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Where to live in Lima (during your student exchange or internship)

The 6 most popular neighborhoods compared.

One of the bigger challenges of studying or internships abroad is finding housing. Furthermore, Lima is immensely big, and thus has many faces and even within the good areas you still have quite some choice where to live in Lima during your student exchange or internship. Do you, for instance, want to live cheap, close to a university or close to the coast of Lima?

It is a difficult question: I, for instance, first lived in Jesus Maria and moved to Miraflores for surfing. However, to save you the hassle of moving halfway through your semester, this post compares the 6 most popular neighborhoods to live in Lima, each with its major pros and cons.

First, we will start by giving the parameters on which we compare (price, location, and atmosphere) and provide an overview table for all of these per neighborhood (handy!). Next, we tell you more about each neighborhood in specific. Lastly, we sum it up in a table with pros and cons per neighborhood. And you can just use the menu below to get to a neighboorhood immediately!

Where to live in Lima:

Distrito Lima Moderno Districts
The 6 neighborhoods up for comparison, with in the center Universidad del Pacifico

Before we start… 

My friends and I participated in a student exchange at Universidad del Pacifico (UP). Accordingly, the article has the main focus on exchange students in Lima or people with internships. We do hope though that if you are moving to Lima for another reason, the comparison is helpful too! 🙂 

Furthermore, we wrote a lot more about traveling Perustudying and living and in Lima too! Check out our other pages:

In general: Where to live in Lima

In comparing Lima’s neighborhoods, there are three parameters we like to consider: namely Price, Location, and atmosphere:

  • Price: Prices vary a lot depending on where you live in Lima. Generally speaking, Miraflores and Barranco are the most expensive neighborhoods to rent a place ($400 per month), whereas in Pueblo libre you can rent for only $150!
  • Location: Lima is very big and because of the bad infrastructure, it will take long going from one place to another. So, you have to choose: do you want to live close to the university (UP in this post) or to the coast and Miraflores where you can surf and where the social life is centered.
  • Atmosphere: Each neighborhood has a very different vibe. Although it is hard to say beforehand, do you think you prefer to live in a vibrant, international neighborhood or do you prefer to live in a residential area where more Peruvians live?

The six neighborhoods up for comparison vary a lot on these three aspects. Subsequently, to make the differences clear in one glance, we summarized them in a table for you.

Overview of Distance, price and Atmosphere by neighborhood:

(turn your screen for a better view!)

Neighborhood

Closeness to UP*

Distance to Kennedy Park*

Nearness to coast

Average price

vibrant or residential

Special

Miraflores

Most to Do

35 min by bus

0 min

5 min walking

$400

Vibrant: there is a lot to do, many restaurants, bars, clubs, and activities

Great if you surf, the social life is centered here

Barranco

Most Beautiful

50 min by bus

15 min by bus

5 min walking

$400

Vibrant: Bohemian, arty district

most beautiful neighborhood in Lima

San Isidro (coast area)

Most Central

15 min by bus

20 min by bus

5 min walking

$300

Residential area, but international

Right in between UP and Miraflores

Jesús María

Closest to UP

10 min walking

35 min by bus

15 min by bus

$320

Residential, not a lot to do

Home to the big student houses of Casa Yllika

Magdalena

Cheap and Costal

15 min bus

30 min by bus

10 min walking

$230

Residential, more Peruvian

quite central, yet cheaper than san Isidro

Pueblo Libre

The Cheapest

10 min by bus

50 min by bus

20 min by bus

$150

Residential and very Peruvian

The very cheapest place to stay but far away from social life.

* Time by bus without traffic

Where to live in Lima: Miraflores – Most to Do

Let’s start with the most famous and popular neighborhood where to live in Lima: Miraflores,  the area where the expats live, and the tourists hang out. Logically, because this is where the bars and restaurants are and where there is the most to do (at night too!). It’s the least “lima-ish” neighborhood: you live in a bubble.

Accordingly, you pay for this as the prices are higher, around 400$ per month. But for this monthly amount you can get some beautiful rooms in apartments, Airbnb’s or student housing (more about the options will be added later). Good to know is that the bus connection to Universidad del Pacifico is super good, as there is a bus (the pink T-line) that leaves every 5 minutes and brings you to UP in 35 min without traffic. Although this might sound daunting at first, time is a relative concept and after a while, 40 minutes of transport is a short distance.  

The surf Neighborhood

Even though you can bring your surfboard on the bus, it’s not ideal. So, if you want to surf a lot, you should live in Miraflores. When you are a beginner, make sure you live close to Makaja, while for more experienced surfers you could aim for closer to Rocitas (both are in walking distance from each other though). 

If you want to surf a lot, you should live in Miraflores

TIPThese posts tells you all you need to know about the busses in Lima or about how to learn surfing in the Peruvian capital, Simply click on the images below!

Within Miraflores, I like the area around Kennedy park the most because here you find the cutest coffee places and restaurants. Furthermore, it’s also the most central and you live pretty much next to bizarro (the Wednesday club), and you can walk to all the pre-drinks. Lastly, Barranco is only 15 minutes further by the T-bus. 

Where to live in Lima: Barranco – Most Beautiful

It’s hard not to fall in love with Barranco because with its bohemian atmosphere: it is easily the most beautiful neighborhood of Lima. Spending your free afternoon here, drinking coffee, marveling at the street art is one of the best things to do in Lima. Living here is a dream.

Where to live in Lima Barranco Mural Grafiti
Barranco: the street art center of Lima

The only problem is that it is a good 50 minutes by bus to UP without traffic, so as a UP student it’s almost not viable. If you, however, study at another university you can consider it. for this area is also very popular with tourists, prices here are comparable with Miraflores.

You will once again have a big offering of restaurants, more coffee and most big clubs (like Noise, Dali, Fuga, Antigua) at your doorstep. But also the bars are amazing here. Lastly, it’s a beachfront neighborhood as well, so there is a surfing beach (not for beginners). It really is the most beautiful place to live in Lima. 

TIP: there is a really nice secondhand store in Barranco called Las Traperas! Read more about it here.

Where to live in Lima: San Isidro – Most Central

San Isidro is the area in between UP and Miraflores. If you end up living here, you most likely live close to Lima’s cliffs. This part of the Malecón (the park along the cliffs) is one of the most beautiful. Prices are somewhat lower here than in Miraflores and Barranco, but still quite high, because it is a rich, residential area.

The main center of the neighborhood is more inland, so near the cliffs, you will not find a lot of restaurants. It is a very pretty neighboorhood though and you are again on the pink T-route bus and in between UP and Miraflores. Therefore it’s only 15 min to UP and 15 min to Miraflores by bus. Due to the perfect location, this is also the perfect neighborhood if you want to cycle to university! 

Where to live in Lima: Jesús María – Closest to UP

Jesús Maria is mostly a residential area where many locals live. It is one of the better neighborhoods and thus it is It’s safe and quiet. Most important though, it is the UP neighborhood: You are on walking distance from UP, so if you have a very busy schedule with courses, you can save yourself a lot of time. Living in Jesús María is ideal for people who like to live close to the university. 

One negative though is that you are far away from the sea, Miraflores, and Barranco. it will easily take 30 minutes to an hour to see the coast. Accordingly, people who live in Jesús María tend to stay there. Unlike the people who live at the coast and for who the bus trips are a necessity to get to UP, making the trip from Jesús María to Miraflores is optional for the Jesús María inhabitants and thus is it feels more like an excursion/activity. 

Where to live lima Jesus Maria Street
Residental Jesús María

Lastly, it is good to know that the students who live in Jesús María, are likely part of one of the two Casa Yllika houses. You have casa 1 (also known as Casa Pollada) which has room for 10 people, a garden and rooftop. Casa 3  has room for 14 people and a huge rooftop terrace. 

Where to live in Lima: Magdalena – Cheap and Coastal

Relatively close to the university, reachable from Miraflores, Magdalena is the cheaper version of San Isidro. Due to traffic, it is often better to walk to UP, which will only take you about 20-25 minutes. Moreover, you could easily consider buying a bike when you live here.

It is near the coast, but there is not really a beach there. Furthermore, it is less international and not touristic at all. Therefore, you get more of the Peruvian experience and pay a lot less than in Miraflores, about 50%. There are many cheap food options too. My friends kept telling me about all the nice local restaurants you can find here. 

Where to live in Lima: Pueblo Libre – The Cheapest

This neighborhood is located next to Jesús María and therefore still fairly close to Universidad del Pacifico. Accordingly, you could walk from most places to UP. However, being located to the north, this does mean it’s even further away from the social center in Miraflores. There are some advantages to this of course: it is very Peruvian (you will not find any tourists here), and the prices are really low. You can have room for as little as 500 soles (this is 150 dollars) per month. So this easily pays for all your UBER drives to the center.

Where to live in Lima: everything else

Next, to these six neighborhoods, there are about 15 more you could select. Hardly any Lima exchange students live here though. Why? mainly because of two reasons: either it is way too far away or too dangerous. I would definitely not recommend you to go live there.

Historical Center Lima
Historical center of Lima: fun for a day, too dangerous to live

Summarizing

Where you live in Lima really does have a big influence on how you will experience your exchange or internship. In a nutshell, if you are a person who likes the city vibe and/or you like to surf, you need to live in Miraflores. Most students live here. If being close to uni has your preference, living in Jesús María and close to UP is a better option. You can also go for a middle solution too and select Magdalena or San Isidro, or Pueblo Libre if budget is your main constraint. 
 

Many words, this table sums it up for you!

(turn your screen for a better view!)

Neighborhood

Pros

cons


Miraflores

  • The neighborhood to surf
  • Widest offering of restaurants
  • The social life of exchange is centered here
  • Good connection to UP
  • Close to Barranco
  • Beautiful parks and Malecón
  • Not very Peruvian
  • Most expensive (400$)
  • Always busy


Barranco

  • super beautiful and atmospheric
  • A lot of restaurants and coffee places
  • Biggest clubs and bars at your doorstep
  • 15 min away from Miraflores by bus
  • Some waves for experienced surfers
  • (Too) far from UP (50 min by bus)
  • Quite expensive (400$ per month)
  • Not very Lima-ish


San Isidro

  • In between UP and Miraflores (both 15 min by bus)
  • A bit cheaper (300$)
  • More residential and quiet
  • Most beautiful part of the Malecón.
  • Less vibrant
  • Always have to travel (to school or social activities)


Jesús María

  • Quiet and safe
  • Residential and slightly more Peruvian
  • Very close to UP
  • Far away from the coast
  • Far away from the social activities
  • Social life mostly centered around your house.
  • Not very vibrant


Magdalena

  • Cheap
  • Peruvian experience
  • Distances to UP and Miraflores are doable
  • Close to the coast
  • Not much to do, you are constantly traveling.
  • Little exchange students


Pueblo Libre

  • Super Cheap
  • Very Peruvian, no tourists.
  • Quite close to UP
  • Miles away from the clubs, bars, and pre-drinks
  • Far away from the coast.
  • Little exchange students

My experience living in Lima

Half April, I reserved the very last room in Casa Yllika, one of the most popular student accommodations in Lima. It is very close to UP, but very far from Miraflores. However, I wanted to surf every day, and the 70 minutes of traveling one way were killing me. I wanted to be closer to where most of my friends lived too, so I moved to a long stay Airbnb near Kenney Park with my best friend from the exchange group. It was the best decision I could have made: walking to the sea in my wetsuit, coffee places all around and my friends on walking distance.

Do you have questions left? I feel you! I had a million questions before moving to Lima. Leave them in the comments or email them to us and I will try to answer them for you! We hoped you liked this article. Many more will be posted soon, so follow us on Instagram to keep updated. In the meanwhile, check out some of our other Lima posts, for instance: 

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Wiz Morgan

    Hello,

    I’ll be starting my exchange at UPC in Lima from March 1st 2020 and I am trying to find the best way to find a room in Lima. I really appreciate this blog post so thank you for sharing. Did you find Airbnb the best site to use? Would you also recommend sharing with someone because at the moment I am by myself and wondered if you knew of a site that connects exchange students?

    Many Thanks,
    Wiz

    1. Myrthe

      Hey Wiz, thank you so much for your kind words! Finding a room is indeed one of the most stressful things about studying abroad, we get many questions about this so we are working on an article especially about how to find housing. Until then a quick answer…

      Airbnb is a very nice way to find a room because it allows you to stay very flexible and you can have friends move in later. However, you do indeed have the risk of living on your own (and living with fellow students is a lot more fun). If you want to meet people before going to Lima, there are Facebook groups as well where people look for housemates, like this group. Hope this helps!

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