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How to make the most of your time in Lima

With a fascinating colonial past, a thriving culinary scene and a gorgeous coastline, Peru’s bustling capital is so much more than a layover.

Whether you’re coming from the giddying heights of Machu Picchu or the steamy lowlands of the Amazon, one thing’s for certain: Your once-in-a-lifetime Peruvian adventure will include at least a few hours in Lima before you fly out of Peru. This blog takes you through some of the best ways to capitalize on this opportunity to delve further into Peruvian culture.

Iglesia La Ermita in the beachfront suburb of Barranco.

Eat and drink your way around the city on a food tour

Peru has been voted the World's Leading Culinary Destination for five years running, and Lima is the undisputed epicenter of the country’s gastronomic renaissance. Peruvian cuisine has been refined over millennia and the fusion of cultures and variety of local ingredients makes it both unique and exquisite. These highly-rated tours aim to nurture an understanding and appreciation of the culture of Peru by experiencing its food at amazing traditional markets, in swanky gourmet restaurants…and everywhere else in between.

Day tour: This food and city tour incorporates exclusive restaurants, trendy districts, must-see attractions and hands-on activities. Its five stops include a visit to an organic coffee roastery and an exotic fruit tasting as well as a tour at an upscale local market. Loosen up at a pisco tasting, get creative at a hands-on cocktail and ceviche class, and finish off with a gourmet lunch and dessert at a top restaurant overlooking pre-Incan ruins. 09.30 – 14.30.

Ceviche gets a modern makeover in one of Lima’s upmarket eateries.

Night tour: Experience the best Lima has to offer in one action-packed evening. Enjoy a funky beachfront cocktail demo as the sun sets over the Atlantic before learning to make gourmet Amazonian dishes at a secret jungle cooking lesson. Feast on a starlit Peruvian dinner amid the ruins of Huaca Pucllana (an adobe pyramid in central Miraflores) and walk the bohemian streets of the beachside district of Barranco to work up an appetite for the typical Peruvian dessert which brings proceedings to an end. 16.30 – 21.30.

Delve into the past on a fascinating city tour

If you haven’t already spent a day exploring Lima, this is a great chance to discover The City of Kings. Your tour will start at Plaza Mayor, the place where it all began way back in 1535. After taking a bit of time to appreciate the elegant plaza and its evocative palm trees, you’ll be taken to see the ornate architecture of the Presidential Palace, the Archbishop’s Palace and the Lima Cathedral. All three of these buildings are incredible in their own right, but the Moorish motifs of the intricately carved 17th century wooden balcony of the Archbishop’s Palace are truly special.

Plaza San Martin dates back to 1921.

Later, you’ll visit Aliaga House, the oldest family house in the Americas (yes, really) and home to an incredible collection of artefacts, before visiting Saint Francis’ Church with its labyrinthine network of underground catacombs. Finally, you will visit the Larco Museum, the number one Lima attraction on Trip Advisor for as long as anyone can remember, and located inside a vice-regal mansion built atop a pre-Columbian pyramid from the 7th century! The museum harbors a stupefyingly varied collection which showcases 3,000 years of ceramics, textiles and precious metal artifacts. Not to mention a special room devoted to erotic archaeological treasures which has been described as “the Kama Sutra in clay”.

Enjoy dinner at one of Lima’s famous restaurants

If you only have a few hours to spare, we can arrange for you to enjoy dinner at one of the city’s legendary restaurants, which offer world class gourmet cuisine at extremely reasonable prices. Just be warned: it’s not uncommon to have to make reservations months in advance for some places.

Central. This uber-modern take on traditional Peruvian cuisine is the brainchild of Virgilio Martinez, one of Peru’s most up and coming chefs. Currently rated the 5 Open for lunch and dinner.

Maido, the brainchild of Peruvian-born Japanese chef Mitsuharu ‘Micha’ Tsumura, waves the flag for the ultra-hip Peruvian-Japanese fusion food known as Nikkei cuisine. Currently ranked number 8 on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. Open lunch and dinner.

Maido is a feast for all five senses.

Astrid & Gaston. Gaston Acurio’s flagship restaurant put Peruvian cuisine on the global map and it continues to amaze. The ingredients are 100% Peruvian, but the multi-course experience competes with some of the best restaurants in the world. Number 33 on the World’s Best list. Open at 7pm

Rafael. This trendy bistro-style eatery and cocktail lounge is one of nine Lima restaurants to be voted one of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants. Its specialty is a la carte, small plate dishes designed by famous Peruvian chef Rafael Osterling. Open at 8pm.

La Rosa Nautica. For the best ocean views in town, head to this traditional Peruvian restaurant that’s been serving up local and international favorites since 1983. Open all day.

In recent years Lima has become a global culinary force to be reckoned with.

Your Destination Expert will coordinate a dinner-only transfer which saves you the hassle of having to put your luggage in storage…And is a darn sight more satisfying than the Starbucks at the airport!

Still not sold? Try these other options…

Speak to your Destination Expert about adding any of the following to your itinerary…

  • Feeling cooped up? Rent a bike and cycle along the seaside promenade.

  • Adrenaline junky? Enjoy unparalleled views of the Costa Verde on a tandem-paragliding flight.

  • Don’t feel like a tour? Take a cab to Miraflores or Barranco to explore on your own time.

  • Got kids? Check out the amazing

    water and lights show at the Parque de la Reserva


Check out the graffiti in bohemian Barranco.

As you can see there’s enough going on in Lima to fill a week’s exploration. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have an incredible time in just a few hours…

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