Lima, the capital of Peru, is one of the most underrated cities in South America. Unfortunately, many people using it as a stop off point for Machu Picchu, or worse yet, passing by it altogether. Many people miss out on all the incredible things Lima has to offer such as ancient colonial buildings, an incredible cuisine, a thriving nightlife scene, some beautiful sandy beaches to the south, and local markets and stalls that offer the best of Peruvian goods as well as top international brands. There is Pachacamac, an incredible pre-Inca Temple Citadel 30 minutes to the South. There is Caral, a UNESCO world heritage site just 90 minutes North, thought to be the America’s oldest city at over 5,000 years old. Missing Lima, or not spending more than 1 day here is a rookie error. We highly advise hopsters to dedicate 3 or 4 days of their adventure to this magical city.
Lima is home to some 8 million people sprawled across this urban desert. When we say desert, we really mean desert, and hopsters can leave their ponchos and rain jackets in their backpacks as it almost never rains here! Summers here can be very hot (30-35c) and winters are mild (10-15c) so whenever you feel like hopping through Lima remember to pack correctly for the time of year! It is a city of contrasts, from the old Centre featuring buildings over 300 years old to the modern skyscraper buildings of San Isidro, and from the beautiful coastline of the Costa Verde to the jam packed smoggy traffic that fills a lot of Lima’s roads…this city really does have it all, good and bad!
Lima has many treasures that simply have to be experienced. In the historic centre we have the old buildings and churches from the Spanish rule, some over 300 years old showcasing some of the world’s most amazing colonial architecture combined with modern buildings and government palaces. In Miraflores, we have a beautiful modern urban style area full of chic cafes and bars where you can dance the night away. Barranco is full of cobbled streets and market stalls giving it a very Bohemian-like feel. From Barranco to Miraflores, you can experience an amazing coastal walk along the Costa Verde, magnificent at any time of year.
In addition, Lima is the gastronomic capital of the Americas, or in simple Hopster terms…the food here is DELICIOUS!!! Peru was declared the world’s leading culinary destination in 2012, with many world famous chefs predicting Peruvian cuisine to be the next big thing. You don’t want to miss the chance to taste it in the heart of Peru. Lima has a thriving restaurant scene where you can taste for yourself why Peruvian cuisine has been attracting so much attention in recent years. We recommend hopsters try Ceviche (the traditional raw fish dish cooked only with lemon), causa de atún, yucas, lomo saltado…we could go on and on! Quite often the best ceviche isn’t found in the most expensive restaurants, and can be found in some market stalls or street sellers. Our Peruvian guides will show you exactly where are the best and most affordable places to devour these incredible dishes.
Peru is famous for the quality of its textiles and many world famous brands like Lacoste manufacture their clothes here in Peru. There are many shopping opportunities in Lima, from the beautiful Larcomar on the Costa Verde in Miraflores to the monstrous Jockey plaza in Surco, which contains some of the most exclusive shops in Peru. If these malls are out of your hopster budget, there is a huge black market here in Lima, the 2 most famous markets being Gamarra and Polvos Azules. Here you can find many copies of brand name t-shirts, dvd’s, etc. for rock bottom prices, and we think you will be very surprised at the quality of these copies. Make sure you haggle for the best prices because usually most goods can be bought for half of the original price, so play hard and get yourself a bargain. Be careful in these areas as pickpockets loom and don’t venture too far off the main streets…try to go along with a friend when possible.
Lima is a sprawling city, and away from the main tourist areas stated above, there are many gems 30minutes/1 hour both north and south of lima. In the south, we have a place called Asia (not to be confused with the continent). It is a stretch of about 50kms of beaches with modern restaurants, bars and nightclubs. During the summer, Lima’s top nightclubs can be deserted on weekends as everybody flocks here to party. To the north, there is a place called Caral, a UNESCO world heritage site thought to be the America’s oldest city (over 5,000 years old) and only recently made open to tourists. We can’t forget Pachacamac, 30 minutes inland to the South where we can visit the famous pre-Inca Citadel which attracts thousands of visitors every year, or Mamacona, famous for its bull ring and cock fighting that takes place every Sunday during the Winter and basically involves an all day party. Trust us, move away from the tourist traps and Lima has a lot to offer the adventures and intrigued hopster.
- Walking tour of Plaza de Armas in the centre of Lima – FREE
- Walk along the beautiful Costa Verde (green coast) from Miraflores to Barranco – FREE
- Take a day trip to Caral (2hrs from Lima – oldest city in world and a UNESCO world hertiage site) – $100
- Eat Ceviche, Causa de Atun, Lomo Saltado – $5-10 each
- Hop along to a black market for cheap clothes and DVD’s (Polvos Azules or Gamarra) – FREE
- Hop to Mamacona in Winter on Sundays for a big surprise (trust us, this is not to be missed!) $10-$15
- Go to Las Brisas del Titicaca traditional dance night in Centro (Wed-Sat) – $15-$20
- Spend an evening at Circuito Magico del Agua – amazing light fountain show – $3
- Pachacamac pre-Inca Sanctuary 30 minutes from Lima – FREE with Peru Hop passes
- Spend a night walking around Barranco and see Puente de Los Suspiros – FREE
- Museo Larco – Excellent museum full of history and facts about Peru – $10-$15
- Taxi from airport to Miraflores – approx 30/40 soles – always negotiate price before you get in and make sure it is in SOLES.
- Taxis inside the airport are safer but a lot more expensive, those just outside are a lot cheaper and generally safe.
- In general taxis are cheap, ask hostel reception how much a fare should be and haggle with the driver before you get in.
- Carry small change – many taxis/small shops don’t have change, so try to use small notes/coins.
- Currency Exchange – If you want to change cash then there are many people selling dollars and soles on the streets (almost everywhere in Peru accepts dollars and soles), or of course you can go to one of the local banks.
- Be careful using ATM machines and avoid using them at night where possible.
- Try to avoid bring credit/debit cards out at night, store in lockers at your hostel
- Centro at night can be dangerous – be careful, only day trips recommended and try not to go alone.
- Be aware of pickpockets everywhere you go and NEVER take your passport anywhere unless 100% necessary.
- Listen to our Peru Hop Guides…they will give you all the tips and tricks to ensure your stay in Lima is as fun and safe as possible.