Lima is a vibrant and exciting city with a lot to offer. If you can, plan a few days to explore the streets and coastline of Lima, and then you can head to Cusco and get your Machu Picchu fix. If a few days is over your time budget, at least plan for 36 hours in Lima. You won’t regret it.
Here’s a timeline you can use for planning your quick 36 hours in Lima, Peru:
Day 1 in Lima:
Book your hotel in advance. Pick a hotel in the Miraflores district. This is an area with lots of nice hotels, bars and restaurants. Plus, it is within walking distance for the parts of Lima you’ll want to explore (more on that later).
After breakfast and Peruvian coffee (or coca tea if you are worried about altitude!) take a taxi to Plaza Mayor. This is the city’s historic center. You can find the Archbishop’s Palace, Town Hall, Cathedral and many museums and shops. This is a great area to walk around, people watch, and check out the great architecture.
At exactly noon each day, the Peruvian Army and Band puts on a grand display of military skill in front of the Presidential Palace. This changing of the guards is not to be missed and lasts about an hour. Start gathering around 11:45 am to get a good viewing spot. Do not cross the gate or fence or you risk arrest!
Once the show is over grab some lunch in Plaza Mayor. Why not try eating alpaca while you are here? It tastes like a mix between pork and beef and is really delicious. Wash your lunch down with an Inca Kola. This is a popular soda in Peru that tastes similar to cream soda.
After lunch, if you still are up for exploring, check out the San Francisco Basilica which includes a covenant, chapel and catacombs.
Get freshened up at your hotel and then walk towards the coast (if you are staying in Miraflores) as the sun begins to set. Stop for a pre-dinner drink at Calle de las Pizzas or Pizza Alley and get a Pisco Sour. Pisco is a colorless liquor made from fermented grape juice and when combined with lime juice, sugar and egg whites it makes a delicious drink. But be forewarned, they can be dangerously intoxicating!
Take your time to stroll through Kennedy Park and watch the local couples dance. Feel free to join in! When you arrive at el Parque del Amor or Love Park stop for a romantic kissing picture at the famous love statue, El Beso, and take photos of the para-gliders as they jump off the cliff.
Walk down to the pier for dinner at La Rosa Nautica. This oceanside restaurant has great views and delicious food. Try the scallops! And more pisco sours, of course.
Night: Walk back up to Love Park and stop for dessert at the crepe stand. Nutella and banana is always a good choice, then head back to your hotel for the night.
Day 2 in Lima:
Morning: After breakfast, head to out in the Miraflores district for a stroll. Check out Iglesia de la Virgin Milagrosa and the Miraflores Municipal Palace. Head towards the coast again to Larcomar, a shopping mall carved into the Miraflores cliffs.
Lunch: For lunch, check out Mango’s Restaurante. It overlooks the ocean and serves great food and drinks. It’s a little touristy, but the view is worth it! Try the ceviche, a mix of raw seafood cooked by lime juice with choclo, a type of field corn, and Peruvian sweet potatoes. Or if you are feeling wild, try cuy, Guinea pig, which is a real delicacy. Tastes just like chicken!
In the afternoon depart to your next destination, but cherish these memories of Lima and plan to come back again soon.
Thanks to Art Dino for his picture of the Archbishop’s Place. To see more of his work, check out his account on Flickr.
San Francisco Basilica
La Rosa Nautica
Iglesia de la Virgin Milagrosa
Miraflores Municipal Palace
Larcomar Shopping Center
Information For Your Trip
We recommend staying in the Miraflores district and taking a taxi to the historic district. Keep your situational awareness turned on and enjoy the sights!
- Taxis in Lima, Peru: use the Easy Taxi app or your hotel porter rather than waving down from a street corner.
- Buses in Lima, Peru: word on the street is that its better to take a taxi. And don’t bother with the city bus app as it is not worth the download.