It's easy to spend your way across Lima.
Home to world-renowned restaurants and award-winning boutique hotels, the cosmopolitan capital of Peru can be posh indeed. Yet straying in the “best of” lists can give you options for accommodations, eating at restaurants and even transportation to please every type of budget.
Getting the most out of your trip to Lima needn't break the bank. Actually, opting for lesser-known (and less expensive) experiences often brings a more enriching taste of local life and culture. Here are a few travel tips which will keep assist you to navigate Lima on budget.
Book flights to Lima throughout the shoulder seasons in order to save 10% to 20% in airfare
At the cusp of Lima's summer (September to November) and again at its tail end (April to May), the city hosts a comparatively low count of tourists. One of the biggest perks to be an off-season tourist is lower airfare. In addition, avoiding the crowds of travelers that arrive throughout the Northern Hemisphere's summer season can allow you to feel less like a, well, tourist and more part of local life. You'll also likely discover that the staff at restaurants and hotels tend to be more accommodating when there are fewer customers to serve.
There is only one airport in Lima, however, many methods for getting for your lodging in town
The Jorge Chávez Airport terminal is a vital hub for nearly everyone arriving in Lima and traveling onto every other corner of the country. After retrieving your luggage, you will be swarmed by overpriced taxi services practically begging you to choose them. Conversely from the price spectrum are city buses and taxis you are able to hail in the pub. Avoid these for safety reasons.
If going with a number of persons (or lots of luggage), consider using a rideshare app like Uber. It'll set you back approximately S/40 -50 (US$11 -13.70) towards the Miraflores and Barranco districts.
For solo travelers remaining in the Miraflores district, use Quick Llama Airport Shuttle (US$5) or Airport Express Lima (US$8); the latter also provides services to San Isidro (US$6). If staying in Barranco, you can simply take among the bus services to Miraflores followed by an inexpensive and quick taxi ride onward for your hotel.
Take a menú for lunch
A fixed lunch with no-fuss tableware and decor, a menú in Lima is the ideal way to try the flavors of Peru without needing to splurge. A chalkboard or whiteboard can place the day's options, together with a traditional Peruvian starter (think stuffed avocado or potatoes bathed in a creamy sauce), a main dish and beverage (often a watered-down fruit juice or the sweetened herbal drink called emoliente).
Many hole-in-the-wall establishments within the city only serve menús. Frequented by a diverse crowd that includes business owners as well as construction crews during the lunch hour, menús are usually priced between S/8 -15 (US$2 -4) – anything less than that may not be worth risking your stomach for. With prices such as these, you could lay aside up enough to splurge at one of Peru's leading fine-dining restaurants for your last meal of the trip.
Head to Lima's historical center on the metro
Another transportation choice for travelers seeking to spend a few hours in Lima's downtown is the metropolitano system. Also referred to as the metro, the rapid transit service runs from the Historic Center and heads south, making stops on the way in San Isidro, Miraflores, Barranco and Chorrillos.
In to ride the metro, you will need to make a small investment of S/5 ($1.30) for any rechargeable card. Whichever station you board from or leave at, each ride costs S/1.50 (US$.4o). With a fixed price and regular schedules, Lima's metro is far more user-friendly compared to city buses.
Explore beyond the tourist bubble
Barranco, Miraflores and San Isidro are the most widely used districts in Lima for tourists – that also means they are the costliest. As an economic alternative, we advise exploring Pueblo Libre and Magdalena del Mar. What both of these neighboring districts don't have any hipness they create up for in old-school charm and quaint architecture and therefore are safe for tourists. Another selling point for travelers on a budget: the restaurants during these neighborhoods cater to locals, with prices that reflect that.
Do your food shopping at district markets
Exotic fruits from the jungle, curious tubers in the highlands and catch-of-the-day fish completely from Lima's coast: why shop at a supermarket when Lima's open-air markets offer the freshest ingredients for less money? Though found in nearly every one of Lima's fabulous neighborhoods, the markets of Surquillo (yes, there's two!) are the most useful known. What's more, you can steer clear of the plastic packaging utilized by chain supermarkets.
Get your culture fix at museums on special days and look for free galleries
Lima is home to the best museums in Peru, which invite guests to explore the nation through outstanding artifacts and collections. While entry fees for standouts like Lima's Museum of Art (S30/US$8) can certainly accumulate, especially for groups and families, the museum has free entry on Tuesdays and offers a two-for-one deal on Sundays.
Nearly all the galleries in Lima offer free entry and therefore are an insightful check out the local contemporary art scene. Discover your brand-new favorite burgeoning artist at art spaces like Impakto, Ginsberg or Revolver.
Skip the fitness clubs and head to the malecón
The cheapest way to get around any city is as simple as foot, and Lima's malecón makes this a breeze because of its natural beauty and paved walkways. The coastal pathway is well-liked by those looking to break a sweat too and is available to the general public 24/7.
Private room in a hostel: US$10 -25
Basic room for 2: US$75 -100
Self-catering apartment (including Airbnb): US$25 -40
Trains and buses ticket: US$0.40 -2
Lunch at menú for 2: US$4 -8
Beer/pint at the bar: US$5