This blog may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy for more info.
Lima is such an exciting city! There is so much to see and do in Lima that you could easily spend weeks here (trust us, we lived here for a few months and never ran out of things to do!).
But the truth is, some of the best attractions in Peru are located just outside of the city limits and easily reached on a day trip! That’s right – don’t just hang out in Miraflores the whole time you’re in Lima, get out and explore!
In fact, a couple of our favorite experiences in Peru were day trips from Lima. Which is why we want to share them with you! In this blog, we will tell you about the best day trips from Lima that you really don’t want to miss.
The BEST Day Trips from Lima
1. Palomino Islands and swimming with Sea Lions
This is one of my personal favorite day trips in Lima! I absolutely loved this experience simply because it was so different than anything other tours that Lima has to offer – an incredible wildlife encounter right on the outskirts of the city!
On this day trip, you will head to the port at Callao (about a 30-minute drive from Miraflores with traffic.) Here, you will board a boat and cruise out to the Palomino Islands.
These islands are located about 15 kilometers (9 miles) from the coast of Callao and they are home to sea lions, penguins, and other sea birds. Actually, they are home to well over 10,000 sea lions!
Once you reach the main island, you will see thousands of sea lions hanging out on the island and swimming about. Here is the exciting part of this day trip and where you’ll jump into the water!
The sea lions are playful and curious, and they will come over and say hi! When I did this tour, there were sea lions swimming around my feet and bumping into them under the water. It was kind of nerve-racking but also super exciting.
There are a couple of different companies that operate the swimming with the sea lions day trip from Lima, but I personally recommend this one. It is with a well-established company which has been running these tours for several years and they are very reputable. This is the same company that we did the tour with and enjoyed.
They don’t cost any more than the other companies and actually use a speed boat, which means less time rocking about in the water. I normally get seasick on boat tours, but on this one, I didn’t! The guide also comes in the water with you and a wetsuit and lifejacket are provided.
2. Huacachina and Ica Day Trip from Lima
I love Huacachina, Peru! If you’ve done any research on Peru, then this little paradise (or “Oasis” as it is affectionately called) is a photo you would’ve seen. Huacachina is a small town centered around a lake and palm trees in the middle of mountainous sand dunes. It’s incredible and breathtaking.
From Lima, you can actually go on a day trip to Ica (the larger coastal city just next to Huacachina) as well as visit Huacachina on this particular tour. It is a bit of a drive at around 3.5 hours each way, but you can use this time to relax in the air-conditioned vehicle before doing all of the adventures these destinations offer.
Each tour from Lima includes different activities, but my best advice would be to choose one that includes a good amount of time in Huacachina and maybe even pisco tasting at a vineyard in Ica (where they make pisco!)
In Huacachina, the most popular activities are sandboarding and a dune buggy tour. This tour involves jumping in a specially designed buggy and flying around the sand dunes. It’s exhilarating, but the views are also breathtaking! You’ll also stop at various points where you’ll have the option to try out sandboarding (you know, like snowboarding but on the sand instead of the snow.)
Of course, you’ll also want to go for a walk around the Oasis (the lake) in town and maybe even enjoy a cocktail at one of the lakefront bars.
Many tours combine a visit to Huacachina and Ica with the Ballestas Islands (more info below), and this is a good option for a full day of excitement. This particular tour comes highly rated and it’s affordable. It includes all of the stops you would want on this day trip from Lima! It is easily one of the most exciting full-day tours in Lima.
However, if going all the way to Huacachina seems like too much effort, you can also try sandboarding in dunes just outside of Lima. This tour takes you on a full-day experience sandboarding. It is a lot less driving, so more is spent time on the board. With that said, you won’t see the Oasis, Ica, or the Ballestas Islands.
3. Ballestas Island (Poor Man’s Galapagos) and Paracas Nature Reserve Tour
If you plan on going on a day trip to Huacachina and you like wildlife, then you might as well visit the Ballestas Islands as well. This group of islands is located just off the coast from the town of Paracas which is on the way from Lima to Huacachina. They are located within the Paracas Nature Reserve and are home to tons of wildlife!
If fact, so much wildlife lives on the Ballestas Islands that this group of islands has acquired the nickname “the poor man’s Galapagos of Peru!” Like on the Galapagos Islands, it is possible to see the Blue-footed Booby bird as well as many others. You can also see penguins, seals, and sea lions!
A day trip from Lima to the Ballestas Islands involves a 3-hour drive, and then a short boat ride. The tour of the islands is done completely on the boat and normally only lasts about half an hour.
For this reason, the boat tour of the Ballestas Islands is often combined on a full-day trip from Lima with a visit to Huacachina and Ica. This particular tour also includes a dune buggy ride from Huacachina as well as free time to explore the lake. It’s a great full-day trip from Lima and is super affordable, too at $139 USD per person.
Why We Book Tours with Viator
Viator is a trusted online booking system for tours around the world! We almost always book our tours using Viator for a couple of reasons:
- Free cancellation on most tours – Most of the tours on Viator allow you to cancel and get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance. This is handy in case plans change, or if booking an outdoor activity, the weather forecast is looking grim.
- Reserve now and pay later – You can secure your spot on some of the most popular tours well in advance and not pay until closer to the day of the tour.
- Pay in your chosen currency – Avoid costly international transaction fees by choosing to pay in your home currency.
- Peace of mind – When booking with tour operators you find in person on the street or in small booking offices, you are often promised one thing and given another. This online platform holds tour operators accountable with a written description of inclusions as well as the opportunity for customers to leave reviews.
4. Nazca Lines
If you’ve always wanted to see the Nazca Lines then you’re in luck; you can go on a day trip from Lima! On this Lima day tour, you will spend a lot of time on a bus, but you will get to check off that bucket-list item of seeing the Nazca Lines from above!
If you don’t already know what the Nazca Lines are, then this tour probably isn’t for you as it does involve a lot of travel. But if this is on your Peru bucket list then don’t hesitate to book it!
This particular day trip starts early, at 4 am in Lima! Don’t let the early wake-up call put you off, though. You’ll get picked up in a comfortable air-conditioned van where you can snooze while your expert driver does all the work.
Once you arrive, it’ll be time to jump on your scenic flight to view the Nazca Lines. You can only appreciate this marvel from the air, so a flight really is necessary.
The fun doesn’t end here either, as you’ll stop in Huacachina for a dune buggy tour on your way back to Lima. This really is a full-day trip from Lima and one that’s super unique. You can book this Nazca Lines experience online in advance (only small groups are allowed, so be sure to book well in advance!)
5. Pachacamac Ruins
Only a short 30-minute drive from Miraflores is the Pachacamac Ruins of Lima. This is one of the best day trips in Lima because it involves a history lesson and insight into the Incas who lived here long before us!
I am a huge fan of visiting historical sites with a knowledgeable guide. Without one, I find myself missing the significance of the ruins and a bit confused as to what I’m looking at!
This Lima tour is a guided experience around the Pachacmac Ruins, guaranteed to satisfy history buffs! It lasts for around 4 hours and includes transport to and from the ruins with pickup offered from your hotel.
This Pachamcamc Ruins tour could be a great warm-up for exploring Inca ruins if you are planning on heading to Machu Picchu!
Where to Stay in Lima, Peru
Selina Miraflores – Selina has hostels all over Latin America and I’ve personally stayed in lots of them. The Selina in Miraflores is a beautiful hostel in a great location with dorm beds starting from $25 USD per night. You can book the Selina on either Booking.com or Hostelworld.
Pariwana Hostel – Pariwana Hostel is the most popular and famous party hostel in Miraflores. It’s the perfect hostel to let loose and meet other travelers and is super reasonable starting at under $20 USD for a bunk. You can book Puriwasi Hostel on Hostelworld.
Larq’a Park Rooms – This beautiful hotel is almost a budget option that’s great value for money (rooms starting around $50 USD) and has amazing reviews. The location is right next to Parque Kenedy and the rooms are modern, clean, and comfortable.
Tierra Viva Miraflores Centro – This hotel is my top pick in Miraflores, Lima. The hotel has a 9.2 on Booking.com, is perfectly located, comes with either a king bed or two singles, is clean, includes breakfast, and is only $70 USD per night.
JW Marriott Hotel Lima – The Marriott Hotel Lima is located right behind the Larcomar shopping center with amazing views of the ocean. The location is perfect! The room
Don’t get Caught without Travel Insurance!
We never travel without travel insurance! We’ve had a few instances during our travels when one of us has ended up in the hospital, and travel insurance has saved us thousands of dollars over the years!
SafetyWing is our go-to insurance, we both have policies with them whenever we travel.
They offer travel medical insurance that’s super affordable (only $45 USD per 4 weeks!)The only thing to note is that the insurance must be purchased once you’ve left your home country – we typically buy it as soon as we land at the airport.
We’ve personally used SafetyWing for many different trips, and we’ve been reimbursed for countless expenses when we’ve fallen ill. SafetyWing even covered our flights back to Canada in full when the pandemic first happened (when last-minute flights before the borders closed were super expensive!) While most travel insurance companies left people stranded, SafetyWing fully reimbursed us for our last-minute, pricey flights!
Also, because it is so affordable, there really is no excuse not to take out a policy. Check prices and get a quote online here with SafetyWing (you can even take out a policy if you’re already traveling!)
Thanks for reading!
I hope this blog has helped you plan some epic day trips from Lima. These experiences should inspire you to get out of the city and see what all Lima has to offer outside the city limits.
If you enjoyed this blog, check out some of our other blogs about Peru including a few related reads below: