What to Do in the Lima, Peru Airport

The Lima airport (also known as the Jorge Chávez International Airport; airport code: LIM) is a major hub in Latin America even though it’s such a tiny airport compared to other international airports. Currently, it’s the only airport in Peru that receives international flights, so it’ll be your first stop on the way to Machu Picchu. Many visitors find themselves spending a good chunk of time at the Lima airport waiting on their domestic flight from Lima to Cusco (the closest city to Machu Picchu).

Until very recently, due to COVID, you couldn’t even get into the airport without a boarding pass, but the doors are wide open now, so you can plan to arrive at the airport at really any time to hang out and wait there. Note that if you have luggage, you won’t be able to get into the Departures area until 3-4 hours before your flight when they’ll let you check in. To maximize time, people will start lining up 4 hours before the flight time, so get in that line when it’s still small even though the counters won’t open until 3 hours before.

Thankfully, you’ll have free WiFi no matter where you are in the airport (see Does Lima Airport Have WiFi?) Outside of the Departures area, there’s a food court, a few restaurants and cafes, and shops, notably:

  • Tanta (one of the restaurant chains of the internationally renowned Peruvian chef, Gaston Acurio)
  • Papa John’s
  • Dunkin’ Donuts
  • La Lucha Sanguchería (a famous Peruvian sandwich shop)
  • Starbucks (often full, but there’s an equally chill dessert shop beside it that’s often empty, Maria Almenara)
  • Britt Shop (sells souvenirs from different regions of Peru)

Be prepared for generally more expensive pricing than going to the exact same places or buying the exact same products outside of the airport.

If you’re staying overnight and/or want to take a nap, there aren’t any real places to lie down. You want to save on booking the expensive Lima Airport Hotel (which is right across the pedestrian street from the airport building on the airport grounds)? At any time of day, I’ve seen people sitting or lying on the floor throughout the entire second floor in/around/near the food court. The photo above shows the most common hallway on the second floor where many people camp out with their luggage overnight.

Once you get into the Departures area, there unfortunately aren’t many more options other than a Duty-Free Store you pass through to get through the gates, then a few restaurants and booths. If you have the Priority Pass, you have a few more choices:

  • El Salon by Newrest Lima Airport Lounge (domestic flights only)
  • Sumaq VIP Lounge (international flights only)
  • Hanaq VIP Lounge (international flights only – often has a lineup)
  • La Bonbonniere (international flights only; up to US$27 taken off your bill)
  • Bleriot Bar & Lounge (international flights only; up to US$27 taken off your bill)

You’ve got questions about the Lima Airport? Ask us!

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