Lima is the largest city and capital of Peru and was founded in the 16th century. Soon after, the capital became the headquarters of the Spanish Empire in South America. So, walking through the streets of the city and seeing this colonial architecture together with pre-Hispanic ruins is like taking a trip back in time. In the city, there are still buildings from that century and no doubt there is a lot to do in Lima.
There are several other different entertainment options, museums, beaches, beautiful parks and a privileged view of the Pacific Ocean. Check this list and know how to plan your visit to Lima! See the options of night programs, romantic and for those who have little or enough time in the city.
What to do in Lima in 2 or 3 days?
With little time in the capital, the ideal is to focus on some of the most sought after attractions. There are several options to learn more about Peruvian history, culture and even fauna. After all, one of the best ways to explore a new city and realize that it is there in fact is to know its most famous attractions.
1. Plaza Mayor of Lima
The Plaza Mayor or Plaza de Armas is part of the historic center of Lima. Thus, it is possible to visit several tourist spots because there are several historical buildings, present since the city’s foundation. These buildings are: Lima’s Cathedral, Government Palace, Arzobispal Palace, Lima’s City Hall and the Casa de Aliaga.
The declaration of Peru’s independence took place there, so the square is famous for the number of important events that took place there. It is one of the most preserved places in Lima and a good place to relax and sit on the grass or on the benches, being ideal for families. Due to its large space, the Plaza Mayor also hosts several festivals, parades, ceremonies and shows.
2. Palomino Islands
Those who don’t usually relate Lima to Peruvian wildlife will be surprised by a visit to the Palomino Islands. They are a group of small islands near the coast of El Callao and shelter countless lions and sea birds. Therefore, it is a great place for those who want to escape a little from the big city and have contact with nature. The boat tour offers a panorama of the island and the possibility to dive in the water and swim with the sea lions.
- Working hours: the boat trips take place every day between 8h and 14h.
- Prices: the tour costs on average 50 dollars for adults and 40 dollars for children.
3. Huaca Pucllana
He is mistaken in thinking that Lima is only home to buildings from the colonial period. In the middle of the Miraflores district, you find the ruins of Huaca Pucllana. This archaeological site was used by the pre-Incas people as an important ceremonial and administrative center.
It also draws attention for its grandiosity, mainly because of the 25 meter high pyramid made of adobe bricks. It is estimated that Huaca Pucllana was populated between 200 and 700 AD. The site also has a museum that displays several pieces found during the research made by archaeologists. It is suitable for families and people who are interested in history.
- Address: Calle General Borgoño s/n, cuadra 8 – Miraflores.
- Opening hours: Wednesday to Friday from 9am to 5pm for daytime service. Wednesday to Sunday from 7 pm to 10 pm for the night service.
- Entrance fee: 15 soles for adults and 7,50 soles for children under 12 years old for daytime service. 17 soles for adults and 8.50 soles for children under 12 on night service.
Barranco is the most beautiful district of Lima, surrounded by tourist attractions, beaches and a great and exciting nightlife. This neighborhood is also a great place to get to know the history of Peru through art, since there are several murals with graffiti about the country, its beliefs and its people. That’s why it’s great for those who like urban art, nightlife and great restaurants.
This district started as a place where the rich families of Lima spent the summer. That’s why, until today, it has several houses that have been transformed into bars, art galleries and other kinds of places for entertainment. Barranco is also one of the only places in Lima that provides access to a beach with a sandy edge.
5. Brisas del Titicaca
Do you like to dance and learn more about local music and dances from the places you visit? Then visiting Brisas del Titicaca is a must! The house offers several folk dance shows and the dancers still call you to enter in their midst and participate in the performance.
The place also offers several typical Peruvian foods and drinks for a lower price than the places in the region. Therefore, it is a great place for who likes entertainment and mainly for who loves dancing and has no shame!
- Address: Heroes de Tarapaca, 168 – Lima.
- Hours of operation: Sunday and Monday from 12h to 15h; Tuesday and Wednesday from 12h to 15h and from 21h to 0h30; Thursday from 12h to 15h and from 21h to 1h30; Friday and Saturday from 12h to 17h30 and from 22h to 2h30.
- Entrance fee: from 30 soles, varies according to the day and sector chosen.
6. Government Palace
This palace is the seat of executive power and the official residence of the president of Peru. Its interior is decorated with sculptures and paintings by various personalities who were leaders of the independence movements in Spain. Every day, at 12 noon, there is the ceremony of changing the guard, which lasts approximately 15 minutes.
This ceremony also counts with the army band, which plays while making a tour of the square. The palace offers guided tours, but reservations must be made at least 48 hours in advance. A full dish for those who like history and want to know the historical buildings of Plaza Mayor.
- Address: Jirón de la Unión, s/n – Lima.
- Hours of operation: the tours are on Saturdays and Sundays at 9am or 10am.
- Entrance fee: free.
7. Inquisition and Congress Museum
It is one of the most popular museums in Lima and its building is considered a historical heritage of humanity. It housed the Holy Inquisition Court between 1584 and 1820, after that period it became the seat of the national senate until 1939. The museum preserves these two environments and has original collections dating from that time.
A great place for those interested in learning more about the History of Lima during the period of the Holy Inquisition. In addition, the museum shows the methods they used to judge and punish those who were considered sinners. The guided tour is offered in several languages, including Portuguese, but has specific times for that language.
- Address: Plaza Bolivar, Jirón Junín – Lima.
- Hours of operation: Friday to Wednesday from 9am to 5pm.
- Admission fee: free.
8. Larco Museum
The Rafael Larco Herrera Archaeological Museum or Larco Museum, as it is popularly known, is one of Lima’s main museums. It was founded in 1926 and is home to over 5,000 years of Peruvian history. Its collection is focused on all Peruvian people, that is, the pre-Hispanic, pre-Hispanic and all those who came after that period.
Thus, it tells the history in chronological order and has several archaeological pieces from different periods. In addition, a great attraction of the Museum is the fact that it operates within a beautiful mansion built in the 17th century. It is a must for admirers of Peruvian history and colonial architecture.
- Address: Av. Bolívar 1515 – Pueblo Libre.
- Opening hours: every day, from 9am to 10pm.
- Entrance fee: 30 soles.
ChocoMuseo tells the story of chocolate and cocoa, shows the whole process of harvesting until the production of the chocolate itself. In it you can also have more interactive experiences, like seeing and touching the cocoa seeds they use in production. In addition, they offer the possibility to participate in various workshops and make your own chocolate.
The main focus of the museum is to talk about the artisan production of chocolate and to value the regional producers. Inside the place you will find different kinds of chocolates and several cosmetics made with cocoa. Besides everything, it is possible to make tastings and enjoy the coffee and bar that works inside the museum. A great destination for chocolate lovers and wants to taste new flavors!
- Address: Calle Berlin, 375 – Miraflores; Jirón Carabaya, 191-195 – Cercado de Lima; Calle O. Benavides, 344 – Parque Kennedy.
- Opening Hours: Miraflores – every day from 9am to 8:30pm; Cercado de Lima – every day from 9am to 6:30pm; Parque Kennedy – every day from 9am to 9pm.
- Entrance fee: free.
10. Lima Cathedral
It is the largest church in Peru, it was built in 1555 and even though it has undergone several renovations, it remains faithful to its original project. In its wooden altar, it is possible to see several paintings and mosaics extremely rich in detail. This cathedral has several chapels, in one of them is buried the Spanish conquistador and founder of Lima, Francisco Pizarro.
In addition, the cathedral still has the Museum of Religious Art in the back part. And for those who make the complete tour it is also possible to know little explored parts of the church and see the collection of paintings and books. The churches of Lima are inheritances of the Spanish colonization, so the tour is recommended for those who want to know one of the main tourist points of the capital and discover the local history.
- Address: Jirón Carabaya, s/n – Cercado de Lima.
- Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm; Saturdays from 10am to 1pm; Sundays from 1pm to 5pm only for masses.
- Entrance fee: 30 soles.
11. San Francisco Convent and Catacombs Museum
The incredible building of the Convent of San Francisco was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It can also be considered a museum due to the large number of works of art found inside. This place provides a very different experience from most churches and museums. The first part of the tour shows some of its works of art. The second part is the visit to the convent’s library, which has a collection of over 25 thousand documents.
Among the most famous documents are the first dictionary of Spanish and an edition of the Bible made in the XVI century. Finally, the most impressive part: the catacombs in fact, where it is possible to see an osario with about 70 thousand bones. This is due to the fact that burying people in churches was a very common practice before the appearance of cemeteries. This walk is for those who like to go beyond the conventional and are not afraid to go down into the catacombs.
- Address: Jirón Ancash – Cercado de Lima.
- Hours of operation: every day from 9am to 8:15pm.
- Entrance fee: 15 soles for adults and 3 soles for children.
One of Lima’s most famous archaeological sites, it was built around 200 B.C. It is an important site for having housed four different pre-Hispanic civilizations: Lima, Yshma, Wari and the Incas. For historians, Pachacámac was a place with an administrative, domestic and religious sector and also served as a shelter for pilgrims. The name of the place is the same as that of the god who was considered creator of the world for these people. For this reason, several offerings and sacrifices took place there.
The site was looted and destroyed by the Spaniards at the time of colonization, besides having its structures shaken by earthquakes. Therefore, it is still in a continuous process of restoration and excavation. The site also has a small museum and its collection has objects found there and information about the history of the country. It is suitable for those who like to learn about pre-Hispanic culture and know that it is in one of the oldest places in Lima.
- Address: Antigua Panamericana Sur, km 31.5 – Lurín.
- Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 9am to 5pm, Sundays from 9am to 4pm.
- Entrance fee: 10 soles.