Written by Kieran Proctor

Lima Peru In December: Why Lima In December Is Perfect!

December marks the beginning of summer in Peru. And Lima in December, is the perfect time to visit the city ...

December marks the beginning of summer in Peru. And Lima in December, is the perfect time to visit the city and it’s coastal surrounds!

The thick ocean fog called garúa, that settles over Lima for much of the year, begins to lift in December. And as sunshine hits the city for the first time in months, Lima reemerges from it’s winter slumber, coming alive with locals and tourists alike. Here’s why Lima, the ‘city of kings‘, is a fantastic vacation choice in December!

Summer Travel Delights: Exploring Lima In December

Reenergized and reinvigorated by the return of the sun, that eludes the city for much of the year, Lima comes alive in December. With the returning of the sun and blue skies, the locals begin their preparations for Christmas and New Years.

To say that Peruvians like to party, or that they love christmas lights and fireworks, would be an understatement. In Lima in December, basically any surface that can have christmas lights attached to it, will. And any park from which the locals can let off fireworks, well, yeah, you get the idea. You can expect to see a lot of christmas lights and fireworks in Lima in December!

Yet, for me at least, December has the perfect mix of celebration and climate. The daily temperatures are neither hot, nor cold. And the rain is as elusive as it is all year round in Lima, a city where it almost never rains. Plus, the locals are out and about socializing and they’re getting into the festive spirit.

Does Lima Have Any Festivals In December?

Due to Peru’s Catholic heritage, December is scattered with public holidays. And the ten (10) public holidays in December, add to the party atmosphere in the city.

As the capital city of a predominantly catholic country, all of the local municipalities will decorate their main plazas, including the iconic Plaza Mayor. And while the main square of Lima is a sight to behold all year round, it’s especially brilliant in December, as it twinkles with added Christmas decorations.

The local municipalities and churches will organize events and activities. With the best of them being the festivities and parade for the Virgen de la Inmaculada Concepción, on December 8th. When you’ll have ample opportunity to see the colorful traditional costumes that Peru is famed for.

Now, in the Historic Centre of Lima, it’s the main churches and cathedrals, that are the real drawcard all year round. And in December, they too, begin to come alive. You can expect to see the alters being decorated in the lead up to major festivities and parades, like the Virgen de la Inmaculada Concepción.

Is Lima Crowded With Tourists In December?

This is one of the great things about visiting in December, it’s a shoulder month and there’s less tourists. What that means, is that prices are more affordable and there’s lots of deals to be found on tours and activities.

The high season for tourism in Peru runs from May to August. And this is due to Winter being the Andean dry season. It’s the sunniest time of year in the mountains. But it’s the foggiest time of year on the coast.

Most tourists visiting Cusco for the festivities, like Inti Raymi, visit Peru between May and August. And while it’s a fantastic time of year to visit Cusco, it’s a terrible time of year to visit Lima and it’s nearby coastal regions. Because Lima will be crowded, cold and sporting a permanent fog called garúa, thanks to the Humboldt current.

Travel Tip: Santiago Chile has the same foggy conditions. And during winter, you can be unlucky and not see the iconic mountains, rising up behind the city.

The winter fog in Lima Peru, called garúa. Shown here in Barranco.

Lima Adventures That You Can Have Year Round!

Now, all year round you can do everything on my list below. Because in winter, the other popularly suggested options like visiting the beach, paragliding, learning to surf or dining outdoors, will be a less than fun experience.

Basically, anything outdoors in Lima is going to be cold and grey in winter. And you definitely don’t want to be going near the ocean mid-year.

Yet, you can still try Peru’s famed ceviche overlooking the water in Larcomar. Although, it too will be cold and grey, with limited visibility, in winter.

If you’re coming to Lima for amazing sunsets, mountain vistas or basically anything that involves the outdoors or the beach, you really want to come in summer. And early summer is better than mid summer, because it gets up to 30 °C (86 °F) with an average of 84% humidity!

Having pointed out that it’s cold, like really cold and grey in winter, there are still activities in Lima that you can undertake all year round. So, here’s 10 things that I recommend that you add to your itinerary, all year round!

  1. Visit the Plaza Mayor in the Historic Center of Lima
  2. Visit the Basilica and Convent of San Francisco to see the catacombs!
  3. Visit Taberna Queirolo, Lima’s oldest bar, and sample the pisco!
  4. Visit Pueblo Libre to learn about Peru’s history and fight for independence!
  5. Visit the Museo Larco and National Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology and History
  6. Visit the archeological sites of Huaca Pucllana and Huaca Huallamarca
  7. Stroll through Bosque el Olivar and see the centuries old olive trees
  8. Visit Barranco, stop for a coffee and experience Lima’s ‘bohemian’ district
  9. Indulge in Peru’s famed gastronomy, trying chifa, nikkei and ceviche!
  10. Indulge in South America’s finest cocktails at Carnaval in San Isidro!

Where To Visit In Lima Peru In December

If you’re visiting Lima in December, you should add more outdoor activities to your itinerary. In December, the beach is the place to be on a weekend. And you can go paragliding, learn to surf, take bike tours along the malecon or just relax on the beach, with a cold drink in hand.

Each afternoon, you should add a walk along the Malecon above the green cliffs of Costa Verde to your travel plans, so you can admire Lima’s beautiful summer sunsets. Or, book a table at one of the restaurants in Larcomar in Miraflores, for sunset cocktails by the ocean!

Miraflores in Lima Peru
The Larcomar mall sitting on the clifftop, above Costa Verde in Miraflores!

Planning Your Lima Getaway

Now, I’m not going to suggest where to stay in Lima. All my readers already know that I’m in love with Pueblo Libre! And I’m also not going to go through what you should pack for your vacation, or how to pay and how to tip. Because I’ve covered those topics in depth already on this website.

So, I’ll just say this, do read my other travel articles about Lima and the rest of Peru. And I’ll also add that you should consider visiting other destinations along the coast, if you’re planning to visit Lima in December.

Summer is the best time for the coastal destinations. Yet, mountain destinations like Cusco aren’t in the midst of their heaviest rainy periods just yet. So, Cusco and Arequipa are still worth visiting in December. You just need to be aware that there will be some rain in the mountains and pack accordingly.

Travel Tip: Consider adding Paracas, Ica and Huacachina to your Lima itinerary for December. You can visit all 3 as either a day trip from Lima, or as lovely 2-3 days excursions from Lima. And all 3 locations are fantastic in December!

Useful Tips For Travelers To Lima Peru

When organizing your trip to Lima, there are a few things you need to organize in advance. Doing a little groundwork and getting the 4 items below organized before you arrive in Peru, will make your entire holiday just a little easier. And, if you need to know what items I use here in Peru, there’s guides on this website.

The things you should arrange ahead of arrival are:

  1. A pre-paid digital debit card;
  2. An e-SIM card for internet;
  3. Travelers medical insurance;
  4. Airport transfers from the Jorge Chávez International Airport.

Travel Tip: Do have a look at my YouTube channel, if you want to see what these destinations look like ahead of time. Knowing what each suburb and tourist attraction looks like before you visit, can help you prioritize those activities and experience that you want to have on your vacation.

Lima Peru is a huge, sprawling mega city. And preparation is key to an enjoyable vacation here in Lima!

Wrap-Up Lima Peru In December

So, is Lima in December a good choice for your next vacation? I’ll leave that up to you to decide. But I will say, December is my favorite month to visit Lima.

Almost 20 years ago, when I was just a young backpacker exploring South America, I arrived into Lima in December. And I immediately fell in love with Peru. Now, almost 20 years later, I’m buying real estate in Lima and living here. So, be warned, you may never want to leave this beautiful country, if you visit in December!

Safe travels!