In Lima, the equatorial climate is never cold and it almost never rains, making it a perfect place for kids to play outside in parks and at the beach.
International travelers usually arrive in Lima first and it’s worth spending a few days here, especially if you need to recover from jet lag before going to a higher-altitude destination. Plan the perfect family itinerary with this guide to the best things to do with kids in Lima.
Is Lima good for kids?
Lima’s parks, plazas and the double coastline make for fantastic outdoor places for kids to play. Up on the bluffs at the edge of the city, the malecón (boardwalk) connects parks with playgrounds, art, and gardens, all with spectacular views down to the beaches below. These are popular with Limeñian families and your kids will likely find plenty of locals to play with.
Ivy-covered cliffs separate the malecón from the beach, with few places to drive down to the sea and even fewer to walk down. One of the best things to do with kids in Lima is a day at the beach. The extensive coastline stretches 20km (12 miles) from La Punta in Callao to Playa Agua Dulce in Chorrillos.
It’s best to take a taxi from your hotel but make sure you know which beach you’re headed to before you set out, because the one-way coastal byways make it difficult to backtrack.
Transportation is difficult in Lima, where traffic jams are infamous and public transit can be chaotic. Plan on taking taxis most places, especially if you have car seats or strollers with you.
Avoid traffic altogether by picking a neighborhood that has enough activities for your kids and finding lodgings within walking distance of the spots you want to see most.
Be aware that pedestrians do not have the right of way in Peru. Do not assume vehicles will stop for you or your family, even if you’re on a marked crosswalk.
Renting apartments from services like Airbnb is common, but consider the advantages of a hotel with a concierge. They can help with transportation and give recommendations for places nearby so you don’t need to get a taxi every time you go out.
Best Lima neighborhoods for kids
Outdoor activities crowd along the coast, both in the string of parks along the bluffs and at the beaches down below. Many museums have exhibits designed for children and outdoor areas for kids to run around.
Miraflores, San Isidro and Barranco are the safest neighborhoods, where you’ll find the best lodgings and most walkable destinations. The beach and center of Lima require taxis, but both are worth dealing with traffic for.
The popular Miraflores stretch of the malecón is 5km (3 miles) long and connects to San Isidro in the north and Barranco in the south. Each neighborhood has its own character with imaginative sculptures, murals, and art that kids can play on and around.
Best things to do in Lima with babies and toddlers
Spend a day at the malecón
The paved and gravel paths in this area work well for strollers and little ones who are just learning to walk. Start at the Parque de Amor, where kids can play on the circuitous benches reminiscent of Park Güell in Barcelona. Adults can admire the mosaic art and multilingual quotes about love.
Walk north through the gardens towards Parque Chino, which celebrates the cultural heritage of Lima’s Chinese immigrants. Little ones will love the fanciful ponds, bridge and pagoda, while adults will enjoy the coastal view, peaceful fountains and statues.
Enjoy the tranquility of San Isidro's Bosque El Olivar
The sprawling park of Bosque El Olivar stretches over five city blocks north to south, with a central pond and wide stroller-friendly paths lined with ancient olive trees. For indoor activities, check out San Isidro’s municipal children’s library, open weekdays 8am–5pm.
Play in the fountains at Circuito Mágico de las Aguas
If your toddler loves to be outside with other kids, the park Circuito Mágico de las Aguas is the best place for them to make friends. There are a dozen different fountains, some of which are made for playing in. Of those, Fuente de los Niños is the best for toddlers because there’s nothing to trip on.
The nighttime light shows are what makes this park popular with Limeñians. Sunset is just after 6pm most of the year, so your kids don’t need to stay up late to enjoy the colorfully lit fountains.
Indulge in a sweet treat at Blu Gelateria in Barranco
A favorite with people of all ages, this gelato shop is famous for its creative flavors and generous samples. Blu is perfect for little ones who have yet to be introduced to cow’s milk and other potential allergens found at the average ice cream shop.
For a tour of Barranco’s best ice cream shops, follow up with nearby Crem dela Crem and Heladería Speciale. All three are within a couple blocks of Parque Federico Villarreal and have wide sidewalks perfect for strollers.
Best things to do in Lima with school-age kids
Visit the resident cats of Parque Kennedy
Parque Kennedy is famous in Lima as the best place to see cats snoozing in the flowers, climbing trees and posing for photos. Limeñians bring cat food for the park’s residents, which creates another kind of spectacle. The adjacent Parque 7 Junio has an antiques market, a sunken amphitheater where locals dance and an area you’ll frequently find rappers and open-mic events.
Hang out on Lima's best beaches
Waikiki – named after the famous beach in Hawai’i, though it doesn’t resemble the Pacific island at all – and Makaha are Lima’s most popular beaches, with surf lessons for all ages and a fun pier at Waikiki.
Both beaches are covered with pebbles at the water’s edge, though the city brings in sand for the stretch above where you can rent chairs and umbrellas.
Bring shoes or sandals for kids to wear in the water to protect their feet from the rocks, and beware, the water is relatively cold. The Humboldt current sweeps up from the south here, which is why you sometimes can see penguins in Peru.
Go for a scavenger hunt at Parque Federico Villarreal
Parque Federico Villarreal has fantastical murals and sculptures for kids to play around. Keep them busy with a scavenger hunt for the giant ant emerging from flower beds, three metal vulture heads in a sea of stones, the mural of a tropical bird in a heart-shaped face and numerous other murals along the cobblestone Calle La Ermita.
The street is lined with trees and closed to cars, making if a safe place for kids to run around. Arching over Calle La Ermita is the historic wooden bridge Puente de los Suspiros.
Visit Museo de Arte de Lima (MALI)
The Museo de Arte de Lima (MALI) is surrounded by parks with ponds, fountains and sculptures. If you’ll be in Lima for more than a few days, check out this art museum’s workshops with hands-on, fun activities designed for kids aged between five and eight, or between nine and 12.
New classes start the first week of every month and are designed as a succession of four classes, though you can sign up for just one.
Stop by Plaza de Armas to relax with locals
The oldest and most historic plaza in the city, Plaza de Armas is another popular attraction for Limeñian families. Every day of the year, you’ll find a carnival atmosphere with vendors selling balloons, toys, cotton candy and other treats. Let your kids play with all local children who flock to the plaza in the afternoons.
This is in the center of Lima and a good add-on if you’re already in the area, but is not worth a special trip and the long taxi ride from Miraflores or Barranco.
Best things to do in Lima with tweens and teenagers
Cycle the coast to Salto del Fraile
Several tour agencies, like Intrepid and Green Bike Peru, in Lima offer guided bike rides, usually starting in Miraflores and riding south along the coast past Chorillos to the spectacular natural stone bridge of Salto del Fraile.
Here, local actors frequently jump into the crashing waves below. Legend has it that a young monk named Francisco jumped in 1860, though he did not survive.
Today’s re-enactors always climb back up the cliffs to spectators' applause and tips. Be sure to book with a licensed tour agency, which will have trained guides, bikes in good condition and bike helmets.
Watch cultural performances in Plaza San Martín
This historic plaza is dedicated to José de San Martín, who fought for Argentina’s independence from Spain, and also contributed to Peru and Chile gaining independence.
Every weekend the square fills with dance troupes and live bands, representing various cultures and celebrations from around Peru. You’ll see anything from marching bands in uniform to groups dressed as tribes from the Amazon dancing to flutes and traditional drums. Dances and celebrations also take place on weekday holidays, so check the calendar while you’re in Lima.
Eat Peruvian Chinese food
Lima’s Chinatown is not much more than a block, but after the Parque Chino on the coast, this is the best place to learn about Peru’s Chinese immigrants.
Travelers who’ve visited China or Chinatowns in other countries will notice some decidedly Peruvian flares to the cuisine. Look for quinoa chaufa, a Peruvian version of Chinese fried rice. Also keep an eye out for places that serve guinea pig, an important cultural connection between modern Peru and ancient Incan cuisine.
Hike the paths through Lomas de Mangomarca
This curiously green park absorbs the coastal fog which makes Lima so famously gray. Teens who want to go for a hike will enjoy the fantastical rock formations and trails that go by ancient petroglyphs and pictographs.
On clear days, this is the best place to enjoy the view over Lima and out to the Pacific Ocean. Some trails are designed for mountain biking, so check with licensed tour agencies for bike rentals or guided bike tours.
Explore the collection of ancient ceramics and gold at Museo Larco
Tweens and teens who don’t usually like museums could well be impressed with Museo Larco’s vast collection of Moche ceramics, some of which are 2000 years old. Search the shelves for potato and corn ceramics or cat and llama statues, and gaze upon the gold exhibit that gives you an idea of the riches that were plundered during colonization.
Separate from the main museum exhibits is the erotic gallery – with ceramics that express sexuality from Moche culture – that is easy to sidestep should you be with tweens who aren’t mature enough to see these kinds of exhibits. This is a long taxi ride from almost anywhere in town, between the center of Lima and the airport.
Planning tips for travel with kids in Lima
- Avoid Lima’s traffic by planning most activities in the neighborhood where you’re staying. Choose only one destination that requires a taxi every two or three days to minimize frustrating hours on the road and Lima’s notoriously erratic drivers.
- If you’re pregnant or traveling with babies or toddlers, look for the priority lines at grocery stores and in official settings like airport security and immigration. Most places in Peru encourage people with little ones to use the same lines as people with disabilities.
- Bring hats and sunscreen to protect from the equatorial rays. Even on cloudy days, kids can burn from Peru’s harsh radiation.
- Bring water bottles with filters to avoid buying bottled water. Peru does not have any effective recycling programs and unfiltered tap water is not safe to drink.
- For safety, use only official taxis or Ubers. Ask your hotel for recommended taxi drivers for additional safety.
- Watch for pickpockets even when in the safer neighborhoods of Miraflores, Barranco and San Isidro. Don’t let your kids wander around with your phone because they’re easy targets for theft.
- Check the news for protests if going to the center of Lima for the Plaza de Armas, Plaza San Martín or Chinatown. Police close these areas during protests, causing traffic problems that extend in every direction.