Destination Lima City
- The amazing Peruvian Capital, World Heritage Site for visitors around the world. With a roughly 8.5 million people, ranked among the top ten most populous cities in Latin America. Peru receives about 3.1 million visitors a year and the numbers may be expected to continue to grow. Lima is the primary international hub of the country and most visitors arrive to Peru via the Jorge Chavez International Airport.
- Lima’s attractions and highlights include spectacular cityscapes, pre-Inca places, a rich colonial past and a diverse population from all over Peru and around the world.
- To the north is located the mysterious ancient city of Caral, the oldest and most interesting civilization of the Americas with its lost technology from another age. Also to the south of is the Archaeological Complex of Pachacamac, another mysterious site of ancient ruins. Lima's history has a big colonial presence, the great establishment of the viceroyalty transformed the city into the main administrative and political center of greater South America. During this age, many churches, monasteries, mansions and balconies were constructed. The arrival of modernity didn’t transform the historic center, which today is fully recognized as a World Heritage Site internationally.
- Museums with stunning art pieces, beaches, the boardwalk, archaeological sites, valleys, natural reserves, the nightlife, thrilling sport adventures and the exquisite cuisine gives Peru’s capital an original personality and makes tourism in Lima a unique experience in the South America.
Recommended Itineraries In Lima City
As ancient as it is new, Lima has survived regular apocalyptic earthquakes, warfare and the rise and fall of civilizations. This resilient city has welcomed a rebirth after each destruction. In pre-Hispanic times, the area served as an urban center for the Lima, Wari, Ichsma and even the Inca cultures in different periods.
When Francisco Pizarro sketched out the boundaries of his 'City of Kings' in January of 1535, there were roughly 200,000 indigenous people living in the area. By the 18th century, he Spaniards' tumbledown village of adobe and wood had given way to a vice regal capital, where fleets of ships arrived to transport the golden spoils of conquest back to Europe. After a disastrous earthquake wiped out much of the city in 1746, it was rebuilt with splendorous baroque churches and ample casonas (mansions). The city's prominence began to fade after independence in 1821, when other urban centers were crowned capitals of newly independent stales.
In 1880, Lima was ransacked and occupied by the Chilean military during the War of the Pacific (1879-83). As part of the pillage, the Chileans made off with thousands of tomes from the National Library (they were returned in 2007). Postwar expansion meant that by the 1920s Lima was crisscrossed by a network of broad boulevards inspired by Parisian urban design. When another devastating earthquake struck in 1940, the city again had to rebuild.
By the mid-1900s the population was growing exponentially. An influx of rural poor took the metro area from 661,000 in-habitants in 1940 to 8.5 million by 2007. The migration was particularly intense during the 1980s, when armed conflicts in the Andes displaced many people. Shantytowns mushroomed, crime soared and the city fell into a period of steep decay. In 1992, the terrorist group Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) detonated deadly truck bombs in middle-class Miraflores, marking one of Lima's darkest hours.
Today's Lima has been rebuilt to an as-tonishing degree. A robust economy and a vast array of municipal improvement efforts have repaved the streets, refurbished parks and created safer public areas to bring back a thriving cultural and culinary life.
The city's historic heart, Lima Centro (Central Lima) is a grid of crowded streets laid out in the 16th-century days of Francisco Pizarro, and home to most of the city's surviving colonial architecture. Well-to-do San Isidro is Lima's banking center and one of its most affluent settlements. It borders the contiguous, seaside neighborhood of Miraflores, which serves as Lima's contemporary core, bustling with commerce, restaurants and nightlife. Immediately to the south lies Barranco, a former resort community transformed into a hip bohemian center with hopping bars and niece areas to stroll.
Bustling narrow streets are lined with ornate baroque churches in the city’s historic and commercial center, located on the south bank of the Río Rímac. Few colonial mansions remain since many have been lost to expansion, earthquakes and the perennially mojst weather. The best access to the Plaza de Armas is the pedestrian-only street Jirón de la Unión.
Finding street names in this area can be maddening; to top it off, tiles label colonial] street names which are no longer in use. Your best bet is to look for the green street signs and use well-known landmarks for orientation.
Plaza de Armas
(Map p60) Lima's 140-sq-meter Plaza de Armas, also called the Plaza Mayor, was not only the heart of the I6üi-century settlement established by Francisco Pizarro, it was center of the Spaniards' continent-wide empire. Though not one original building remains, at the center of the plaza is an impressive bronze fountain erected in 1650.
Surrounding the plaza are a numaber of significant public buildings: to the east resides the Palacio Arzobispal (Archbishop's Palace; Map p60), built in 1924 in a colonial style and boasting some of the most exquisite Moorish-style balconies in the city.
Palacio de Gobierno
(Map p60; Plaza de Armas) To the northeast of Plaza de Armas is the block-long Palacio de Gobierno, a grandiose baroque-style building from 1937 that serves as the residence of Peru´s president Out front stands a handsomely uniformed presidential guard (think French Foreign Legion, c 1900) that conduct a changing of the guard every day at noon - a ceremonious affair that involves slow-motion goose-stepping and the sublime sounds of a brass band playing 'El Cóndor Pasa' as a military march.
Though the palace is no longer regularly open to visitors, it hosts occasional free public exhibits, which require a 48-hour advance reservation. Check the website for a schedule and reserve through the Office of Public Relations. Visitors must bring a valid ID. The web page offers a virtual tour (click on 'Visiita Virtual') showing the building's lavish interiors.
Housed in a historic 16th-century building where General San Martin once slept, this cacao museum, with other outlets around the city, offers chocolate-making and sells organic and fair-trade treats.
La Cátedral de Lima
Next to the Palacio Arzobispal, the cathedral resides on the plot of land that Pizarro designated for the city's first church in 1535. Though it retains a baroque facade, the building has been built and rebuilt numerous times; in 1551, in 1622 and after the earthquakes of 1687 and 1746. The last major restoration was in 1940.
A craze for all things neoclassical in the late 18th century left much of the interior and the interiors of many Lima churches) ripped of its elaborate baroque decor. Even so there is plenty to see. The various chapels along the nave display more than a dozen altars carved in every imaginable style, and the ornate wood choir, produced by Pedro de Noguera in the early I7th century, is a masterpiece of rococo sculpture. A museum, in the rear, features paintings, vestments and an intricate sacristy.
By the cathedral's main door is the mosaicovered chapel with the remains of Pizarro. Their authenticity came into question in 1977, after workers cleaning out a crypt discovered several bodies and a sealed lead box containing a skull that bore the inscription, Here is the head of the gentleman Marquis Don Francisco Pizarro, who found and conquered he kingdom of Peru...' After a battery of tests in the 1980s, a US forensic scientist concluted that the body previously on display was of an unknown official and that the brutally stabbed and headless body from the crypt was Pizarro's. Mead and body were reunited and transferred to the chapel, where you can also view the inscribed lead box.
Guide services in Spanish, English, French, Italian and Portuguese are available for an additional fee.
Parquet de la Muralla
Amazonas, btwn Lampa &AvAbancay; 9am-9pm) 013 During the 17th century, the heart of Lima was ringed by a muralla (city wall), much of which was torn down in the 1870s as the city expanded. However, you can view a set of excavated remains at the Parque de la Muralla, where, in addition to the wall, as mall on-site museum (with erratic hours) details the development if the city and holds a few objects.
The park features a bronze statue of Francisco Pizarro created by American Sculptor Kamsey MacDonald in the early 20th century. The figure once commanded center stage at the Plaza de Armas, but over the years has been displaced as attitudes toward Pizarro have grown critical. The best part: the figure Isn't even Pizarro - it's an anonymous conquistador of the sculptor's invention. Mac-Donald made three copies of the statue. One was erected in the US; tire other, Spain. The third was donated to the city of Lima after i he artist's death in 1934 (and after México rejected). So now, Pizarro - or, more accurately, his proxy - site at the edge of this park, a silent witness to a daily parade of amorous Peruvian teens.
Monasterio de San Francisco
This bright-yellow Franciscan monastery and church is most famous for its bone-lined catacombs (containing an estimated 70,000 remains) and its remarkable library housing 25,000 antique texts, some of which predate the conquest. Admission includes a 30-minute guided tour in English or in Spanish. Tours leave as groups gather.
This baroque structure has many other treasures: the most spectacular is a geo-metric Moorish-style cupola over the main staircase, which was carved in 1625 (restored 1969) out of Nicaraguan cedar. In addition, the refectory contains 13 paintings of the biblical patriarch Jacob and his 12 sons, attributed to the studio of Spanish master Francisco de Zurbarán.
Casa de Pilatos
East of the plaza, the lovely red Casa de Pilatos is home to offices for the Tribunal Constitutional (Supreme Court). Access is a challenge: visitors are only allowed into the courtyard provided there aren't official meetings going on linter through the side door on Azángaro.
Museo de la Inquisición
A graceful neoclassical structure facing the Plaza Bolívar houses this diminutive museum where the Spanish Inquisition once plied its trade. In the 1800s, the building was expanded and rebuilt into the Peruvian senate. Today, guests can tour the basement, where morbidly hilarious wax figures are stretched on racks and flogged - to the delight of visiting eight-year-olds. The old lst-floor library retains a remarkable baroque wooden ceiling, After an obligatory half-hour tour (in Spanish or English) guests can wander.
Iglesia de San Pedro
This small 17th-century church is considered to be one of the finest examples of baroque colonial era architecture in Lima. Consecrated by the Jesuits in 1638, it has changed little since. The interior is sumptuously decorated with gilded altars, Moorish-style carvings and glazed tiles.
Palacio Torre Tagle
The most immaculate of Lima's historic casonas was completed in 1735, with its ornate baroque portico (the best one in Lima) and striking Moorish-style balconies. Unfortunately, it is now home to Peru´s Foreign Ministry, so entry is restricted. Groups and educational organizations, however, can request a tour in advance via the oficina cultural.
Museo Banco Central de Reserva del Perú.
Housed in a graceful bank building, the Museo Banco Central de Reserva del Perú is a well-presented overview of several millennia of Peruvian art, from pre-Columbian gold and pottery to a selection of 19th- and 20th-century Peruvian canvases. Don't miss the watercolors by Pancho Fierro on the top floor, which provide an unparalleled view of dress and class in 19th-century Lima. Identification is required for admittance.
Iglesia de la Merced
The first Latin Mass in Lima was held in 1534 on a small patch of land now marked by the Iglesia de la Merced. Originally built in 1541, it was rebuilt several times over the course of the next two centuries. Most of today's structure dates to the 18th century. The most striking feature is the imposing granite facade, carved in the churrigueresque manner (a highly ornate style popular during the late Spanish baroque period).
Inside, the nave is lined with more than two-dozen magnificent baroque and Renaissance-style altars, some carved entirely out of mahogany. To the right as you enter is a large silver cross that once belonged to Father Pedro Urraca (1583-1657), renowned for having had a vision of the Virgin. This is a place of pilgrimage for Peruvian worshippers, who come to place a hand on the cross and pray for miracles.
Toward the center of downtown, this traditional casona houses the small Museum of Art & Popular Tradition.
Iglesia de San Agustín
This church has an elaborate churrigueresque facade (completed in 1720), replete with stone carvings of angels, flowers, fruit and, of course, St Augustine. The interiors are drab, but the church is home to a curious woodcarving called 'La Muerte' (Death) by 18th-cent.ury Sculptor Baltazar Gavilán. As one (probably fictional) story goes, Gavilán died in a state of madness after viewing his own chilling sculpture in the middle of the right. The piece sometimes travels, so call ahead.
Limited operating hours can make the church a challenge to visit.
Iglesia de las Nazarenas
One of Lima´s most storied churches was part of a 17th-century shantytown inhabited by former slaves. One of them painted an image of the Crucifixion on a wall here. It survived the devastating earthquake of 1655 and a church was built around it (the painting serves as the centerpiece of the main altar) in the 1700s. The church has been rebuilt many times since but the wall endures.
On October 18 each year a representation of the mural, known as 'El Señor de los Milagros' (Lord of Miracles), is carried around in tens-of-thousands-strong procession that lasts for days.
Casa de la Riva
This handsome, 18 th century mansion features beautiful wooden balconies, an elegant patio and period furnishings.
Casa-Capilla de San Martín de Porres
Right across the street from the Santuario de San-I a Rosa de Lima, this building (now a center of religious study) commemorates the birth-place of San Martín. Visitors are welcome to view the bright interior patios and diminutive chapel.
Santuario de Santa Rosa de Lima
Honoring I lie first saint of the Americas, this plain, terra-cotta-hued church on a congested avenue is located roughly al the site of her birth. The modest adobe sanctuary in the gardens was built in the 17th century for Santa Rosa's prayers and meditation.
Casa de Oquendo
Two blocks to the north of the Casa de la Riva, the cornflower-blue Casa de Oquendo is a ramshackle turn-of-theT9th-century house (in its time, the tallest in Lima) with a creaky lookout tower that, on a clear day, has views of Callao. Arrange tours for small groups ahead of time with a suggested donation.
Iglesia de Santo Domingo
One of Lima's most storied religious sites, the Iglesia de Santo Domingo and its expansive convent (admission S7) are built on land granted to the Dominican Friar Vicente de Valverde, who accompanied Pizarro throughout the conquest and was instrumental in persuading him to execute the captured Inca Atahualpa. Originally completed in the 16'th century, this impressive pink church has been rebuilt and remodeled at various points since.
It is most renowned as the final resting place for three important Peruvian saints: San Juan Macias, Santa Rosa de Lima and San Martin de Porres (the continent's first bleak saint). The convent - a sprawling courtyard-studded complex lined with baroque paintings and clad in vintage Spanish tiles contains the saints' tombs. The church, however, has the most interesting relies; the skulls of San Martín and Santa Rosa, encased in glass, in a shrine to the right of the main altar.
La Casa de la Gastronomía Peruana
This new museum provides a brief but helpful introduction to the world-famous Peruvian cuisine, with three rooms that present the Inca diet, regional cuisine, and the influence of immigration. Across the courtyard there's a room dedicated solely to quinoa.
Innocuously tucked on a side street by the post office is Casa Aliaga, which stands on land given in 1535 to Jerónimo de Aliaga, one of Pizarro's followers, and which has been occupied by 16 generations of his descendants. It may not look like much from the outside, but the interiors are lovely, with vintage furnishings and tile work. It can also be visited via organized excursions with Lima Tours.
Museo de Historia Natural
(Natural History Museum; Map p64; museohn.unmsm.edu.pe; Arenales 1256, Jesús María; adult/child S7/5; 9am-5pm Mon-Sat, 10am- 30pm Sun) One block west of cuadra 12 off Av Arequipa, south of the Parque de la Reserva, the Museo de Historia Natural run by the Universidad de San Marcos has a modest taxidermy collection that provides a useful overview of Peruvian fauna, with guided tours (S25) available.
Rimac can be a rough neighborhood. Taxis or organized tours are the best options for most sights.
Plaza de Acho, Lima's bullring, was built on this site north of the Río Rímac in 1766. Some of the world's most famous toreadors passed through here, among them the renowned Manolete from Spain. A visit includes a free guided tour inspecting cluttered displays of weapons, paintings, photo-graphs and the gilded outfits worn by a succession of bullfighters - gore holes, blood stains and all.
Cerro San Cristobal
This 409m-high hill to the northeast of Lima Centro has a mitt (lookout) at its crown, with views of Lima stretching off to the Pacific (in winter expect to see nothing but fog). From the Plaza de Armas, taxis can take you to the summit (from S16) or you can wait for the Urbanito bus, on the southwest comer of the plaza, which does one-hour tours to the summit from 2pm on. Buses run every 30 minutes.
A huge eco: built in 1928 and illuminated at night, is a Lima landmark and the object of pilgrimages during Semana Santa (Holy Week) and the first Sunday in May. There is a small museum (admission S1).
Convento de los Descalzos
Manco Cápac 202A, Alameda de los Descalzos; adult/student S5/3; fi;9:30am-1pm & 2:30-5:30pm) At the end of the attractive Alameda de los Descalzos, al] but forgotten, is this 16th-century convent and museum, run by the Descalzos ('the Barefooted,' a reference to Franciscan friars). Visitors can see old winemaking equipment in the kitchen, a refectory, an infirmary and the monas-tic cells. Thiere are also some 300 colonial paintings, including noteworthy canvases by renowned Cusco School artist Diego Quispe Tito. Spanish-speaking guides give 45-mmute tours. Taxis from the Plaza de Armas start at about S12."
The city begins to rise into the foothills of the Andes as you turn east, an area carpeted with government buildings and teeming residential districts.
Museo de la Nación
(Museum of the Nation; Av Javier Prado Este 2466, San Borja) At the time of re-search, this museum was closed but may reopen soon; check ¡Perú (p100) for updates. In a brutalism concrete tower, it provides a cursory overview of Peru's civilizations, from Chavín stone carvings and the knotted-rope quipus (used for record-keeping) of the Incas to colonial artifacts. One must-see is the permanent exhibit Yuyanapaq. Quechua for 'to remember,' it's a moving photographic tribute to the Internal! Conflict (1980-2000) created by Peru's Truth & Reeonciliation Commission in 2003.
From San Isidro, you can catch one of the many buses or combis (minivans) heading east along Av Javier Prado Este toward La Molina.
Museo de oro del Perú
The now notorious Museo de Oro del Perú, a private museum, was a Lima must-see until 2001, when a study revealed that 85% of the museum's metallurgical pieces were fakes. It reopened with an assurance that works on display are bona fide, though descriptions classify certain pieces as 'reproductions.' The cluttered, poorly signed exhibits still leave something to be desired.
Of greater interest (and, in all likely-hood, of greater authenticity) are the thou-sands of weapons presented in the km, on the museum's ground floor.
Here, in various jumbled rooms, youll find rifles, swords and guns from every century imaginable, including a firearm that once belonged to Fidel Castro.
Go via taxi or combi from Museo de la Nación heading northeast on Angamos toward Monterrico and get off at the Puente Primavera. From there, it's a 15-minute stroll north to the museum.
Asociación Museo del Automóvil
Av. La Molina, cuadra 37, cnr Totoritas, La Molina; adult S20; - 9:30am-7pm) The Asociación Museo del Automóvil has an impressive array of classic cars dating back to 1901, from a Ford Model T to a Cadillac Fleetwood used by four Peruvian presidents.
A combination of middle- and upper-class residential neighborhoods offer some important sights of note.
Nicolás de Rivera 201; adult/child S10/5; 09am-5pmTue-Sun) Nestled among condominium towers and sprawling high-end homes, the simple Huacallamarca is a highly restored adobe pyramid, produced by the Lima culture, that dates to somewhere between AD 200 and 500.
A small on-site museum, complete with mummy, details its excavation.
Bosque El Olivar
(Map p68) This tranquil park, a veritable oasis in the middle of San Isidro, consists of the remnants of an old olive grove, part of which was planted by the venerated San Martín de Porres in the 17lh century.
The city's bustling, modem hub full of restaurants, shops and nightspots - overlooks the Pacific from a set of ragged cliffs.
Fundación Museo Amano
GUI The well-designed Fundación Museo Amano features a fine prívate cotlec-tion of eeramics, with a strong representa-tion of wares from the Chimú and Nazca cultures. It also has a remarkable assort-ment of lace and other textiles produced by the coastal Chancay culture. Museum visíts are allowed by a one-hour guided tour only, i n Spanish or Japanese.
Fundación Museo Amano
The well-designed Fundación Museo Amano features a fine private collection of ceramics, with a strong representation of wares from the Chimú and Nazca cultures. It also has a remarkable assortment of lace and other textiles produced by the coastal Chancay culture. Museum visits are allowed by a one-hour guided tour only, in Spanish or Japanese.
Lugar de la Memoria
An ambitious state project to preserve the memory of victims of violence during Peru's tumu tuous period from 1980 to 2000. This new postmodernist museum is still in the process of implementation, but has traveling open-air exhibits in the mean-while (check the website for details). Exhibits reelect on events and commemorate victims to help Peruvians heal and embrace a strong stance on human rights. Its directed especially at younger generations who didn't experience the period, but proves fascinating to national as well.
(Map p70; Berlin 375; 2hr workshop adult/child S75/55; 11am-8:30pm Sun-Thu, to 9:30pm Fri & Sat)On -site chocolate production is the seducing factor of this 'museum' selling fondue and fair-trade hot cocoa. French-owned, it is well known for organic chocolate-making workshops, offered at least twice daily. Trruffle workshops must be reserved in advance, but otherwise walk-ins are welcome.
Casa de Ricardo Palma
Gral Suárez 189; adult/ student S6/3;10am-lpm & 3-5pm Mon-Fri) This house was the home of the Peruvian author Ricardo Palma from 1913 until his death in 1919. A listless tour is included in the price.
(Map p70; cnr Borgoño & Tarapacá; adult/student S12/5; (9am-4:30pm) Located near the Óvalo Gutierre?, this huaca is a restored adobe ceremonial center from the Lima culture that dates back to AD 400. In 2010, an important discovery of four Wari mummies was made, untouched by looting, Though vigorous excavations continue, the site is accessible by regular guided tours in Spanish (for a tip). In addition to a tiny on-site museum, there’s a celebrated restaurant that offers incredible views of the illuminated ruins at night.
A tiny resort back at the turn of the 20th century, Barranco is lined with grand old casonas, many of which have been turned into eateries and hotels.
Museo de Arte Contemporáneo
(MAC; Map p74; Av Grau 1511; adult/child S10/6; 10am-6pm Tue-Sun; The permanente collection at MAC is a quick study but visiting exhibits, like a David Chapelle retrospective, are manjor draws. There´s also a good on – site café and sculture park (access free) with shady lawns that provide a good city respite for families. With free parking.
Galeria Lucia de la Puente
(Map p74; Saénz Peña 206; 11am-8pm Mon-Fri, from 3pm Sat) A magnificent two-story casona is home to Lima's most prestigious contemporary art gallery. Look for works by cutting-edge painters such as Fernando Gutiérrez, whose canvases often skewer Peruvian culture.
Puente de los Suspiros
(Bridge of Sighs: Map p74) A block west of the main plaza, look for this recently renovated, narrow wooden bridge over an old stone stairway that leads to the beach. Especially popular with couples on first dates, the bridge has inspired many a Peruvian folk song.
(AvGrau264; 2hrworkshopadult/childS75/55; 11am-10pm) A quickie cacao 101 museum better known for its daily chocolate-making workshops, with a few locations in the city. The specialty of this outlet is the bean-to-bar chocolate factory housed on-site. Fair-trade chocolate is also sold here.
Museo Mario Testino
(MATE; Map p74; Av Pedro de Osma 409; adult/student S15/5: 11am-8pm Tue-Sun) A wonderful small museum dedicated to the work of the world-renowned photographer Mario Testino, a native of Peru and local barranquino. The permanent exhibition includes iconic portraits of Princess Diana, Kate Moss and notable actors. There are also beautiful portraits of Andean highlanders in traditional garb.
Museo Pedro de Osma
Housed in a lovely beaux-arts mansion surrounded by gardens, this under visited museum has an exquisite collection of colonial furniture, silverwork and art, some of which date back to the 1500s. Among the many fine pieces, stand-outs include a 2m-\vide canvas that depicts a Corpus Christi procession in turn-of-the-17th-century Cusco.
West Lima & Callao
To the west of downtown, cluttered lower-middle-class and poor neighborhoods eventually give way to the port city of Callao, where the Spanish once shipped their gold.
Travelers should approach Callao with caution, since some areas are dangerous, ever during the day.
(Bolívar 1515, Pueblo Libre; adult/child under 15 S30/15; 09am-10pm) In an 18th-century viceroy's mansion, this museum offers one of the largest, best- presented displays of ceramics in Lima.
Founded by pre-Columbian collector Rafael Larco Hoyle in 1926, the collection includes over 50,000 pots, with ceramic works from the Cupisnique, Chimú, Chancay, Nazca and inca cultures. Highlights include the sublime Moche portrait vessels, presented in simple, dramatically lit cases, and a Wari weaving in one of the rear galleries that contains 398 threads to the linear inch - a record.
There's also gold and jewels. Many visitors are lured here by a separately housed collection of pre-Columbian erotica illustrating all manner of sexual activity with comical explicitness. Don't miss the vitrine that depicts sexually transmitted diseases.
The highly recommended on-site Café del Museo faces a private garden draped in bou-gainvillea and is a perfec spot for ceviche.
Catch a bus from Av Arequipa in Miraflores marked 'Todo Bolívar' to Bolívar' 15th block. A painted blue line on the sidewalk links this building to the Museo Nacional de Antropología, Arqueología e Historia del Perú, about a 15-minute walk away.
Museo Nacional de Antropologia, Arqueologia e Historia del Perú
(National Anthropology, Arcnaeology & History Museum; 12) 01-463-5070; Plaza Bolívar, cnr San Martín & Vivanco, Pueblo libre; adult/child S10/1; 09am-5pm Tue-Sat, to 4pm Sun) Trace the history of Peru from the pre-ceramic period to the early republic. Displays include the famous Raimondi Stela, a 2.1m Chavín rock carving from one of the first Andean cultures to have a widespread, recognizable artistic style. Late-colonial and early republic paintings include an 18th-century Last Supper in which Christ and his disciples feast on cuy (guinea pig). The building was borne to revolutionary heroes San Martín (from 1821 to 1822) and Bolívar (from 1823 to 1826).
From Miraflores, take a “Todo Brasil” com-bi from Av Arequipa (just north from Óvalo) i to cuadra 22 on the corner of Vivanco, then walk seven blocks up that street. A blue line connects this museum with Museo Larco.
Parque de Las Leyendas
Av Las Leyendas 580-86, San Miguel; adult/child S10/5; 39am-6pm) Located between Lima Centro and Callao, the zoo covers Peru´s major geographical divisions: coast, mountains and jungle. There are 210 native animals, with a few imports (such as hippos). The conditions are OK, and the zoo is well maintained. In Lima Centro, catch buses and colectivos (shared taxis) that travel past the park at Av Abancay and Garcilaso, de la Vega every 30 minutes.
A narrow peninsula that extends west into the Pacific Ocean, La Punta was once a fishing hamlet, and later, in the 19 th century, an upscale summer beach resort. Today this pleasant upper-middle-class neighbor-hood, graced with neocolonial and aildi.ro homes, is a great spot to stroll by the ocean and enjoy a seafood lunch.
You can take a taxi from Miraflores (about S30). In Lima Centro, combis traveling to Callao run west along Av Colonial from the Plaza 2 de Mayo. Take the ones labeled 'La Punta: A good spot to get out is I Plaza Galvez; from here, you can head west all along the waterside Malecón Figueredo, which offers magnificent views of craggy Isla San Lorenzo, just off the coast.
Fortaleza del Real Felipe
(W 01-429-0532; Plaza Independencia, Callao; adult/child S12/3; 9am-2pm) In the 1820s, the Spanish royalists made their last stand during the battle for independence at this historic fort, which was built in 1747 to guard against pirates. It still houses a small military contingent. Visits are by guided tours in Spanish only.
On the western flank of the fort, don't miss an opportunity to stroll through the truly bizarre Parque Temático de la Policia (Police Park), a nicely landscaped garden that is dotted with police tanks and life-size statues of policemen in riot gear a perfect place for hose surreal family vacation photos.
Note that the nearby dock area is quite a rough neighborhood; travel by taxi.
Popular excursions from Lima include the 31km ride to Pachacamac, where there are good local trails open between April and December. Expert riders can inquire about the stellar downhill circuit from Olleros lo San Bartolo south of Lima. For general information (in Spanish) on eyeing, try Federación Deportiva Peruana de Ciclismo; Av San Luis 1308, San Luis) or the Facebook page of Dozens of bikc shops are Usted in Lima's Vellow Pages under 'Bicicletas.'
Prom the Miraflores cliff tops, tandem flights (S240 for 10 minutes) take off from the cliff-top 'paraport' at the Parque Raimondi to soar over coastal skyscrapers and gaze down at the surfers.
Swimming & Water Sports
Despite the newspaper warnings about pollution, limeños hit the beaches in droves in summer (January through March). Playa Costa Verde in Miraflores (nicknamed Waikiki) is a favorite of local surfers and has good breaks year-round. Barranco's beaches have waves that are better for long boards. There are seven other beaches in Miraflores and four more in Barranco. Serious surfers can also try Playa La Herradura in Chorrillos, which has waves up to 5m high during good swells. Do not leave your belongings unattended as theft a problem.
Festivals & Events
For local events, see local newspapers or visit The Peru Guide. (www.theperuguide.com), Holidays specific to Lima include the Festival of Lima, Feast of San ta Rosa de Lima and El Señor de los Milagros.
Festival Of Lima
Celebrates the anniversary of Lima's founding on January 18.
Feria de Santa Rosa de Lima
Held on August 30, this feast honors Santa Rosa, the venerated patron saint of Lima and the Americas. Relieves visit the Santuario de Santa Rosa de Lima in the Centro Histórico. From here a procession goes to the saint's hometown Santa Rosa de Quives near Lima.
El Señor de los Milagros
(Lord of Miracles) The city drapes itself in purple during this massive religious procession through Centro Historico on October 18 in honor of the Christ from the Nazarenas church; smaller processions occur other Sundays in October.
From diminutive family pensions to glassy hotel towers armed with spas, Lima has every type of accommodations imaginable, It is also one of the most expensive destinations in the country (other than the tourist meca of Cusco).
The favored traveler neighborhood is Miraflores, offering a bounty of hostels, ins and upscale hotel chains and vigilant neighborhood security. The former seaside resort of Barranco nearby has become a hot neighborhood and is certainly one of the most walkable areas, with lots of gardens ¡mil colonial architecture. More upscale and generally more tranquil - is the financial hub of San Isidro. Cheaper lodging can be found in Lima Centro, though it is rather moved from the city's hopping restaurants mil nightclubs.
If arriving at night, it’s worth contacting hotels in advance to arrange for airport pick- up even budget hostels can arrange this sometimes for a few dollars less than the official airport service.
On weekends and holidays, limeños head for the beach or the hills. From exploring ancient ruins to beach bumming, there is much to do outside of the city that is worthy of exploration if you have a few extra days,
Situated about 31km southeast of the city center, the archacoological complex of Pachacamac, perucultural.org.pe; admission S10; 9am-4pm Tue-Sat, to 3pm Sun) is a pre-Columbian cita del made up of adobe and stone palaces and temple pyramids. If you've been to Machu Picchu, it may not look like much, but this was an important Inca site and a major city when the Spanish arrived. It began as a ceremonial center for the Lima culture be-ginning at about AD 100, and was later expanded by the Waris before being taken over by the Ichsma. The Incas added numerous other structures to the area upon their arrival in 1450. The name Pachacamac, which can be variously translated as 'He who Aní-mated the World' or 'He who Created Land and Time,' comes from the Wari god, whose wooden, two-faced image can be seen in the on-site museum.
Most of the buildings are now little more than piles of rubble that dot the desert landscape, but some of the main temples have been excavated and their ramps and stepped sides revealed. You can climb the switchback trail to the top of the Templo del Sol (Temple of the Sun), which on clear i days offers excellent views of the coast The s most remarkable structure on-site, however, is the Palacio de las Mamacuna (House of the Chosen Women), commonly referred to the Acllahuasi, which boasts a series of Inca-style trapezoidal doorways. Unfortunately, a major earthquake in 2007 has left the structure highly unstable. As a result, visitors can only admire it from a distance. Without funding to repair the extensive damage, it has been listed as one of the planet's most endangered sites.
There is a visitor’s center and café at the site entrance, which is on the road to Lurín. A simple map can be obtained from the ticket office, and a track leads from the into the complex. Those on foot should allow at least two hours to explore. (In summer, take water and a hat - there is no shade to speak of once you hit the trail.) Those with a vehicle can drive from site to site.
Various agencies in Lima offer guided tours (half-day around S115 per person) that include transport and a guide. Mountain-bike tours can be an excellent option.
Alternatively, catch a minibus signed 'Pachacamae' from Av 28 de Julio or the sunken roadway at the comer of Andahuaylas and Grau in Central Lima (S3, 45 minutes); minibuses leave every 15 minutes during daylight hours. From Miraflores, take a bus on Av Benavides headed east to the Panamericana and Puente Primavera and change here for the bus signed 'Pachacamac Lurín' (S3, 30 minutes). For both services, tell the driver to let you off near the ruinas (ruins) or you´ll end up at Pachacamac village, about Ikm beyond the entrance. To get back to Lima, flag down any bus outside the gate, but expect to stand. You can also hire taxi (from S40 per hour) from Lima:
Every summer, limeños make a beeline for the beaches clustered along the Panamericana to the south. The exodus peaks on weekends, when, occasionally, the road is so congested that it becomes temporarily one-way. The principal beach towns include El Silencio, Señoritas, Caballeros, Punta Hermosa, Punta Negra, San Bartolo, Santa María, Naplo and Pucusana. Don't expect tropical resorts; Ibis stretch of barren, Coastal desert is lapped by cold water and strong currents. Inquire locally before swinging, as drowning occur annually. Surfboard rental is almost nonexistent; best to bring your own.
Popular with families is San Bartolo which is cluttered with hostels at budget to midrange rates during the busy summer. Sitting above the bay, Hostal 110 Malecón San Martín Nte 110; d S150-170, extra person S30; has 14 spacious and neat tiled rooms and apartments -some of which sleep up to six staggered over a swimming pool on the Cliffside. Guests pay the higher rate on Saturdays. On the far southern edge of town (take a metatarsi), facing the soccer field, the recommended Restaurant Rocio; Urb. Villa Mercedes, Mz A. Lte. 5-6; mains S20-50; 11am-11pm) serves leche de tigre (seafood broth) and fresh fish grilled, fried and bathed in garlic.
Further south, Punta Hermosa, with ns relentless waves, is the surfer spot. The town has plenty of accommodations. A good choice is the compact losa Surf Bolognesi 407, cnr Pacasmayo; dm/s/d incl breakfast S55/70/150; which has six rooms, a cozy hangout area with hammocks and cable tv. Note: weekend rates are S30 higher for private rooms and S10 higher for shared rooms. The largest waves in Peru, which can recall a height of 10m, are found nearby at Pico Alto (at Panamericana Km 43).
Punta Bocas, a little further south, is also popular with experienced surfers (animal competitions are held here), who generally crash at the basic Hostal Hamacas; Panamericana Km 47; s/d with air-con S124/139, with fanS77/93), right on the beach. There are 15 rooms and five bungalows (which sleep six), all with private bathrooms, hot water and ocean views. There is an on-site restaurant during the high season (october to April). It also rents hoards.
To get to these beaches, take a bus signed San Bartolo' from the Panamericana Sur at the Puente Primavera in Lima. You can get off at any of the beach towns along the route, but in many cases it will be a 1km to 2km hike down to the beach. (Local taxis are usually waiting by the road.) A one-way taxi from Lima runs between S70 and S110.
There are also beaches to the south, such as Pucusana.
The Carretera Central (Central Hwy) heads directly east from Lima, following the Rimac valley into the foothills of the Andes and on to La Oroya in Peru's central highlands.
Minibuses to Chosica leave frequently from Arica at the Plaza Bolognesi. These can be used to travel to Puruchuco (S3, 50 minutes) and Chosica (S4, two hours). Recognizing sites from the road can be difficult, so let driver know where you want to get off.
The site of Puruchuco; mu-seopuruchuco.perucultural.org.pe; admission S5; guided groups S20; 8:30am-4pm Tue-Sun) hit the news in 2002 when about 2000 well-preserved mummy bundles were unearthed from the enormous Inca cemetery. It's one of the biggest finds of its kind, and the multitude of grave goods included a number of well-preserved quipu. The site has a highly o reconstructed chief's house, with one room identified as a guinea-pig ranch. Situated amid the shantytown of Tupac Amaru, Puruchuco is 13km from Central Lima. (It is best m to take a taxi, S30 one-way from Lima.) A signpost on the highway marks the turnoff, and from here it is several hundred meters along a road to the right.
Another pre-Columbiah site, Cajamarquilla 9am-4pm) is a crumbling adobe city that was built up by the Wari culture (AD 700-1100) on the site of a settlement originally developed by people of the Lima culture. A road to the left from Lima at about Km 10 (18km from Central Lima.) goes to the Cajamarquilla zinc refinery, almost 5km from the highway. The ruins are located about halfway along the refinery road; take a tum to the right along a short road. There are signs, but ask the locals for the zona arqueológica if you have trouble fmding them. During research, this site was closed for restoration. Check with Puruchuco or Perú (p100) for updates.
About 40km from Lima lies the rustic mountain town of Chosica, which sits at 860m above sea level, above the fog line. In the early half of the 20th century, it was a popular weekend getaway spot for limeños intent on soaking up sun in winter. Today its popularity has declined, though some visitors still arrive for day trips. The plaza is lined with restaurants, and in the evenings anticucho vendors gather along some of the fountain-lined promenades. From Chosica, a minor road leads lo the ruins of Marcahuasi.