Lima, like a lot of capital, is a great place both for acclimatization to local climate or for chill out after your adventure. A lot of tourists underestimate Lima. But it is still an interesting place and there is a lot of things to do for 2 days or even a weekend. I spend there a couple of days after coming from Cuzco. And after my short visit, I still think that 2 days in Lima is enough. In my case, to chill out after my trip.
Things to do in Lima in 2 days
There is a lot of things to do in Lima, it is a city that has both a historical part and the brand new one, where you will feel almost like in a bigger US city. So great thing about Lima is that the city is interesting both for people who are interested in new urban culture but also for those who are more interested in history. Besides on the coast, there is also some attraction for sports lovers. So, does Lima still sounds boring? I think not!
The historical part of Lima
Like most of the places in South America, Lima has quite rich colonial architecture, which is kinda visible in the main square. And everywhere else around the historical center. This is the part that you shouldn’t miss during your 2 days in Lima.
The main square
Plaza Mayor or Plaza de Armas is the core of the city. There are many interesting buildings around that are worth to visit or at least wander around. You can see there the government palace or the local cathedral and so much more. There is also a palace for Archbishop and some other palaces. In general, I was surprised at how many palaces there are. But the important thing here to know – not all of them are open for public. But you can surely visit the cathedral of Lima and some of the other places in the opening hours.
Opening hours in sights on Plaza de Armas:
Lima Cathedral is open most of the days from 9 am till 5 pm.
The government palace is closed to the public.
But it is possible to visit Archbishop palace. That is open every day from 9 am till 5 pm.
And as far as I reckon, there was no entry fee in any of the sights.
The building was founded right after the Spanish founded the city of Lima. That means back in 1534. But the building is important up till today since it is still palace Archbishop and the bishop is actually working/serving here. It is one of the most visible and visited places on the main square, mainly because of the balconies. Here is the sad part of visiting this building. It is possible, but because higher church authorities are still operating in the building the place, where you can go is very restricted. You can visit only a small portion of the palace that must be pretty big and filled with interesting things.
But even if this building isn’t open, you can still visit the cathedral of Lima that is right next to it. There is no guided tour, so you will have to walk around by your self, but still, it is a pretty interesting place to be and to see the colonial architecture even inside of the church.
Saint Francis monastery
Another great colonial building! It is also very close to Plaza de Armas but there are not that many tourists as they are on the sights in the square itself. Here you can see catacombs and old monastery from the colonial age. There are guided tours but you can also go through it by yourself. The colonial architecture that you can observe here kind of makes sure that this treasure will be part of UNESCO heritage.
The opening hours are similar to other sights in the main square – you can visit the monastery from 9.30 am till 5.30 pm.
This is something special for history geeks and wants to know more about Peru. Here you can meet both history from the pre-Columbian era and the colonial times. It is not the most visited place, but if you like museums as I do, it is something that you can fit in 2 days trip to Lima.
Larco Museum is in the Pueblo district, which means that if you are located somewhere in the historical center, you need to take a bus or taxi here. But it is still within reach and part of the old Lima.
The exhibitions are in the 18th-century royal house. And the house itself contains 5000 years of history. But you can also find here the thing that is mostly known for erotic pre-Columbian pottery. Well, here is a phrase that I never thought I will be using. Sounds weird but interesting? Yep, I thought the same. Perhaps one of the best things about the museum is the fact, that they are open from 9 am till 10 pm, so it is also something you can visit after dinner.
Miraflores – the new neighborhood of Lima
Lima used to be known as a scary city with a lot of drugs and violence. But not anymore. Locals took an effort in wiping Lima clean and create new neighborhoods, that you wouldn’t even think about what they could be dangerous. One of them is Miraflores, a place that is very popular for tourists but also a very nice place to stay. Miraflores is very close to the coast and has modern buildings. It kind of came to the point where I felt like I’m visiting some North-American city. That is how modern architecture feels like.
Generally, Miraflores is nice for chilling, there is a lot of shops and parks or even fast-food chains that I thought are mainly dominant in North America and Europe. I used to love just going through parks. Some of them have very interesting sculptures, or there is also a park full of cats.
To get the most out of Lima in 2 days, you can visit the local pyramid and the museum around it. It is a little bit weird to have a pyramid in a modern neighborhood, but it fits. Isn’t it ironic? The pyramid is built from clay and was build between 700 and 200 AD. It is possible to venture around this historical site, you can even choose whether you want a guide.
The pyramids are open every day except for Tuesday and you can visit them from 9 in the morning till 5 pm. The place reopens again for night guided tours from 7 pm till 10 pm. The evening tours aren’t as crowded as the ones during the day. On the other hand, during the day you can walk around by yourself.
If you want to go shopping, look no further. This big mall is located on Lima cliff, which makes it pretty much special. You can find here a wide variety of clothing brands, similar to those that you will see in America or Europe. For me, it was most interesting for the great view from local cafes and restaurants. But be aware that prices might be quite high.
Park of Love
It probably comes to this place just by a walk around the coast. It is a little green area with a massive sculpture of two kissing people. This place is generally great for a view of the pacific ocean and has some nice dinner nearby. The park has no opening hours and it is really nice to watch here the sunset or sunrise.
You can also find here a lot of people selling souvenirs. Personally, I wouldn’t buy them here, because they are very often overpriced.
Street art in Miraflores
Miraflores is a very modern part of the city. It is probably the only part of the city where you can find high-quality street art all around. I spend several hours walking around just to find one more. It is not something that you have to do, but just have your eyes open when walking around. You can see some masterpieces.
Coastal activities for two days in Lima
I would say that there are better places for the coast in Peru, but if you have limited time, or if you don’t want to travel north in Peru, Lima will probably do.
I was surprised how Lima was equipped for surfers. But in general, there is a lot of places where you can surf and where you can borrow surf or go for a surfing lesson. Miraflores is actually one of the places where they offer services like these.
However, surfing very much depends on when are you traveling but also on if you dare. Since most tourists come to Lima at the time of winter in Peru, it might not be a great time for surfing. Waves can be too wild and water too cold. I was there in July when it was just about 17 degrees in Lima it was pretty cold for me but I saw some brave souls surfing there anyway.
I have never seen that many paragliders until I visited Lima. But with the wind from the Pacific, there are a lot of opportunities and a lot of places where they would offer you to paraglide. I’m scared of heights, so I wouldn’t do it, there is an opportunity. When you do it on the coast, you get an incredible view of Lima from the coast and ocean all around. A lot of people did it in the evening, so they got to see the sunset over the city.
If you are just passing by, it is quite nice to see all the surfers and paragliders there. It makes the view quite special. Although if you decide to do it by yourself, you should know that it is a completely safe thing to do, you will always get someone experienced with you, so you can enjoy the view.
Getting around in Lima
Busses here are pretty straight forward, getting you in any part of Lima. But to be honest, expect delays. Especially in rush hours, it is an issue to get anywhere. So if you need to be somewhere on time in the morning or around 5 in the rush hours, better come early. Also, expect that this might not be the easiest form of traveling as they get to be pretty full so it is hard to look over all of your belongings. But in the time when people are generally not traveling too much, it is not an issue.
Taxis are a pretty useful way to get around, especially when you don’t want to be smashed in a bus with a lot of other people. But be careful of how to choose your taxi, it is better to ask the hotel to call you a taxi that they know wit pre-set up price, rather than wait for someone on the street.
Getting to the airport
Lima seems to ve very used to tourism. Both the historical part of the city and Miraflores have their own shuttles. That means that if you go from the airport to the hotel, it is enough just to say, which hotel you want to go and they will either drop you by your own hotel or by the nearest hotel – in most of the cases it doesn’t take more than just 5 minutes of walk.
Getting from Lima airport to hotels can take up to an hour and a half since they have a lot of stops on their way. If you are taking the shuttle to the historical center, it is shorter, probably around an hour.
If you want to go back to Lima airport to the departure, there are also stops around the city and the shuttles stop there every 40 minutes. Make sure you will be at the airport 2 hours before the departure because Lima airport is big and can be chaotic, especially in rush hour.
Lima in 2 days conclusion
Lima is a big city so there is naturally a lot of things to do. I met a bunch of people, who actually just traveled to see Lima. But especially for international travelers, there are places that are generally more interesting than Lima, so two days to relaxing to me is more than enough. However, if you feel like having Lima as your base, there is a lot of day trips to be made from here.
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