With two days in Lima, you can thoroughly explore its historic center, with its elegant colonial architecture, as well as its colorful neighborhoods—and even have time to venture to the coastal riches and ancient temples beyond. Here’s how to spend a memorable 48 hours in the Peruvian capital.
Day 1: Explore the City
Morning: Lima’s UNESCO World Heritage–listed historic center is filled with interesting architecture and cultural history. Private and group sightseeing tours by bus or by foot typically visit such landmarks as the Palace of Justice (Palacio de Justicia), the Plaza de Armas, and the Monastery of San Francisco. If you prefer flexibility, create your own itinerary with a hop-on hop-off bus tour.
Afternoon: Bohemian Barranco is known for its colorful street art, unique stores, art galleries, restaurants, and the picturesque wooden Bridge of Sighs (Puente de los Suspiros). Walking and bicycle tours introduce you to the buzzing neighborhood, and some tours include dishes at a handful of local restaurants.
Night: Sample Lima’s highly rated culinary scene on a food-focused tour. Your options vary from downtown bar crawls and cooking classes (some of which include a local market tour and pisco sour–making lesson) to gourmet tours that include stops at some of the city’s (and the world’s) best restaurants.
Day 2: Nature and Archaeology
Morning: Half-day sightseeing cruises to the Palomino Islands, just offshore, leave from Lima and offer the opportunity to get up close to sea lions, as well as seabirds such as pelicans, Humboldt penguins, and Peruvian boobies. Alternatively, head for the ancient Pachacamac Temple, dating from AD 200. Private and group tours typically begin with a scenic drive down the coast before arriving at the site.
Afternoon: Taste the delicious diversity of Peru’s thriving cacao industry in a chocolate-making workshop at Lima’s ChocoMuseo. Learn about every step of the process—from roasting the beans and removing the husk to grinding the nibs and refining the paste in a melangeur—and create your very own chocolate with your choice of ingredients.
Night: Housed in an 18th-century mansion, the Larco Museum of pre-Columbian art is one of Lima’s most famous cultural attractions. Guided tours allow you to spend an evening exploring the exhibits, including the erotic pottery for which it is famous, before sitting down to an included gourmet dinner.