It’s a cool thing to be able to say you’re familiar with the layout of any big city in the world. At first glance, Lima can be a bit daunting, but believe me, there’s a method to the madness, and once you learn the ropes it’s easy enough to get around.
One of the neat things about Lima is that people aren’t as “map reliant” as they are in the US. As a result, it’s a pretty normal convention that, when you don’t know where something is, you can ask and get a detailed answer. Although, be careful, sometimes if you ask three successive people they’ll all point in three different directions.
Lima is divided into districts which can be seen on the following map (there are a few more that appear as you zoom in):
One of the districts you’re likely to be most interested in is Miraflores:
Miraflores is the main tourist hang out and, I have to say, it’s really nice. There are a plethora of good restaurants, nice shopping opportunities, movies, theatres, and anything else you could ask for…it’s even on the beach. The one strange thing about Miraflores is that it’s almost always covered by a big cloud, but now that summer is upon us that’ll get burned off for a couple months.
San Isidro is right next to Miraflores and it’s a little more tranquio. However, San Isidro offers dining and entertainment that rivals or exceeds that of Miraflores (but without the crowds of tourists). I’d tell you more about it, but I like to keep San Isidro to myself.
La Molina is kind of a hidden gem. The weather is always great out there but it’s not necessarily a place you can go and “visit.” For that, you’re better off heading to Cieneguilla which is just a little farther on. Somebody should get smart someday and build a Cieneguilla-style resort in La Molina…hmmmmm.
San Miguel is significant because it’s where Taco Loco is. Plus, the airport is out that way.
This is the center of Lima with the Palacio, the Cathedral, and a lot of other historical stuff (the immigrations office for one). It’s nice, but there are always a LOT of people around and, as a tourist, you’re best off going there in the daytime.
There you have it, a brief introduction to the districts. Keep in mind that it’s going to take you a looong time to really get the grasp of Lima, but by maintaining the relative location of several principle districts in your mind, you’re well on your way.