Lima, the capital of Peru, is the center for culture and financial activity in Peru. It is also the second largest city in South America with a metro population over 10 million people. Lima is known for being the only capital city in South America along the beach with breathtaking scenic cliffs.
If you are planning on visiting Cusco, Machu Picchu, Arequipa, Paracas, Huacachina, Puno or any other place in Peru make sure to add Lima to your itinerary, you will not regret it.
The city of Lima is known for its delicious international cuisine, beauty and history. In this post we are sharing the best things to do in Lima in two days.
How to get to Lima from the airport?
Jorge Chavez International Airport is situated just north of Lima, but is still about 20km and a 45 minute drive to the downtown area.
Airport Express Lima leaves the airport every 30 minutes in the morning and night and every hour between the hours of 11AM to 6PM. Tickets cost 10 USD (33 Soles) for a one way ticket and $18 USD (60 Soles) for round trip. The express bus drops of at seven central stops downtown.
Uber is available in Lima so you can always get a taxi or a ride through Uber for 40 to 60 Soles depending where exactly you are staying in lima.
Another option is to buy a ticket through Quick Llama Shuttle for groups of 3+ and the price is 15 Soles per person from a central pickup location or 20 Soles from your hotel in Miraflores. The shuttle leaves every hour.
Important information about visiting Lima:
Lima like any other South American city can be dangerous if you are not aware of your surroundings. Be mindful of pickpockets in crowded areas and use a taxi app to get a safe and trusted ride back to your hotel. The safest areas in Lima are Miraflores, Barranco and San Isidro so try to stay in those neighborhoods.
Where to stay in Lima?
We recommend staying in Miraflores as it is a safe neighborhood and holds a the majority of attractions located outside the historic city center. We always look for unique places with authentic vibes and a central location, which brought us to Aloft Miraflores.
The hotel has two casual restaurants, a trending bar, and indoor pool and a gym. Unfortunately, breakfast is not included but it is honestly worth paying the additional fee for the hot breakfast buffet as the food is delicious and they even have a omelettes made to order!
The five best things to do and see in Lima in 2 days
Lima has a range of attractions from museums to viewpoints and delicious restaurants. Even though you can spend a whole year exploring Lima and not even get to see it all we recommend to spend at least spend 2 full days exploring the best things to do in Lima.
1. Explore the bohemian neighborhood of Barranco
Barranco is a colonial neighborhood that has been home of many well known artists, musicians, designers and photographers. This has lead the neighborhood to have a mixture of colorful and creative vibe with that a historical and romantic feeling.
Our favorite spots in Barranco are the Puente de los Suspiros, the Iglesia La Emita, finding beautiful murals, Biblioteca Municipal Barranco, Plaza de Armas, Iglesia de San Francisco, and the parroquia de la Santísima Cruz. It is also the perfect place to practice paragliding at the cliffs overlooking the beach.
El Puente de los Suspiros is a small wooden bridge that underneath has a stone pathway called Bajada de Los Baños that leads to the beach passing cafes, art studios, and viewpoints.
While you are in Barranco make sure to chase street art. This neighborhood is known for having the best street art in Lima as the local government invites artists to create murals.
2. Visit the uptown neighborhood of Miraflores
In Miraflores you will find the majority of touristic attractions outside of the historical downtown Lima. Our favorite place in Miraflores without a doubt is the Parque del Amor, Love Park, a small park with beautiful mosaic art pieces along the scenic coastline of Lima with fantastic views of the coast and the Pacific Ocean. It is like a smaller version of Parc Guell in Barcelona.
Another place you must visit in Lima is the Miraflores Lighthouse, Faro de la Marina. The lighthouse is about 10 to 15 minutes away from Parque del amor and is a nice walk along the the coastline of Lima.
Make sure to walk or ride a bike along the scenic Malecón in Miraflores and visit the famous Parque John F. Kennedy and the Parque Maria Reiche where you can see the replicas of some of the Nazca Lines including the spider, the hummingbird, the lizard, the Monkey and the hands. The park was built to pay tribute to the German researcher Marie Reiche who dedicated much of her life to the care of the Nazca Lines.
In Miraflores you will also find the Pyramids of Lima in Huaca Pucllana. This is a complex of 22 meter high clay pyramid ruins. You can only access the ruins by taking the 40 minute tour which costs 12 soles ($3 USD).
3. Taste Peruvian Cuisine
Lima is well known for having the best cuisine in South America. The main dish in Peru is the Cebiche, which is different from the Ecuadorian Ceviche. The Cebiche is a raw fish dish soaked in lime juice and spiced with chili peppers, red onions, sweet potatoes and corn.
Restaurants to try: Tantas, Panchita, Maido, Siete Pescados Capitales, Madam Tusan, Taberna Peruana, Barra Maretazo, El Pan de la Chola, Restaurante Alfresco, El Mercado, La Picanteria Costera 700, Chez Wong, Dondho, and the Sandwiches La Lucha.
4. Visit the Historic District of Lima
The bustling historic district of Lima is highlighted around the Plaza de Armas, the old heart of the city. Surrounding the square is the 16th century Catedral de Lima, along with the Palacio de Gobierno and the Palacio Municipal de Lima with its beautiful colonial-style arches. Just one block away is the Congreso de la República.
On the southern side of the city center you will find Plaza San Martín, a massive public square surrounded by neohispanic or neocolonial buildings. At the center of the plaza is a grand monument to José de San Martín, known as the Libertador of Argentina, Chile and Peru.
A few blocks further down is the Palacio de Justicia, with a prolific facade. We happened to walk by around sunset, when there was a ceremonial lowering of the flag as the sun set. In this area is also several parks and museums, including the Museum of Art of Lima and the Museo Metropolitano de Lima.
In the Historic Center of Lima you will quickly realize why Lima is also known as the City of Churches. Around every corner you will find another beautiful work of architecture dating back to the colonial times. Some of our favorite churches in Lima include the following:
- Basílica de la Vera Cruz
- Iglesia Santa Rosa de Lima
- Iglesia del Nazareno de Comas
- Basilica Nuestra Señora de la Merced
- Basilica y convento de Santo Domingo
- Basilica y convento de San Francisco de Lima
5. Circuito Mágico de Aguas
Located in Parque de la Reserva is the Circuito Mágico de Aguas. It is a combined 13 ornamental, cybernetic and interactive fountains where the water, music, lights and images are used to create a spectacular show, best enjoyed in the early evening.
These five things to do in Lima in two days are not an exhaustive list of everything Lima has to offer. It does provide a diverse range of attractions and neighborhoods of Lima to get a good feel for life in Peru. If you have more time to spend in Lima, it is absolutely worth it, and check out our additional guide looking for a complete travel guide to Peru in 21 days.