Lima Travel Guide | Peru

Lima is one of the biggest cities in the whole of South America. Over 10 million people live there and the city consists of 43 districts.


So what are the main areas to see and where are the safest places to stay in Lima? Keep on reading!


  1. Arriving in Lima

  2. Best places to stay in Lima

  3. Must do in Lima

  4. Video

Arriving in Lima


So once you arrive in Lima, do not change money at the airport or buy mobile data there. The money exchange offices in the Lima airport will give you a bad exchange rate. You are better off going to the center and withdrawing money from a BCP ATM as they do not charge a fee. Note, that you might get charged by your bank because of the exchange, which still will be better than exchanging at the airport.


Also, do not purchase mobile data or SIM card at the airport. The pricing there is ridiculous. They asked us for around 60 USD for 10GB which is valid only for a week. In the center, you will be able to get 4GB for 30 PEN, which is around 6 USD.


One thing you have to make sure you have done before leaving your home is to fill in the health declaration form online and have the pdf file on you. They will require it already once boarding the flight. Here is the link to the form: https://djsaludviajero.minsa.gob.pe/dj-salud/


From previous experiences traveling through South America, I have always been asked to have proof that I will be leaving the country within 90 days, so a flight or bus ticket out of the country. To my surprise, they didn't ask it this time, neither when I was leaving Ecuador, nor when entering Peru.


Make sure to take a taxi from the airport to your accommodation as the area around the airport - Callao - is not safe!


Best places to stay in Lima


Without a doubt, the 2 best places to stay in Lima are Miraflores and Barranco. Mostly because they are the safest neighborhoods and also well developed.


So which one to choose? What is the difference?


Firstly, Miraflores is a bit more expensive than Barranco, in terms of food and nights out. The accommodation prices are similar. Said that I actually found a very cheap vegetarian restaurant in Miraflores, offering massive dishes for around 4 USD. So I believe you just need to do an extra search when looking for cheaper options.


Secondly, the vibe is a bit different. Barranco is more chill and hip. People organize yoga classes in the parks, there are a lot of murals, and it is calmer than Miraflores.


In Miraflores, you will find tennis courts, busy streets, and big shopping centers. So really it is up to you, what type of an atmosphere you want.


Must do in Lima

The main 3 areas you have to visit and explore are:

  • Historical Center

  • Miraflores

  • Barranco


The historical center features some impressive architecture. It reminds me of Madrid but with a Latin American touch. It is definitely worth booking a free or paid walking tour to find out more about Lima's and Peru's history. The area is fairly safe if you want to explore on your own.


Make sure to try Peru-style 'Churros'. They are amazing!

The best way to explore Miraflores and Barranco areas is by bicycle because both areas are quite big. They are not as condensed as the historic center. You can rent your own, they have city bike stops in several places or go on a tour. I did a tour with Lima by Walking and was very pleased with the tour. Recommend!


The 2 main stops in Miraflores are the Kennedy Park, which is actually not the official name but everyone knows it by that name, even Google Maps says 'Kennedy Park'. It is a very busy central park where something always is happening. Either a market, a local dessert festival, or simply people dancing in the park. Another stop is the Park of Love (Parque de Amor), which is extra popular on Valentine's day, so if you happen to be on the 14th of February in Lima, that is the place to be. There you will find a lovely cafe 'Beso Frances' from which to watch the sunset. There are actually two of them, each on both sides of the bridge of the park.


Barranco is a very old neighborhood so it features some old Spanish colonial houses and you won't find as many skyscrapers as in Miraflores. The atmosphere is much more relaxed and you can enjoy some really amazing murals all around the area.


In Barranco, you will also find a very special bridge - The bridge of Sighs (Puente de los Suspiros). To cross it, you have to hold your breath and cross the bridge without breathing out. During that time you make a wish. If you managed to cross without breathing the wish will come true. This also works for couples. You have to hold hands, hold your breath and if you both together cross the bridge without breathing, the love will last forever.


To get from one place to other you can use Uber or take taxis. I would recommend Uber as it is supposed to be safer because you have all the data about the driver, reviews and you won't be charged tourist prices.


I hope this blog will help you plan better your trip to Lima.
To get the feel of the city, watch this Lima Video: