In many countries, free walking tours are offered and available to everyone.
I have seen these in mostly big cities where top attractions are part of the itinerary and there are a couple of meeting points for people to join. I had never joined one until my trip to Lima and I was glad I did.
I had passed so many in my years on the streets and always had the thought-process of “I can see these things on my own.” Of course, that is valid and that is how I usually tour a city – on my own and not part of a group.
I decided to join the Lima by Walking Tour to explore downtown Lima. Seeing posters for it around the city, it made sense for me to do it.
I was staying in Barranco, which is about 30 minutes south of downtown Lima. There was a meeting point for the tour in my neighborhood only 3 minutes away where you would meet the tour guide and take the bus as a group to downtown. Somehow, I had not actually planned how to see downtown Lima or how to take the bus, therefore I opted for this option as I would be with the guide and not have to worry about getting there on my own.
What is a Free Walking Tour?
In any city that a free walking tour is offered, there are specific times and locations for meeting points at the start of the tour. The tour usually lasts about 2-3 hours. The tour guides are easy to recognize as they are in a specific color and uniform.
Of course one can always join the tour at any point but if if you do, it is respectful to remain until the end at that point.
Yes, these free walking tours do not cost anything – except a tip to the guide at the end.
That is how they remain free. That is how these tours keep running.
The average is about $10 to the guide per person. I found this through Googling and reading online forums as I was not sure what the average was. You can give whatever you think is reasonable and depending on your experience.
Downtown Lima Tour
We took the Metropolitano Bus into downtown Lima. I would have to take the bus back on my own to Barranco once the tour was done. Having the guide show us how to purchase tickets and how to ride the lines was great. There is overwhelming information on Lima’s bus systems as there are more than one. The Metropolitano Bus was farely easy as there are only three lines – A, B, or C. More on that in another post.
Once we got downtown, we started in the Main Square and visited over 10 landmarks. Some, we were given a quick overview for, such as the Catacombs which one has to pay extra to enter or the museum which one can spend time on their own to tour around.
We had multiple breaks and time to get water and food.
The main sites we saw included the Plaza de Armas, the Presidential Palace, Cathedral, Iglesia de San Francisco, Museo de Banco Central, Casa de Literatura, and so many more places that we passed as we walked.
The tour ended with a pisco tasting at a secret bar within a shop that was within a shop. It was cool since it was solely for us and we got history behind pisco and the particular tastings we received.
All in all – the walking tour was great! I continued to explore downtown Lima on my own afterwards.
Have you gone on a free walking tour?