How Many Days In Lima Should You Spend?

Wondering how many days in Lima to spend? Worry not.

Lima is the capital of Peru and the biggest city in the country and it has an abundance of historic attractions, a world-class food scene, plenty of excellent accommodation, and a diverse culture. So, not knowing how much time to spend in Lima is not uncommon.

After visiting this coastal Peruvian city many times, we are here to help you decide how long you should stay in Lima. Because everyone has a different style of travel and Peru itinerary, you might end up spending more or less time in Lima, but you’ll know the exact number of days down below!

How Many Days In Lima Is Enough? 

Bridge of Sighs in Lima

Generally speaking, a minimum of two full days in Lima is enough to see the best attractions the city has to offer. 48 hours will allow you enough time to fully explore the Centro Historico district, ticking off sights like the Plaza de Armas (aka Plaza Mayor) and the Basilica Cathedral of Lima as you wander.

In two days, you’ll also have time to visit the upscale, cool neighborhoods of Miraflores and Barranco, which are home to beautiful parks (such as Parque Kennedy) and some of the best restaurants in the world.

The only disadvantage of spending two days in Lima is you won’t be able to take any day trips or just enjoy the atmosphere. And honestly speaking, Lima is a very cool and relaxing city, which is why we decided to visit it so many times.

How To Decide How Many Days Do You Need In Lima?

Below are some of the things to consider when deciding how many days to spend in Lima.

Peruvian food is some of the best in the world

Lima is regarded by many as the culinary capital of South America, with no less than 4 of the top 50 restaurants in the world located in this gastronomic delight of a city! 

Yes, the award-winning Central, Maido, Mayta, and Kjolle are all located here. If you want to experience several of these world-class eateries at a fraction of the price you’ll find in the United States or Europe, you might want to consider spending an extra day or two in Lima.

💪 Pro Tip: Be sure to book a table in any of the above WELL in advance!

The famous Huacachina Oasis is a day trip from Peru

If you plan on taking day trips when you visit Lima, which we strongly urge you to do, you’ll need additional days here.

The region surrounding Lima is filled with some of the best things to do in Peru – from Pachacamac, a large pre-Columbian ruin to Huacachina, Peru’s famous desert oasis where you can sandboard and get your adrenalin pumping on a dune buggy tour.

You can also take a day trip to places like Paracas, Ballestas Island, or Palomino Island, home to sea lions and adorable Humboldt Penguins.

Lima has good surf just right outside the city

If you plan to surf during your time in Lima, make sure you allocate an extra day or two in Lima. It’ll be a struggle to see the city’s top sights and go surfing in just two days.

The Peruvian capital is situated on the so-called Costa Verde, which is full of beaches and a variety of surf conditions.

Decent surfing conditions can be found at the beaches in Miraflores, along with several surf shops offering lessons and equipment rental.

However, if you don’t mind traveling an hour or so down south, then you’ll find all sorts of waves from beginner to advanced.

For example, Cerro Azul, which is just a 1.5-hour drive from Lima, has epic waves and world-famous left breaks!

Kennedy Park

Lima is one of our favorite cities in South America. Not only does it have beautiful ocean views all along the Miraflores and Barranco Districts, but the Peruvian food in the city is some of the best in the world.

There are also epic landmarks in the city such as Kennedy Park (and its cute cats) and the Basilica Convento de San Francisco.

We can literally stay in Lima for months and not feel bored!

So if you are a slow traveler, you can spend some days just strolling around the city, trying different restaurants, sitting in cafes, and relaxing in the parks. If you’re that type of traveler, we recommend staying in Lima for at least 4 days!

Nightlife is big in Lima!

Lima, just like many parts of Latin America, has some incredible nightlife in the world. Whether you are looking for a chilled-out place for some drinks, a salsa club to show off your skills, or a vibrant club to dance the night away, you’ll find that in Lima.

Many of these nightlife venues are situated in Barranco and Miraflores, so for most tourists, they’ll be right at your doorstep. It is also worth noting that these are some of the safest areas in Lima, but still be cautious, especially if you’ll be under the

One of our favorites in Lima is La Cachina Bar, a bar that is quite affordable and has a good blend of locals and foreigners. Though technically a bar, the venue usually becomes a huge dancefloor with everyone having a good time and showing off their moves.

If you are going to party a lot in Lima, you’ll want to spend at least one or two days recovering from the carnage!

How Many Days In Lima To Spend? Sample Itineraries 

Everyone travels differently, so to help you out, below, we’ve put together several detailed itineraries for one, two, three, and four days in Lima!

Lima Historic Center

One day in Lima will be a little rushed as you try to squeeze in the best that Lima has to offer in just 24 hours.

We recommend spending your time in the Historic Centre of Lima, a world-famous UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Check out the city’s top attractions like Plaza de Armas and the Basilica Cathedral of Lima, go on a food tour, taste the national drink of Peru – the Pisco Sour, and dine at one of the world’s best restaurants!

Since you are short on time, we recommend you to take a walking tour. Some parts of the historic center aren’t very safe, and it can be quite easy to accidentally walk into a dangerous part.

Having a tour guide ensures your safety in the historic center of Lima and makes sure you don’t miss out on some of the most important landmarks, such as the Government Palace, Jirón de la Unión, and Casa de Aliaga.

📝 Note: If you want to save some money, you could also opt for a free walking tour. These tours operate on tips and can be a little bit more economical than the typical tours.

Spend this afternoon on a food-tasting tour of Lima; as we said, Lima is the culinary capital of South America, so if you love good food, this half-day tour is a great way to get a ‘taste of the city’ (see what we did there?!).

You’ll visit local markets, head to non-touristy neighborhoods, and taste epic street food along the way! 

End your first day in Lima with a dinner at one of the city’s best restaurants, such as Maido or Central, which are ranked consistently as top 10 restaurants in the world.

Maido is one of our favorites with its Japanese and Peruvian fusion cuisine, and Central has been rated the No.1 restaurant in the world for several years.

Make sure you spend some time in Miraflores with 2 days in Lima.

A two-day Lima itinerary is perfect because it allows you to see the best of the Centro Historico as well as the cool, hip neighborhoods of Miraflores and Barranco. In two days, you’ll be able to learn about the rich history of Lima and enjoy some of the more modern amenities the city has to offer.

Start your second day with a visit to the Miraflores neighborhood, one of our favorite neighborhoods in Lima and a firm favorite with most tourists thanks to its gorgeous parks and beaches. 

Some of the best things to do in Miraflores include the ancient ruins of Huaca Pucllana and strolling the Malecon, a 6-mile elevated walkway above the cliffs with stunning views of the ocean.

This is where you’ll also find the city’s 22-meter-tall marina lighthouse, one of the most recognizable landmarks in Miraflores.

📚 Read More: Where To Stay In Lima: Best And Safe Neighborhoods

If you have time, be sure to spend an hour or two in one of the parks here. We love Parque Kennedy because it’s home to dozens of cats, who are cared for by volunteers, and the aptly named Parque del Amor (Lovers Park), which centers around the ‘El Beso’ (The Kiss) statue

Spend the afternoon of Day 2 in Barranco, also known as the ‘SoHo’ of Lima, thanks to its cool vibe. You’ll find plenty of quirky cafes, trendy bars, and art galleries here.

Barranco Neighborhood in Lima
Barranco’s hip neighborhood

In fact, if you’re an art-lover, you’ll love it here, as the streets of this neighborhood are best described as an outdoor art gallery boasting lots of colorful murals and street art. 

Other must-dos in Barranco include the Bridge of Sighs, a wooden bridge built back in 1876 that connects the two sides of Barranco and the Bajada de los Baños, an old walkway underneath the Bridge of Sighs, which is filled with cool cafes, bars, and colorful street art.

Stay for dinner in Barranco; we recommend Canta Ranita, one of the best ceviche restaurants in Lima.

Dune Buggy in Huacachina

With longer to spend in Lima, you’ll have time to go on a day trip, and so, today, we recommend visiting Huacachina, Peru’s unique desert oasis. Travelers can have some of the most unique experiences in Peru, such as going sandboarding or dune bashing on a dune buggy.

A day trip to Huacachina from Lima can be quite a hassle because it takes about 4 hours to drive from one location to another. That is why if you do decide to visit Huacachina and the nearby attractions (such as Paracas, Ballestas Islands, and Nazca Lines), we recommend you go on a tour.

📝 Note: If you have a long Peru itinerary and plan on heading south from Lima after, you’ll end up going to Ica and Huacachina anyway, so there is no need to take a day trip.

Palomino Island

With 4 days in Lima, you are now entering slow traveling and day trips territory. Your itinerary should cover everything on the 2-day itinerary, but now you have two extra days to take day trips, or just relax in the city.

If you have chosen to take day trips, we recommend going to Palomino Islands, a group of small islands in the Pacific Ocean not too far from Lima that’s famous for its marine life. Yes, here you’ll see one of the largest populations of sea lions in the world!

A great half-day trip from Lima is Pachacamac, a huge pre-Colombia ruin that dates back to 200 AD. It was an important pilgrimage site in Peruvian history, and it’s spectacularly located in the Lurin Valley. 

Public transportation to Pachacamac is limited, so we recommend going on a tour. This is also a great way to learn more about the history of the site!

And of course, if you are staying that many days in the city, just take it slow, enjoy the parks, restaurants, and laid-back atmosphere!

Visiting Lima FAQs

How Many Days Do You Need in Lima and Machu Picchu?

You’ll need a minimum of 3 days for both Lima and Machu Picchu. We recommend spending 2 full days in Lima and one full day in Machu Picchu. However, travelers should take into account the time it would need to get from Cusco to Machu Picchu, which could vary from 1 day to 5 days or more, depending on the method.

When Is The Best Time To Visit Lima?

The best time to visit Lima, Peru, is during the summer months from December to April, as the weather is warm and pleasant. This period is considered the peak tourist season in Lima due to its favorable weather

Is Lima Safe?

Lima is generally safe, as long as you are staying in areas such as Barranco, Miraflores, and San Isidro. Street crime, including muggings and thefts, can be a problem in Lima. Violent crime also can occur, so visitors should take extra precautions when exploring the city.

Is Lima Worth Visiting?

Lima is definitely worth visiting. The city has a rich history and culture, with the historic center being a UNESCO World Heritage site. Lima’s cuisine is also one of the best in the world, making it a must-visit for foodies.

What is Lima Most Famous For?

Lima, known as the “Gastronomic Capital of the Americas,” is famous for its world-class restaurants, historic UNESCO-listed center, top-notch museums, surfing-friendly coastline, cultural festivals, and vibrant nightlife.

Final Thoughts: How Many Days Is Enough In Lima?

If you have made it this far down the article, then you’ll know that we recommend spending at least 2 full days in Lima. One day should be dedicated to exploring the historic center of the city, a present-day UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The second day should be spent exploring the Miraflores and Barranco District, where you’ll find amazing restaurants, cafes, parks, and a laid-back atmosphere.

But of course, you can spend more time in Lima. There are plenty of things to do in the city, as well as numerous day trips you can take!

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