Lima is a wonderful city, but we all know there comes a point when it’s time to escape the gray skies, at least for a few hours away. Disconnect from the city sightseeing with these day trips from Lima and escape the hustle and bustle for a while.
THE 10 BEST DAY TRIPS FROM LIMA
The following places are suggestions for day trips from Lima, so you can explore a different side of the Peruvian life.
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DAY TRIP FROM LIMA TO CHOSICA
If you want to escape from the cold and fog, a day trip to Chosica is a great plan. It takes less than an hour to get there but the weather and the fresh air feel completely different.
Once you get there, walk around the parks and the central plaza. The street food is amazing, especially when it comes to anticuchos, picarones or churros. Or you can visit one of the many country restaurants to indulge a Pachamanca, or maybe roasted guinea pig, for the most adventurous.
DAY TRIP FROM LIMA TO PACHACAMAC
Pachacamac used to be one of the main religious centers on the Peruvian coast for pre-Incas cultures. It is only 30 km away from Lima and with easy access from the Panamericana Sur highway.
On a day trip from Lima to Pachacamac, you can visit its intriguing religious compound built around 200 AD. It was one of the most important pilgrimage destinations in pre-Incas Peru. It is surrounded by pyramids dedicated to the sun and the moon, temples, and plazas. If you are a history fan, you’ll love learning about the Moche and Huari civilizations, its customs and way of life.
After exploring the site, you can enjoy a nice meal in one of the charming country restaurants of Pachacamac. I can personally recommend you try La Gloria del Campo or Chaxras. They are both great options that serve delicious organic food and work under the concept of local sustainable development. – And the ‘malaya dorada’ is to die for, just saying.
DAY TRIP FROM LIMA TO BALLESTAS ISLANDS
This day trip will need you to get up very early, but I promise you the experience is totally worth it! It takes around 3 hours to get from Lima to Paracas, so hop on your car at 6 am to have a full-day visit.
You will need to go first to the beach El Chaco and take a boat tour to Ballestas Islands. On your way to the islands, you will observe a mysterious figure known as “El Candelabro”. There are many stories and theories behind its origin, but no one knows for sure who created it.
At Ballestas Islands, you will appreciate a diverse fauna on the rock formations made up mainly by sea lions, pelicans, red-headed turkey buzzards, and even Humboldt penguins. The boats can’t land here but they make sure you get the best views! Also, you won’t want to get that close, considering the smell of guano. Guano is seabird droppings which once was a very profitable industry for Peru.
DAY TRIP FROM LIMA TO PARACAS
After your visit to the Ballestas Islands, head to the National Reserve of Paracas. The wildlife is remarkable too. You can relax some time at one of the beaches. Check before with the park security about the sea conditions, as sometimes it might be dangerous because of the presence of manta rays.
Keep exploring and you may spot some flamingos feeding at the shore. Make sure to also visit the museum J.C. Tello. There are exhibitions about the marine life and the civilization that lived here from 700 BC. Maybe the most notable aspect of the Paracas culture is their artificially deformed skulls with elongated craniums that attract many UFO hunters.
DAY TRIP FROM LIMA TO PARACAS
The Sacred City of Caral is one of those hidden gems that can potentially become a major tourist attraction in the next years, so get here before that happens. It is a 2.5-hour drive from Lima, located close to the central Pacific coast. This archaeological site is almost 5000 years old. That makes it the oldest city in the American continent and about the same age as Mesopotamian and Egyptian civilizations. This ancient metropolis has plazas, temples, pyramids and an amphitheater. However, the biggest attraction is the 18 meters tall pyramid. There are texts in both Spanish and English explaining points of interest. If you want to avoid other tourists go on a weekday. However, you won’t find food for sale so be prepared. There are food stands and handicraft for sale during the weekends.
Day Trip from Lima to Palomino Islands
Palomino Islands (or Palomino Islets) are a quick day trip from Lima to Callao with a boat trip of 6 miles from the coast.
The islets are home to a large fauna population of sea lions and seabirds like seagulls, guanay shags, tendrils, pelicans, etc. There is also an interesting old lighthouse who used to guide ships and steamers that were heading to Callao port. Many tourists come here to swim with the sea lions who apparently are feeling playful and happy about human visitors.
DAY TRIP FROM LIMA TO LA PUNTA
Instead of going into the sea, you can also stay in Callao, and most specifically, in the colorful area of La Punta.
La Punta has historically been an upper-middle-class district, where many families of Italian origins settled. You can still see their legacy across the district. There are many houses and manors from the 19th century very well preserved that transport you in time through their style and colors.
Enjoy lunch at one of their delicious seafood restaurants. I recommend El Mirador restaurant for a wonderful view and great food.
DAY TRIP FROM LIMA TO ANTIOQUÍA
Antioquía is a unique and charming district located 77 km from Lima. What makes it very particular is its houses and streets decorated with paintings of flowers, angels, and animals.
Its rich valley grows apples, quinces, custard apples, etc., which locals use for preparing delicious nectars and jams. You can check out the colorful Main Square, and the viewpoint from “Cerrito de Amancaes”. It’s an amazing day trip from Lima to the countryside.
Enjoy the perfect meal at this picturesque district by trying their specialty: river shrimp – except during close season (from December 20th to March 31st every year), please enjoy responsibly.
DAY TRIP FROM LIMA TO AZPITIA
Azpítia’s main attraction is the serene countryside surrounded by fruit valleys. They grow apple, lúcuma, among others. It is known by locals as “el balcón del cielo” (“Heaven’s balcony”) due to its wonderful view of the valley of Mala river.
Azpitia is perfect for trekking, mountain bike, exploring on a motorbike or horse.
Very close from Azpitia is Santa Cruz de Flores, a little town that produces wine and pisco as its main activity. Enjoy some artisan wine and/or pisco (we won’t judge if you get both) while taking in the perfect landscape around you.
DAY TRIP FROM LIMA TO CANTA AND OBRAJILLO
Canta is a peaceful place situated only 2 hours from Lima. You can walk around the main square, which has a colonial font and see the town’s church and old mansions. Don’t forget on your way back to stop along the market to buy local honey, manjarblanco, cheeses, tamales, or other fresh products you prefer.
Continue to Obrajillo, only 15 minutes from Canta. This is a rural area with beautiful landscapes and waterfalls. Head to La Ñusta or Luckle waterfalls where you can take beautiful panoramic views and even swim in the river. You can get there either walking or by horse.
Enjoy a typical meal next to the Chillón river. I suggest you order their famous trout or pachamanca.
Tell me, which day trip from Lima will you choose?