7 reasons why Lima is totally underrated

7 reasons why Lima, the capital of Peru, is the most underrated city in South America. #Travel

Lima Peru

When I was planning my trip to Peru, people told me that I shouldn’t bother with Lima. I was told that it was just a grey, uninteresting city and that spending more than one night there would be a waste.

But after spending 36 hours in Lima, all I wanted to do was stay and explore more. I loved the architecture, energy and food that the city has to offer, and there was so much that I had yet to see!

Here are a few reasons why you shouldn’t leave Lima out of your Peru itinerary.

 

Its historic centre is beautiful

Lima’s historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it’s easy to see why. It’s filled with so many colourful examples of colonial architecture, the most significant being the Convent of San Francisco (with its bone-lined catacombs!). It’s hard not to love the bright yellow buildings of Plaza Mayor or the gorgeous pink walls of the old Central Post Office.

 

Barranco, Lima, Peru

It also has a bohemian neighbourhood

Barranco is always described as being Lima’s bohemian neighbourhood. This is the place to hunt for cool street art or enjoy a free outdoor concert.

Don’t miss the romantic Bridge of Sighs (Puente de los Suspiros), a great place to catch the sunset. If you like photography, pay a visit to Peruvian photographer Mario Testino’s MATE museum.

 

punto azul lima

It has some of the best food in the world

Lima is the foodie capital of South America. It has three restaurants in ‘The World’s 50 Best Restaurants‘ list, or the same number as London or New York.

Its location also makes Lima the ideal place to try fresh ceviche. A local told me that you should only have ceviche by the coast and never after 4pm, otherwise it’s not fresh enough. Fine by me! I loved our lunch at Punto Azul (pictured above) on our last day.

To combine food and sightseeing, head to the archeological site of Huaca Pucllana for dinner with a view on 1,500 year old ruins. There are also plenty of great food tours available in the city which I sadly didn’t have the time to try.

 

Miraflores, Lima, Peru

It’s always warm

If you look at the average temperatures in Lima you’ll notice that they’re never very far from 20°C – which is perfect if you ask me! The coldest month is August when the average low is 15°C and the average high is 19°C. (London is jealous!)

Don’t underestimate the Peruvian sun – you’ll end up with red shoulders like I did on my first day 🙁

 

Surfers Lima Peru

You can paraglide from its seaside cliffs and surf the waves of the Pacific Ocean…

Or in my case, watch from a distance! Now, I’m not going to pretend I know anything about surfing, so check out WannaSurf to find out where the best surfing spots are in Lima. For paragliding, try Aeroextreme – it has great reviews and they will fly you over Miraflores or Pachacamac.

 

sea lions Peru

… and you can even swim with sea lions

Head to the Palomino Islands to see penguins and swim with curious sea lions. I so regret not doing this! Thankfully I got to see these gorgeous animals in Paracas, the next stop on my Peruvian itinerary.

 

dancing Lima Peru

You can dance the night (and day) away

Go to Parque Kennedy in Miraflores in the late afternoon and you’ll probably spot a crowd of locals gathering around an amphitheatre to watch people dance. It made me smile to see young couples dance to the music while old ladies enjoyed chatting and watching the crowd!

A local that I met on my walk around Miraflores was surprised when I said that I don’t really go dancing very often in London. He thought everyone danced salsa on a Saturday night!

 

Have you been to Peru? What do you think of Lima?

P.S. If you’re going to be travelling by bus, check out my review of Peru Hop. If you’re looking for a hostel in Lima, I’d recommend Pariwana in Miraflores.

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  • Victoria J. Yore

    Oh my gosh!!!! This is so timely! I’m heading to Peru on Sunday and staying in Lima for five days! Thanks for sharing!

  • Paige Brown

    I’m really bummed that I didn’t give Lima the change I should have when I was in Peru. We were there a little over a day post-Inca Trail and all I wanted to do was veg, but we did go to the coast, which was absolutely stunning! I’ll just have to go back, I suppose…

    • It’s always good to keep something to go back for! I want to go further North next time I go to Peru, and also spend some time in the jungle.

  • Wait, you can swim with the sea lions??? Those rocks look a bit sketchy, but that is so cool if you can do that. We would love to visit Peru! Someday soon, hopefully.

    • Yes you can!! Sadly I didn’t get to do that because I only found out after my trip. (The picture is from Paracas, further South)

  • If there was ever a post to vouch for Lima, I think yours sure did the trick! People gave me similar advice about Lima when I traveled to Cusco in 2012 but after seeing your photos, I deeply regret missing out on the fun. And ceviche is my faaaaavorite South American dish so I’m seriously bummed that I missed out on the world’s best offering of said dish!

    • Ceviche is the best!! It’s a shame you didn’t get to enjoy Lima but it’s always good to have a reason to go back, right?

  • I love ceviche and it is recommended to eat on the Peruvian coast, because the fish is fresh and that makes the ceviche better than in other parts of Peru. And it’s great to eat when you go out after surfing in Lima

  • great photos!