Easy weekend trips from Lima!

Weekend trips from Lima

So you’re visiting Lima and you want to see a bit more of the country, but you don’t quite have enough time to venture off to the Amazon, Machu Picchu or Puno – where do you go and what do you do?

This was one of the challenges of my time in Lima. Technically, I was there to complete an internship in the capital, but I also wanted to make the most of my weekends. My problem was that 2-3 days wasn’t enough to venture very far, so I had to plan weekend trips from Lima that were a bit closer to home. Here’s a look at some of the trips I was able to take, and a few additional ones that I didn’t have time for but that you may want to consider:

Huacachina - easy weekend trips from Lima

Huacachina

If you’re looking for thrills and spills, then Huacachina  is the place for you! Picture a little emerald lagoon surrounded by palm trees, and then towering sand dunes as far as the eye can see. There’s a rip-roaring in the distance and the sound of screams and laughter spilling in. The dunes look menacing but curiosity gets the best of you and you sign up for the ride of your life; a dune buggy that feels more like a roller coaster on wheels, and then the option to go sandboarding down these sandy beasts headfirst. This place is a lot of fun and it would be my top choice for an easy weekend trip from Lima.

Distance from Lima: 312 kilometres

Travel time: 4 hours

Queirolo Vineyard in Ica - a relaxing weekend trip from Lima

Ica

I personally didn’t find the city of Ica itself all that alluring, but what Ica does have to offer are great vineyards. Better yet, some of these vineyards have hotels where you can spend the whole weekend sampling wine, hiking, sampling some more wine, swimming, enjoying another glass of wine…you get the picture.

I stayed at Viñas Queirolo and it was one of the most relaxing weekends I had in the country. Not only was it a beautiful property, but it was a magical setting. On our first afternoon there we toured the vineyard and walked through the plantation. Then we drove up to a lookout point where we enjoyed the sunset with drinks in hand, and this was followed by a delicious dinner in the hotel’s very own restaurant. I was blown away by the warm service, the bright yet rustic rooms, and the high-quality ingredients used in the cuisine. It’s the perfect destination if you’re looking for a relaxing weekend trip from Lima.

Distance from Lima: 294 kilometres

Travel time: 3 hours 37 minutes

Nazca

Astronomical calendar, sacred ceremonial site, message to the gods, map of an underground water source, UFO runway? There have been a lot of different theories surrounding the Nazca lines, some more plausible than others, yet the mystery still remains. Why are these lines here and what is their message? While the jury is still out on what these ancient geoglyphs mean, we do know that they were of importance to the people who once inhabited this area.

While some of the Nazca lines can be enjoyed from atop the surrounding hills, the best way to see them is by taking a flight in a little avioneta. That being said, it is a white-knuckle ride that may or may not require the use of a barf bag.

Distance from Lima: 425 kilometres

Travel time: 5 hours 30 minutes

Paracas and Islas Ballestas - an easy weekend trip from Lima, Peru

Paracas & Islas Ballestas

This is a great destination if you want to spot some of the local wildlife. Paracas is a small part town that caters to tourists and it is also the jump off point for exploring the Ballestas Islands and the Paracas National Reservation. The town’s main avenue is lined with tour operators so it’s easy to find an excursion to suit your travel style. Since I was passing through I opted for the 2 hour tour of Islas Ballestas. During the outing we were able to spot seals, penguins, cormorants, red-footed terns, and countless starfish and sunfish.

Distance from Lima: 267 kilometres

Travel time: 3 hours 19 minutes

And now here’s a look at a few destinations that I didn’t have time to visit, but that you could easily turn into weekend trips from Lima:

Asia and Southern Beaches

Asia is a district located in the province of Cañete and it has long been a favourite summer hot spot for Limeños looking to get out of the city. Asia is made up of a series of beaches that sit on the shores of the Pacific and the area has seen plenty of development in recent years. Expect luxury condos, restaurants, shopping centres, and clubs, as well beaches!

Distance from Lima: 115 kilometres

Travel time: 1 hour 24 minutes

Lunahuana - an adventurous weekend trip from Lima

Flickr image by Martin Garcia via CC BY 2.0

Lunahuaná

This is a destination for those who love adventure and the outdoors. Lunahuaná may be a small village but don’t for a minute think you’ll get bored there. The landscape lends itself well to trekking, mountain biking, whitewater rafting, zip-lining, rapeling, four wheel driving, horseback riding, valley tours and more.

Distance from Lima: 188 kilometres

Travel time: 2 hours 25 minutes

Pachacámac

Pachacámac is an archaelogical site that’s just a short drive outside of Lima. It was a sacred city and pilgrimage site for the creator god, Pachacámac, who was believed to be responsible for earthquakes and wars. The site is home to many ancient structures including the Temple of the Sun and the Mamacuña, a housing complex where selected maidens served the Inca.

Distance from Lima: 49 kilometres

Travel time: 1 hour

Flickr image by Martin Garcia via CC BY 2.0

Caral

Caral is another archaeological site and it is one of the oldest settlements that has been discovered in the Americas. The site contains a series of pyramids, temples, houses, and even an amphitheatre. It is believed that at its peak it held around 3000 inhabitants.

Distance from Lima: 172 kilometres

Travel time: 2 hours 30 minutes

So there you have it! A few easy weekend trips from Lima that are easily accessible from the capital. Just because you’re short on time doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get to experience a different side of Peru!

Do you know of any other easy weekend trips from Lima?
Let us know in the comments below.


Join the Conversation

25 Comments

  1. says: Justine

    As a former anthropology student, I love that there are so many archaeological wonders right outside of the city. I’m pretty sure I just need to move to Lima because I would be in heaven 😉 Plus, I’m dying to see the Nazca lines! I love ancient mysteries like that 🙂

  2. says: Jo

    I definitely recommend Nazca if you make it back to Peru. Flying over the lines in a tiny plane was one of the best travel experiences I’ve had! And it’s not unreasonably priced, I think it was about 100usd or so. Everyone talks about the sick bags, but we were fine (and I get sick on every bus journey I take!)

    We did Paracas in late June and it was a total disappointment. We saw two penguins and two seals. Just goes to show how important the time of year is with animal watching tours!

    1. says: Audrey

      Yeah, the weather plays a major role. We were fortunate enough to catch the trail end of summer, so our tour of the Ballestas was pleasant. The sea lions had just given birth so the coves were full of pups!

  3. Interesting selection Audrey and I can see your point about distance, they are a fair distance away.

    I guess a car or flight will really help for weekends away.

    Nazca looks fascinating but I’d guess those lines are man made, just like the corn circles mystery in the UK was solved as being man made.

    1. says: Audrey

      Yeah, it’s a bit of a drive to reach some of these places, but still manageable if you leave early enough on a Friday afternoon or a long weekend. It’s cool to see how the landscapes can drastically change just driving a few hours outside of Lima.

  4. says: Renuka

    I think I will enjoy Ica a lot! Hiking and exploring the vineyards would be my thing totally. I also like the green lagoon of Huacachina. It’s unique!

  5. says: Zascha

    This is a great guide, so I just had to email it to myself! 🙂
    Huacachina is still on the top of my list after reading your previous blog post about it.

    1. says: Audrey

      That’s interesting to hear. I never would have equated that part of Peru with Tuscany, but then again, I still haven’t travelled to Italy… 🙂

  6. says: Catherine Dudley

    Hi Ms. Bergner,

    Amazing blog post as usual. Great to see that you were able to travel while teaching in Peru. I have bookmarked this in case I get back to South America with my kids. We got your postcards yesterday. The students were super excited to hear from you. The problems fit perfectly into our algebra unit. All the best for your next adventure to South Africa. Keep in touch!

    Ms. Dudley

    1. says: Audrey

      Hi Ms. Dudley,

      I’m glad to hear the postcards finally arrived! I’m actually flying out to South Africa on Monday so I’ll be sending a few more math postcards from there. I hope the students are enjoying them and please say hello to the whole class from me. 🙂

      Best,
      Audrey

  7. says: Medina

    Great article! Haven’t been to Lima yet. But your post inspiring me to visit it.
    This is a must read guide before exploring Lima. Bookmarked.
    Keep sharing.

  8. says: Heather

    I have yet to visit Lima, but your coverage has just bumped it up a few notches on my list! A friend of mine is actually moving there soon so I’ve emailed her all your recommendations 🙂

    1. says: Audrey

      That’s so cool that your friend is moving there! And thanks for sharing the article – I hope she finds it helpful. 🙂

  9. says: Amrita Ahuja

    Hey Audrey!
    Peru is in my bucket list. I had it in there blindly because it was my favorites place in the guess- the- capital- game I used to play with my dad. This blog of yours has led me to pin down a reason to chase that dream. Awesome photography and the emerald lagoon among the wild dunes is my favorite.

  10. says: Richard

    Great blog !! I was wondering if you could offer some advice? I’m working in Peru for a day and fly in on a Thursday night and have Friday to Sunday night free – in three days two nights which direction and where would you go?

Leave a comment
Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *