Lima, Peru’s capital, lies on the country’s arid Pacific coast. With a population of approximately 10 million living in 43 districts, Lima is a bustling metropolis and the fifth largest in the Americas.
A city of flavours, unique experiences, valley, beaches, archaeological sites, museums, sports, the Gastronomical Capital of the Americas is definitely a place where you want to explore while in Peru.
Out of 43 districts, just 5 are recommended (aka safe) for tourists:
The most popular for first-time visitors and tourists, Miraflores caters for all budgets. It is a coastal residential and upscale shopping district, with a scenic walkway, El Malecon, that stretches along the cliff tops. El Malecon is a hotspot for cycling, jogging, paragliding and romantic walks.
It is safe day and night. In saying that, it is best to walk in groups late at night once the streets start to clear.
Perfect for shopping, with tourist markets, fancy clothing stores and the fascinating Larcomar, the open-air shopping mall on the ocean side.
There are bars, fancy restaurants and fast food joints, nightclubs that range from chic to sordid, with salsa, cumbia (Colombian salsa-like dance and musical style) and bossa nova rhythms.
Airbnb, hostels or top hotels, accommodation is not an issue.
Miraflores is the only district which is serviced by a cheap shuttle service to and from the airport.
Barranco is next door to Miraflores, from S10 to S20 ($3 -$6 US) for a taxi ride or just $2.5 for a bus ride.
The most romantic and bohemian district in Lima, Barranco is the home and working place of many of Peru’s leading artists, musicians, designers and photographers. Once fashionable beach resort for the aristocracy, with colonial style houses, today Barranco’s beaches are among the most popular within the worldwide surfing community.
Barranco ( ravine in Spanish) features homes and restaurants in and around a ravine near a cliff overlooking a sand strip which runs from the Miraflores District to Chorrillos (flanked by Costa Verde highway).
A walkway to the sea that runs through Barranco, called the Bajada de los Baños is crossed over by the Puente de los Suspiros, or Bridge of Sighs. Legend says that those who set sight on the bridge for the first time are going to be granted a wish, if they can cross the 30 metre length without taking a single breath. On the far side of the bridge is a park with a statue of Barranco native singer and composer, Chabuca Granda.
Great nightlife, the best place to listen to live music, the bars in the district attract Latin bands and acts, and is less commercial than Miraflores.
The historic centre of Lima is an UNESCO and World Heritage Site. The Main Square or Plaza de Armas, is the birthplace of Lima, as well as the core of the City of the Kings. It is surrounded by the Government Palace, the Cathedral of Lima, Archbishop’s Palace, the Municipal Palace and the Palace of the Union. Not for the faint-hearted, the Inquisition Museum could be on the list, alongside the Catacombs of the Monastery of San Francisco.
Every day at 11:45 a.m. at the Colonial Palace in the Main Square you can see the Changing of the Guard: the band, the marching, the yells, and the Guard Change are impressive.
There are affordable cafes and restaurants, and some of the city’s oldest bars.
The financial district, the most expensive, but the safest, San Isidro got the city’s best restaurants, art galleries and chic cafes. For posh travellers, with pricey boutique clothing stores on Avenida Conquistadores, cocktail bars, exclusive social clubs and a golf club.
The district has plenty of parks, most notable the Bosque del Olivar with its colonial era olive trees. It is home to two archaeological sites, Huaca Huallamarca and Huaca Santa Cruz.
More affordable than San Isidro, Pueblo Libre is a relaxed sleepy residential district. The best restaurants to experience the traditional food, and most of the parks in Lima. A historical district, houses the colonial mansion of the famous liberator Simon Bolivar, now a museum, alongside Larco Museum, which hosts the largest collection of pre-Columbian artefacts in Peru.
If you just want to relax and avoid the touristy fast-paced neighbourhoods, Pueblo Libre is for you.
Use common sense and enjoy!