If you only have a short stay in Lima, Peru, or you want to spend a full day taking in as much of the city as possible we have some great suggestions for you for things to do in Lima in a day!
Lima is a culinary city with amazing food, it’s also relatively large and spread out and has loads of history to explore. If you’re travelling onwards to Machu Picchu you’ll likely have to fly into Lima first. If so, we’d highly encourage you to spend some time in this beautiful west coast city!
We visited in Lima’s summertime (March) and were greeted with warm and sunny weather, it was perfect for walking and exploring this beautiful city.
Where to stay:
Before you start planning all the things to do while you’re in Lima, you may want to figure out where to stay. As many tourists do, we centered ourselves in the Miraflores district of Lima. Miraflores is situated along the coast, and is full of boardwalks, parks and beautiful outdoor spaces, it also has loads of shopping, restaurants and hotels. Because it is primarily a tourist area you’ll likely also find it tends to be a bit more expensive than other areas, but we also found it very safe, especially walking to and from restaurants in the evening and after dark.
We stayed right in Miraflores at the Dazzler Lima Hotel and were quite impressed! It was in the perfect location with large, modern rooms with great views, and best of all some fantastic amenities including a rooftop pool.
We found public transport to be confusing, busy and not overly convenient so opted to use mainly taxis and ubers. We did read that you have to be careful using taxis, make sure they are official before getting in, and also negotiate a price. Going in with that knowledge we didn’t encounter too many issues. However, we often found that taxi drivers didn’t seem to know locations of major landmarks. We’d show them map location, the name in both English and Spanish, and more than once were told they didn’t know where that was! When we did find a helpful driver, we typically found price negotiation quite simple but make sure you know your numbers in Spanish or have your phone handy! Uber tended to be much easier since we could input our destination in the app, so we used it quite frequently.
Things to do in one day in Lima:
If you’re staying in Miraflores you might as well start here! Make your way towards the water until you come to the edge and be greeted by walking paths, boardwalks and parks. The views over the Pacific Ocean are stunning, and you’ll see many surfers along the beaches below. Make sure to check out the lighthouse (La Marina Lighthouse), and the Park of Love (with mosaics that will remind you a lot of Park Guell in Barcelona). If you’re wanting to do some shopping be sure to stop at the open air mall called Larcomar. Lastly, if you’re feeling brave and have the budget, you can go paragliding along the coast to get an even better aspect of the incredible views!
From Miraflores head to the Barranco district of Lima. Barranco is just south of Miraflores and is known for being both cultural and trendy. We headed to the historic Bridge of Sighs. The bridge supposedly got its name because it used to be where young couples would go for walks and the term bridge of sighs comes from the idea of the lover’s sigh. Legend also says that if you hold your breath all the way across, your wish will come true. It’s a really pretty area with some great restaurants, craft beer spots, some graffiti and photo opportunities!
Old city and main square:
Later in the afternoon we headed to the old city to visit the main square (Plaza De Armas). This area dates back the 16th century and is the oldest part of Lima. There are some beautiful, historic buildings here, including the Cathedral of Lima. We also walked a bit to see the outside of the Basílica y Convento de San Francisco de Lima.
Parque de la Reserva:
Lastly, we’d heard great things about the evening show at the Parque de la Reserva and we were not disappointed! Be sure to check the schedule before going as apparently it only happens on certain evenings. We arrived just in time, and despite long lines, it only took a few minutes to pay the minimal entry fee, get our tickets and head inside. Once the sun has set, the water show starts, set to music and lights this has got to be one of the most fantastic fountain shows we’ve ever seen and definitely a must-do while in Lima!
Lastly, don’t forget to try some amazing Peruvian food while in Lima. Lima is often called the food capital of South America, and if you only have one day here you’re going to have a hard time deciding what to eat.
Is Lima safe?
We found Lima to be quite safe, especially when exploring the Miraflores area.
That being said, you should always be cautious when travelling to places you aren’t familiar with. Do your research and be aware of your surroundings and possessions at all times. Definitely try to stay in busier areas with other people around and don’t keep valuable items in your pockets or on casual display.
Hopefully this list of things to do in one day in Lima helps you plan your day in Lima. If you’ve been to Lima and have a favourite place or activity that we missed please leave a comment below!