Lima Cathedral

Most visitors to Peru are usually focused on visiting Cusco and hiking the Inca Trail to Macchu Pichu, but as international flights arrive and depart from Lima, I urge you to spend at least 2 days in Lima.

The city has recently earned its spot in the top culinary/ foodies cities in South America.

But you don’t have to dine at fancy restaurants to enjoy Lima; this Lima itinerary will help you see all the main highlights in the historical centre and the suburbs of Barranco and Miraflores.

Day 1 of 2 days in Lima Itinerary – Immerse in Lima’s Historic Heart and Barranco

Morning: Breakfast at La Panetteria at Barranco 

We based ourselves in the Barranco district the second time we returned to Lima, and we think it is the perfect base when exploring Lima for 2 days. 

Start your day and Lima itinerary with a hearty breakfast at one of Barranco’s charming cafes.

Indulge in a cup of freshly brewed Peruvian coffee as you soak in the artistic vibes of this bohemian district. Try La Panetteria, or for something hipper, check out Caleta Dolsa Cafe.

Bridge of sighs Barranco Lima

Late Morning: Barranco’s Street Art and Puente de los Suspiros

Stroll through Barranco’s narrow streets adorned with vibrant street art. Make your way to the iconic Puente de los Suspiros (Bridge of Sighs) for a picturesque district view.

Capture the essence of Barranco’s artistic spirit in every corner, and later on at night, it has nice vibes.

Lima sign
There are two Lima signs in the main square

Midday: Changing of the Guards at the Government Palace

Head to Lima’s historic centre for a different experience. Take a UBER or a taxi. Just so you know, the traffic can be intense in Lima.

Once you arrive at Lima Main Square, also known as Plaza Mayor. (aim to be here around 11.30 am), witness the Changing of the Guards ceremony at the Government Palace. The ceremony usually draws a crowd of local and foreign tourists.

There is also a huge LIMA sign, where you can take your iconic photo. 

Changing of the guards Lima
Changing of the guards – Lima in 2 days

The Main Square is also a Unesco World Heritage Site. 

Lunch: Plaza Mayor Surroundings

Explore the nearby streets for a delightful lunch at one of the traditional Peruvian restaurants.

Why not try local dishes such as ceviche or lomo saltado as you take in the colonial architecture surrounding Plaza Mayor and the historical centre?

We walked towards Plaza San Martin and noticed locals eating Menu del Dia (daily menu) at a local eatery, Cosmos Bar Restaurant.

It was a tasty, affordable meal. We ordered mixed ceviche for starters, then Pescado Frito (fried fish) and Rach ordered the classic Lomo Saltado (sliced beef with vegetable stir fry and rice).

I recommend always looking out for the lunch menu; it’s usually the best deal, costing around 15 PEN (USD 4). 

After lunch, visit the impressive Lima Cathedral, a masterpiece of Spanish colonial architecture. The entry is not free, but it’s definitely worth it to go inside.

Plaza Mayor Lima

Afternoon: Lima Cathedral, San Francisco Monastery

You can continue your stroll towards the famous San Francisco Monastery with its striking yellow facade.

Founded in the 17th century, this religious complex is a testament to colonial architecture and holds significant cultural and artistic value. It houses a huge library and exploring the catacombs is the best part. 

Then it is time to head back to Barranco to your hotel for a quick change or freshen up to head out for dinner.

We stayed at Casa Republica Barranco Boutique Hotel, and we loved it.

Casa Republica in Lima Peru
We stayed at Casa Republica during our 2 days in Lima

Dinner: Isolina Taberna Peruana

Conclude your first day of this 2 days in Lima Itinerary with a traditional Peruvian dinner at Isolina Taberna Peruana.

Indulge in authentic criollo cuisine in a cosy setting that reflects Lima’s culinary heritage. We loved the food at Isolina, but be warned, all dishes are huge, so make sure to share.

Day 2 of 2 Days in Lima: Coastal Charms of Miraflores and Larco Museum  

Morning: Breakfast at Barranco or Miraflores

Fuel up for the day with a delicious breakfast at a cafe in Barranco, or for a fancy brunch, head straight to Miraflores and eat at The Brunch Club.

Barranco sign
The sign at the entry of Barranco

Late Morning: Parque del Amor and Larcomar

Take a leisurely stroll along the stunning cliffs of Miraflores and explore the romantic Parque del Amor.

Our hotel, Casa Republica, where we stayed, also had bicycles for guests, so we cycled to Miraflores after breakfast. 

Admire the Pacific Ocean views before heading to Larcomar, a vibrant shopping and entertainment complex with panoramic sea vistas. You can easily spend a few hours here.

We returned to Barranco (on our bicycles) as we were given a local tip to have lunch at Canta Rana in Barranco to try some of the best local dishes and ceviche. And we were glad we did.

Lunch: Canta Rana in Barranco

Canta Rana is a popular spot known for its laid-back atmosphere and delicious Peruvian dishes.

This was one of our favorite meals and it proves that Lima is a foodie city and you don’t have to go to the high-end restaurants. If you unsure what to order, ask the staff for recommendations. We thought the ceviche was fantastic. 

Lunch at Canta Rana Lima
Delicious lunch at Canta Rana

Afternoon: Visit Larco Museum 

After lunch, why not visit the impressive Larco Museum? You will need to get a taxi/Uber over there, but this is arguably the best museum in Peru. 

The museum’s collections span from 3000 BC to the Inca Empire, featuring unique artifacts such as Moche erotic pottery, intricate gold and silver pieces, and finely preserved textiles. So if you like to learn more about the history of Peru, this 18th century mansion turned into a museum is a fantastic place to do so.

And there is a beautiful garden to relax.

Alternatively, you could also add Huaca Pucllana Site Museum to this Lima itinerary. This is a stone pyramid complex that offers the opportunity to learn about a previous, now lost civilisation. This clay pyramid is very impressive.

If you like Archaeological sites, you might enjoy reading our blog about the 20 Best Archeological Sites in the world.

Then it is back to Barranco to freshen up to watch the sunset.

Evening: Sunset at Barranco’s Malecón

Experience a breathtaking sunset at Barranco’s Malecón while sipping a refreshing pisco sour. Take in the coastal views as the sun dips below the horizon, casting a warm glow on this picturesque district. 

Sunsets at Barranco
Bike ride and sunset at Barranco’s Malecón

Dinner: Last chance for ceviche

Conclude your Lima itinerary with a traditional Peruvian dinner at one of the restaurants in Barranco or head out to nearby Miraflores.

We can ensure ceviche will never taste the same outside of Lima.

We recommend this Food Tour of Barranco to taste the best of Lima

Here are a few recommendations on where to eat in Lima:

La Lucha Sangucheria Criolla – Located in Miraflores, this is a popular sandwich shop and is always packed with locals! They make some excellent sandwiches, at a good price. We highly recommend ordering the ‘Lechon a la lena’ (roasted pork) sandwich, it’s delicious.

Canta Rana – Excellent Peruvian food. All dishes are designed to be shared, and we recommend the fish ceviche and ‘la causa’ dish. This restaurant get very busy with locals at lunchtime, so come early to get a table.

Juanito Barranco – A typically local, no-frills place where you can stop by for a simple, yet satisfying ham sandwich with a wine or a cold beer.

La Mar Cevicheria – A vibrant seafood restaurant in the heart of Lima. Come here for a delicious lunch (they don’t offer dinner service).

Where to stay in Lima – Which area is the best?

Choosing where to stay in Lima allows you to get immersed in certain vibes of Lima. Choose from the historic allure of the city centre, the contemporary vibes of Miraflores, or the artistic charm of Barranco

We have stayed in two different areas, and we preferred Barranco the most, but here is a helpful list of what to expect when staying in these districts of Lima.

Historic City Centre:

  • Historic charm with colonial architecture.
  • Close to iconic landmarks like the Government Palace and Lima Cathedral.

Our top recommendation for accommodation in the City Centre is Sheraton Lima.


  • Modern and upscale district with vies of the Pacific Ocean
  • Vibrant energy, upscale shopping at Larcomar, and the romantic Parque del Amor.
  • A haven for food enthusiasts with renowned restaurants.

Our top recommendation for accommodation in Miraflores is Casa Boutique Galvez.


  • Lima’s bohemian quarter with artistic flair and ocean views.
  • Colorful streets, street art, and trendy cafes.
  • Laid-back ambiance with a relaxed pace.

Our top recommendation for accommodation is the Casa Republica Barranco Boutique Hotel.

Street art in Barranco Lima

How to get around in Lima

You can navigate Lima easily by using taxis, Uber, or the Metropolitano bus system. We used Uber to get everywhere.

Since we based ourselves in Barranco, districts like Miraflores and Barranco are easily explored on foot.

How to stay connected in Lima

The best way to stay online in Peru is to purchase an eSIM for Peru.

You can get 3GB eSIM for $15 or 5GB for $20 and be online as soon as you land. This is a great way to catch Uber from the airport.

TIP: Get $3 off your first Airalo eSIM purchase when you use this promo code RACHEL5045 

Best Day Tours in Lima

There are some fantastic day trips and activities to do in Lima.

One of the most popular things to do in Lima is this Colonial City Tour, which includes a catacombs visit (highly recommended). The best part is learning about the history of Lima from your local guide.

If you’re up for an adventure, this Full-Day Paracas and Huacachina Bus Tour is great! You’ll discover the ever-changing landscapes of the Peruvian countryside on a day trip from Lima, and get to view sea lions and Humboldt penguins on the Ballestas Islands, plus much more.

Why not add a visit to the Amazon Rainforest after Lima?

When we visited Lima in Peru, we also booked a little add-on to fly to the Peruvian Amazon to spend two nights in the middle of the Amazon Rainforest.

We used Skyscanner to book cheap return flights from Lima to Puerto Maldonado (the arrival airport).

If you have a few days to spare, consider booking this 2N/3 Day Amazon option after your 2 days in Lima.

In summary, our two days in Lima itinerary offers a perfect blend of history, art, coastal beauty, and culinary delights, providing a glimpse into Peru’s capital city.