Welcome budding Peruvian explorers to part 2 of my Lima survival guide! After beginning to write this guide, I discovered there was just far too much to include in just one post so I’ve split it into two easily digestible chunks! Part one includes general tips, places to eat, accommodation recommendations and advice of getting around. Check it out here, if you haven’t already! In this post, I’m going to get into the fun stuff, how best to spend your time exploring Peru’s capital! Stuck for things to do in Lima? Baby-vet’s got you covered!
Check out theses posts for more adventure inspiration…
FREE WALKING TOUR
An absolute must in Lima, like in any big city is to go on a free walking tour. It’s the easiest way to learn a few local hidden gems and get your bearings in a big city. If you’re staying in Miraflores or Barranco it also acts as a chaperone service for using the public transport for the first time – we felt much more confident getting into old town after having been shown first. We went with a company called Inkan Milky Way Tours and would definitely recommend them, they were friendly, fun and informative – the perfect recipe for a tour company. My advice would be to do this on your first day, the tour was really interesting and took us around many of the main sites in old town Lima while giving us some local titbits of useful knowledge. It definitely set us up well for the following few days of solo exploration! Cost – Bus fare (2.50 soles) and tip for the guide (10 soles per person is a guide price)
EXPLORE THE CATACOMBS OF BASILICA DE SAN FRANCISCO
This beautiful old church has an abundance of skeletons in its closet and is both creepy and cool all wrapped into one! It was the burial site to over 70,000 of Lima’s residents which are perfectly preserved in the maze of catacombs beneath the city. Take a guided tour through the bone-lined mass-grave and for those brave enough, there is even a night-time entry for those who really want to give themselves the shivers. This truly is a must-see in my books as I had never seen anything like it! Cost – 15 Soles entry which includes a guided tour
PLAY IN THE FOUNTAINS AT CIRCUITO MAGICO DEL AGUA
The Circuito Magico Del Agua at the Parque de la Reserva is a fun and unique experience to be had in the capital. The wild and extravagant illuminations scattered around the park amongst the street food vendors give it a very fairground-esque atmosphere. This place is a must for keen photographers and Instagrammers amongst us as you can get some terrific shots, so bring your silhouette A-game! And, if you can brave the cold water you can join the fun of darting in and out the timed fountains trying to avoid a soaking! There is also a musical showcase, which follows Peru through the ages ( with a few well known and totally unrelated ABBA hits thrown in) what more could you want – an evening’s entertainment for under £1!? Cost – 4 Soles
FIND PADDINGTON IN MIRAFLORES
Exploring the Miraflores boardwalk is a great free activity if, like us, you are on a budget. The park is beautiful and stretches the length of the coast, providing some breathtaking views, despite Lima’s sometimes gloomy cloud cover. It is a lovely, flat walk ( a welcome break from the MANY uphill inclines you will experience throughout Peru) and you can appreciate the pristine flower beds, the numerous artistic sculptures ( including the well-known El Beso of two lovers in an intimate embrace), and of course go on a hunt for Peru’s most famous bear, Paddington. This wander is great for a day of chilled exploration and fabulous photo taking and if you’re staying in Miraflores I would definitely check it out! Cost – Free!
CUDDLE THE CATS AT PARQUE KENNEDY
Yet another free activity for the thrifty traveller and a big draw for any animal lovers like myself. Here you can sit in a beautiful park filled with exotic plants and find a cooperative cat to be-friend. I was amazed how friendly the cats were and the bizarre way they seem to flock to this park to snuggle up in the flowerbeds for a snooze and greet the passers-by for a snack and a scratch! It’s definitely a great way to spend the afternoon if you are looking for a place to wind down. Cost – Free!
GIGGLE AT THE EROTIC POTTERY AT MUSEO LARCO
This is a great museum for the history buffs and those eager to learn more about the Inca and pre-Incan cultures. It’s famed for its abundant selection of erotic paraphernalia but other than this slightly more eyebrow-raising section, it is a really well thought out museum. The only down-side in my opinion was it’s rather awkward to get to. This is an unavoidable taxi fare unfortunately, so try and get a group together to share the cost. But, it’s definitely a worthwhile visit if you have a few days to kill in Lima. Cost – 30 Soles plus taxi fare
SWIM WITH SEALIONS AT THE PALOMINO ISLANDS
So with a trip planned to the Galapagos later on our adventure and in an attempt to have some self-restraint (of which I have little where animals are concerned), we decided to give this magical experience a miss but for any self-professed animal-lover, this right here is holiday activity gold!! From Lima you can take a trip to the Palomino Islands and swim, yes you read correctly SWIM with sealions!!!! This daily tour takes you by boat to see some fantastic Peruvian wildlife and at the end of your excursion you get to hop overboard and get up-close and personal with these beautiful creatures. There are of course some strict house-keeping rules with a strict ‘look but don’t touch’ policy and the interaction is very much on the animal’s terms, but that is, as always, how it should be! You’ll want your Go Pros at the ready for this one! Cost – around 230 Soles depending on the company
TRY YOUR HAND AT SURFING
As we were heading to warmer seaside climates later in our journey, we decided to give the surfing a miss, but if we hadn’t had other opportunities later on, I’d have most definitely been straight in the water here! Many hostels offer lessons and rent boards at rock bottom prices and there are reports of some wicked surf in this area. It’s definitely something to try if you fancy yourself as a bit of a water-baby! Cost – Variable, around 70 Soles
EXPLORE HUACA PUCLLANA
A walkable distance from Miraflores sits one of the city’s most bizarre spectacles. In amongst the high-rises, bumper to bumper traffic and the mod cons of a capital city sits a gargantuan mud brick steppe pyramid. It was bizarre and astonishingly well preserved considering the storms, seiges and earthquakes it’s weathered to remain standing for all to see in the 21st century. On the hour long guided tour you can absorb the interesting history of the pre-Incan cultures and meet some of Peru’s peculiar “naked dogs” ( they look like something straight out of a horror movie). It’s not the most beautiful piece of ancient architecture in Peru but it’s most certainly still impressive! Cost – 12 Soles
PARAGLIDE OVER THE SHEER CLIFFS OF LIMA’S COASTLINE
For the adrenaline junkies amongst us, this may just tickle your fancy! Lima has an active paragliding community which you can be a part of if you hand over a few soles. It’s one of the more expensive activities in Lima and with a long three months of budget travelling ahead of us, we decided to give it a miss. It’s an activity which is still well and truly on my bucket list though! We saw many an exhilarated tourist gliding above the coastline and it looked like an amazing experience, definitely one to try if your budget can stretch to it! Cost – Around 260 Soles.
So hopefully this post has given you a few things to put on your Lima ‘To Do List’ and I hope this has inspired and excited you ready for your next adventure. I love hearing from you all so feel free to get in touch with any questions or to share your own travel experiences!