Lima has 44 districts from San Miguel (if you arrive via the LIM airport which is in fact within the province of Callao) to Pucusana to the south; to Ancon to the north; and to the east Lurigancho. We all call this area as “Lima Metropolitana”. Outside this perimeter, Lima has other 9 provinces, but we are still in the department of Lima (Peru has 24 departments or regions). The province of Callao, right next to Lima, has 7 districts. Lima and Callao are very integrated and can be considered as one city, but each one has its own city mayor and its own traffic rules, procedures and tax collections. We have posted several recommendations on what to visit in Lima and its musts in the minimum time. In this opportunity, we will send over our best suggestions to visit in the surroundings.
As a main cultural and archaeological visit the top is Caral, the ancient civilization in the Americas. This is approximately 180km north (2-hour drive). Its importance relies on its age, from 5000 years ago, contemporary to the Egyptian pyramids, and where you can appreciate how it is conserved, its architectural complexity, and the way how they were organized socially. The way we suggest in our full day, combines it with Lomas de Lachay which is a protected natural area and visit of a small town, Huara, where the Independence was declared for the first time.
If you go for adventure and sports, we highly suggest Lunahuana. This valley is located approximately 190 km south of Lima. You need to go first directly 150km south in the Panamerican highway and at this point make a left to enter the valley into the Andes. Lunahuana offers possibility of rafting, canopying, mountain biking, and rappelling.
For a nature escape, we recommend the Palomino Islands, which are located in the province of Callao, only 20km north of Lima. It is a smaller version, and of course, different, from Ballestas Islands in Paracas, department of Ica. It is a 3-hour excursion from its port where you would be able to observe mainly sea lions and sea birds and you have a chance to swim with the sea lions.
For an art escape, the direction is Callao Monumental. This area has been given its recognized value after several efforts of private organizations and last city hall mayors to empower its young citizens and show the positive and assets of this neighborhood. You can appreciate its well-crafted architecture, from the early 1900s, graffitis of recognized urban artists and diverse new gourmet options for lunch. The idea is to collaborate with local young neighbors and that this area can emerge thanks to culture.
Other suggested full days around Lima may include Pucusana, a beautiful beach with options to observe dolphins and sea birds in boat excursions (57km south of Lima) for birdwatchers, this may be combined with Pantanos de Villa. Another option is the Landscape Reserve of Nor Yauyos-Cochas, this is 321km from Lima to the southeast, for this you would need at least one night in the area to observe its canyons, lagoons, forests, snow-capped mountains . A mystical destination is Marcahuasi, 37km to the east of Lima, known as a magnetic and energetic center, perfect for meditation and relaxation lovers. Finally, but not at last, the beautiful towns of Azpitia, a nice pisco producer valley and Antioquia, a colorful town resembling retablos or altarpieces with frescos of flowers in all houses.