barranco, Lima

Address: Avenida San Martin 130 Barranco

Bodega Piselli

Arguably the best pisco in Barranco with a great local atmosphere and homemade hearty sandwiches. The place has been around for 100 years.

Address: 28 de Julio 297 Barranco

Hotel Bolivar

Drink Pisco Sours in its Cathedral (150 ml) size at one of the best pisco-places in Lima, like Ernest Hemingway, Walt Disney, Orson Welles or Nat King Cole once did.

Pisco Sour drinks in Hotel Bolivar, Lima

Address: Jiron de la Union 958 Distrito de Lima

  • The Barranco District has a lot of different clubs and bars, and always guarantees a good time. Ranging from traditional bars to bars with live bands and clubs with different types of dance music, Barranco is the spot for anyone who loves to have a good night out.

If you want to bring something special to your loved ones from your visit to Peru, make sure you stop by at these wonderful places in Lima that are loved by the locals.

Galería Dédalo

Located in the heart of the colourful and artsy Barranco neighbourhood, Dédalo Arte is a space that promotes works of contemporary artesanal work from Peru and other parts of Latin America. It is also an ideal place to buy special and unique presents from the local artisanal producers. Once in a week, the gallery organizes a live jazz concerts in their lovely courtyard.

Address: Paseo Sáenz Peña 295 Barranco

Artesanías Las Pallas

If you are looking for a great Peruvian craftsmanship, Las Pallas is a gallery with traditional handicraft. The gallery is owned by British anthropologist who has been collecting artesanal gems from Peru for decades.

Address: Calle Cajamarca 212 Barranco

Artesanos Don Bosco

Artesanos Don Bosco is a non-profit organization supporting self-employed artisans in Peru. You can look at some of their beautiful works in a shop located in Barranco.

Address: Avenida San Martin 135 Barranco

Artesanías Pórtico

This place offers artisanal products with a contemporary touch. You can find here everything, from clothes to fridge magnets.

Address: Calle Jiron Batalla de Junin 358 Barranco


This concept store that houses various Peruvian designer clothing and hats is perfect for if you wish to bring something stylish back from Peru.

Address: Address: Ayacucho 269 Barranco

Feria Ecológica de Barranco & Bioferia Miraflores

If you would like to bring traditional Peruvian delicacies back from your trip, we recommend you visit one of the ecological markets usually organized on Sundays. At Feria Ecológica de Barranco and Bioferia Miraflores, you can purchase local coffee, tea, honey, quinoa, maca, or biological cosmetic goodies and other wonderful Peruvian products, all produced by small family businesses.

Address: Calle San Martín Cuadra 7 Barranco / Parque Reducto No 2 Miraflores

Food Markets In Lima

If you want to explore the endless variety of Peruvian fruit and eat the best ceviche for a fraction of the restaurant price, traditional food markets in Lima are the perfect place. We love (and regularly shop) at these mercados.

  • Mercado Central: Located in downtown Lima, a short walk from Plaza de Armas, the market is a must-see place to experience Lima’s historical centre. It is the best place to try all those wonderful varieties of Peruvian fruits.
  • Mercado Surquillo: Great place to try traditional Peruvian dishes for very cheap in an authentic environment.
  • Mercado Magdalena: The most fresh ceviche you can try in Lima. Be sure to come in the mornings or early lunch time, as the ceviche is served only in these hours to ensure the freshness.

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.

Where to stay in lima

With more than 3,000,000 travelers coming to Peru every year, and and majority of them arriving directly into Lima, there has to be many options on where to stay for each type of traveler. Most hostels and hotels are located in Miraflores and Barranco, but there are also some options in Downtown Lima. Here are some of the best: