When planning a family vacation, Lima, the capital city of Peru, may not be the first destination that comes to mind. However, Lima offers a plethora of activities and attractions that cater to all age groups, including children. From exploring ancient ruins to indulging in culinary delights, Lima is a gem waiting to be discovered by families.
In this article, we will highlight the top things to do in Lima with kids, ensuring a fun-filled and memorable vacation for the whole family.
How many days is enough for Lima?
Lima boasts a rich cultural heritage and a wide range of attractions, so ideally, spending at least three to four days in the city would allow you to explore its wonders comfortably. However, if you have limited time, a two-day itinerary can still provide an enriching experience for your family.
What is Lima best known for?
Lima is best known for its historical significance, vibrant culture, and culinary scene. The city is famous for its ancient ruins, colonial architecture, and world-class gastronomy, making it a captivating destination for families seeking diverse experiences.
Can you get to Machu Picchu from Lima?
Although Lima is not directly connected to Machu Picchu, it is still possible to visit this iconic Inca citadel from Lima. Flights from Lima to Cusco, the gateway to Machu Picchu, are readily available, making it convenient to include both destinations in your family vacation.
Where Did We Stay?
We stayed at the Estelar Apartamentos Bellavista in Miraflores, and have to say it was a fantastic choice. We travel with a 7 year old and the room had plenty of space including separate sleeping and living quarters. Check rates.
Is there more to do in Cusco or Lima?
Both Cusco and Lima have their unique attractions, and the choice between the two depends on your family’s preferences. While Cusco is known for its Inca heritage and proximity to Machu Picchu, Lima offers a vibrant city life, rich cultural experiences, and culinary delights. Consider your family’s interests to decide which destination aligns best with your vacation goals.
1. Exploring Ancient Ruins: Lima’s Historical Wonders
While walking around central Lima is already a trip into time, there are some ruins smack in the middle of Lima worth visiting.
Discover the fascinating history of Lima by exploring its ancient ruins. Visit Huaca Pucllana, an archaeological site featuring well-preserved pyramids. These ruins are faily easy to reach and are easy to walk along. Teo loved being outdoors, making his way to the top of the hill, and seeing the llamas at the end of the path.
There’s also a superb restaurant on site, but it’s pricey and often full…
To delve deeper into history, explore the Museum of the Nation, where your kids can learn about Peru’s ancient civilizations through interactive exhibits.
2. Cultural Adventures: Museums and Art in Lima
Take your kids on a cultural adventure by visiting Lima’s museums and art galleries. The Larco Museum is a must-visit, offering a remarkable collection of pre-Columbian artifacts. The Children’s Museum is another great option, with engaging exhibits and interactive activities that make learning fun for kids of all ages.
3. Hidden Gems: Exploring Lima’s Neighborhoods
Venture beyond the conventional tourist spots and explore Lima’s vibrant neighborhoods. Barranco, with its colorful streets and bohemian vibe, is perfect for a family walk. Don’t forget to visit the Bridge of Sighs, an iconic spot in the district.
Barranco is one of those bohemian neighborhoods that you often find in large cities. We walked here from Miraflores, though it did take about 45 minutes.
Here you can see the Bridge of Sighs behind us, which was closed for maintenance when we visited.
Also, stroll through the historic district of Miraflores, where you’ll find beautifully preserved colonial buildings and the stunning Plaza de Armas.
Larcomar, an ocean facing shopping center, is surprisingly an also great place where to hang out, eat good food, and enjoy magnificent views of beachfront Lima- plus plenty of shopping as well.
4. Culinary Delights: Foodie Experiences in Peru
One cannot visit Lima without indulging in Peru’s exquisite cuisine. Take your kids on a culinary adventure by trying traditional dishes like ceviche, lomo saltado, and anticuchos. Plan a visit to a local market, such as Mercado Surquillo or Mercado de Magdalena, where your family can sample fresh fruits, local delicacies, and perhaps even participate in a cooking class.
Of all the dishes I tried while in Peru, I really enjoyed Aji de Gallina, as well as different versions of Ceviche and eating Choclo con queso (corn on the cob with cheese) at the simplest stalls I could find.
5. Surf’s Up: Catching Waves in Lima
Lima’s coastal location makes it an ideal place for surfing enthusiasts. Take your family to popular surfing spots in Lima, such as Miraflores or Waikiki Beach. Lessons are available for beginners, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone. Surfing in Lima promises a memorable adventure, filled with sun, sand, and waves.
6. Outdoor Fun: Parks and Gardens for Kids
Lima boasts several parks and gardens where kids can burn off some energy and enjoy outdoor activities. Parque de la Reserva, also known as the Magic Water Circuit, offers interactive water fountains and light shows that will mesmerize your children.
Additionally, visit Parque Kennedy in Miraflores, a spacious park bustling with street performers, artists, and even friendly cats.
7. Wildlife Encounters: Discovering Lima’s Animal Life
For a unique wildlife experience, head to the Pantanos de Villa Wildlife Refuge. This protected area houses diverse bird species, turtles, and even sea lions. Take a guided tour with your family to learn about the importance of conservation and enjoy spotting various animals in their natural habitat.
8. Magical Miraflores: Family-friendly Attractions
Miraflores, one of Lima’s most beloved neighborhoods, offers several family-friendly attractions. Visit the Parque de la Reserva, explore the Larcomar shopping center, or enjoy a relaxing walk along the Malecon, a picturesque coastal path offering stunning views of the Pacific Ocean.
Most of the time Lima is covered by clouds, but it literally never rains. So if you’re tempted to bring your umbrella leave it at home- disaster would strike if it did rain…there’s no water sewage !
9. Amusement Park Excitement: Thrills in Lima
For a day filled with excitement and adventure, visit the Costa Verde amusement park. This family-friendly attraction offers thrilling rides, including roller coasters and a Ferris wheel, ensuring an unforgettable experience for kids and adults alike. Let your kids immerse themselves in this fun-filled park and create lasting memories.
10. Local Markets: Shopping and Souvenirs
Explore Lima’s vibrant local markets and let your kids experience the unique shopping culture. Mercado Inca offers a wide selection of Peruvian handicrafts and souvenirs, perfect for taking a piece of Peru back home. Allow your children to practice their bargaining skills while purchasing traditional items like alpaca wool textiles or colorful pottery.
11. Sports Galore: Soccer and Surfing in Lima
Engage in activities that resonate with the Peruvian culture by enjoying a soccer game at one of Lima’s stadiums. Feel the energy and passion of the local fans as you cheer for your favorite team.
If your family is more inclined towards water sports, opt for paddleboarding lessons or try your hand at stand-up paddleboarding along Lima’s coastline.
Had I not been recovering from a long lasting injury I would have definitely used the opportunity to surf in Peru again!
12. Creative Workshops: Crafts and Artistic Activities
Let your children explore their creative side by participating in workshops focused on crafts and artistic activities. Lima offers various centers, such as Creceart and Creattiva, where kids can unleash their imagination and engage in arts and crafts projects, such as painting, pottery, and even jewelry making.
13. Fun with Nature: Zoo and Botanical Garden Exploration
For a day surrounded by nature’s wonders, visit Lima’s zoo and botanical gardens. The Parque de las Leyendas zoo offers a vast collection of animals, including llamas, jaguars, and condors, making it an educational and entertaining experience for kids.
Additionally, explore the botanical gardens to learn about Peru’s diverse plant species and engage in nature trails.
14. Ocean Bliss: Exploring Palomino Islands with Family
Embark on a boat tour to the Palomino Islands, located off the coast of Lima. Witness sea lions in their natural habitat, and if you’re lucky, you might even spot penguins and dolphins- we certainly did!. This adventure promises a unique and thrilling experience for the whole family, with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean.
We did our tour with Ecocruceros, a local , well reputed company that certainly delivered.
The tours starts from the harbor at Callao, in a neighborhood that is best avoided during most of the day. Once you got past the gates to the marina all is good though, and you can roam around with ease. Plus it’s nice too!
Once you reach the meeting point you are escorted to a small boat that will take you to the larger boat, and from there it’s a one hour trip to Palomino islands. The views on the way there are amazing, and the crew is very friendly as well.
Once you get close you’ll realize that there’s horrid smell. Well, that’s from the bird poop on the rocks, as well as that of the sea lions. The water is also cold year round, but wetsuits are provided should you want one.
You’re then invited to jump off and have some fun!
I do have to say that Teo did not enjoy the experience too much, mostly because of the water temperature. Despite using a wetsuit it was too cold for him. But once on board it was all fun and games again! Plus he loved seeing the animals from a distance too.
15. Join a Hop On/ Hop off Bus Tour
If you’ve read any other city article in this blog you probably know by now that ever since we had Teo I’m a big fan of hop on / hop off bus tours. They are a great way to visit a city without the little one getting tired. Plus, you get to visit the most interesting parts of the city without having to waste time figuring out where to go and how to get there.
We joined the tour with Turibus , a local company. The tour started at Lancomar and took us around the main attractions, however because of local unrest that had recently happened a few weeks before, the bus tour was not a hop on/ hop off experience and instead offered a guided walking tour of the Plaza de Armas at the end.
We were fine with that, and so was everyone on the bus! It was a great experience that I certainly recommend to anyone looking for things to do in Lima with kids.
Lima offers countless opportunities for families to create unforgettable memories together. Whether you choose to explore ancient ruins, indulge in culinary delights, or experience the breathtaking coastal beauty, Lima is a destination that will captivate both children and adults alike.
Embark on a family-friendly adventure filled with culture, history, and ample opportunities for fun in Lima, Peru.
Accommodation in Lima
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Tours in Lima
Get Your Guide offers small group tours and activities in Lima including tickets to the popular Lima attractions.