Lima has it all!
The city of Lima, considered to be the Gastronomical Capital of Latin America, is undoubtedly an incredible destination that offers visitors a wide variety of activities filled with history, architecture and fun, without the need to invest a lot of money or time. And this is especially true when you consider that there are places near the city with exceptional natural beauty, adventure sports, and outdoor activities; ideal for escaping the daily stress of work, classes or simple personal obligations.
Here is some information on tourist destinations near the capital that provide unforgettable experiences and that can be reached by public transportation or private car.
Caral Archaeological Zone
Considered one of the world’s oldest civilizations, the Holy City of Caral was a complex more than five thousand years old with pyramids, sunken circular plazas, residences, and broad public spaces.
It is located three and a half hours north of Lima, in the province of Barranca, and has more than 40 kilometers of thousand-year-old culture that prevailed at the same time as other great cultures such as Mesopotamia, India, Egypt, and China, which led to its designation as part of the Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
Its rich history has sparked the interest of many travelers and, consequently, more ways to reach the complex. For example, from Lima you can take a bus to kilometer 184 on the Panamerican North, where you can see signs that will guide you to the entrance. There are also different buses and taxis that depart from the market in the Supe district (Barranca) and will take you to the entrance of the archaeological site, for 5 and 20 soles respectively per person.
This complex is open every day, year-round, from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. The ticket prices are S/ 11.00 for adults, S/ 4.00 students and teachers and S/ 1.00 children.
Prized for its exquisite cuisine, architectural beauty, and ancient culture, the Huaral province is located to the north of Lima and offers tourists an endless variety of activities to connect with nature. This area supplies Peru and the world with high-quality oranges and mandarins that are grown in beautiful plantations with colonial-style chapels.
It is approximately an hour and a half north from Lima on the Panamerican North Highway. It houses incredible attractions such as the Rúpac citadel, whose name means “City of fire”, and which has been called the Machu Picchu of Lima. Chancay Castle is also located here facing the sea, an architectural relic that offers visitors museums, restaurants, terraces, and large courtyards.
You can also visit the Eco Truly Park, South America’s largest property so far built by the Hare Krishna community; cone-shaped buildings made of clay and organic waste, inhabited by people practicing the philosophy of universal love and respect for everything on the planet. A spiritual place that achieves a balance between nature and meditation, just a short walk from the capital.
Lastly, at kilometer 105 of the Panamerican North Highway, in the Huacho district, is the Lachay National Reserve. A natural paradise that is home to a variety of coastal flora and fauna, ideal for those who are looking to connect with the nature of Peru.
Located to the south of Lima and blessed with a warm climate, Lunahuaná is a destination that offers many alternatives for relaxation, creation, and adventure sports. It is a popular destination for both local and foreign tourists because it can be reached in about three hours along the Panamerican South Highway, at kilometer 144 (San Vicente de Cañete). Take the exit to the Imperial district, and you will finally enter the Lunahuaná Valley.
It is known as an adventure destination, where its principal attractions are canoeing, kayaking, routes on four-wheelers, and horseback riding. And we mustn’t forget its exquisite cuisine, featuring many shellfish-based dishes.
San Vicente de Azpitia
Popular for its excellent climate and location, Azpitia is an hour and a half south of Lima, exiting at the León Dormido beach and then taking the exit that goes to San Antonio under the tunnel. From there, take the exit on the left to the Santa Cruz district, and finally follow the route that leads to San Vicente de Azpitia.
A location with impressive views over the Mala River valley, known as the “Balcony of heaven”. It has rural restaurants that offer delicious typical dishes made with shrimps and fresh vegetables. It also has a large vineyard that creates delicious internationally-renowned piscos.
Lastly, you can enjoy peaceful hikes in its extensive green areas, or enjoy biking, horseback riding, or four-by-four excursions.
Nor Yauyos - Cochas landscape reserve
It is considered to be the reserve that protects one of Peru’s most beautiful landscapes of the high Andes, Yauyos - Cochas possesses emblematic snow fields, beautiful crystal-clear turquoise lakes, deep canyons, and extensive forests with enormous Puya raimondii and queñua trees. It is also home to a diverse variety of typical Andean wildlife, such as the Andean fox, vicuñas, grebes and herons.
It is in the upper river basin of the Cañete River, to the southeast of Lima, at a distance of approximately 321 km. (vía Cañete) and 290km. (vía Central Highway).
Its principal attractions include the natural scenic overlooks of Cantagallo and San Cristóbal; Papacocha lake and the “Forest of love”, both surrounded by beautiful bullrushes and impressive waterfalls; and the town plaza in Vilca.
The Huancaya district is also located here, with impressive attractions that include the terraced waterfalls of Cabracancha and Carahuayno, the extensive scenic overlooks of Huachacaca and Cabracancha and the bridges of Calycanto.
Known for its important magnetic and energy centers, Marcahuasi is the perfect destination for those who love meditation and relaxation. An ideal destination that connects you to nature, with its beautiful landscapes, including the “stone forest”, home to the Monument to Humanity, in which you can see different faces or profiles caused by the effect of the wind and the weather.
To reach it, take the Central Highway to kilometer 37, and then take the exit to the Santa Eulalia district. Once there, cross the Austisha bridge on the road to San Pedro de Casta, where you can go to Marcahuasi by making a 4-hour hike or going on horseback.
A mystical place visited by those looking for adrenalin and who like camping, adventure sports and switching off from the day-to-day routine. There are also shared accommodations that range from S/ 10 with cozy restaurants.
Known for the energy and joy that it transmits, the town of Antioquía stands out for its colorful streets and houses decorated with many colors and flowers, qualities that give them a peculiar beauty.
It is located in the Lurín River valley, approximately 3 hours from Lima by car via Avenida Javier Prado to Cieneguilla. You will then cross the towns of Chontay, Nieve Nieve, and Sisicaya, before reaching your final destination and the picturesque town of Antioquía.
A quiet place for hiking and bike rides through the mountains. It also has comfortable lodging and restaurants that prepare delicious pachamancas.
As you can see, there are incredible destinations close to the capital that offer a variety of activities to accommodate the needs of travelers; all you need is the initiative to experience these many activities that will leave you out of breath and with unforgettable memories.