Lima, Peru – City Guide for Nomads and Expats

Updated in 2022. 

Lima, Peru.

Lima is Peru’s capital and largest city. Quite an ugly and sprawling metropolis by objective standards, but it does offer some of the continent’s most amazing food, welcoming people, and some pretty decent nightlife to boot.

Although most of its neighborhoods will not be appealing for a foreigner to live in, it boasts three neighborhoods that I consider to be among the most “livable” in Latin America: Miraflores, Barranco, and San Isidro.

Population: 7,600,000


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CULTURE IN LIMA

Lima is on the Pacific Ocean. This means the culture is heavily influenced by its coastal location. In and around Lima you will find world class surf spots and world class seafood.  You probably know Peru, and Lima in particular, is famous for ceviche. Peru has an extremely rich culture with many different native groups and local languages. In Lima tradition meets modernity.

 

NOMAD & EXPAT COMMUNITY IN LIMA

The digital nomads in Lima tend to congregate in Miraflores neighborhood.  The expats have expanded into other neighborhoods like Barranco (near Miraflores) or more relaxed beachfront areas like La Punta District. In Miraflores you will find people working on laptops in high-end cafes with solid wifi. There’s a fair number of gringos. At night there’s a few good bars around as well (more on that below).

 

WHERE TO STAY IN LIMA

We recommend the neighborhoods of Miraflores or Barranco as the best neighborhoods to stay for nomads and expats. In this area you will find tons of Airbnbs and hotels for every budget. You will be walking distance to the all the best bars, nightlife, and restaurants. Miraflores is going to be your best bet for a first visit to Lima, or at least for your first accommodations while you get accustomed to the city. Miraflores is more expensive than Barranco, but it’s worth it in the sense that it’s safer and more centrally located. Barranco is gentrifying rapidly, but does get a bit sketchier the further out you go. If you stay in Barranco, try and stay close to the plaza there. Lima also has amazing sunsets and it’s really nice to go for an evening walking along the boardwalk overlooking the Pacific ocean.

Map of Miraflores, Lima
Map of Miraflores, Lima

 

RENT AN APARTMENT IN LIMA

$600.00 is where I’d set my budget at for an apartment in Lima. That should get you in Miraflores or Barranco which is preferable for living than the old downtown. You could get away with less, but it’ll take work finding something. The only districts I’d recommend living in are Miraflores, Barranco and San Isidro (in that order). You may be surprised to find that rent prices in the nice areas of Lima are more than Bogota or Medellin. Be ready for that!

 

BEST BARS & NIGHTLIFE IN LIMA

7.25/10

Sticking to Miraflores is easiest. The standard gringo advice is that Miraflores and Barranco are the go to places. More specifically, you will want to go out on Calle de Pizzas. Calle Berlin is another option. There are enough bars around here to get a taste of what Lima nightlife is all about. As in most Latin American capitals, prostitution is a thing here so be vigilant; they’re generally easy to spot, and a dead give away is if they’re alone and approach you first. A good amount of pretty girls – I was pleasantly surprised actually – but nothing earth-shattering.

I recommend: Gotica. In Larcomar for nightlife in Lima. A younger crowd but probably the spot with the best looking girls in Lima, which probably means the best in Peru. (UPDATE: Gotica is in the same location but now under a different name).

 

BEST CAFES IN LIMA FOR DIGITAL NOMADS

Lima has a lot of cafes. You should have no problem finding somewhere with wifi to work remotely.

My Latin Life recommends:

Kaldi’s Coffee & Tea: Cozy cafe with free wifi and good seating arrangement.

El Bosque Secreto Café: Beautiful cafe with wifi and amazing food.

Kulcafé: Funky cafe with vegan options and surprisingly good wifi.

 

THINGS TO DO IN LIMA

The must do activity in Lima is visit the Plaza De Armas De Lima. Here you can soak up the colonial history of the city.

Head to the Malecon de Chorrillos, a beachside boardwalk with parks, bars, and sunset views.

Have a picnic (or daydrink) in Parque de la Amistad, and take photos in front of the famous arch. 

Go hiking in Las Lomas de Paraíso, a short Uber ride away.

Take the train to the city of Huancayo. You’ll be traveling on the Trans-Andean Railroad, one of the world’s highest train routes.

Be sure to get out of Lima and explore more of Peru! You could explore more of the beach cities on the coast like Mancora or  on the coast. You could head north and hit Trujillo and Chiclayo. You could head into the Amazon region including the unforgettable city of Iquitos. You could head south to arguably Peru’s best cities  Arequipa or Cusco.

 

BEST TIME OF YEAR TO VISIT LIMA

The best time of year to visit Lima is from December to April. You want to visit Lima during the summer. The rest of the year in Lima is very gray and overcast. Lima is known for having pretty bad weather, so try to visit when the sun is shining. The worst month to visit Lima is August, the coldest and rainiest month of the year.

 

COST OF LIVING IN LIMA

The following data is from Expatistan, a crowdsourced database of prices and cost of living around the world.

*Figures are listed in USD

You will need at least $1009 USD/month to live in Lima, Peru

cost-of-living-lima-peru

FINAL THOUGHTS ON LIMA

In many respects, not an overly charming city. If you decided to stay here for awhile, after about a month in your Miraflores bubble things will start to get a bit dull. Lima is great place to work on your Spanish and have a few good nights out with the local ladies, but not somewhere to put down longterm roots in my humble opinion. 6 months maximum, 1-3 months recommended. The food and ocean views are hard to beat, but there just aren’t enough desirable neighborhoods or cultural attractions here.

 

OVERALL RATING: 7/10

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