The Best Time to Visit Lima

Peru, Lima, Miraflores, skyline, steep coast, road Circuito de Playas
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The best times to visit Lima are between October-November or March-April, as these months are on the cusp or tail end of Peru’s summer, respectively. Summer in Lima brings harsh sun and packed beaches, but if you forgo visiting in the middle of the season you can avoid the unbearable heat as well as the notorious grey skies and peak tourism months while relishing in warm temperatures. Whatsmore, with less crowds, making a reservation at one of Peru’s top restaurants or visiting one of the many archaeological sites in Lima will be far less of a hassle. 

Weather in Lima

Located on the Pacific Coast of Peru, the weather in Lima is drastically affected by its cold-water current (Humboldt Current) and the fact that it is the second largest desert capital city in the world. As a result, Lima has just two marked seasons throughout the year, summer and winter.

Summer runs from late November to early March, reaching its hottest point in February (average highs of 24°C / 75.2°F). Late January and all of February is unbearably hot, which is why the local sandy beaches are camouflaged by red and yellow umbrellas from sunrise to sunset. Winter in Lima on the other hand is far less extreme as, located less than 850 miles south of the equator, the city cools off with temps that rarely dip below 17°C / 62.6°F. During winter (June-August) there is some rain but it is usually a soft mist referred to by locals as la garua. The most dramatic shift during these months is the color of the sky, as winter brings a steady gloom of grey that hovers above the urban center.

Peak Season in Lima

Until another major international airport is built, Lima’s Jorge Chavez International Airport remains the gateway to Peru. Hosting some of the top restaurants in the world and amazing archaeological sites like Machu Picchu, Peru has been considered a top tourist destination for nearly a decade. The peak tourism season in Lima occurs during the northern hemisphere’s summer (June-August) as well as the month of December, when the U.S. school year comes to an end. 

Consequently, the flood of tourists that arrive during the popular visiting months means higher prices for flights and hotels. Restaurants become incredibly crowded and reservations need to be made days in advance. The traffic is even more chaotic, slowing down everyone’s commute. And archaeological sites—such as the huacas in Lima as well as Cusco’s Machu Picchu, reached by a connecting flight from Lima)—become far less awe-inspiring when having to rub elbows with a swarm of strangers.

Key Festivals & Events

Nearly all of the top destinations in Peru can be reached by a connecting flight from Lima’s airport. Because the Andean nation conserves and celebrates its numerous living cultures, there are traditional festivals that attract travelers throughout the year. From Cusco to Puno, these host cities of cultural celebrations  will also experience an uptick in pricing for accommodations and dining out. It’s not uncommon to be handed a menu in a tourist restaurant that has its original prices covered by a sticker with a new and higher number written on it. Keep in mind that provinces outside of Lima greatly depend on tourism for a means of income. 

In Lima a repertoire of small music and film festivals as well as gastronomic events bring the city together—though, if they are not held during the peak tourism season, these events won’t cause any notable price increase. With nearly 10 million residents and as the urban hub of Peru, Lima is privileged enough to hold many events with national and local tourism in mind.

  • Aniversario de Lima: In the first month of the year, just as things are about to (literally) heat up in the city, it's time to celebrate Lima’s anniversary. Every January 18, Lima celebrates its foundation in 1535 with city-wide cultural activities. Head to the Plaza de Armas (Main Square) in the historic center for music and parades. 
  • Fiestas Patria: Peru’s Independence Day is the largest event during Lima’s winter and is recognized on July 28 and 29. Peru was officially granted independence on July 28, 1821, however the second day is included in honor of the Armed Forces and National Police of Peru. Activities fill city streets as many district municipalities will organize performances and artistic or gastronomic fairs. These public events can bleed into the following day or even the whole weekend if the dates land on a Thursday or Friday. During Fiestas Patrias there are noticeably more street food options, especially the classic skewered cow’s heart (anticuchos) and fried doughnuts, called picarones. Small businesses may take these days off, however restaurants and stores often remain open to receive joyous and celebratory customers.  
  • Santa Rosa de Lima: On August 30, as winter comes to an end, there is a holiday for the first native-born American saint canonized by the Catholic Church. The date marks the anniversary of her death, and there are both celebrations of her life as well as memorials. Many small businesses close on this date. 
  • Festival Internacional de la Vendimia: Held during the first week of March, this Harvest Festival actually takes place in Ica, which is the perfect excuse to take a day or extended weekend trip outside of Lima. Ica is recognized for its pisco and wine production and is sunny year round.
  • Mistura: Back in the city, in the month of September, Lima plays host to this colorful celebration of Peru’s varied and traditional gastronomic treasures. The exact location changes each year, but the festival itself lasts a week or two and is ideal for those who want to try typical plates from all regions of Peru. 
  • Señor de los Milagros: An annual religious festival that lasts all of October and seemingly paints the capital city purple. Small processions and celebrations take place throughout the month until culminating on November 1 with one of the longest processions in the world. This event is in remembrance of a series of miracles that began in October of 1693 when a great earthquake destroyed much of the city yet, remarkably, not a wall from which a painting of Cristo Moreno (Brown Christ) hung. This event repeated various times throughout history, and the figure was increasingly adored and worshipped with each passing earthquake. Witness the passionate parade in the center of Lima while eating the festive nougat pastry, Turrón de Doña Pepa.  
Frequently Asked Questions
  • What is the best time to visit Lima?

    The best times to visit Lima are between October-November or March-April, as these months are on the cusp or tail end of Peru’s summer, respectively.

  • What is peak season in Lima?

    The peak tourism season in Lima occurs during the northern hemisphere’s summer (June-August) as well as the month of December, when the U.S. school year comes to an end.

  • What is the hottest month in Lima?

    Summer runs from late November to early March, reaching its hottest point in February (average highs of 24°C / 75.2°F).

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