Lima is a must stop on a trip to Perú, not only for being its capital city but for the variety of places to visit. If you are planning your trip to the Peruvian capital, this post will help you know what things to do in Lima in 3 days.
Lima was the first and last stop of my 2 weeks trip to Perú and I have to admit it’s a city I loved. Lima is a city full of contrasts where you can find both modern and historical areas.
How to get to Lima
Lima is home to the Jorge Chavez International Airport which you can reach from any other capital city of the world. Local flights from cities like as Cusco, Arequipa, Iquitos, etc. also arrive at this same airport.
HOW TO GO FROM THE AIRPORT TO THE CENTER OF LIMA: Lima Airport is located about 20 km from the center but the traffic in this city is quite chaotic so remember to leave your hotel with plenty of time before your flight. Some options to get from the airport to the center of Lima are:
- Taxi: The easiest option is to take a taxi. Just as you step out of the airport you will see plenty of taxi drivers offering to take you. Honestly, I don’t recommend taking a taxi at the airport as they charge you whatever they want.
- Uber: Another option that is usually cheaper than taxi is to take an Uber. Lima airport has wifi so you can order the car before you leave.
- Quick Llama: this is a shared van service. It’s the option I chose and recommend it for the price (35 soles for two people) but not for comfort. We had to wait for everyone else in the van to be left at their hotels and the trip became really long. Besides that we had a little problem with the payment as they didn’t want to accept coins! They wanted us to pay with the right amount (because they didn’t give back change), and the only way we had to get to the amount was with notes + coins.
- Private transfer: the most convenient way so you don’t have to worry about anything is to book this transfer to and from the airport.
How to get around in Lima
Lima is a very big city with chaotic traffic. I only used two transports during time in Lima which were taxis or Ubers and the Metropolitano. Many local people suggested me to always order an Uber or hotel taxis, and never stop a taxi on the street because they take advantage of the tourist and are not safe.
- Metropolitano: The Metropolitano is a bus system with exclusive lines that runs part of the city. To use it you need to get a card that is purchased at any station. It costs 5 soles and you recharge it with cash or card at any station. Multiple people can travel with one card. I used the Metropolitan and I found it very good and cheap. However, avoid taking it at rush hour because it’s crazy.
Accommodation in Lima
The neighborhood with the most accommodation offer is Miraflores. In this area you will also find several places to visit and restaurants. It is the most beautiful and modern area of Lima. Other neighborhoods that are also recommended for staying for the safety and availability of hotels are: Barranco, San Isidro and the historic center.
- Hotel El Carmelo Miraflores USD$35-45/night: A budget hotel located a few blocks from the Miraflores boardwalk. Book El Carmel here
- Ibis Lima Reducto Miraflores USD$40-60/night: I stayed one night at this hotel and recommend it. Spacious rooms, very nice common areas and super full breakfast. It is located meters from a Metropolitano station. Book the Ibis here
- Courtyard Marriott Miraflores USD$100-160/night: A very beautiful hotel located in the heart of Miraflores. I was here two nights and loved it: read my complete review of the hotel. Book the Courtyard here
Things to do in Lima in 3 days
Lima is full of things to do and places to visit, I would totally like to spend weeks in this city. This is a complete itinerary on things to do in Lima in 3 days and I’ve also added some extra activities you can do.
DAY 1: MIRAFLORES
The best thing you can do on the first day is to leave your luggage and go out to walk around Miraflores district. It’s a beautiful neighborhood that borders the Pacific Ocean where you’ll find plenty of perfectly manicured parks, restaurants and shops. Some things you can’t miss in Miraflores are:
- Faro de la Marina: a lighthouse built in 1900 that is located in a very beautiful park overlooking the sea. There is a myth that tells lighthouse was built by Gustave Eiffel, the same creator of the Eiffel Tower.
- Parque del Amor: a park with Gaudí-style tiles overlooking the cliffs of Lima. In the park you will find Victor Delfín’s sculpture called The Kiss. Parque del Amor is the ideal spot to watch the sunset in Lima.
- Larcomar Shopping Center: Larcomar is a shopping center located on the coast. It’s a good option to stop for coffee, use the bathroom or watch the paragliders fly over the ocean.
- Paragliding: For those who dare, paragliding over Lima’s cliffs is one of the most popular activities in Miraflores.
DAY 2: HISTORIC CENTER + PARQUE DE LA RESERVA
On the second day you can take a trip in the history of Lima and get to know its colonial past by visiting the Cercado de Lima, where the oldest buildings of the city are located. If you prefer you can take a panoramic bus tour to see the center.
- Plaza de Armas de Lima: The plaza mayor or Plaza de Armas de Lima is the founding site of the city. Around the square you will see the most historic buildings and you can notice the colonial style with its wooden balconies.
- Lima Cathedral: The cathedral was built where a place of worship of the Incas was located. Inside the cathedral is the tomb of Francisco Pizarro, founder of the city.
- San Francisco convent: it is one of the most beautiful buildings on the outside and on the inside you find the catacombs (old cemetery in colonial times) which can be visited.
- Plaza San Martín: Another of the squares in the center of Lima is Plaza San Martín, where the statue of the liberator José de San Martín is located.
In the afternoon you can Parque de la Reserva to see the spectacle of water and lights in the Magic Water Circuit. It’s a huge park with interactive water fountains, ideal if you’re traveling with kids.
The park is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 15h to 22:30 hs. Water shows start at 19:15h, 20:15h and 21:30 hs. The entrance fee is 4 soles (USD$1.2).
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DAY 3: BARRANCO
To finish your visit in Lima, the 3rd day you will visit Barranco, a bohemian neighborhood with big houses, art galleries, street art and colonial buildings. It is also a place where you will find many restaurants and food on the go. We had lunch at El Chinito, a historic sanguchería in Lima.
Be sure to visit Puente de los suspiros (Bridge of sighs)and all the murals that surround this area.
- MATE Museum: In Barranco you can also visit the Mario Testino Museum offering contemporary art and photography exhibitions. More info on the museum’s official website.
Other things to do in Lima
- Visit Callao:
Callao is the neighborhood where the old port of Lima and the airport are located. It is one of the most authentic places in the city and it is starting to become a place visited by tourists because of its murals, restaurants and art galleries. In Callao you can also visit the Fortaleza del Real Felipe, built in the eighteenth century to defend the port and the city of Lima from pirates and corsairs during colonial times.
Important: Callao is not a very touristic area and many locals told us that it can be dangerous to walk around, so do not leave the “tourist route” and stay in the areas where there are shops and people. I recommend walking only around what in google maps is marked as Callao Monumental.
- Huaca Pucllana: an archaeological site that belonged to the Lima Culture between 200 and 700 A.D. More information on the official website.
- Larco Museum: a museum where you find exhibitions on the history of pre-Columbian Peru. More info on the museum’s official website.
- Bike tour of Barranco and Miraflores: A different way to explore these neighborhoods is to take this 3 hour bike tour.
- Free tour of Lima: If you want to have a general view about the history of the city, I recommend you take this free tour of Lima.
Where to eat in Lima
They say Peruvian food is one of the best foods in the world and Lima is an excellent place to try it. In the city you will find some of the most famous restaurants such as Astrid & Gastón, La Mar, Central or Amaz. These are two restaurants where I had dinner and recommend them both. They are located in Miraflores: Barra Maretazo and Ache Sushi Wok Nikkei.
I hope that this article about what to do in Lima in 3 days has been useful when planning your trip. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comment section!
Other useful posts:
- 2 weeks in Perú Itinerary
- Rainbow Mountain tour from Cusco
- Huacachina sandboarding and buggies tour
- Taking the Vistadome train to Machu Picchu
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