When you Arrive
When you arrive at the Lima Airport, there will be hordes of taxi drivers waiting and they will all continue to harass you until you get into a taxi. It is best if you contact your hostel ahead of time and have them arrange for a driver to pick you up. It will cost you the same amount (40 soles) and will make your life so much easier. If you do end up not prearranging and grabbing one while you are at the airport, you can probably haggle your way down to a price of 30 soles (10 USD). When you do this, be sure to NOT give them your bag when they offer. If you do, they will start walking to their car with it, then tell you they want 5 soles more “for parking” or some other similar scam. I actually had to fight and forcefully grab my bag back from a driver at the Lima airport when I told him I wouldn’t give him the 5 extra soles. After that happened we hopped in a taxi share with some kids from Madrid who were apparently terrified of the traffic in Lima.
Don’t be like me, just get the prearranged car.
5 Sights to See
- Cathedral of Lima
Located in Plaza de Armas, walk around the square and head inside the cathedral for a beautiful sight. Don’t forget to peep into the other churches in Lima while you are walking by, there is some truly stunning architecture.
- Catacombs (Church of San Francisco)
- San Martin Square
One of the main squares of Lima, this beautiful area is a great place to sit and people watch, or hail down a taxi/tell an Uber to come scoop you up!
- Jiron de la Unions
The main shopping street in the historic section of Lima. Fun to walk down and window show while eating a gelato or another treat!
- Kennedy Park
There are so many cats!! And you can adopt one and bring it home if you like! Or just donate to the cause. There is also a lot of great artwork inside the park and loads of restaurants nearby.
How to get Around
The best way to get around in Lima is via Uber. If you’re unfamiliar with the on-demand taxi app, download it before you head to Lima because it will be a lifesaver. Uber in Lima is much cheaper than it is in the US (and it’s already cheap), and is less expensive than traditional taxis. Be careful when you do so though, as the drivers aren’t as vetted as they are in the US. One of the Ubers that picked us up in Lima had to be HOTWIRED to start, and stalled out at every stop light that we hit. When we got out there was also nasty gunk on my brand-new boots (ew) and the driver either didn’t know how to get into the airport (seriously?) or he just didn’t want to pay the 5 soles to get into the terminal parking area. Either way, he dropped us off on the side of the road near the airport and we were forced to walk to our terminal. Needless to say, we reported him!
Keep in mind there is something over 1 million personal cars in Lima with no updated system, so traffic is horrible. Expect every taxi ride to take longer than what it says it will.
Lima isn’t reeeeallly walkable from one neighborhood to the next by foot (you could do it but it would be a lot), but within one neighborhood it is doable.
As a note, there are buses that you can use to get around, and they are probably in certain situations much faster than car since they have their own lane. We, however, did not brave them because we felt safer taking Uber, as the busses looked a little sketchy and complex to navigate, though I met plenty of people who did so successfully.
Where to Stay
Miraflores is by far the best neighborhood to stay in Lima. A bit far from the historic district, it is safer, and quainter than other neighborhoods, with some beachfront, and great dining options. All three of the hostels I listed below are good options to stay in this area. I stayed at both the Red Psycho Llama and Healing Dog, and both are low key, good vibe hostels. Pariwana is a bit more of a social hostel, we stayed at the sister hostel in Cusco, and everyone who stayed at both said the one in Cusco was better, but that they were both fantastic places to stay.
- Red Psycho Llama Eco Hostel
- Good vibes, good breakfast
- cute rooftop bar
- not very social
- we had the 4 bed dorm to ourselves for 2 nights
- Kaclla, The Healing Dog Hostel
- has an awesome dog mascot that is hairless and so ugly he is cute
- good vibes
- good music
- not very social
- weird breakfast
- really cute
- has sister hostel in Cusco of same name
- more acessibe than the other 2, but not as cute
What to Eat
The best way to explain Cebiche (or ceviche) is that it’s like a soupy version of sushi. It’s delicious and a must try when you are in Lima. A great place to go in Miraflores, Lima for cebiche is La Mar Cebicheria. The food was incredible, we ordered the mix Cebiche as a starter, then split a seafood pasta for an entrée. Very reasonable prices for one of the top restaurants in Lima, and they also had an amazing Pisco Punch (see below) and after 2, I was feeling a buzz.
The famous drink of Peru!! A must have while you are in the country, and definitely while enjoying some of Lima’s wild nightlife. Pisco Sours are strong, but don’t taste it, so basically the perfect drink. Oh, did I mention they are delicious?
Catch of the day
If you’re a seafood fan, be sure to ask the waiter at the restaurant what the catch of the day is!! Fresh seafood is brought into Lima daily, so you never know what you might get on the menu.
What to Do
6 miles of boardwalk through the city of Lima is a great way to spend the afternoon. Inside this park, there are playgrounds, dog parks, and skate parks. There is also a park dedicated to love, which looks very similar to Gaudi’s Parc Guell in Barcelona. The art is a must see, and the views of the ocean are stunning. You’re sure to see a young Peruvian couple or two in love while you’re there!
Larcomar Mall and Watch the Sunset
This multilayer mall is an interesting place in Lima. There is a bunch of shopping (mostly overpriced), but the cool thing about the mall is that it is built into the side of a cliff overlooking the sea. There are a few restaurants, and if you are here around sunset, you are sure to have an amazing view.
Get a Surfing Lesson
Walking down along the pier you are sure to be hailed down by Peruvians offering to teach you how to surf. The waves in Lima are mostly gentle and great for beginners, so it’s not something to fear at all if you’ve never tried it before. As always do a little bit of research on different companies before you go and general prices, then haggle your way down.
Go to the Beach
Don’t feel like spending money? Slip on your bikini and walk down to the beach with a bag full of drinks and a towel and spend all day soaking in the Peruvian sun. Even in May at the start of the Peruvian “winter”, the weather was perfect for us to lay out on the beach, even if we weren’t about to go swimming in the cool Pacific.
These incredible ruins located directly inside of Lima were largely undiscovered and weren’t even a historic site until around the 1980s. Before then they were dunes in the city (they knew the ruins were there but not to what extent), and people would use them for various things such as motocross racing. The city finally made it into a historic site after there was a desire to build a highway through these ancient ruins even older than Machu Picchu. The ruins are very cheap to get into (and literally located right in the middle of Lima), and there is a restaurant right at the site that looks out over the ruins. We didn’t eat there, but rumor on the street is the food is good. However, we did have quite a few cocktails after our tour, and we never felt more like Incan Divas than that moment.