Lima In 72 Hours

Over the past few years, Lima has gained a reputable name in the gastronomic scene with many of its restaurants being recognized worldwide and sought after by travelers from across the globe. It is for this reason that the city that was once a stopover has now become a place where people choose to spend a few nights. Here is our complete guide to 72 hours in Lima.

Things To Do to Lima

The city has so many ‘hidden gems’ and attractions that it is impossible to fit them all into one day. To visit all of the ‘must-see’ points of interest, you should consider visiting Lima for at least 3 days. Especially if you are planning on visiting in the spring or summer. That way you can enjoy a delicious meal with incredible views over the Pacific Ocean.

Casa de Aliaga

Make sure to visit the colonial ‘Casa de Aliaga’ in the historic city center. It is the oldest colonial mansion in South America and the same family still owns it.

Lima 72 Hours - Living room at Casa de Aliaga
Inner courtyard with colonial paintings at Casa Aliaga

Not too far away from here, you will also be able to find Cordano, a historic bar. It was a well-known meeting place for local politicians, artists, and writers. It may come across as a bit shabby, but it still serves one of the best ‘butifarras’ in town.

Counter at Cordano bar in the Lima's historic center
Butifarra in Lima

Santo Domingo Church

Take a trip to Lima’s oldest convent and journey to the top of the Santo Domingo Church’s salmon-colored bell tower. Take in the amazing panoramic views over the main square. It is here that the first (and the oldest) university of the Americas was founded back in 1551.

Bell tower at Santo Domingo Church with views over Lima's historic center
Library at Santo Domingo Church in Lima's historic center

Larco Museum

I recommend visiting the Larco Museum at the beginning of your Peruvian journey. The Incas were only one of the many cultures that flourished in the different regions of the country. This particular museum is housed in an 18th-century vice-royal building and showcases chronological galleries that provide a thorough overview of 5,000 years of Peruvian pre-Columbian history. This incredible museum has been recognized by TripAdvisor readers, in 2018, as the best museum in South America and one of the 20 best in the world.

Pre-Inca mummie at Larco Herrera
Pre-Inca metal artifacts on display at Larco Museum

San Isidro Market

As you make your way towards the upscale neighborhood of San Isidro, be sure to make a stop at the San Isidro market, famous for its enthusiastic vendors. You will be able to see and learn so much here regarding the local and exotic fruits and vegetables. The local vendors are more than happy to explain where the produce comes from and how they are best prepared.

Peruvian fruits at San Isidro Market - Lima - Peru
Mr Ortiz and his fruit stand in San Isidro's market - Lima, Peru

Mercado 28 – Lima’s Fancy Food Court

Not sure what and where to grab a quick bite to eat at lunchtime? A stop at Mercado 28 is a definite must. Opened in 2018, Mercado is a sort of culinary melting pot, reflecting Lima’s exemplary culinary atmosphere and placing a modern urban twist on the city’s more traditional marketplaces. Mercado 28 offers many specialty food stalls, from Nikkei (Peruvian-Japanese fusion) to ice cream, and gourmet burgers to poke bowls. All the options are delicious regardless of which one (or ones) you choose.

El Mercado Gourmet Food Court in Miraflores, Lima
Amazonian pies at Mercado 28 gourmet food court in Lima, Peru

Restaurant Choices
Calamari in chili sauce served at Amor Amar

If you are unable to get a table reservation at one of the three Peruvian ‘World’s Best 50 Restaurants’, Maido, Central or Astrid & Gaston, there are still plenty of other great options available for you to try such as Pescados Capitales and AmorAmar if you’re looking for some incredible seafood and/or ceviche (Peru’s most iconic dish). Ceviche is preparared with fresh fish, limes, onions and chili peppers.

Lima 72 Hours Pisco & Camu Camu Sour with toasted Peruvian corn

Our tip is to try this delicious meal in Lima or along the Peruvian coast. Since Lima sits on the Pacific coast there is never a scarcity of fresh fish or shellfish for a ceviche.

Peruvians eat ceviche for lunch. Therefore ‘cevicherias’ are normally open between midday and 4 PM. If you miss it, there are a few upscale seafood restaurants like Pescados Capitales offering it as an appetizer in the evening!

Peruvian celebrity chef Gaston Acurio with chili peppers

If you’re non-vegetarian and feeling adventurous, give the ‘anticuchos’ (beef heart skewers) at Panchita restaurant a try. Eating anticuchos is a Peruvian tradition that was born in the streets. Panchita, owned by celebrity chef Gaston Acurio, pays homage to Peruvian grilled meats. Flavorful, tender and perfectly cooked meats come from an open flame at Panchita. Arcurio is also known for taking traditional Peruvian recipes (without meat) to a whole new level!

The ‘appetizer sampler’ at Panchita includes a skewer served with buttered corn, potatoes, and a variety of sauces. You can thank me later :-).

Peruvian skewer served with potatoes, corn and sauces at Panchita in Lima
Artsy Vibes in Barranco

Barranco boasts a dozen art galleries, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC) and the Pedro de Osma Museum of Colonial Art. But this tiny neighborhood is also full of cute boutiques and coffee shops, along with fabulous restaurants (such as Amor Amar and Cala both featured in this article). You will also find some cozy bars and even Barranco’s own craft beer company.

Craft beer at Barranco Beer Company

Don’t miss a stroll through the residential side streets featuring renovated mansions (once home to Lima’s elite), modern high-rises, and impressive street art.

Pedro de Osma Museum for Colonial Art in Lima, Peru
Mural in Barranco Lima
'Blue' artisan ice cream in Barranco

Traveling in Summer? Give this restaurant a try

If you’re traveling through Lima in the summertime, then I suggest one of my favorite restaurants in the city, Cala. Here you will be able to enjoy the refreshing ocean breeze as you sip on your delectable cocktail while watching the sunset over the beautiful Pacific Ocean. You can order Peruvian ‘tapas’ (appetizers) to go along with your cocktail or you can opt to reserve a table in advance on the second floor if you’re looking to dine more formally.

Tips for Lima in 72 Hours, 2 guests at Cala restaurant overlooking the Pacific Ocean

This is only a very short list of some of my favorite places throughout the Peruvian capital. There are still so many other incredible places to visit and discover, but one thing is for certain, you can’t cover the highlights of Lima in less than 72 Hours!

Where to Stay
  • Arawi Prime ($) a centrally located nice 4* hotel in Miraflores
  • Villa Barranco ($$) for boutique hotel lovers, casual vibe within a restored mansion from the Republican era in Barranco
  • Hotel B ($$$$) the quintessential boutique experience in Barranco, basically an art-gallery in itself, part of the exclusive Relaix & Chateaux Collection
  • Country Club ($$$) historic grand hotel in San Isidro with all the advantages of a large property, close to outstanding restaurants
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