In this article, I will share with you our itinerary for 2 days in Lima, featuring some of the best things to do in Lima in 2 days, such as the historic city centre, Miraflores, Larcomar, Lima beach, Barranco and more!
We visited Lima as part of our 16-day trip around South America, starting in Peru, then heading to Bolivia, spending a week in Ecuador and going back to London through Lima and Bogota. Unfortunately, in both our jobs, we are not allowed to take more than 2 weeks off at once, so we tried to visit as much as possible in South America during this trip. Even though we only spent 5 days in Peru, I feel like we managed to see a lot and enjoy our time in this beautiful country. In this article, I would like to focus on Lima.
This post's overview:
- 1 Our overall impressions of Lima
- 2 Some frequently asked questions about Lima
- 3 Our itinerary for 2 days in Lima: the best things to do on the weekend in Lima (or any 2 days, really)
- 3.1 Flying to Lima
- 3.2 Getting from Lima airport to the hotel
- 3.3 Exploring Lima City Centre
- 3.4 Eating in a traditional cevicheria
- 3.5 Enjoying the promenade and Larcomar shopping mall
- 3.6 Take a food tour of Lima
- 3.7 Day 2: Lima in the morning, flying to Cusco in the afternoon
- 3.8 Breakfast in a traditional restaurant
- 3.9 Exploring Barranco
- 3.10 Lima Beach
- 3.11 Exploring a market in Lima – Mercado 1 Surquillo
- 3.12 Heading to the airport
- 4 Summary of Lima in 2 days: the best things to do
- 5 Some other posts you might be interested in:
Our overall impressions of Lima
Lima is the city that impressed us the most during this trip. We definitely didn’t expect Lima to be so nice! We loved Lima so much that we wouldn’t mind spending a couple of months there working remotely (which, unfortunately, isn’t an option now, as both of us need to return to the office). There are over 32 districts in Lima (so you can imagine how huge is Lima – there are almost 10 million inhabitants), and every district feels like a small city. We mostly spent time around Miraflores, Barranco, San Isidro and Centro Historico, as these are the parts generally recommended for visiting.
Many people skip Lima in favour of other locations in Peru, such as Arequipa, but in my opinion, Lima is just as great! Lima is also a perfect place to discover if you’re a foodie – there are plenty of food tours available in Lima and they will guide you through the evolution of Peruvian cuisine and help you discover some of the best Peruvian dishes. This tour seems to be the best-rated food tour in Lima – check the availability here.
Some frequently asked questions about Lima
Where to stay in Lima
Miraflores and Barranco are two areas that are most loved by tourists. However, some other hotels are located in San Isidro, a very fancy area relatively close to Miraflores. There are plenty of hotels for any budget in Lima. If you’re on a budget and looking for affordable options, try Selina Miraflores or Ibis Styles Miraflores (both in the $30-50 range per night).
The first night, we stayed in Ibis Styles and it was pretty good. On a return to Lima on the way back to London, we stayed at Selina Miraflores and we liked the location a bit more. It was full of nice juice bars, coffee shops and other places within 10-minute walking distance.
Is Lima safe?
As a large city, Lima, of course, has issues with crime. However, at no point during our two days in Lima, we felt unsafe or threatened. As long as you don’t wear too many brands and stick to the “nicer” areas of Lima, such as Miraflores, Barranco or San Isidro during the evenings, you should be good!
I’m slightly addicted to designer bags, so it was very difficult for me not to bring any of my favourite bags, however, I found a perfect bag for South America It’s stylish, yet doesn’t draw too much attention. It’s also water-repellent, fits a lot of stuff (even a full-size DSLR) and has a lot of internal pockets, where you can hide some valuables.
Our itinerary for 2 days in Lima: the best things to do on the weekend in Lima (or any 2 days, really)
Flying to Lima
When we landed in Lima, it was early morning, around 9 am. We bought a flight with Avianca with a layover in Bogota, and it departed London around 10 pm. We flew all night long and arrived to Bogota in the middle of the night. Our flight to Lima didn’t depart until 6 am (which is the first flight of the day), so, as you can imagine, we were pretty tired on the first day in Lima. However, when we saw how amazing and interesting is the city, our tiredness evaporated!
Getting from Lima airport to the hotel
Lima airport is located inside the city, so driving there doesn’t take too long. However, Lima is a large city with a lot of traffic, so even on the quietest days, it takes about 30 minutes to get to Miraflores or Barranco (the most popular districts among people visiting Lima) from Lima airport.
The easiest (hassle-free way) is pre-booking a transfer in advance – then somebody will be waiting for you at the airport. You can use GetTransfer to do it.
Alternatively, you can just connect to Wifi in Lima airport (or activate roaming) and ask for an Uber or Cabify – there are generally a few Ubers parked at the airport waiting for tourists. The journey to the airport costs around £10-12 or $13-16 one way. Don’t worry, rides within Lima are way more affordable.
Exploring Lima City Centre
Once we left our bags at the hotel, we took a taxi to the Historic Centre of Lima. Walking would take over 2 hours, so it wasn’t an option. We asked for an Uber; however, keep in mind, that Uber doesn’t work that great in Lima, it’s almost always way faster to just flag a taxi on the street (and cheaper as well). However, you always need to verify a price with the driver first. A good price would be around 14-20 soles for a 20-minute ride and 10-12 soles for a shorter drive. Prices may get higher due to the fuel crisis, but they should be probably within a similar range as well (e.g. if someone tells you 50 soles for a short ride to the Old Town, you are definitely getting overcharged).
Once in the city centre, head to the Main Square (Plaza de Armas) – the main square in Lima looks stunning! There are plenty of beautiful buildings on different sides of the square, but the most impressive one is the Metropolitan Cathedral of Lima. It’s a working cathedral, so the entrance is free, but make sure to observe the rules and some things are not allowed (e.g. taking videos, especially during a mass).
It’s nice to just walk around in the historical centre of Lima and explore different streets. Another landmark that is definitely worth visiting is located pretty close to Plaza de Armas and it’s the Basílica y Convento de San Francisco de Lima, famous for its underground catacombs. A lot of tourists visit those catacombs, as they are often mentioned as one of the most famous attractions of Lima!
Eating in a traditional cevicheria
Once you’re done exploring the Centro Historico of Lima, you can head back to Miraflores and have lunch (or late lunch) in one of Lima’s famous cevicherias (they are often called cebicherias). We picked the most famous one, La Mar Cevichería Peruana, but keep in mind that they don’t accept reservations and the waiting time for a table can sometimes be over 2 hours! We waited for 45 minutes before we were seated in the bar area and further 45 minutes until a table became available and we could finally eat! It was really good; however, I’m not sure if it was worth such a long wait.
There are plenty of other cevicherias around and most of them don’t have a wait that is that long. So if the lane at the La Mar Cevicheria is too long, consider visiting these spots:
Cevicheria Miramar Miraflores
If you decide to wait for La Mar Cevicheria, keep in mind that there is an amazing juice bar located across the street from La Mar. If the wait is too long, you can spend there 30-40 minutes of your initial wait (when you’re supposed to stand outside). Actually, I would recommend visiting this juice bar in any case, as the juices were pretty amazing. One thing I recommend 100% trying in Peru is Lucuma + Milk smoothie – this was probably the best smoothie I’ve tried in my life. Lucuma isn’t really popular outside Peru, and it doesn’t grow anywhere besides Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia, so it’s a rare fruit that tastes heavenly in smoothies and ice creams that you definitely need to try on your trip to Peru!
Enjoying the promenade and Larcomar shopping mall
A lot of sevicherias, including La Mar, are located just minutes away from Lima’s most famous promenade! There are plenty of beautiful small parks located across the promenade. You can start with Parque Maria Grau and walk all the way towards Larcomar. On your way, you’ll visit Parque del Amor, which was inspired by the Guell Park in Spain. In total, the walk to Larcomar from La Mar sevicheria is circa 3.5 km long!
The reason I recommend visiting the Larcomar shopping mall is because of its unique views. I’ve never seen a shopping mall located on a cliffside! Actually, it took us some minutes to just even find the mall – it is not visible from the side of the city, but it’s perfectly visible from the sea (or the road by the sea below). There are plenty of shops (if you’re missing some shopping) and even a large supermarket, where you can buy some edible souvenirs for your friends and family.
Take a food tour of Lima
Finally, the best way to finish the day in Lima is to take a food tour! Now, there are plenty of food tours in Lima; some start in the morning, some – in the afternoon and some start in the evening. For this itinerary, it’s easier to take an evening tour that starts at 5 pm or later! Most food tours include an expert food guide that will bring you to their favourite food stalls, markets and restaurants. However, there are different tours that also include a cooking masterclass or more upscale fine dining food tours.
Here are some food tours I would recommend:
Day 2: Lima in the morning, flying to Cusco in the afternoon
Breakfast in a traditional restaurant
On our second day in Lima, we woke up very early, around 6:45 am and at 7:30 am, we were already having breakfast at Pasteleria San Antonio in Miraflores. Pasteleria San Antonia is a very traditional dining place and we actually spotted it last day in the evening, as it was really full. Peruvians eat a lot of breakfast sandwiches and Pasteleria San Antonio is a perfect place to try those, as it has a wide variety of sandwiches (or sanguches how they are called in Peru) and even breakfast combos that include a sandwich, a coffee, a juice and something else! When we left the place at 8:30 am, it was already full and had a queue!
They also sell ice cream there and we took a scoop of Lucuma ice cream with us and it was heavenly!
From the San Antonio Pasteleria, we decided to walk all the way to Barranco. Barranco is a very popular colourful hipster neighbourhood of Lima and it’s located relatively close to Miraflores. We had to walk for about 35-40 minutes and the walk was nice, especially the last 15 minutes when we were already in Barranco!
When comparing Barranco and Miraflores, it’s hard to say which one is better, because both of them are lovely! However, Miraflores is generally more popular with tourists and has slightly more upscale places, while Barranco has a lot of hipster places and coffee shops. If you’re planning to stay in Lima and work remotely for some time, Barranco would probably be a great option, as there are so many cafes where you can work.
The most famous landmark in Barranco is the bridge of sighs. Next to it, there is a lot of street art – we found it pretty impressive. Barranco is one of the most photogenic places in Lima, so if it’s nice photos you’re looking for, you’ll be able to take a lot of them in Barranco.
We also came across a street market in Barranco, right next to Plaza Barranco – there are a few stalls with fruits, cosmetics and some crafts, it’s definitely worth visiting for a few minutes.
Finally, we went to Barranco’s most popular tiny street, Bajada de Baños, which leads straight to Lima beach.
If it’s a nice day, it’s probably worth spending some time on the beach! In our case, it was a bit chilly (and keep in mind, still early), so we decided to just walk for a short while before taking a taxi back to our hotel to complete checkout. Generally, you can rent some sunbeds on the beach, I’m not sure about the cost, but it shouldn’t be too expensive!
Exploring a market in Lima – Mercado 1 Surquillo
After we took a taxi back to our hotel for checkout, left our bags, we headed to explore a local market and eat something for lunch. Since our flight to Cusco didn’t depart until 5:30pm, we decided that we have a bit of time. It takes around 30-40 minutes to get to Lima airport from Miraflores outside the rush hour. Since it was a domestic flight, we only needed to be in the airport circa 1 hour 15 minutes before the flight. We had to depart the hotel around 3 pm to be able to make it for the flight!
So we had 3 full hours to walk to the market, eat something and walk back. Luckily, Mercado 1 Surquillo is located a short 17-min walk away from Ibis Styles Miraflores, so we had plenty of time to explore the market. Mercado 1 Surquillo is a relatively small market and most of the stalls sell poultry, fish and various cooking supplies. However, there were also some stalls selling juices and smoothies (we had another one made with lucuma) and some stalls selling street food, especially a large variety of soups.
For lunch, we picked a small restaurant located just outside the Surquillo Market called Bam Bam Sebicheria and it was really good. The portions were huge and they were the only half price of what we paid in La Mar yesterday. Make sure to try the speciality there – the cockles called Conchas Negras. They are very different from a typical ceviche you might try somewhere else!
Other lunch options:
When we came to Lima for 6 hours on the last day of our South American trip, we also tried out another lunch option that was recommended to us by one of the taxi drivers. This place is located in Miraflores, and it’s a very very popular sandwich bar called La Lucha Sangucheria Criolla. It’s a very typical lunch spot for the Peruvians, and everything there was really good!
Heading to the airport
The journey to the airport was pretty smooth this time; however, if you’re going to the airport during the rush hour, it’s worth checking on Google maps how much time it would take to get to the airport, as it will be definitely more than the regular 35 minutes. As I mentioned before, Uber can be a bit unreliable in Lima, so either ask for it at least 15 minutes in advance or ask for a regular taxi on the reception.
Summary of Lima in 2 days: the best things to do
To summarise, Lima is a very big city and sometimes walking from one area to another takes over one hour despite the fact that they are right next to each other on the map. That means, that you need public transport or taxis to go from one location to another. In most of the cases, we used taxis and walked where we could!
We enjoyed staying in Miraflores and trying local ceviches – they are truly amazing! We didn’t have a chance to try some of Lima’s best restaurants such as Central (Central is one of the best restaurants in the world according to https://www.theworlds50best.com) as it was closed on the ways we were in Lima. However, if you see it open and have $$$ to spend there, everybody says that it’s amazing!
Overall, as I mentioned right at the start of the post, we really enjoyed 2 days in Lima and would happily go back there to live and work for a couple of months. Lima has a really nice atmosphere, very friendly people and overall, it’s a very clean and nice city. It also has bonus points for being next to the ocean and having convenient promenades with spectacular views!