Lima Travel Guide: A Fusion of Beach, Food and Business

by | Jan 13, 2024 | Lima Tours, Peru Travel Blogs | 0 comments

Lima Travel Guide

Lima goes way beyond being just a layover en route to trekking Machu Picchu. Perched on stunning cliffs with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, Lima shines as one of South America’s liveliest and culturally vibrant cities. Here, the fusion of beach and business creates an extraordinary coastal capital.

Skyscrapers compete for attention as thrill-seekers paraglide from the Miraflores cliffs and surfers ride world-class waves. The vibrant restaurant and bar scenes have evolved far beyond ceviche and Pisco Sours—although you definitely shouldn’t miss those. Bohemian neighborhoods attract modern artists while preserving Inca ruins. Lima has it all, and then some!

Top Rated Tour Package: 11 Days of Peru included Nazca Lines, Machu Picchu Puno.

Lima Geography & Map

  • Situated on the desert coast of Peru, the city of Lima occupies an oasis-like valley. The Pacific Ocean is to the west and the foothills of the Andes are to the east. Sandy 200-foot-tall cliffs separate the Pacific shore from the westernmost edge of Lima city.
  • ELEVATION0 to 500 ft (0 to 150 m)
    CITY POPULATION:~ 10,555,000

History of Lima

Lima Colonial
Lima Colonial Place

Lima, founded by Francisco Pizarro in 1535, has a rich history that predates the arrival of Spanish conquerors. Indigenous populations had settled the surrounding area for thousands of years. The river valleys within the present-day department of Lima offered fertile grounds for Peru’s earliest human settlements. Archaeologists have even unearthed stone tools dating back to around 7500 BC along the Río Chillón, not far from the bustling city of Lima.

Around 1535, Spanish settlement began in Lima. After the fall of Cusco, conquistador Francisco Pizarro established a new city with a central plaza and church. In 1542, the Viceroyalty of Peru was created, but not officially recognized until Viceroy Francisco de Toledo arrived in 1572. South America’s struggle for independence from the Spanish Crown began in the early 1800s. In July 1821, Argentina’s General Jose San Martin sailed into the capital and declared the independence of Peru on July 28th, 1821.

The 1890s-1920s were a period of great urban renewal and expansion for Lima, from which point the population continued to grow exponentially. The 1990s marked a time of notable instability in Peru. Alberto Fujimori was elected president, partly in response to a rise of violent guerrilla movements and economic turbulence. Fujimori maintained power for ten years until he was forced to resign in a bribery scandal in 2000.

RELATED: Travel Tips to Peru

Peru Standard Time

Time zone in Lima, Peru (GMT-5)

Peru operates on a single time zone and does not follow daylight saving time. Interestingly, during the winter (or summer in the Northern Hemisphere), Peruvian Time aligns with North American Central Time. However, when it’s summer (or winter in the Northern Hemisphere), it synchronizes with Eastern Time. This unique time setup adds a touch of excitement to Peru’s timekeeping!

Best Time to Visit Lima

Located below the equator along the Pacific Ocean coast, Lima experiences just two distinct seasons: winter and summer. While the weather isn’t dramatic and rainfall is rare, expect mostly cloudy and cool days. The period between December and April brings the warmest temperatures and the liveliest crowds. Don’t miss out on the festive Carnival celebrations, including Lima’s renowned Water Wars, in February. And mark your calendars for the first Saturday of the same month, when National Pisco Sour Day is celebrated. Finally, indulge in the flavors of National Ceviche Day, typically observed towards the end of June.

Things to Know

Currency: Peruvian Sol

Calling Code: +51 1

Capital City: Lima

Spanish Phrases

Good morning = Buenos días

Afternoon = Buenas tardes

Good night = Buenas noches

See you later = Hasta luego

Language: Spanish, Quechua, Aymara
I don’t speak Spanish: No hablo espanol/castellano.
I’m lost: Estoy perdido.
I would like…: Me gustaria…

Sample the Cuisine

If you are a food enthusiast, Lima’s exceptional dining scene will be a delightful experience during your travels. Peru is currently undergoing a gastronomic revolution, with the capital city at its epicenter, offering a wide array of mouthwatering cuisine. Make sure to sample ceviche, lomo Saltado, and causa a la Limena, which are among the must-try dishes. Enhance your culinary journey by pairing these delectable treats with the national drink, the pisco sour, and indulge in the sweetness of Picarones (Peruvian drip doughnuts) or suspiro de la limena (caramel custard with a port meringue).

How to Visit Lima Around

Trains: The Lima Metro has one line with 26 stations, and generally serves commuters who live in the suburbs over tourists. The train stops running at 11 p.m. and it doesn’t connect to the airport.

Buses: Lima offers two types of buses. The larger Metropolitano buses are slightly more expensive—but refined. Combis are cheaper van-size buses that barely slow down to drop passengers off wherever they want on the route.

Taxis: Both car and moto-taxis are available. Be sure the driver starts the meter or states the price when you get in to avoid haggling over fares.

Car service: Uber and Cabify are available and affordable in Lima, but you will need internet service to operate the apps.

Lima Hotels

Miraflores Park, a Belmond Hotel

Address: Av. Malecón de la Reserva 1035, Miraflores, Lima Peru
Phone: +51 1 610 4000

For a luxurious hotel experience right in the heart of Miraflores’ vibrant scene, indulge in the high life at Miraflores Park, a Belmond Hotel. With two out of three restaurants and bars exclusively reserved for hotel guests, you’ll enjoy unparalleled privacy and exclusivity. The Zest Spa boasts an exquisite range of products sourced from the Peruvian Amazon, ensuring a truly immersive and authentic experience. Each room is elegantly designed as a suite, and the Presidential category offers the added luxury of private plunge pools, boasting breathtaking ocean views.

Atemporal Hotel

Address: Santa Maria 190, Miraflores, Lima Peru
Phone: +51 1 700 5105

Escape to the intimate city retreat of Atemporal, where a meticulously renovated Tudor-style mansion from the 1940s awaits. With only nine exquisite hotel rooms, this hidden gem offers a truly exclusive experience. Indulge in the complimentary hotel car service and unwind during the nightly cocktail hour. Immerse yourself in the sophisticated design and immerse in the thoughtful details throughout the veranda, garden, and guest rooms.

Hotel B

Address: Saenz Pena 204, Barranco, Lima Peru
Phone: +51 1 206 0800

Originally constructed in 1914 as a summer retreat for a former Peruvian president, this magnificent Belle Epoque mansion has been gracefully transformed into a luxurious Relais & Chateaux hotel. Indulge in the finest amenities including a rooftop plunge pool, an exquisite signature restaurant, and opulent Atelier category rooms boasting 16-foot ceilings and lavish Italian marble bathrooms. Make sure not to miss the delightful experience of afternoon tea in the Library, adorned with captivating pre-Colombian artwork.

Country Club Lima Hotel

Address: Los Eucaliptos 590, San Isidro Lima, Peru
Phone: +51 1 611 9000

Originally constructed in 1927, The Country Club has welcomed esteemed guests such as former Presidents and the renowned actor, John Wayne, who fortuitously met his Peruvian wife within its walls. A magnificent renovation in 2017 imbued the colonial-style edifice with contemporary nuances, adorning its 83 rooms with exquisite Peruvian art, generously donated by a local museum. Gilt mirrors and king-size beds further enhance the opulence of this splendid establishment, culminating in the pièce de résistance—a meticulously designed 18-hole golf course, epitomizing the epitome of luxury.

Best Lima Restaurants

Chifa Titi

Address: Av. Javier Prado Este 1212, Corpac-SAN Isidro, Lima Peru
Phone: +51 1 224 8189

Chifa refers to the fusion of Cantonese Chinese cuisine with traditional Peruvian ingredients and techniques. This unique culinary style has gained immense popularity in Lima, particularly at Chifa Titi. With an extensive menu to choose from, selecting dishes might be a delightful challenge, but remember, the portions are meant for sharing. We highly recommend making reservations to ensure a memorable dining experience.


Address: Av. Camino Real 101
San Isidro, Lima Peru
Phone: + 51 1 440 5200

Since its establishment in 2004, Malabar has been a culinary haven where Chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino showcases Peru’s remarkable biodiversity through his eclectic menus. The restaurant prides itself in sourcing the majority of its sustainable ingredients from its own farm and indigenous communities. We highly recommend making reservations to experience the exceptional flavors and culinary journey that await you.

Astrid y Gaston

Address: Av. Paz Soldan 290, San Isidro, Lima Peru
Phone: +51 1 442 2775

Partially attributing Peru’s association with ceviche is owed to the visionary chefs behind Astrid y Gaston, who continue to lead the culinary scene. Their inventive menus showcase a diverse range of dishes, from local squash ceviche to delectable fish stew. As a delightful conclusion to the dining experience, guests are presented with a map highlighting the various sourced ingredients from across Peru. Reservations are highly recommended to embark on this gastronomic journey.


Address: Av. Pedro de Osma 301, Barranco 15063, Peru
Phone: +51 1 2428515

Central, led by the dynamic duo of Virgilio Martínez and Pia Leon, is not just a culinary hotspot but a captivating voyage through the heart of Peru. This remarkable restaurant serves as Martínez’s creative haven, where he ventures into the realm of indigenous Peruvian ingredients, meticulously sourced from farmers across the country. It comes as no surprise that Central consistently secures its place among the finest dining establishments in South America, as recognized by the prestigious World’s 50 Best.

El Mercado

Address: Hipolito Unanue 203, Lima 18, Peru
Phone: +51 1 221 1322

Mercado meals are a delight, with simple yet exquisite dishes that let the individual ingredients and flavors truly shine. The menu is thoughtfully divided into savory and sweet, featuring small portions perfect for multiple orders per person. The only catch? It’s exclusively open for lunch. Reservations are gladly accepted, and there’s the option to enjoy your meal in the lovely covered outdoor seating area.

La Mar Cebicheria

Address: Av. La Mar 770, Lima 18, Peru
Phone: +51 1 421 3365

Lima, a vibrant coastal city, is blessed with abundant access to exceptionally fresh seafood. For those seeking a gastronomic adventure in the City of Kings, look no further than La Mar Cebicheria in the bustling neighborhood of Miraflores. Indulge in the culinary delights of their raw bar, featuring a delightful variety of ceviche, nigiri, and maki, carefully crafted with the finest ingredients. We highly recommend making reservations to ensure a truly unforgettable dining experience.

City Districts

Luxury Tour To Peru Lima Museums
Luxury Tour To Peru Lima Museums

Historic Center of Lima

Arequipa, Cusco, and the historic center of Lima showcase the finest examples of Peruvian colonial architecture and urban planning. Founded in 1535, Lima swiftly rose to become the wealthiest city in the Americas. Today, the historic core represents a small fraction of a sprawling metropolis, yet it remains the most significant site to explore the origins of Peru’s largest city. A visit to the historic center unveils stunning colonial churches, grand government palaces, captivating museums, historical houses, and the picturesque Plaza de Armas.


While the Lima historic center symbolizes the city’s rich past, Miraflores encapsulates its lively present and ever-evolving future. Boasting must-see attractions like Parque Kennedy and the coastal Malecon, as well as a plethora of cafes, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and hotels catering to all budgets, it comes as no surprise that Miraflores is a beloved destination for visitors to Lima.


In the seaside community of Barranco, Lima takes a bohemian twist, serving as a longstanding haven for Peru’s artists and intellectuals. With its charming tree-lined streets, vibrant wall murals, elegant colonial homes, and a handful of galleries, Barranco unveils yet another captivating facet of Lima that you simply cannot overlook. Indulge in a leisurely afternoon at a cozy cafe or a delightful restaurant near the Puente de los Suspiros. Take a stroll down the enchanting Bajada de Baños to explore the beach or revel in the vibrant nightlife alongside Lima locals at a lively music bar.

San Isidro

San Isidro, the financial district and upscale residential neighborhood, unveils Lima’s refined and sophisticated charm. Indulge in nights of pure comfort at the Westin, where their serenely tranquil Heavenly Spa awaits, or take leisurely strolls amidst the enchanting Parque El Olivar – a sprawling olive grove boasting over 1,700 majestic trees. Experience the epitome of elegance and savor the delights of this remarkable locale.

Best Things to Do in Lima

Lima Tours 7 days Peru
Lima Peru

Museo Larco

Address: Av. Simon Bolivar 1515, Pueblo Libre 21, Lima Peru
Phone: +51 1 461 1312

Museo Larco boasts Peru’s paramount collection of pre-Columbian artifacts, encompassing exquisite gold and jewelry from ancient Peru, as well as a remarkable display of pottery inspired by the intricacies of human intimacy. Housed within an 18th-century viceroyal mansion, which itself rests upon a 7th-century pyramid, the museum is nestled amidst beautifully landscaped gardens.

Carnaval Bar

Address: Avenida Pardo y Aliaga 662, San Isidro, Lima
Phone: +51 1 986 787 755

If you’re limited to visiting just one bar in Lima, then Carnaval Bar should be your top choice. This captivating establishment offers an array of exquisitely crafted cocktails that seamlessly blend artistry with a touch of enchantment. Prepare to be pleasantly surprised by unexpected garnishes, such as marshmallows infused with the delectable tonka beans—yes, the same flavorful beans that can be dangerously potent in larger quantities. The presentations are nothing short of stunning, practically begging to be showcased on Instagram. Immerse yourself in this extraordinary experience and indulge in the perfect fusion of taste and aesthetics.

Magic Water Circuit

Address: Puerta 5, Parque de la Reserva, Av. Petit Thouars, Cercado de Lima 15046, Lima Peru
Phone: +51 1 424 0827

Upon its construction, the Magic Water Circuit earned the prestigious title of the world’s largest water fountain complex in a public park, as recorded by the “Guinness Book of World Records.” This unexpected marvel never fails to awe, with its captivating choreographed light show particularly delightful after sundown.

San Francisco Catacombs

Address: Jiron Lampa, Cercado de Lima 15001, Lima Peru
Phone: +51 1 426 7377

Constructed in 1535, the Convent of San Francisco is an absolute gem, showcasing exquisite Baroque-style architecture and housing an awe-inspiring library adorned with 17th-century masterpieces by European painters. Beneath the convent lies a historic cemetery, where a labyrinth of underground tunnels and vaults serves as the final resting place for over 25,000 souls. This eerie setting truly encapsulates history at its most hauntingly captivating.

El Malecon: Lima’s Clifftop Walkway

Address: Miraflores

Discover the breathtaking beauty of Lima’s scenery with a leisurely six-mile stroll or bike ride along El Malecon. This paved cliffside path, spanning three interconnected segments in captivating Miraflores, offers a picturesque view of the Pacific. Take a moment to immerse yourself in the abundance of parks, sculptures, cafes, restaurants, and even a lighthouse, should you desire a respite from the awe-inspiring cliffs. And for the adventurous souls, seize the opportunity to paraglide and make memories that will last a lifetime.

Visit Archaeological Sites

Discover the fascinating contrast in Peru’s vibrant city, where modernity seamlessly coexists with ancient relics. Explore Huaca Pucllana, a 4th-century adobe temple nestled amidst Miraflores’ towering high-rises. Delve further into the rich history as you uncover temple ruins scattered across the districts of Pueblo Libre and San Miguel. And just 18 miles outside Lima lies the majestic Pachacamac temple, an enduring complex of immense significance for countless millennia.

Best Shopping


Address: Malecon de la Reserva 610, Miraflores 15074, Lima Peru
Phone: +51 1 625 4343

Larcomar, a popular destination for both Peruvian locals and foreign tourists, offers a delightful seaside shopping experience. Here, you can enjoy a plethora of activities including 3D cinema, indulging in delectable cuisine, dancing the night away at discos, and bowling. This luxurious shopping mall boasts 70 shops that cater to various tastes, ranging from local chocolate and Peruvian art to renowned international brands like Converse and Gap. Moreover, one cannot help but be captivated by the unexpected yet breathtaking ocean views that grace this mall.

Mercado Indio (Indian Market)

Address: Av. Du 5245, Miraflores 15074, Peru
Phone: +51 1 993 012 115

Calling all souvenir shoppers! Look no further than Mercado Indio, Lima’s renowned craft market. Here, you’ll discover a treasure trove of pre-Columbian-style pottery, cozy alpaca-yarn clothing, and exquisite textiles, all crafted by talented artisans and offered by a multitude of vendors. Whether you prefer to pay in soles, dollars, or even with a credit card, you’re covered! And don’t forget, haggling is part of the experience.

My Sister’s Closet (El Closet de mi Hermana)

Address: Calle Miguel Dasso 114, San Isidro 15073, Lima Peru
Phone: +51 1 421 3725

El Closet de mi Hermana embodies a distinctive blend of comfort and unique style in women’s clothing. With clean silhouettes and a mostly neutral color palette, our collection offers a chic alternative to the ubiquitous alpaca-themed trend. Discover our curated selection of accessories and housewares to complement your wardrobe.


Address: Jr. Gonzales Prada 335, Oficina 204, Miraflores, Lima Peru
Phone: +51 1 305 8234

Experience sustainable Scandinavian style at its finest in the heart of Lima. Step into Anyi, a women’s clothing store founded by Danish friends who are dedicated to craftsmanship and ethical sourcing. Discover their elegant sweaters, meticulously crafted and available for custom orders.

Neighborhoods to Know

Miraflores captures attention with its breathtaking ocean cliffside views, while also offering upscale shopping, globally renowned restaurants, and luxurious hotels. Barranco, on the other hand, is adored for its vibrant nightlife and boho-artistic ambiance. However, let’s not overlook the alluring Chinese architecture and plethora of Chifa (Peruvian-Chinese) eateries in Barrio Chino. Exploring the Historical Center is also highly recommended, with its majestic cathedral-fronted Plaza de Armas, enchanting Moorish balconies, and the esteemed El Gran Hotel Bolivar.

Lima Weather

The weather in coastal Lima almost always plays nice—but cloudy days are typical and temperatures err on the cool side thanks to cold water currents in the Pacific Ocean. Remember, summer and winter are opposite of what we experience in the United States.

The warm season is generally from December through April, with temps rarely exceeding the mid-80s. Expect cool, humid, and cloudy weather from June to October. Rain is scarce throughout the year, but sea mist (called guara) is typical.

Travel Tips

Lima Airport (Jorge Chavez International Airport)

Even if you’re not spending much time in the city, chances are you’ll pass through Peru’s main gateway, the Lima Jorge Chavez International Airport. To reach the popular districts of Miraflores and Barranco, a 30-60 minute transfer (depending on traffic) is necessary. The airport is situated in the Callao district, approximately 6 miles (20 km) from Miraflores. For travelers with early morning or late night flights from Lima, the Wyndham Costa del Sol Airport Hotel offers utmost comfort during transit.

The Lima airport is fairly easy to navigate. The first step after landing is to go through immigration. To enter Peru, your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after the date of your arrival. At airport immigrations you will get your tourist visa (a stamp in your passport). Tourists are given 90 days, although you can ask for up to 183. It is not possible to extend your tourist visa once you have entered Peru.

Pick up any luggage at baggage claim and continue through a final luggage check at customs. If you are traveling with Peru for Less, one of our representatives will be waiting for you here. Look for the person holding a sign with your name on it.

Safety Tips

Some important safety tips include:

  • Don’t wear flashy, expensive jewelry
  • Limit your use of your cell phone when out and about walking through the streets
  • Keep your bag on your person at all times – and your backpack in front of you rather than on your back in densely populated areas. Even in restaurants, keep your bag on your person, not hanging from the chair
  • At night, stick to well-lit, populated streets
  • Use Uber to get around quickly rather than a random street taxi (taxi organized through your hotel is fine)
  • Know your route and walk with confidence
  • Dress like the locals in more muted colors and casual attire to not stand out. For women, probably best not to wear tight mini skirts and revealing shirts to avoid unwanted attention – if someone does catcall you, keep moving and do not give them any attention or eye contact.

Packing List

If you’re heading to Lima, there are some things you are going to make sure you have:

  • Sun Protection. If it’s the summer, you’ll need to bring sunblock as the UV index can be quite strong in this city so even if you don’t usually burn, in Lima you likely will. Don’t forget to bring your sunglasses as well.
  • Clothing. For clothes, a T-shirt, shorts, comfortable, loose-fitting pants, and sundresses are perfect. If you want to do some exercising along the coast, pack some athletic wear as well. A sweater, jacket, and light rain jacket for layering should be added during the winter months (May-October). A bathing suit in the summer (December-April) is a good idea as well.
  • Footwear. City boots or comfortable walking shoes with support are a must.
  • Documents. Of course, don’t forget to bring your passport as well as copies of your passport as backup. It is also good to have all confirmation codes and tickets organized and protected in a designated compartment or folder.
  • Electronics. In terms of electronics, don’t forget your mobile phone, Peru power adapter, camera, and portable charger.
  • Personal items. Other things to always carry around include a first aid kit, sanitizing wipes, hand sanitizer, and travel toilet paper (public restrooms often don’t have it).

Getting Around City of Lima

Guided tours of Lima usually include transportation between sites. For sightseeing without a guide, the Mirabus and Turibus offer convenient tour bus service to the city’s top attractions. If you prefer to explore on your own, the Lima Metropolitano provides the easiest and fastest way to move around the city while avoiding getting stuck in traffic.

If you prefer taxis, your hotel can call you a secure taxi. Please keep in mind the taxis are not metered, so it is best to negotiate your fare before hopping in. If you don’t speak Spanish, your hotel concierge can help do this for you. Another option that helps you skip the negotiating part, is simply requesting an Uber, which is quite common throughout the city.

Local Currency

When in Peru, it’s wise to carry local currency, known as Soles, in smaller denominations. This will come in handy for paying for taxis, giving tips to guides, making small purchases, and enjoying meals at cafes and restaurants. Keep in mind that vendors usually don’t have change for larger bills, so it’s best to have smaller denominations on hand. For larger expenses at shops, restaurants, hotels, and some tour agencies, credit cards are generally accepted. As of April 2020, $10 USD is approximately equivalent to 33 Soles.

Money Exchange

In the tourist districts, you’ll find Casa de Cambio (House of Change) locations scattered throughout. Along Avenida Larco in Miraflores, the main avenue connecting the popular Parque de Kennedy to the coastal outdoor malls and parks, you’ll find them aplenty. As of May 2020, 1 USD equals s/. 3.37 soles, making it easy to calculate your currency exchange. Alternatively, you can withdraw money at any ATM, but do note that there is typically a withdrawal fee of $4-5. The choice is yours – withdraw in dollars or soles.


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Cesar Conde

I’m Cesar Conde, owner of Tour Leaders Peru & Travel Advisor and my other side job is Nomadic Digital. I share my own amazing Tour Experiences, travel stories, guides, and itineraries for travelers like you and me!


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