Beaches—Although Lima is perched on the Pacific coast, Río de Janeiro it’s not. Still, several beaches in Miraflores and Barranco are frequented by locals, especially surfers, in the summer months. They are in a constant state of improvement, with new boardwalks, restaurants, and landscaping appearing each year. There’s even talk of a Hyatt hotel being installed below Larcomar. Regardless, the beaches are unfit for swimming. The waters are heavily polluted and plagued by very strong currents. Although the beaches aren’t that appealing in and of themselves, they might serve those with an interest in people-watching: The sands are very much frequented by Limeños in the summer (Dec–Mar). Much nicer and cleaner beaches are located immediately south of Lima (see section “Side Trips from Lima”).
Bicycling & Jogging—Given Lima’s chaotic traffic, jogging is best confined to parks. Probably the best area is the bicycling and jogging paths along the malecón in Miraflores, near the Marriott and Belmond Miraflores Park hotels, as well as in Parque El Olivar in San Isidro or along the Costa Verde. Tour operator Peru Bike (www.perubike.com; tel. 01/260-8225) offers several day trips around Lima and south of the city in Pachacamac.
Bullfighting—Bullfighting, less of a national craze here than in Spain or Mexico, is held in July and in the main season from October to December at the 18th-century Plaza de Acho, Jr. Hualgayoc 332, in Rímac (tel. 01/315-5000), the third-oldest ring in the world. Events are held Sunday afternoon. The fiestas taurinas bring matadors from Spain and take place at the same time as the Señor de los Milagros in October. Tickets, which range from about S/60 to S/300 for a single event (depending on whether seats are in the shade), can be obtained at the box office at the bullring. They can also be purchased at Teleticket (www.teleticket.com.pe; tel. 01/613-8888), which has booths in all Wong and Metro grocery stores.
Golf—Golf courses in Lima aren’t open to nonmembers. Your best bet for golf is to stay at one of the exclusive hotels with golf privileges at the elite Lima Golf Club (www.limagolfclub.org.pe; tel. 01/277-7090) in San Isidro: Country Club Lima Hotel and Sonesta Hotel El Olívar Lima.
Paragliding—A sport that has quite literally taken off in Lima is paragliding (parapente). Look along the cliffs of the Costa Verde in Miraflores and points south and, on propitious days, you’re likely to spot a paraglider soaring high above (as high as 200 to 500m [about 650–1,650 ft.] above ground). No experience is required; novices can team up for a tandem ride with an instructor for a good introduction to the thrill of motorless soaring for 270 soles for a 20-minute flight. A booth on the malecón operated by the municipality, just north of the Parque de Amor beside a small parapuerto (little more than a small piece of park grass), collects payment and sends out flights at regular intervals while the level of wind is safe. Flights are usually from about 11am to 5pm and no reservations are needed. Everyone gets a video taken from a helmet camera downloaded on a flash drive for free. Companies to contact include Aeroextreme Paragliding School (www.aeroxtreme.com), Fly Adventure (www.flyadventure.net), and PeruFly (www.perufly.com).
Peruvian Pacing Horses—Peruvian Paso horses (caballos de paso), which have a unique four-beat lateral gait, are considered by many to be the world’s smoothest riding horse and also one of the showiest of all horse breeds. If you’re already a fan of the breed, or just a fan of horses in general, seeing them on their home turf could be exciting. There are concursos (show events) scheduled at different times of the year; there’s a big one in April (free admission). Information about exhibitions is available from the Asociación Nacional de Caballos Peruanos de Paso, Bellavista 546, Miraflores (www.ancpcpp.org.pe; tel. 01/447-6331).
Soccer—The most important league and national fútbol (soccer) matches are held at the Estadio Momunmental, designed by Uruguayan architect Walter Lavalleja Sarriés in the district of Ate as the home of team Club Universitario de Deportes, better known as “La U.” It has more than 80,000 seats, making it one of South America’s largest stadiums—and an obvious choice for World Cup qualifying matches. Other games are held at the venerable Estadio Nacional, Paseo de la República, Blocks 7–9, located just 5 minutes from the city center. It underwent a major renovation in 2011 and is the home of the local team. Tickets (S/20–S/125) for most matches can be purchased the same day at the stadium or from Teleticket (www.teleticket.com.pe; tel. 01/613-8888).
Surfing—The best beaches near Lima are south of the city—Punta Hermosa, Punta Rocas (highly recommended), Cerro Azul, and Pico Alto (see section “Side Trips from Lima,” for more information). Still right off the Costa Verde within the city limits are good breaks, including beside the pier at La Rosa Nautica restaurant in Miraflores, as well as at Barranquita, El Triangulo, Redondo, and Ala Moana. The biggest wave is at La Herradura in Chorrillos, though only advanced surfers should even attempt it. Pick up locally made gear like Boz wetsuits at Av. Angamos Oeste 1130, Miraflores (www.wetsuitsboz.com; tel. 01/440-0736) and boards from Wayo Whilar, Alameda Las Garzas Reales, Mz.FA-7, Urb. Brisas de Villa, Chorrillos (www.wayowhilar.com.pe; tel. 01/254-1344). Pukana Surf School at Playa Makaha in Miraflores (www.pukanasurf.com; tel. 01/9808-22946) gives private and small group lessons, and also rents boards.
Surfing in central Peru is best from April through December (and at its peak in May); surfers who hit the waves year-round usually do so in wetsuits.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.