Chaotic, lively, and ultimately rewarding, Lima is the capital of Peru and the largest city in this part of South America. For the incoming vacationer, there is no shortage of things to do in Lima. From attractions such as the church catacombs to popular Lima activities like paragliding, this is a city that offers up a whole host of viable options for the sightseeing tourist. As one of the main transportation hubs of Peru, Lima is also good at facilitating tours and journeys out to the country’s headlining sites such as the Sacred Valley, with its Inca Trail that ends at Machu Picchu. When planning your vacation to Lima, it may be worth considering some of the following Lima attractions.
Paying a visit to the catacombs of the Iglesia de San Francisco easily ranks among the top things to do in Lima. More than 25,000 skeletons can be seen here, along with a library that’s so beautifully eerie it seems to have stepped out of a fantasy film. An on-site monastery and art gallery round off the list of Lima attractions offered by this memorable church.
Barranco is Lima’s liveliest neighborhood, similar to San Blas in Cusco. Cafes, bars, and clubs are in abundance here, with plenty of options to keep you hopping from one to the other all day. There’s also a good variety of dining options that can be found in Barranco, while a weekly food festival also takes place here over the weekends. One of the top activities in Lima is to head to Barranco for this festival and enjoy a day of live music and food tasting.
Just to the north of Barranco, Miraflores is another barrio of Lima worth seeking out. One of the popular Lima attractions among vacationers is the Luis Miro Quesada Garland Hall, also known as the Miraflores Municipal Gallery. The gallery’s great collection is responsible for the museum's often being rated as one of the best in Lima, if not Peru. Aside from wandering around the streets and gazing at art, Lima activities in Miraflores include paragliding. The barrio is situated high above the city center, which makes it a great place from which to jump—strapped to a big kite, of course.
Also known as the Plaza de Armas, exploring this picturesque square is one of the top things to do in Lima. The square is bordered by a significant building on each of its four sides: a presidential palace, a cathedral, the Archbishop’s Palace, and City Hall. Pulling up a chair in one of the plaza’s many cafes and watching the world go by is one of the top Lima activities available.
The archaeological site of Pachacamac, located about a 30-minute drive from Lima, makes for a great day trip from the city. Here you’ll find crumbling temples, with an on-site museum to explain the history. For visitors preparing to trek off in search of Peru’s great Andean sights, Pachacamac provides a great taste of what is to come.