Why do the 2 Idiots recommend Lima, Peru?
We found Lima to be fantastic from a cultural point of view. We loved the cosmopolitan feel of the place, the cafes and museums, the history, as well as the food and drink.
Where We Stayed
We stayed in an Airbnb in Miraflores, which is a toney district. It was within walking distance of a lot of restaurants and things to do. Plus, Miraflores has great nightlife and an abundance of parks. We personally enjoyed Kennedy Park—as did our son.
The Ideal Itinerary
- Explore downtown Lima (historic center of Lima) with free walking tour.
- Walk on Miraflores boardwalk in the evening during sunset (from lighthouse to Larcomar mall)
- Add: Explore Museo Larco during the day/have lunch in their gardens.
- Add: Go to Circuito Magico Del Agua in the evening/night
- Add: Day tour of Pachacamac.
- Add: Explore Barranco in the evening during sunset
- Add: Day trip to Isla San Lorenzo and Palomino Islands.
- Add: Explore Bario Chino in the evening.
Day 1: Downtown Walking Tour and Miraflores Boardwalk
- The first thing we did was go on a great walking tour, which we found on Trip Advisor (it was free, but we recommend tipping your guide!).
- The tour took us to Downtown Lima and it included a bus ride (we had to pay for this). It was great to experience local transportation.
- The tour let us see the Changing of the Guard at the Presidential Palace. It helped us develop an understanding of Lima’s history.
- We recommend grabbing lunch in Downtown Lima and then taking a siesta, so you are ready to get back out into the city and experience Lima at night.
- The Miraflores Boardwalk is great to go to in the evening; the entire area was very lively.
- We recommend that you start at the Lighthouse and walk towards the mall on the Boardwalk. This will take 45 minutes if you do it at a nice pace. If you have the chance, make sure you time it so you can see the sunset.
Day 2: Museo Larco and Circuito Magico Del Agua
- We started our day by going to Museo Larco, which is the #1 ranked place to visit on Trip Advisor.
- When you are at the museum, make sure you check out its amazing gardens. You can let your kids run around in the gardens and burn some energy.
- The museum is broken up into two parts; one addresses Peruvian civilization itself and the other is for adults. It’s an erotic art gallery that may be considered pornographic to some.
- We recommend spending 2-3 hours at the museum and then heading back into the gardens and having lunch. They have a great café there—get a pisco sour.
- Another outing we planned was to Circuito Magico Del Agua; we wrote a post all about it. Circuito Magico Del Agua is a magical water fountain park just outside Miraflores—and while we have seen other fountain parks, this is one of our all-time favorites.
Day 3: Pachacamac and an Evening in Barranco
- On your third day, we recommend that you go to Pachcamac, located about an hour and a half outside Lima. This is an ancient excavation site where the Incas used to live in great numbers—but it is also an active archaeological dig. Check out details on it here.
- Once you return in the evening, go to Barranco. It features a lot of quirky and unique art installations and street art. There is a beautiful church called Iglesia La Ermita de Barranco and plenty of restaurants and bars.
- The area is right on the beach, so you can get a great view of the sunset if you time it right. You can take a walking tour of Barranco with a guide; we opted to explore it by ourselves.
Day 4: Day Trip to Isla San Lorenzo and Palomino Islands and an evening in Bario Chino
- There are a series of islands called Isla San Lorenzo and the Palomino Islands off the coast. These islands have some incredible natural spaces to experience. If you are comfortable enough, it is also possible to swim and snorkel in the water, where you will find sea lions.
- Just remember, it’s the Pacific Ocean, so the water is going to be cold and rough because of the Humboldt Current. Be careful if you are traveling with a child.
- In the evening, visit Bario Chino, i.e. Chinatown. You can shop for “touristy” gift and visit many great restaurants.
- We recommend using a stroller so your child doesn’t get too tired—it will be easy to navigate on Lima streets. Our recommended stroller worked well.
- The people are incredibly friendly—no one will freak out if your kid is running around or if you have them in a restaurant. It’s a kid-centric culture.
- Dinner is served late. Many places probably won’t begin serving 8 p.m. which might be your kid’s bedtime. We recommend adjusting your child’s bedtime to get the most out of your trip.
- Pertaining to nightlife, there are many bars and “chill spots” where it’s fine to bring your children inside.
- If you stay at an Airbnb, ask your host if they can assist with booking a babysitter. Ours did and it let us to spend some adult time out on the town. Of course, always go with your instinct here.
- Lima has 3 of the top restaurants worldwide; Astrid Y Gaston, Central Restaurante, and Maido. If you want to upgrade your visit and can plan in advance, get a reservation. Just make sure that the restaurant is okay with having screaming toddlers present who are not interested in fancy food.
- We took Uber everywhere and it worked great. Make sure you have a data plan on your phone that will work.
- Lima has tons of restaurants. It’s easy to go from eating at a hole-in-the-wall Peruvian joint to a Michelin-starred restaurant. We loved venturing into the fun, trendy cafes in Miraflores for the coffee alone, and we uncovered a little dive that didn’t even have a menu; you were served whatever they had that day. Just look for places where Peruvians eat.
- Make sure you try pisco—the national drink. One of the most popular cocktails is the pisco sour, which is comprised of pisco, lime juice, simple syrup, ice, egg white, and Angostura bitters.
- Know that Lima is a big city, so be strategic about where you decide to stay and what you want to see. If you don’t, you will spend a lot of time in traffic.
- During our walking tour, our guide noted some catacombs under the Church of San Francisco. We didn’t end up doing this because of lack of time but if have time you might want to check it out.
- The 2 Idiots blog post on Pachamac, Lima, Peru
- The 2 Idiots blog post on Magico Circuito Del Agua, Lima, Peru
- Link to free walking tour of Lima, Peru
- Travel stroller recommendation: gb Pockit Stroller