From the moment you see Lima, the capital of Peru on a map, you can already appreciate its extensive beaches and beautiful parks. It’s a city where you can enjoy great sunsets, green areas, but above all, deep history and culture. Like any large city—the fifth most populated in South America—it has loads to see and a lot of territories to cover. However, you should know that each of its neighborhoods has its own special vibe and memorable places to visit. Let’s have a look at six of the most inviting ones in Peru’s vibrant capital:
Seaside sights and restaurants in Miraflores
Miraflores is sometimes referred to as the gateway to Lima. It’s one of the most touristy districts, making it the perfect place to stay in a Lima hotel when visiting. There is a little bit of everything, from pre-Hispanic ruins to luxurious restaurants and shopping malls, always with a special Peruvian touch.
Huaca Pucllana is an archaeological site of the Lima culture. These ancient ruins contrast with the restaurants and parks around it since it’s located in the middle of the city. On the other hand, there is the Larcomar shopping mall with luxurious restaurants and the Costa Verde malecon or boardwalk, where you can admire the maritime landscape and the city skyline. A stroll in Kennedy Park offers art views by local artists, as well as street desserts such as picarones and mazamorra morada.
Cercado de Lima, the historic center
To learn about the history and culture of Lima, this neighborhood is the best place to start. The Plaza Mayor is the main square, where the Municipal Palace of Lima and the Government Palace of Peru are located. The Cathedral of Lima is in this same square along with the Archbishop’s Palace which can be visited along with a museum of religious art.
To the east of the district is the Basilica and Convent of San Francisco de Lima, another of the most important religious temples. You can visit the catacombs that were once a cemetery, and some sections are intentionally decorated with human bones. However, what distinguishes this district are the famous balconies of Lima. There are many types and were built in the viceregal era. They became a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO in the nineteen nineties, so today they seek to maintain them for their historical beauty as they are part of the culture of the city.
Culture and museums in Pueblo Libre
This neighborhood is home to one of the most important museums in Lima. The Larco Museum has as its main exhibit more than ten thousand years of pre-Columbian history of Peru. The main archeological pieces and artifacts that were found in Machu Picchu and other sites are now exhibited in this museum. Other important permanent exhibits of the museum are the gold and silver pieces, and the erotic gallery with pre-Hispanic clay pieces with erotic themes. The gardens are also an important part of this museum and worth visiting.
In Peru you should not miss the chance to enjoy pisco, and the Taberna Queirolo in Pueblo Libre is the best place to do so. It opened in 1880, making it one of the oldest in the city still in operation. It’s one of the best places to try this traditional Peruvian drink, besides being a historic place in itsel
Barranco, the best art and nightlife
Historically, the district of Barranco was first inhabited by fishermen. Eventually it became a place of big houses, trendy restaurants and Lima hotels. It’s located at the top of a cliff and has become Lima’s cool bohemian neighborhood.
Barranco is a place with plenty of easy-walking streets where you can find bars, restaurants, and nightlife to enjoy. You can surf on the beaches in this area while enjoying the street art and impressive murals. Ceviche, one of Peru’s most important dishes, is typical of this area and where it’s most recommended to try it.
Parks, biking, and golfing in San Isidro
San Isidro is one of Lima’s safest neighborhoods, housing the financial district, embassies, and large buildings. The Olivar Park—ten hectares in size with over a thousand olive trees—is one of the main attractions, as well as the Lima Golf Club.
Being an area full of parks, San Isidro is a place where you can spend a safe time with the family, either walking or biking. The malecon in this area is very safe and feels away from the city, being another ideal place to enjoy outdoor activities.
Surquillo, a place for produce, markets, and street food
This neighborhood is located directly south of Miraflores. Although the southern part is purely residential, the northern part is full of markets. Here you can find the best local Peruvian food, from typical dishes and street food to stalls where Lima’s best chefs come for the freshest produce. The most recommended street food are the picarones and the beef heart skewers called anticuchos.