2018 Update: Only in Lima for a short amount of time and looking for something to do? Discover the 10 Best Things To Do in Lima in one day!
Lima has so much to offer. It is one of the largest cities in South America and has a long history behind it. There are so many great Things to do in Lima in Lima that it can be hard to decide what you want to do with the amount of time that you have. You could spend more than two or three days here seeing everything but if you only have one day in Lima, here are our recommendations.
This shopping center is one the most popular attractions that travelers visit when they are in Lima. It is located in Miraflores, one of the nicest neighborhoods in Lima. Built into the side of the cliff and mostly underground, this mall makes for quite the sight. It has incredible views of the Pacific Ocean and is perfect to spend an afternoon shopping for some great Peruvian Gifts and Souvenirs. After shopping you can have dinner with a view in one of the many restaurants, go to their cinema and finish your night out with a drink in one of the bars or clubs.
2. Bicycle Tours of Lima
With its green parks and the cliffs overlooking the ocean, Miraflores is also the perfect place to go for a bicycle tour. These eco-friendly tours can be booked in the mall, in Larco Street and online on FindLocalTrips and they will take you along the Cliffside. You can take a tour into the center of the city, along the cliffs, do an urban tour or even combine your cycling trip with surfing! Prices range between $30 and $70 for a few hours or a full day depending on the tour you take. Definitely check out the different packages to find the tour that best suits you.
3. Historical center of Lima
The center of this great South American city is certainly worth a visit if you have a day to spend in Lima. The history of the city center is vast and interesting with impressive buildings like the Government Palace and the Archbishop Palace, which are home to the President and the Archbishop.
There are also a few great religious structures including the Basilica Cathedral, Basilica of our Lady of the Rosary Convent of Santo Domingo and the Basilica and Convent of San Francisco. These are all substantial buildings in the center of Lima and make for a good day of touring.
A definite must is to pass by the Chocomuseo, right next to the central plaza (Plaza de Armas). This chocolate shop organizes workshops and has chocolate tea, spicy chocolate and a variety of local specialties. You are guaranteed to come out stuffed and happy, ready for more sightseeing. A great way to see all of these fantastic sites is by doing a Free Walking Tour of the city, they operate all year round and start from Miraflores.
4. Circuito mágico Del agua
Parque de la Reserva is a beautiful park and a nice place to visit during the day but at night this park becomes truly magical. Once night time comes, their famous fountains light up and make for a truly spectacular sight. The entry fee is 4 Soles and it is well worth it to see these beautiful lights. If you are only spending one day in Lima, the fountains are the ideal choice for you.
This district is probably the coolest place in Lima and the perfect escape from Miraflores for a couple of hours. Barranco has great historical architecture and a blooming art scene. At night, Barranco transforms into Lima’s party district with great restaurants and themed alternative bars for Peruvians and foreigners alike.
One of the most interesting places to see, is Puente de los Suspiros. This bridge lies in the main part of the district where it connects two main streets. It is said that if you can cross the bridge while holding your breath, your wish will be granted.
Another great location is the MATE museum that was founded by famous Peruvian fashion photographer Mario Testino. Located in a restored 19th century mansion, the museum exhibits the best of national and international contemporary art and photography. The museum offers guided tours, workshops and talks. A great way to get around this wonderful place and ensure that you see as much it as possible is with a Bike tour of Barranco.
6. Larco Museum
This is one of the nicest museums in Peru thanks to its beautiful surroundings and its great temporary and permanent exhibitions. The Larco museum has collections from some of the most famous tribal groups in South America. Equally interesting is their separate pre-Columbian section where you find a collection of gold and jewels but also an erotic ceramics gallery. The museum is located in an 18th century viceroy’s mansion and surrounded by beautiful gardens. The Larco Museum is an inspiring space in which you can learn more about ancient Peru’s fascinating history and it requires only a few hours to visit.
7. Pucllana Temple
The Huaca Pucllana ruins are one of the few that still remain from the historic pre-Columbian period in Peru. It is an adobe ceremonial center that would have been used for spiritual ceremonies and sacrifices. It is said that it was built around 500AD during the height of cultural history in Lima. Incredibly enough it is located in what is now a residential area of the Miraflores district so it’s really easy to get there. The entrance fee is S/12 for a daytime visit. For only S/3 more you can visit during the evening when the lights and darkness bring even more mystery to the ruins.
8. The cats of Kennedy Park
Kennedy Park in the center of Miraflores is home to around sixty cats, that earned it the nickname “Cat Park”. You can usually find them napping under the benches, on the sidewalk or in the grass. Nobody really knows how they got there but they have been there for more than 20 years according to their neighbours.
Another thing that Parque Kennedy is famous for is its variety of tasty Peruvian food on sale. When you make it to Kennedy Park definitely try the Picarones stand. This fried sweetness is amazing! If that doesn’t fill your stomach, there is always the famous sandwich and juice place ‘La Lucha’ that offers one of the best Chicharron sandwiches in all of Peru.
A visit to the Cat Park takes up no time at all and the cats will make your day.
9. Parque de la Muralla
Right behind the San Francisco church lies Parque de la Muralla or “Park of the Wall”. The park features an ancient wall that was built to protect Lima from Pirates and enemies of the Spanish crown in the 17th century. With a nice view of the mountains in the distance, this little park is the perfect break from all the sightseeing.
10. Church of San Francisco
This is one of many Colonial era churches in the downtown area but this church stands out because it is so well preserved and because of its historical importance. This church has an adjoining monastery that has a wonderful collection of religious texts. Tours are available in English and Spanish. The main attraction of this church however is the catacombs. It is not only where the rich and the powerful were buried but it was also used as one of the main cemeteries of the city. There is an estimated 75,000 bodies buried here and you can see the piles of bones and skulls that are still preserved.
The places above are just a handful of activities and places to visit, in reality there are many more. Lima can seem like a difficult city to navigate – it is! So make sure you look up where to go and how to get there.
Lima is big, chaotic and every district has its own identity and charm. One of the best features of this enormous capital, is its high cliffs and views over the Pacific ocean. Even if you are only spending one day in Lima, there is always something to discover in this wonderful city.