Sample the scenic, historic, and culinary delights of Peru’s capital with our 24 Hours in Lima Guide. It’s an ambitious agenda catered to anyone with a “go big or go home” travel spirit. Alternatively, handpick recommended activities for your desired mix of independent and guided exploration.
ℹ️ Contact details for the restaurants and cafes mentioned in this blog are listed below the last section.
Begin your day in Miraflores, the modern district of Lima that embodies the city’s ever-evolving future.
🍴 Breakfast in Peru is typically a simple spread of eggs, bread, and fruit served with coffee or juice. For lighter fare, stick with the complimentary breakfast at your hotel or visit a local coffee shop. Arabica Espresso Bar and Pan Atelier are great spots near Parque Kennedy, the social heart of Miraflores. Serious morning eaters with a craving for blueberry waffles or eggs benedict will be drawn to the menu at Homemade. Another option, El Pan de la Chola, offers fresh artisan bread for your sandwich, a strong cup of coffee, and healthy juices like a spinach, apple, and ginger blend.
Miraflores has a privileged location along the coast which no doubt fuels its popularity among locals and foreigners alike. After breakfast, take a leisurely stroll along the Malecon, or promenade, that stretches along the city’s high bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
- Parque del Amor is a notable landmark along the Malecon about a ½ mi (1 km) walk from Parque Kennedy. The famous sculpture “El Beso” sits in the nook of a small amphitheater tiled in beautiful mosaic murals.
- Paragliders take off from an open grassy area near Parque del Amor when wind conditions are right. They loft their winged parachutes over the cliff’s edge and above the high-rises.
- The pebbly beaches of Costa Verde below the buffs of Miraflores aren’t superb for sunbathing. But, you can walk down the steps near Puente Villena, the large arch-shaped bridge, to go surfing (board rentals and classes are available) or enjoy seafood at La Rosa Náutica restaurant on the pier.
- Larcomar is a contemporary shopping, dining, and entertainment center with an ocean view.
ℹ️ Enjoy more free time in Miraflores or call a safe taxi to visit Lima’s Historic Center.
Life in Miraflores is more akin to that in a western metropolis, while a visit to the Historic Center, where local commerce mingles with government business, paints a more authentic view of routine for a greater majority of Lima residents. Impressive colonial and baroque architecture of this district is very different from the high rises that dominate the skyline in Miraflores, and just one example showcasing Lima’s contrasting faces.
Plaza de Armas or Plaza Mayor is a good starting point to explore historic Lima. The plaza was established in 1535, at the same time as the city, and is surrounded by some of the city’s grandest buildings. Other tourist-friendly attractions, such as Gran Hotel Bolivar and Monastery of San Francisco, are within a 1 mi (1.6 km) walk away.
- The Government Palace serves as both the seat of the government and home of the President of Peru. You can see the changing of the guard ceremony outside the palace gates everyday at noon.
- The Cathedral of Lima sits on the southwest corner of Plaza Mayor. Inside there is a Venetian mosaic-tiled chapel that shelters the tomb of San Francisco.
- Casa Aliaga (Jiron de la Union 22) is the oldest continuously occupied family home in South America. Make reservations to visit in advance to view the furnishings and decor from across 500 years of history that are on display in the main house.
- At Monastery of San Francisco, visit the underground catacombs that keep the bones of Lima’s oldest residents. Tickets are available at the entrance.
- ℹ️ Browse more attractions of Lima’s Historic Center in our Peru Guide.
🍴 In Peru, lunch is the biggest meal of the day. Typically served around 1pm, lunchtime is also a good time to try local favorites, like ceviche, at a very reasonable cost. For ceviche and other seafood options, check out Punta Azul or El Veridico de Fidel.
🚕 If you explore the Historic Center on your own, make sure you leave a comfortable cushion of time (at least 1 hr) to drive back to your hotel so you aren’t late for any evening plans you have lined up. Traffic in Lima is unpredictable and can get really crazy during peak morning and evening commute hours. The evening culinary tour highlighted in the next section, for example, picks you up from your hotel between 4 – 4:30pm.
Food is definitley one thing you do not want to miss out on in Lima. Did you know that the city is the gastronomic capital of South America? Nowhere else in Peru can you have your pickings among so many savory traditional and fusion dishes at such a wide variety of world-class and family-run restaurants.
One of the best ways to savor a variety of Peruvian dishes, especially when your time in Lima is limited, is to take a culinary tour like the one our travel advisors recently joined with Lima Gourmet.
Eat, drink, and be merry amid Lima’s vibrant culinary scene.
🍴 Dinner plans are already taken care of when you sign up for an evening culinary tour. If you prefer to make your own plans, download our free Lima Restaurant Guide for a wide range of dining out options, from traditional and fusion to vegetarian and seafood.
We hope you make the most of your short stay in Lima. And remember, you can always contact us for a customized itinerary. Click “Go Discover” now.
Restaurant Suggestions –
Select photo contributions by Monique Loayza, Britt Fracolli, and Ana Castañeda Cano/Peru for Less.