Exploring Lima’s Natural Parks
Exploring Lima’s Natural Parks
The Peruvian capital is mostly known for its beautiful historical center, the Plaza Mayor, and the Cathedral. Also, because of cool neighborhoods such as Miraflores and Barranco, with great cafes and restaurants with the famous Peruvian food. Furthermore, Lima features many attractive spots with museums and artificial parks on the beautiful coastline.
But did you know Lima also offers endless possibilities for exploring the diverse nature of Peru in the nearby surroundings of the Peruvian capital?
Have you heard of these exciting National Parks not far from the City of Kings? There are excellent opportunities for Exploring Lima’s Natural Parks!
Options include watching sea life, swimming with sea lions, boarding dunes, soaking up the sun on the coast of the Pacific Ocean, hiking through the Andes Mountains on trails that date back to Incan times and exploring one of the world´s bio-diverse hotspots in the Amazon. Peru is simply a paradise for nature lovers! Yes, Including Lima. Let’s see!
1. The Marshes of Villa: perfect Spot for Bird-Watching
The natural vegetation in this reserve consists of water grasses and large marshes. This is a 1-day getaway from the city and the perfect opportunity to observe Peruvian wildlife and experience a small ecosystem right on the border of the capital city.
Home to more than 150 bird species, this conservation area is the perfect spot to observe the endless variety of birds and discover the local flora. Inside the reserve, you will find pathways and view towers for the observation of the birds and the habitat in general. The species in The Marshes of Villa or Pantanos de Villa, are characteristic of this ecosystem, and diverse species of migratory birds use this area as a point of rest.
Where is it located? In the most southern district of Lima, Chorillos, 20km (11 miles) south of the center of Lima. From Miraflores, it takes up to an hour to get there (depending on traffic).
How to get there? There is public transportation (bus) from Miraflores that takes you close to the marshes. Take a bus at the Óvalo in Miraflores and ask them if they go to “Los Cedros” – hop on if they do and go until they stop at “Los Huertos de Villa” very close to the marshlands.
2. Swim with Sea lions on Palomino Islands
Boating to this reserve is a fun trip for everyone, including families and kids traveling in Peru. The reserve is located on the Palomino Islands, near the district of Callao in Lima.
Close to Palomino Island is San Lorenzo Island, the largest island of Peru, and the Fronton Island, which was formerly used as a prison. Experience the marine wildlife on land and even hop into the Pacific Ocean to swim with the playful sea lions! Don´t worry; they are very friendly!
This marine conservation area on the Palomino Islands is the perfect day trip from Lima to observe sea birds, interact with sea lions and visit historical sites.
Where is it located? Roughly 17km (11miles) north of Miraflores, in the independent Lima district Callao.
How to get there? If you are located in Miraflores, you can take a taxi that will cost you roughly 50 Soles. From there you can look for tours in Callao. You can also book a tour from Miraflores that includes pick-up, transfer, and tour at the Islands.
3. Visit The Nor Yauyos-Cochas Reserve (weekend trip)
The Nor Yauyos-Cochas Wildlife reserve, not far from the south of Lima, offers endless options for travelers to enjoy the Peruvian wildlife close to Lima. Take a long weekend off and explore the many trails in this reserve or make a day trip just to see the highlights.
Regardless, you will have plenty of opportunities to breathe in the fresh air! The Yauyos-Cochas Reserve protects large lagoons and the mouths of the Cañete and Pachacayo Rivers. It also features archaeological sites and local wildlife. The Huancaya Lagoons are worth the visit, as is the Pariacaca Trail, which is part of the network of the Inca trails and leads to the Pachacamac site.
Where is it located? Roughly 216km (134miles) to the southeast of Lima in the mountainous area (3500m). It takes around 6 hours to get to the reserve.
How to get there? If you don´t have your own car, you can either rent one or choose to book a trip from Lima to take you there.
This site is close to Lima and is one of the most well-preserved but least visited sections of the Inca trail networks in the country. The entrance to the park is free. Discover rock paintings, waterfalls and rushing rivers that flow through the mountainous landscape. This park offers plenty of options to kayak, fish, rock climb, hike or go on a horseback ride.
4. Discover animals at the Lomas de Lachay
The Lomas, or knolls, features a foggy climate with hills of abundantly green vegetation. Due to its proximity to the ocean, this oasis in the coastal desert forms an ecosystem that is characterized by humidity from sea fog.
During the rainy months of September and October, all the hills are covered in bright green vegetation. During the rest of the year, the plants diminish until completely dry in the summer months.
A trip to this wildlife reserve close to Lima is the perfect opportunity to discover animals such as the desert foxes, deer, bats, and a lot of bird species that inhabit this ecosystem. The entrance ticket to the park costs 10 Peruvian Soles (roughly 3 – 4 $). Choose between different hikes in the area or even camp in the beautiful reserve!
Where is it located? The Lomas de Lachay reserve is located 105km (65 mi) north of Lima in Huaral.
How to get there? You can take a bus from the city center of Lima that takes roughly 4 hours. There are also organized tours from Lima that include pick-up, transfer, and tours.
5. Travel to the green Marcahuasi Plateau (weekend trip)
The Marcahuasi area is covered with huge rock formations, giving the reserve an alien look. Discover the local legends that revolve around these special formations and explore the most famous structures like the “amphitheater” or the “labyrinth.”
This park is a popular camping spot for the local population, mostly coming from Lima for a weekend trip. Explore the many paths in the Marcahuasi Park and take in some fresh air as you hike through this natural reserve just a few hours from the big city!
The entrance ticket is around 20 soles (6 – 8 $) and grants you access to exciting geological formations and great spots for nature lovers!
Where is it located? This natural gem is located 3.5 km from the town of San Pedro de Casta; about 4 hours away from Lima.
How to get there? You can take a bus from Lima to the town of Chosica, where you can change to get a bus to the mountain to San Pedro de Casta, the town at the trailhead to Marcahuasi.
|Are you interested in some more tips for your stay in Lima?
Our Popular Tours for a city trip to Lima are:1) The Lima City Tour.
2) Lima Museum Tour.
3) Lima by Night.
4) Lima Biking Tour.
Written by Meike Zimmerman