While there are many sights to see in Lima, people who live here often look for fun things to do that will get them out of the city for a short time, especially during the gloomy winter months, when it is particularly nice to find some sun, away from the city bustle. Here are a few ideas for trips that you can do in a day or a weekend.
Winery and Pisco tour in Ica – If you enjoy wine, a trip to Ica’s wineries and vineyards could be an enjoyable way to pass a day or a weekend. The Tacama Winery – located about three to four hours south of Lima – is recommended. Open every day from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm, they offer tours of the winery and vineyards, and provide samples of their wines and Piscos. It’s possible to go down to Ica in one day, visit a winery or two, and make it back to Lima in the evening. But if you’d like to make a weekend of it, Ica also has several museums to visit. And nearby is the Huacachina Oasis, where you can enjoy sand boarding and dune buggy rides on the steep sand dunes.
Boat tour of the Islas Palominos – If your interests lie in nature and wildlife, a tour of Islas Palominos may be a pleasant day trip for you. The tour consists of a four hour cruise around the coastal islands, learning about the history of the area and taking in the beautiful scenery. During the tour, you’ll be able to see a large variety of seabirds, and will also have the opportunity to squeeze into a wetsuit and bob in the water, up close to the shore of the island, within meters of the area’s docile sea lions.
Islas Ballestas – Another interesting day trip option for nature and biodiversity lovers are the Islas Ballestas – located three hours south of Lima – in the town of Paracas. These islands are inhabited by Humboldt penguins, sea lions, pelicans and other thousands of birds. You can travel to paracas by bus and book a boat tour of Islas Ballestas upon arrival. On the way to Islas Ballestas, these boat tours usually pass by El Candelabro, a prehistoric geoglyph found on the northern face of the Paracas Peninsula. If you want to make a weekend out of this experience, you can stay in one of Paracas relaxing lodgings and visit Paracas National Reserve. This area also hosts a range of other activities, including bike tours and ATV rentals. It’s tough to do all of this in a full day, so minimum two days is recommended.
Nazca Lines – A trip to the Nazca Lines and geoglyphs can be an impressive experience for those living or traveling in Peru. Located in the region of Ica, these historical monuments were declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1994. Covering an area of nearly 1,000 sq. kilometers, there are about 300 different figures, including animals and plants. The best way to see the Nasca Lines is by taking a plane tour. These tours last about thirty minutes, and can cost around $100 per person. If you are not too fond of flying, then you can visit this World Heritage Site by earth and take a walking tour. Take an extra day or two and tag on a visit to Paracas and the Islas Ballestas (above), and the desert oasis of Huacachina, with its hairy 4-4 rides in dune buggies, complete with the opportunity to sandboard, if you are so inspired. All these locations within a couple hours of each other.
Chosica – If you’re looking for a day out of the cold and fog, try a day trip to Chosica (or closer still, to the smaller town of Chaclacayo, en route). Take a bus for about S/2.50, or hop a colectivo taxi on the corner of Javier Prado and Av. Arequipa for S/.7 per person, and in a little over an hour on the hair raising Carretera Central, you will be 700 meters above sea level, enjoying a much drier and sunnier climate. Wander around the parks, try a restaurant for some pachamanca, and just enjoy a day in the sun. If you have the whole weekend to spare, take a bus from Chosica on to San Pedro de Casta for camping and exploring the enigmatic rock formations in the area. If you go camping, don’t forget to bring warm clothing – nights are downright chilly. Remember that temperatures in the Andes vary tremendously between day and night.
You might also be interested in learning these tips for traveling in Peru.
We’d like to hear from you. What is your favorite weekend getaway? Let us know in the forum topic: Places to visit near Lima.