Lima, Peru, is a fascinating city full of cultural and historical sights. You could spend weeks wandering its streets and never grow bored. But what if you prefer natural beauty over man-made attractions? What if you’d rather head out into the wilds than spend your time drinking pisco sour and trekking around museums? Can it step up to the challenge? It can, indeed. If your idea of the perfect vacation involves a pair of hiking boots and a backpack, you won’t be disappointed with Lima’s hiking opportunities. The city may be something of a concrete jungle, but if you know where to look, you’ll find plenty of great places to burn off all those ceviche dishes and anticuchos you’ll be tucking into. Keen to find out more? Then check out our guide to the best places for hiking in Lima.
If you’ve got between 3 to 5 hours to kill, Rupac makes an excellent destination for a hike. Sometimes referred to as the Machu Picchu of Lima, it’s a challenging but fun trek that puts you through your paces at altitudes of 12,000 feet. Along the way, expect to take in plenty of stunning scenery and one of the most majestic waterfalls you’ll see in a long while.
Grau Miraflores Park
Miraflores is one of Lima’s most famous neighborhoods. Set along the cliffs of the Pacific Ocean, it’s packed with trendy bars, first-rate restaurants, and a dazzling selection of boutiques. It’s also got its fair share of great parks, with Grau Miraflores Park being one of the best. As practicalwanderlust.com (practicalwanderlust.com/free-walking-tour-lima-peru/) notes, the park, which offers gorgeous views of the ocean, is a favorite with locals who love to picnic there during the weekend. It’s also a great place to take a leisurely hike along the clifftops. Walk for long enough, and you’ll eventually reach the Miraflores Lighthouse – a stunning building that was designed by Gustave Eiffel, the same creative genius behind the Eiffel Tower. Be sure to bring your camera along – if ever there was a lighthouse destined for Instagram, it’s this one.
Parque el Olivar
If you want to enjoy some great scenery without breaking a sweat in the process, take the advice of theculturetrip.com and head for Parque el Olivar. Packed with greenery and offering plenty of shade from the midday sun, it’s a gorgeous spot to escape the noise and congestion of the city and enjoy a peaceful stroll in nature.
Las Lomas de Lachay
Venture just a few hours away from Lima and you’ll stumble on Las Lomas de Lachay in the Chancay district, a stunning place that showcases Peru’s breathtaking diversity. In stark contrast to the arid landscape of the surrounding desert, the district is vibrant, green, and densely forested. Choose between 4 different hiking trails, all with their own unique beauty, challenges, and adventure.
No hike is complete without some wildlife spotting opportunities. There’s certainly no shortage of wildlife in Zárate Forest. Located just a few hours from Lima in the district of San Bartolome, the reserve boasts over 500 hectares and a rich variety of flora and fauna, including condors, deer, and puma. As mytravelaroundperu.blogspot.com rightly notes, it’s one of the most recommended places to hike in Lima. The hike is fun, challenging, and long: expect to spend 10 hours for the full round trip
Wherever you are in Lima, there’s one sight that accompanies you everywhere: the white statue of Christ that stands at the top of a barren hill in Chorrillos. It’s not necessarily the safest area in Lima, but the hike to the top of the hill is well worth it for the views.
Lima might be a concrete jungle, but you don’t have to venture far to find some incredible natural beauty. Case in point: Palakala Falls. Located in the tiny town of San Jeronimo de Surco just a few hours outside Lima, the falls are tucked away behind a forested mountain. The trail is fairly challenging and lasts around 7 hours in total. Fortunately, the incredible views and the majestic waterfalls make it well worth the effort.
Journeymachupicchu.com ranks Rapagna Lagoon as one of the 6 best hikes in Lima. It’s not hard to see why. If you like hiking, lakes, and spectacular views, a visit to the Lagoon is a no-brainer. Located around 4,500 meters above sea level in Huarochirí, the lagoon is a fabulous place to enjoy the eco-diversity that makes the region such a popular destination with nature lovers. Rich in vegetation, surrounded by snowy peaks, and home to dozens of species of birds and animals, you’ll be amazed that such a place exists within just three hours of the hustle and bustle of Lima’s city center. Although it’s a popular destination with hikers and climbers, the trails never get too crowded: visit during the week rather than the weekend, and it’s likely the only other people you’ll see will be cattle herders. Keep your eyes peeled for condors, vizcachas, and foxes. Cougars are also known to populate the area, although as they’re notoriously shy, don’t raise your hopes too high about seeing one.
Marcahuasi is a plateau in the Andes Mountains set around 40 miles east of Lima. The hike starts in the district of San Pedro de Casta, where you get to choose between two trails. The first lasts around 3 hours and culminates at the Monument of Humanity. The second, longer trail will lead you to the Amphitheater. If you want to camp out beneath the stars, take the second route. As the hike takes you thousands of miles above sea level, be sure to take precautions against altitude sickness.
Lucumo de Lomas
Set around 21 miles from Lima is Lucumo de Lomas, a stunning park located in the breathtaking Valley of the Lurun River, an area known as one of the most scenic in the country. Despite its sublime beauty, the park is rarely visited by either locals or tourists, making it the perfect place to escape the crowds of the city. Blessed with a range of diverse landscapes along with a scattering of Inca ruins, a hike here is not to be missed. If you want to learn more about the flora and fauna you’ll come across along the way, it’s worth hiring a local guide to accompany you.