Lima is the Capital of Peru and one of the biggest cities in South America. It has many incredible things to do and see. Honestly, a few hours is not enough but if that is what you have I will give you an idea of what Lima is about so you can choose what you would rather do.
Lima is a coastal city with a spectacular view of the Pacific ocean. Although on the coast, the city is located in the desert area of Peru. Remember – and this is something every Peruvian will tell you – that Peru’s geography is divided into Jungle, Highlands, and Coast.
What is Lima, Peru Known For?
Lima was called the City of the Kings. It is the third worlds largest City in the world. Lima’s population is more than 9 million, so is the most populated city of Peru. This is due to the migration phenomenon that happened during the Shining Path movement. That created a sense of insecurity and terror in the other cities, and people migrated to the Capital.
Lima was founded by the Spanish, who invaded Peru and designed Lima as the Capital of Viceroyalty of Peru. In the 17th Century, there was a strong presence of pirates, and walls were build to protect Lima. Calling it “La Ciudad Amurallada”. Remains of the wall can still be found at “La Muralla Park” located on Rimac. It is amazing to see how some of the walls still remain.
Is Lima, Peru Safe to Visit?
Any common precaution taken in any big city is recommended. While Lima has recovered from the terrorism time during Shining Path attacks from 1970-90, there has been an increase in common crime. The perception of security varies in different suburban areas. Areas that feel more secure are Miraflores, San Isidro, San Borja, Jesus Maria, and La Molina districts among others are very different compared to Rimac, San Juan de Miraflores, San Juan de Lurigancho, Villa El Salvador, Comas, Ate, and El Agustino. However, I was robbed in a taxi ride in La Molina, a very upscale area. My lesson is to be aware of and always take precautions.
I recommend you take official taxis, Uber and Lyft. These are new systems that work in Peru and give the perception of security. I have used and it has been good, however, there have been many complains about the security of these services. Official taxi services can be found inside the airport stands – not outside – take their cars for taxi services. Although is more expensive it can be safer.
Also, you need to know that even though the police are funded by the government, every district funds its own police community called “Serenazgo”. Its effectiveness varies according to the district, but they are still someone else you can rely on your security.
However, it is important to never to forget safety precautions in obvious situations like when withdrawing money. Credit cards are being cloned everywhere in the world. Check your surroundings when withdrawing. Criminals can be watching you and if they see a big amount of money they could follow you. We always check the U.S. Government State Department Travel Advisories for the country we are visiting, before traveling. Here it is for Peru!
Lima Peru Weather, Summer and Winter:
As mentioned, Lima is in an arid desert but it is humid, and never really has any heavy precipitation. The range of temperatures goes from 54F(12 C) to 84F (29 C) on average.
During winter time there is heavy fog that covers the city during the months of June to September. So if you ask yourself if does ever rain in Lima, Peru? The answer is no, hardly ever, but there can be a pretty good mist from time to time during the winter. It does feel humid and cold. So if you travel during winter months make sure to bring layers. It does, however, rain in the highland and jungle.
The summertime is humid and temperatures can range from 64F (17C) to 84 F (29 C). There can be drizzle in the mornings and then temperatures go up. In recent years it has been increasing with the heat sensation getting warmer and warmer. Limeños are complaining that it’s getting too hot. Most of the buildings in Lima Peru have no air conditioning (or heat, for that matter).
Lima Peru, Altitude:
Lima is located in the desert with subtropical temperatures. Is located by the Valley of Chillon, Rimac and Lurin Rivers. Lima has an altitude of about 500 feet above sea level. So, while in Lima you don’t need to worry about the altitude as you will in Cusco where the altitude is 11,152 feet (3,399m) above sea level, which is higher than Machu Picchu itself!
Best Places in Lima for Families
You may want to check out my 13 Top things to do in Lima with kids. Whether your layover lasts 5 hours or 12 hours, this is a list of best places in Lima for families and also for adults. Places may be family friendly but that doesn’t mean it won’t be interesting for Adults as well. Choose from the list and go to wherever is more apeling to you.
For ideas on how to spend hours in Lima check these places that you can visit:
- Plaza de Armas – Plaza mayor, Government Palace, Chocolate Museum
- Monastery of San Francisco and Catacombs
- Precolumbian art at Lima Art Museum
- Magic Water Circuit
More ideas for families in Lima
Hotels in Lima Peru
There are many options in hotels according to your budget from backpacking hostels to 5-star hotels. The popular districts where the best hotels are Miraflores, San Isidro, and Jesus Maria. La Molina and San Borja are nice districts but a bit farther from Lima main attractions.
Miraflores is one of our favorites in Lima with kids. Since Malecon de Miraflores is a very family friendly area with amazing ocean views and many green open spaces kids can run, ride bikes, play at the skate park. Also, don’t forget all the great restaurants all around that area.
San Isidro district is another family-friendly area with Conquistadores Ave. that posses some great places to eat.
What is a Good Way to Spend a Day in Lima, Peru?
If you have a day to spend in Lima, you’re probably wondering what you should do. Depending upon whether you have kids or not, start your morning visiting Larco Mar and Malecon Cisneros. Then go Lima Centro, the downtown area, visit Plaza de Armas and San Francisco Monastery where you can find one of the few Catacombs in the world. Stop by Chocomuseo if you like sweets and buy some souvenir. Good prices on that area for sure!
If you visit Lima Peru with kids don’t miss the Magic Water Park. The laser show starts in the evening, so your day can end with this magic note.
Fun Things to do in Lima Peru in Winter and Summer
Winter can be fun in Lima Peru but expect lots of foggy days. Especially in Miraflores because of its proximity to the ocean. During winter you can visit some warm areas like Lima Center Downtown, Government Palace, Cathedral, San Francisco Catacombs. Visit the Hippodrome and the Lima Art Museum. These are the most interesting sights to see in Lima, Peru. Also, during winter days the Magic water park is great to visit since you can watch the show without getting wet.
However, this laser show is a must-see during summer times when you’ll want to get wet. It is truly a world-class show, but it can be crowded with locals so it should be a great cultural experience. And of course, Miraflores with its Malecon during the summer is great, you can get amazing Ocean views from its different restaurants. El Callao district during the summer is a beautiful place to stroll and visit the Maritime Museum and its Real Felipe Fort. Do not miss a great Ceviche with fresh fish from their many restaurants.
Lima Peru, Peruvian Airport
Jorge Chavez airport is the main airport in Lima, Peru and it is located on Callao District. It usually takes about 45 minutes to go from there to Miraflores or San Isidro the main Districts where visitors stay. The Plaza shopping is located after the immigration area in the terminal you walk through it when you exit.
Inside the airport, you find the hotel Wyndham Costa del Sol by the Control Tower. It is recommended to take taxis from inside the airport for security reasons. Avoid a bad welcome and use common sense when in Lima.
What Are Some Tips for Visiting Peru?
- Pack light the trips inside the country can charge per luggage a great layer amount.
- Bring layers for different types of weather, especially if you are visiting different cities, Peruvian’s Cities due to their geography have different climates.
- Always get the water bottle and make sure you eat cooked vegetables.
- Be ready to get surprised with the food, it is good but it can bring stomach issues so bring basic medication like Tums, Pepto-Bismol, etc. In Peru, try going to a farmacia and asking for Plidan – it’s a miracle medicine! Luckily you usually don’t need a prescription for antibiotics. There are many pharmacies but with basic medication.
- People are friendly and like to help. They will tell you where not to go.
- There is a lot of noises. Is a big City with people who loves to hear loud songs all day long, so if you are noise sensitive don’t forget your earplugs.
- Learn some basic Spanish or sign up for an immersion school program while there, that won’t take the much time.
- Bring along your iPhone and download Google translator to translate in real time. Get a data plan for your phone so you can use the google translated.
- Get a credit card traveling plan and inform your bank that you are traveling.
What’s the Best Way to Get to Machu Picchu from Lima?
You can get to Machu Picchu from Lima by bus or airplane. Find the details in how to do it in how to get from Lima to Machu Picchu with kids.
Peruvian Cuisine -Lima Restaurant-National Dish
It depends on what you want to eat – Peru is a culinary destination. You can find great places to eat solo, for a date and family friendly.
Most of the time my kids love Salchipapa, a traditional dish made of simple French fries and a hot dog, also the Peruvian Pollo a la Brasa that is basically roasted chicken but with amazing Peruvian spaciest.
Your kids and yourself would like to try some Lucuma ice cream. There are much artisanal ice cream in Peru with great flavors like Lucuma (a Peruvian fruit) guava, chirimoya, Aguamarina, Camu among others.
For food and shows my favorite is Brisas del Titicaca. Food won’t blow you away but the show is amazing.
Good food coupled with a view don’t miss Rosa Náutica pricey but the best view and amazing Pisco Sour and food it is pretty good.
For seafood try to visit El Callao “Cevicherias” where you can find dishes with fresh yummy food.
I hope all this is helpful and you enjoy Lima as much as I do! feel free to contact me if you have any question.