Where to stay in Lima is likely one of the first orders of business to sort out while planning your trip to Peru. No doubt that a city of 10 million inhabitants spread across 43 diverse districts can render a city overswhelming to navigate, even for the seasoned traveler. Having served over 10,000 clients that have had the pleasure to discover the city, we are happy to pool their insights together with our local knowledge to give you a few tips that will hopefully make this part of the planning stage less daunting.
The best districts to stay in while in Lima
Out of the 43 districts mentioned above, we can safely narrow it down to two which beat out the other 41 contenders: Miraflores and Barranco. So let's take a look at what they have to offer:
MIRAFLORES - LIMA, PERU
This district has been the center of tourism in the city for decades. Located on a gorgeous stretch of the Pacific coast, Miraflores has it all. It's a lively district with plenty of restaurants (two of the top 15 in the world) and nice walks along the coast. Whether you want something quiet or in a more happening area, you'll find it here. Another plus is that most of the hotels are located in areas where you can easily walk from one place to another and nothing within Miraflores is more than a 10 minute taxi ride away.. It has something for everyone - surfing, cultural tours of pre-Incan temples, paragliding, food tours, shopping and even wifi-enabled public parks. Here's our breakdown.
Attractions in Miraflores
Outdoor Attractions in Miraflores
Take a stroll along the coast (known as the malecón)
Surfing the Pacific-Jump right in or take surf classes and rent a board at Waikiki Beach
Paragliding along Lima's coastline
Emblematic Parks of Miraflores
Miraflores Central Park - Kennedy Park
Parque del Amor
Reducto No. 2 Park
Cultural Attractions in Miraflores
Tour pre-Incan ruins at the Huaca Pucllana
Visit the Amano Museum
Café Haiti - terrace diner (cafeteria)
Shopping in Miraflores
La Paz - jewelers, silver, antiques
Restaurants in Miraflores
This is the district that takes the cake in Lima as it is home to 2 of the top 15 restaurants in the world, Central and Maido. You will definitely want to get your reservations squared away with plenty of time in advance, but if you prefer winging it, you have no shortage of options. Some of our favorites include:
El Mercado - Amazingly fresh seafood, run by one of Lima's celebrity chefs, Rafael Osterling.
IK - Molecular gastronomy using Peruvian ingredients sourced from throughout the country.
Amaz - Gourmet dishes from the Peruvian Amazon using ingredients from small, local producers. Big fans of sustainable dining.
Distance from the Airport
Traffic in Lima can be chaotic and unpredictable and if you are trying to catch a flight, you don't want to leave it to luck. Usually rides from anywhere in Miraflores to the airport will take you from 45 minutes to one hour. If you are making the trek early on a Sunday morning you can shave 15 minutes off of that estimate, but on a Friday night, if you hit the really bad traffic, it can take you up to 90 minutes.
BARRANCO - LIMA, PERU
If you are looking for an authentic, vibrant step back in time, Barranco is the place to be. Many buildings and areas are officially protected as cultural patrimony, therefore the Republican and colonial style facades give the district personality that you would be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. This district is considered the bohemian, romantic and artsy center of life in Lima and there is no shortage of fascinating art galleries, shops selling uniquely hand-crafted goods and an emergence of hip bars and restaurants to give Miraflores a run for its money. It's even rumored that soon Central (#4 restaurant in the world) will soon be ditching its swanky locale in Miraflores for Barranco's trendy hipster haven.
Attractions in Barranco
Cultural Attractions in Barranco
Bridge of Sighs
Barranco's main plaza
Mirador of Barranco
Museums in Barranco
Pedro de Osma Museum
Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC)
Art Galleries in Barranco
Lucía de la Púente Gallery
Restaurants in Barranco
Barranco is a very walkable district and due to the stunning architectural heritage and graffiti art masterpieces, it would be a shame if you misse it by opting to move round by car. The district abounds in tiny restaurants that offer quite varied cuisine, however Barranquinos are upping the game to compete with Miraflores on the foodie scene. Here are a few of our favorites;
Mo Bistro + Café - Super cute, chic find in Colonia & Co. that showcases the genius of Peru's hottest up and coming chef, Matías Cillóniz (also winner of Lima's best new restaurant award)
Isolina - One of Latin America's best restaurants serving traditional Peruvian dishes in quaint corner location that will give you an idea of the local comfort food.
AmorAmar - a little further from the "walkable" area, but worth totally worth it, seafood is their specialty.
Distance from the airport
Barranco is the next district over from Miraflores, in the opposite direction of the airport. In terms of actual, physical distance, the difference isn't much, but with traffic you can add 10 minutes to the Miraflores estimates, so on average, 55 minutes to an hour and 10 minutes.
TYPES OF ACCOMMODATIONS
In Lima you'll find everything from large international chains, like the JW Marriott, to quaint B&Bs like Second Home Peru. While luxury chains can run you a couple hundred dollars a night, you can find some amazing charmers that feel just as luxurious for around $100 per night. We've compiled a list of our clients' favorites in Miraflores and Barranco which you can check out here: Boutique Hotels in Lima, Peru.
Now, if you just want to sit back and relax and leave it to the pros, you can check out our Lima food and city tours which cover both districts plus San Isidro, the main sights, some hands-on activities and was designed for people who have limited time in Lima but who want to see the city and taste the best dishes in one day.
Lima Travel Tips
Your Lima Travel Guides
Things to do in Lima that make people fall in love with the city - that's precisely what we're after. We're Lucas and Sam, a Peruvian-American couple who have run the top tour in Lima for the past 10 years. It’s no coincidence that the best activities in Lima have to do with Peru’s amazing cuisine. This Kansas City girl and Lima native have lived all over the world in their corporate past lives but they traded in the daily grind for sharing their love of good food, showing off the city’s secrets and meeting awesome people along the way.
The ultimate Lima tours: no planning needed because we've already done the work for you. Prepare to experience the best of Lima.