Where to Stay in Lima by Best Areas and Hotels
If you’re wondering where to stay in Lima, or where is the best area to stay in Lima, you’re in the right place. In this article, I will give an insight into the best places to stay in Lima for first time visitors, couples, families, backpackers, all budget travelers; read on as I show you the best of Lima.
Settled in January 1535, Lima is the capital and largest city in Peru, as well as the second largest city anywhere in the Americas, behind only Sao Paulo.
A diverse and expansive city, featuring both modern and historical attractions, as well as a collection of glorious beaches, Lima is one of the most popular tourist destinations in South America.
With so much on offer, narrowing down where to stay on your trip can be quite the dilemma, as getting it wrong could substantially impact the enjoyment of your trip.
So, if you want to ensure you get your destination spot on, I would highly recommend reading on, as I break down the best options the city has to offer, for people from all walks of life.
Where to Stay in Lima: Tips & Info
Before we begin with the breakdown of the top areas in the city, allow me to first give you a few tips, which may help you to get a clearer picture in your mind of the type of place you want to stay in while you read on.
For example, anyone looking to travel on a budget will be looking at a more affordable district, like Barranco, while those for whom money isn’t a concern may lean towards a more upmarket location, such as San Isidro.
Then you have to think about what sort of atmosphere you are better suited to, be that a relaxing trip to a quieter destination, like Punta Hermosa, or a livelier, tourist-centric destination, such as Miraflores.
You even need to think about what you want to do while you’re in the city. For a more cultural, historic experience, then Lima Centre is the clear option, while those looking for an abundance of beaches to relax would prefer a destination like Chorrillos.
Whatever it is you’re after, taking these into consideration before you look at the individual suggestions will help you to settle on your decision substantially quicker.
Where to Stay in Lima, Peru – The 10 Best Areas to Stay in Lima
Lima is divided into an astounding 43 districts, which, understandably, makes narrowing it down to the correct one for you quite a challenge. With so much on offer, I couldn’t possibly pick just one of these locations to please everybody.
What I will do though, is help you narrow your search, as I am now going to present to you the 10 best areas the city has to offer and explain just what makes each one so great.
Where to Stay in Lima Peru Map
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1. Lima Centre – Where to Stay in Lima for Shopping
We begin our article in Lima Centre, also known as the Historical District, which lies at the heart of the city. This entire area is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so you probably won’t be surprised to learn that the area is brimming with historic attractions to discover.
The 16th century Basilica Cathedral Of Lima, the San Francisco De Asis Church, the Peruvian Government Palace, the Plaza De Armas, the Acho Bullring and the legendary Senor De Los Milagros (Lord Of The Miracles) painting call all be found within the walls of the old city.
Due to its historical nature, the area is largely left as a pedestrian only zone, with traffic diverted to other areas. This has allowed businesses surrounding the attractions, such as shops, bars, cafes, and restaurants, to thrive, with visitors constantly strolling around the streets outside.
This makes it a perfect destination for anyone who enjoys shopping and dining out, as the range on offer is guaranteed to have something to suit all tastes.
You combine that with its history and the fact that many of the surrounding districts are equally popular with tourists and you’ll start to realise what a multifaceted destination this truly is.
STAY IN LIMA CENTRE IF:
- You are interested in the history of the city
- You enjoy shopping
- You don’t plan on hiring a car
- You want to be surrounded by many of the other top districts in the city
- You want a diverse range of shops and restaurants
- You want a variety of things to do on your trip
2. Miraflores – Best Area to Stay in Lima for Tourist Attractions
Located to the south of the city centre, Miraflores is undoubtedly one of the most popular locations in the city for the casual tourists, which is largely because this is a destination that offers a little bit of everything.
Known to cater to tourists first and foremost, it has developed a reputation as the safest district in the city. This is a huge positive no matter where you are going on your travels, but it is an especially big deal when travelling to South America, which, unfortunately, is known for issues with crime, particularly when it comes to things like pick pocketing.
Then there is what the district actually has to offer in terms of attractions and entertainment. Traditional tourist draws are abundant, such as bars, restaurants, shops, hotels, cinemas, theatres and art galleries, with even a shopping mall and a flea market in the main square.
The area then balances things out with some more cultured offerings. The Huaca Pucllana, the ruins of an ancient Incan pyramid, the Iglesia Virgen Milagrosa church, Parque Del Amor and Parque Kennedy are all located here, making it a perfect spot for those interested in a diverse vacation.
All of that is before we even mention its perfect location. Situated on the coast, between the other two most popular districts in the city, Miraflores is ideal for anyone wanting to add a few days at the beach or an afternoon exploring the history of the city centre to their trip.
When you take all of that into consideration, it should become clear just why this is such a popular destination with tourists, as it gives them the chance to enjoy the greatest range of activities that you’ll find anywhere else in Lima.
STAY IN MIRAFLORES IF:
- You prefer traditional tourist destinations
- You enjoy shopping
- You like art galleries
- You want to visit the beach
- You are interested in history
- You like a diverse range of things to do on your vacation
- You want a good selection of bars and restaurants
3. Barranco, Where to Stay in Lima for Surfing & Water Sport
We move now to the last of Lima’s “Big 3” destinations, to the Barranco district. This is an area best known for its Bohemian feel, with many artists, designers, musicians and photographers living and working in this part of the city.
As you would perhaps expect from such a location, it is the prime destination for anyone wanting to experience the best nightlife in the city. Bars, clubs and restaurants of all kinds play music and feature live entertainment into the early hours of the morning, allowing you to dance and party your nights away.
Despite its popularity, many of the buildings are a little more run down compared to other areas in the city centre. As opposed to being a negative though, this actually becomes a positive. Not only does it add to the charm of the area, but it also means prices are generally lower, particularly when it comes to accommodation, making it a perfect choice for anyone travelling on a budget.
Beyond the nightlife and price, there are also plenty of other reasons why Barranco is so popular with visitors. For example, anyone interested in water sports will find a yacht club, as well as some of the most popular surfing beaches in the world.
There are even some more traditional sights to be seen too, with the Punte De Los Suspiros bridge and a Main Plaza featuring monuments, memorials, fountains and beautifully designed buildings, giving you plenty of things to stroll around and discover during the day.
STAY IN BARRANCO IF:
- You are travelling on a budget
- Nightlife is a priority
- You are into surfing or other water sports
- You prefer an area with a Bohemian feel
4. San Isidro – Best Area to Stay in Lima for Fancy Dining
Our next destination of San Isidro is located between Miraflores and Lima Centre. What you will find in this neighbourhood is a very up-market, high end destination. In recent years, it has become the financial centre of not just Lima but of Peru as a whole.
This is the sort of location you would expect to find at the centre of most modern cities. Expensive hotels, bars, restaurants and shops line streets that are also home to the headquarters of many major businesses and a whopping 58 embassies and consulates.
In terms of attractions to draw in tourists, it relies mainly on its lavish accommodation, which largely features expensive, 5-star hotels, with stunning grounds, architecture and furnishings, to make even the pickiest visitors feel like they are treating themselves to a little luxury while they are away.
That said, there are still a number of museums, galleries and even the Wak’a Wallamarka, a pre-Incan burial temple dating back to the 4th century, to give you plenty to explore during the day.
If these sorts of attractions appeal to you, you prefer to live and dine in luxury and you have money to burn, then San Isidro is an ideal spot to enjoy a refined and exclusive getaway in the heart of Lima.
STAY IN SAN ISIDRO IF:
- You aren’t concerned about cost
- You want to stay in high end accommodation
- You are working in the financial sector
- You want to spend your evenings in fancy bars and restaurants
- You are interested in museums and ancient artifacts
5. Chorrillos – Best Beach Resort Area to Stay in Lima
Chorrillos is a located to the south of Barranco, just along the coast. While it is on the outskirts of the inner city, it is still close enough to make travelling in to see the attractions fairly quick and easy. That said, this isn’t a location where the city life is the biggest selling point.
Chorrillos features some of the most popular beach resorts in the city, with choices like Playa Regatas Lima 2, Playa Pescadores, Playa Agua Dulce, Playa Las Sombrillas and Playa Los Yuyos offering an incredible number of options for beach lovers.
These stunning resorts offer visitors a variety of locations to spend lazy days topping up their tans, with a vibrant collection of bars, shops and restaurants in the surrounding area, providing everything you would expect from a traditional beach resort.
Their proximity to the centre of the city also offers the opportunity to switch things up, allowing you to seamlessly blend sightseeing, swimming and sunbathing into one magical vacation.
STAY IN CHORRILLOS IF:
- Tourist focused beach resorts are your priority
- You want easy access to the centre of the city, without being caught up in the hustle and bustle
- You want to be able to combine both relaxation and exploration on your trip
6. Callao – Where to Stay in Lima Near Airport
Our next destination is one that, while surrounded on all sides by the city, isn’t officially considered a part of Lima, instead being recognised as the Constitutional Province Of Callao. That said, it is culturally, economically and socially integrated with the city, as part of its metropolitan area.
Despite the integration, there are still a number of cultural differences, making this area a slight change of pace from the rest of the city and a destination that may be particularly attractive to regular visitors to the city, who want to experience something slightly different.
Despite this, its main draws are actually its location, as it is where both the largest seaport in Lima and its main airport, Jorge Chavez International Airport, can be found. This makes it an ideal location for anyone who prefers to remain close to the airport while on vacation, allowing them to make the most of every last second of their trip, without having to waste time dragging their luggage around.
Its port is also the setting-off location for most of the cruises that depart from the city, so anyone looking to get out on the waves for a day or more, or even those simply looking to enjoy the city for a few days as an added bonus before they set sail, will find this location perfectly situated to allow them the best of both worlds.
STAY IN CALLAO IF:
- You want to remain near the airport
- You are planning to take a cruise
- You want to experience a slightly different culture
- You’re only in town for a short stop over
7. Pueblo Libre – Best Area to Stay for Traditional Experience
Pueblo Libre, formerly known as Old Magdalena, is located near the western coast of the city, roughly half-way between Lima Centre and San Isidro.
In large part, this is a district that is remarkably similar to Miraflores. It is incredibly safe, has a number of amenities designed specifically for tourists, is situated not too far from the beach and is close enough to some of the other top districts in the city that commuting between them is quick and easy.
Where it differs though, is that this is an area that has recently started emerging as a popular place to visit. This brings with it positives, such as lower prices and substantially quieter streets, making it a more relaxed and affordable location.
That said, it also brings with it some negatives, the most notable of which being a much more limited choice of accommodation, meaning you need to plan your trip well in advance if you want to stay here.
Among the most popular attractions are The Cross Of The Traveller and The National Museum Of Archaeology, Anthropology And History Of Peru, which is located within the mansion of legendary Peruvian liberator Simon Bolivar. There are also numerous other museums, galleries and famous restaurants located within the district.
A final point worth noting about Puerto Libre is that, with it still being a largely residential area, you will be predominantly surrounded by the locals during your stay. This makes it ideal for anyone who wants to experience the traditional culture of the city.
STAY IN PUERTO LIBRE IF:
- You want a more traditional experience
- You like a diverse range of things to do on your vacation
- You want a quieter location
- You want a safe destination
- You enjoy museums
8. San Miguel – Best Area for Relax Vacation
We move now to a district that is adjacent to our previous one, the largely urban district of San Miguel. Offering quite a different experience to much of the city, this is an area where hypermarkets and shopping malls are commonplace, making it ideal for those looking to partake in a little retail therapy.
It also has a large number of parks compared to other districts, making it a nice place to relax in the slightly cooler temperatures that are found here.
Generally seen as a pleasant neighbourhood, where people may come to get away from it all for a while, as opposed to going sightseeing, it does have one famous attraction, the Parque De Las Leyendas.
Lima’s largest zoo, home to 215 species of birds, mammals and reptiles, and located within the Archaeological Complex Of Maranga, this is an amazing destination, where you can see thousands of animals and historical architecture, all at the same time.
STAY IN SAN MIGUEL IF:
- You enjoy shopping
- You like parks
- You want a relaxed vacation, away from traditional tourist hotspots
- You want to visit Lima’s largest zoo
9. Punta Hermosa – Best Area to Stay for Local Atmostphere
Our penultimate destination is one that will certainly appeal to a more niche group of people, as Punta Hermosa is one of Lima’s most southern districts, located quite a distance from the centre of the city.
Despite that fact, the draw to the area is that it is one of the most up-market and desirable beach resorts in the city. Featuring a smaller number of hotels, bars, restaurants and shops, all of which are of a generally more exclusive feel than most of the beach resorts in the city, it allows those looking for a beach vacation to achieve their goal in a stylish manner.
With a far smaller number of visitors than the other resorts, it also makes for a much quieter destination, making relaxing days spent lazing on the sand all the easier to achieve. This is furthered by the fact that both Punta Negra and San Bartolo, two equally beautiful and similarly styled beaches, are located within close proximity.
If you want to mix it up while you’re there and not spend the entire trip on the beach, there is also the village of Punta Hermosa to explore, full of traditional Peruvian culture and history. This makes it a perfect destination for those looking for a relaxing vacation, combining culture and style with long days in the sand, sun and sea.
STAY IN PUNTA HERMOSA IF:
- You prefer more exclusive accommodation
- You like quieter, more relaxed beaches
- You want to experience local culture
- You aren’t worried about being away from the city centre
10. Ancon – Best Beach Resort Area to Stay in Lima
Our final destination brings us to the second largest and most northernly district in the city, Ancon. While being located quite a distance from the heart of the city will put off some visitors, it may be a selling point to others, and also has quite a diverse range of attractions to draw people in.
The most obvious draw for traditional tourists will be its collection of beach resorts, with Playa Salitral, Playa Hermosa, Playa Carros Grandes, Playa Carros Chicos and Playa El Estanque all located within close proximity to one another. This allows you to choose from a variety of options, to find the one which best suits your personal tastes, or even stroll between them all, ensuring no two days on your trip will be alike.
Continuing with the natural theme of the area, the Reserva Nacional Lomas De Ancon and Parque Ecologico Nacional Antonio Raimondi are both located in the surrounding area, offering visitors the opportunity to get out and experience the native plant life and explore the stunning landscapes.
The final draw to the area is its historical significance, being the location of a great number of archaeological discoveries, dating back to the pre-Inca period. Anyone looking to learn about how this part of the world looked and operated in centuries gone by will be thrilled with what there is on offer here.
STAY IN ANCON IF:
- You want a range of beach resorts
- You want to experience the natural side of the region
- You are interested in Peruvian history
- You aren’t worried about being near the centre of the city
So, that’s our selection of the 10 best destinations in Lima out the way. While you will have most of the information you need about the city in order to make your decision on where to stay by now, I understand that there will still be those of you with a few lingering questions.
With that in mind, allow me to answer a few of the most frequently asked questions people have with regards to the city, to hopefully help you make that final decision.
Where To Stay In Lima On A Budget?
When it comes to staying in Lima on a budget, there is simply no where better suited than the district of Barranco.
With its distinctly Bohemian feel, not only will the accommodation be notedly cheaper than other areas of the city but the prices in the surrounding shops and bars are much more affordable as well.
You could even take into consideration the fact that being located near to the centre of the city and some of the other popular areas it has to offer, you will also end up saving money when it comes to travelling around as well.
For example, the Casa Fanning Hotel, is a stunning hotel, located in the heart of the district and featuring an “excellent” rating on booking.com, with a price tag that simply has to be seen to be believed.
Where To Stay In Lima For One Night?
If you only have a single night to spend in Lima, you are going to want a destination that offers you the greatest range of what the city has to offer, so you can try and fit in a little bit of everything.
In the case of Lima, I would have to recommend the Miraflores neighbourhood in this instance. Featuring an abundance of tourist amenities like bars and restaurants, as well as some cultural and historical attractions, it alone can provide a well-rounded visit to the city.
Then, when you factor in its location makes it easy to access both beaches and the historical part of the city, it becomes even clearer that this is the best place to stay when you only have a small amount of time.
If you really want to make the most of your time, I would also recommend staying at the Casa Andina Premium Miraflores. A stunning looking building, it is a 5-star hotel with an “excellent” rating on booking.com, which is available at a fraction of the price you would expect from such a place. There’s simply no better way to make the most of you limited time than with a stay right here.
Where To Stay In Lima Near The Airport?
For anyone who prioritises staying near the airport on their trips, there is simply no better choice to make when travelling to Lima than to stay in Callao.
Whether you’re only in town on a layover, taking the opportunity to see a bit of the city before you depart on a cruise, or simply want to make the trips to and from your hotel with all your luggage as quick and easy as possible, this is the option that will tick all of the boxes.
In fact, the Costa Del Sol Wyndham Lima Airport, a 4-star hotel, with an incredibly affordable price tag and 8.2/10 rating on booking.com, is located right next to the airport, offering you the chance to enjoy quality, value and convenience, all in a single location.
Where To Stay In Lima For Nightlife?
It’s hard to suggest a single location for nightlife, as that depends largely on what sort of nightlife you are looking for.
For example, anyone who prefers a night out at a more exclusive, high end, bar or restaurant may prefer San Isidro. Then those who want to enjoy their dinner and drinks surrounded by history will likely lean towards Lima Centre.
However, if I did have to pick the best overall choice when it comes to nightlife, I would have to go with Barranco. With so much choice on offer, in terms of both bars and the entertainment they provide, as well as the varieties of music being played and the live acts they feature, I think you would be hard pressed to not find somewhere for everyone in this part of the city.
How Long To Stay In Lima?
With a city as diverse as Lima, it’s hard to say how long you will want to stay here. When you factor in the history, the beaches, the tourist attractions; these are all things that people could make an entire vacation out of by themselves.
While you’re sure to enjoy yourself, no matter how long your stay is for, I would highly recommend you plan to stay for at least a week. This is the minimum amount of time I feel you will need to explore the city, to take in enough to not feel like you’ve missed out, yet be able to do so in a manner that doesn’t feel rushed.
Best Things To Do And See In Lima?
When a city covers over 1,000 square miles, narrowing down the top things to do and see can be quite the challenge. That is even more true when you have to factor in that everyone has their own likes and dislikes. That said, there are still a few things that stand out more than others.
The Huaca Pucllana in Miraflores and Wak’a Wallamarka in San Isidro are some of the most remarkable and important ruins in the city, as is the Archaeological Complex Of Maranga, which contains the Lima zoo. Anyone interested in archaeology and ancient history is going to want to ensure these are on their to do list.
Then there are slightly younger, more artsy, historical attractions, such as the Iglesia Virgen Milagrosa church in Miraflores, The Cross Of The Traveller in Puerto Libre, as well as the Basilica Cathedral Of Lima, the San Francisco De Asis Church, and the Senor De Los Milagros in Lima Centre. There’s even a huge selection of museums and galleries to explore as well.
Moving away from the more cultured, historical side of things, Lima is also home to some fabulous beaches, so it would be a shame to visit and not experience even one of them. Whether you prefer the quieter, more exclusive beaches near Punta Hermosa, the surfing hotspots in Barranco, or the more traditional tourist choices in Chorrillos, there is plenty for you to choose from.
Finally, there are the national parks and reserves near Ancon. Having seen the history and beauty of the city, why deprive yourself of getting the full experience of the city, by getting out and enjoying the stunning wildlife and natural landscapes present around its borders.
As I said at the outset, it is impossible to tell you everything there is to do and see, as there is simply too much. However, if you at the very least try and tick off these suggestions, you are sure to have an enjoyable and well-rounded visit to the city.
The city of Lima is a fabulous destination to visit. One of the safest cities in South America and featuring some of its richest history and culture, as well as a number of its most beautiful beaches, it’s a destination I would encourage everyone to visit.
Hopefully, after reading this article, you will have a much clearer picture on exactly where to stay, to ensure your Peruvian adventure is everything you dreamed of.
Now, all that’s left is to go and start getting things booked, while all the amazing attractions you’ve just heard about are fresh in your memory.