Things To Do In Lima, Peru: 1 Day Walking Tour
Things to do in Lima, Peru: 1 Day Walking Tour
Lima will likely be your entry into the country of Peru. Cities aren’t usually the most unique places but there are some things to do in Lima, Peru that will help get your trip started on the right foot. Luckily most international flights arrive into the airport in the middle of the night. I say luckily because the traffic here, especially around the airport is a fricken nightmare!
Combined with jet lag, taking a red eye can add a lot of exhaustion early on in your trip. Unfortunately in Lima, landing at a more normal time can cause you to sit in traffic for hours trying to get to your hotel. Pick your battle I guess but remember that landing at night and then being able to go right to bed can also help with jet lag.
Where to Stay and What To Do:
Miraflores is one of the most common places for tourists to stay in Lima. It is a “higher end” neighborhood and therefore considered to be safer. Not that Lime is very dangerous on it’s own but if you’re a nervous or solo traveler then I guess it can provide comfort. The best reason to stay in Miraflores is its location to the coast and the main city center. We chose the Hotel Stefanos, which is a no-frills option but very clean.
One full day in Lima was more than enough to see the sites around the city center and the impressive coastal cliffs. If you love exploring big cities or museums, you might consider adding another day here. Otherwise, there are so many other unique experiences elsewhere in Peru that are begging to be explored…I hate museums so I never add them to my itineraries.
Below you will find a good walking tour of the Miraflores neighborhood of Lima. Use the map to help navigate!
1) Ovalo Miraflores, Parque Central and Parque Kennedy
This series of 2 parks and a roundabout are considered to be one of the central areas of Miraflores. If you stay at or near Hotel Stefanos it will be just a quick 5 min walk away.
There is not much going on in this area early in the morning. Even around 11am things seem to still just be waking up. The Ovalo Miraflores is nothing special, literally just a roundabout with a statue in the middle. The Parque Central is beautifully landscaped and well maintained. It is also filled to the brim with stray cats. The cats are clean, well taken care of and clearly used to being gawked at by tourists all day. So I guess come for the cats….
Later in the afternoon around 5pm some food trucks and an artisan market set up in Parque Central. Otherwise, this is the part of town where you will find the KFC, Starbucks and Subway restaurants and therefore the area that most travelers roll their eyes at and walk sharply in the opposite direction.
2) Walk Along The Beach: Parque del Amor, Faro La Marina and La Rosa Nautical
Walk along Malecon Balta, the main road on the west edge of the parks, southwest all the way to the beach. Before heading down the cliff sides to the actual beach take the sidewalk to the right. This will take you to Parque del Amor where you will see a huge slightly risqué statue of 2 people kissing. This is where I imagine all the cool kids of Lima come to makeout in the evenings. You can also get a decent view of the cliffs and the surfers in the water below.
Continue walking northwest up the coast to the Faro La Marina lighthouse. The view is wonderful and you will pass a company that allows you to paraglide over the city. After exploring the coast from up top head back to the giant kissing statue and continue down the walking path to the actual beach. Walk southeast towards La Rosa Nautical Restaurant, which is located on a pier.
On your way to La Rosa Nautical you will pass what I call “surfers alley”. Car after car after tent of surf companies set up a long the beach just waiting for someone to want to learn to surf. I had no idea surfing was a thing in Lima and the water seemed cold and uninviting. If I was going to try surfing I would definitely do it somewhere warm and tropical so I don’t get the appeal here. Seems to be like it might be a bit of a tourist scam.
Interested in learning more about Peru? Check out my other Peru Travel Tips & Tricks
Why The Waves in Lima Sound Different
As you walk along the beach you will notice the lack of sand. The beach here is made up of tons of large, smooth rocks. Ok not super interesting (except that I found the most perfectly round rock of all time) but listen really closely as the waves crash in and out. The waves here sound a little different than most other places in the world. On their way out, the waves cause the rocks to hit and roll against each other as they are pulled back out to sea. It creates this really weird phenomenon where you have a normal wave sound followed by what kind of sounds like the hardest rainfall ever (or one of the rain sticks you were obsessed with as a kid). Check it out and tell me if I’m just crazy.
Make a note that past the Pier has nothing to offer you. It looks like there might be something interesting further down but there really isn’t so just turn around and head back the way you came.
3) Eat Lunch In Town
Head back into town and eat lunch! There are tons of restaurants near Parque Central. Have a Pisco sour and Lomo Saltado aka the most Peruvian meal ever.
4) Larcomar Shopping Center
After lunch walk through the parks to the east side and walk southeast down Ave Jose Larco to the Larcomar Shopping Center. Or if you skipped lunch you can just walk along the cliffs southeast. Note that you will want to walk along the cliffs not along the beach so head back up the stairs and walk up top along the pathway that lines the top of the cliffs. If you walk along Ave Jose Larco you will notice that this is the street to go to if you need to exchange money or buy souvenirs.
The Larcomar shopping center is literally an American or European shopping mall so don’t head here to shop. It has a wonderful view of the coastline although honestly if you have just finished walking down the cliffs then you’ve probably seen the view already. If you look online this is where everyone will tell you to go to see the view but I actually enjoyed the view up by the lighthouse more so you decide how you want to spend your time. If there is anything on this list I could have done without it would be this.
5) Evening Food Trucks and Artisan Market
On the way back to your hotel or on the way to dinner check out Parque Central for the food trucks and small artisan market(after 5pm).
That’s It For Lima, Folks
That list of 5 items is literally all we did in Lima but it felt like we saw a lot. The coast is definitely the coolest things in the city to see. The main goal here should be to see the main sites but mainly to get your feet planted and start to get a feel for what Peru is like. Depending on when you arrived you will likely get a bit of a late start to the day and whatever is on the agenda for tomorrow will probably mean an early morning so rest up and don’t feel guilty about not seeing more of the city. I promise there are way cooler things to do in Peru than wander around Lima.
Whatever your plans, be sure to leave plenty of time to get to the airport. Ask your hotel front desk how early to leave and listen closely to their advice. The traffic at the airport starts to build before 5am…fair warning.
For ideas on where to head next check out my 9 Day Peru Itinerary.