Lima Area Map
Lima is split up into 43 distritos (districts), which can be overwhelming for a newcomer to navigate. But travelers can find all the main attractions, as well as lodging, dining and nightlife options, in three main districts.
Within the Lima district (remember that Lima is the name of a district, the city, the region and the province), this district is known as Centro de Lima (Central Lima). This district makes up the UNESCO World Heritage site that once formed the original city founded by Francisco Pizarro in 1535. Here, you'll find many of the city's main attractions, such as the Plaza del Armas and the Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco, as well as the government palace and various colonial mansions. The historic center is also known for the many ornamental Moorish balconies built during the 17th and 18th centuries. Take a stroll down the pedestrian Jiron de la Union (Union Street) to snap a few photos, grab some lunch and take in the historical architecture. You'll also find affordable accommodations in this area, but be mindful that it clears out in the evenings so it may not be the safest place to explore at night.
The most popular place for travelers to stay and hang out is in the Miraflores district. This upscale area is one of the safest in the city, and its coastal location provides beach access and the best ocean views along the Malecón. Lovebirds will appreciate Parque del Amor (Love Park) along Malecón de la Reserve, home to the famous El Beso (The Kiss) statue by Pervuian sculptor Victor Delfin that depicts – you guessed it – a couple embracing.
The main commercial shopping center is Larcomar, which is home to a number of larger retailers, but for more local flair travel a few blocks inland toward Parque Kennedy where you'll find smaller restaurants and a bustling street market. From luxury hotels to wallet-friendly hostels, there is a range of lodging options in the Miraflores district, as well as upscale nightlife options. You'll also find attractions, such as Huaca Pucllana, here. Because of the large tourist and expat population in Miraflores, it's considered one of the safest districts in the city, but you'll still want to be aware of your surroundings, especially after a night on the town.
For a look at the more bohemian side of Lima, visit the Barranco district. Located south of Miraflores along the coast, Barranco has an artsy vibe with colorful homes and squares spread throughout the district. During the early 20th century, this district was home to a large creative community and that laid-back feel still lives on today.
If you're interested in Lima's vibrant nightlife, Barranco is where you want to be. It's where you'll find the hippest bars, clubs and live music venues that stay open until the wee hours of the morning. What's more, some of the best beaches are found in the Barranco district. The unique location (cliffs to the south shield the beaches from colder and more humid winds) causes the area to experience a warmer and drier climate, especially during the rainy season. Take a walk down Bajada de los Baños, a historic walkway leading to the beach from San Martin Avenue, and cross the charming wooden Puente de los Suspiros (Bridge of Sighs).
While most locals are welcoming and friendly, you’ll want to be aware of pickpockets and petty theft when traveling in Lima. Be mindful of your surroundings while exploring Lima’s diverse districts, especially at night. Avoid wearing flashy jewelry, keep your camera in a bag when not in use and be discreet with cash to avoid making yourself a target. Also, try to avoid using an ATM at night. Using common sense, and knowing a few Spanish phrases, will help you blend in.