Lima

We’ve compiled the best of the best in Lima - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. Casa de Aliaga

    El Centro | Historic Home

    From the outside, you'd never guess this was one of Lima's most opulent addresses. Commonly known as Casa de Aliaga, this stunning example of...

    From the outside, you'd never guess this was one of Lima's most opulent addresses. Commonly known as Casa de Aliaga, this stunning example of Spanish-colonial architecture a block from the Plaza de Armas was built in 1535 by Jerónimo de Aliaga, one of Pizarro's officers, and has been continuously inhabited by his descendants ever since. Each room boasts a different period décor, from colonial to republican, and Jerónimo's German-made sword is still on display in one of the salons. To visit, you must hire an officially approved guide or go as part of a city tour.

    Jr. de la Unión 224, Lima, Lima, 01, Peru
    01-427–7736

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: S/50
  • 2. Casa Torre Tagle

    El Centro | Historic Home

    This mansion sums up the graceful style of the early 18th century. Flanked by a pair of elegant balconies, the stone entrance is as expertly...

    This mansion sums up the graceful style of the early 18th century. Flanked by a pair of elegant balconies, the stone entrance is as expertly carved as that of any of the city's churches. The patio is a jewel of the Andalusian baroque, with slender columns supporting delicate Moorish arabesques. The Casa Torre Tagle currently holds offices of the Foreign Ministry and is open to the public only on weekends, when you can check out the tiled ceilings of the ground floor and see the house's 18th-century carriage. Across the street is Casa Goyeneche, which was built some 40 years later in 1771, and was clearly influenced by the rococo movement.

    Jr. Ucayali 363, Lima, Lima, 01, Peru
    01-204–2400

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free, Closed weekdays
  • 3. Convento de San Francisco

    El Centro | Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    With its ornate facade and bell towers, ancient library, and catacombs full of human skulls, the Convento de San Francisco is one of Lima's...

    With its ornate facade and bell towers, ancient library, and catacombs full of human skulls, the Convento de San Francisco is one of Lima's most impressive sites. The catacombs hold the remains of some 75,000 people, some of whose bones have been arranged in eerie geometric patterns (warning: the narrow, dusty tunnels aren't for the claustrophobic). Meanwhile, the convent's massive church, the Iglesia de San Francisco, is the quintessential example of Lima baroque. Its handsome, carved portal is like an oversized retablo, projecting the church's sacred space out onto the busy street, while the central nave is known for its beautiful ceilings carved in a style called Mudejar (a blend of Moorish and Spanish designs). The 50-minute tour includes the church, the library, ample colonial art, and the catacombs.

    Jr. Ancash 471, Lima, Lima, 01, Peru
    01-719–7188

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: S/15
  • 4. Convento de Santo Domingo

    El Centro | Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    If the Iglesia de San Francisco is Lima Gothic—all skulls and penitential gloom—Santo Domingo represents the city's sunny side. From pink facade...

    If the Iglesia de San Francisco is Lima Gothic—all skulls and penitential gloom—Santo Domingo represents the city's sunny side. From pink facade to rococo tower, every detail here glows with charm. The main cloister is especially enticing: long arcades with Sevillian tiles, gardens redolent of jasmine, coffered ceilings carved from Panamanian oak. But don't overlook the chapter room, which housed Peru's University of San Marcos when it was founded in 1551, or the tombs of Santa Rosa de Lima and San Martín Porres, the first two saints in the New World. In a city given over to the here and now, this temple offers a glimpse into another world.

    Jr. Conde de Superunda and Jr. Camaná, Lima, Lima, 01, Peru
    01-734–1190

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: S/10
  • 5. Huaca Pucllana

    Miraflores | Ruins

    Rising out of a nondescript residential neighborhood is Lima's most-visited huaca , or pre-Columbian temple—a huge, mud-brick platform pyramid...

    Rising out of a nondescript residential neighborhood is Lima's most-visited huaca, or pre-Columbian temple—a huge, mud-brick platform pyramid that covers several city blocks. The site, which dates from at least the 5th century, has ongoing excavations, and new discoveries are announced every so often. A tiny museum highlights a few of those finds. Knowledgeable, English-speaking guides will lead you through reconstructed sections to the pyramid's top platform and, from there, to an area that is being excavated. This site is most beautiful at night, when parts of it are illuminated. Thirty-minute partial tours are available during this time.

    Cl. General Borgoño cuadra 8 s/n, Lima, Lima, 18, Peru
    01-617–7148

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: S/15 during the day, S/17 at night, Closed 5–7 pm daily and at night Mon. and Tues.
  • 6. Museo de Arte de Lima (MALI)

    El Centro | Museum/Gallery

    Built in 1871 as the Palacio de la Exposición, this mammoth neoclassical structure was designed by the Italian architect Antonio Leonardi, with...

    Built in 1871 as the Palacio de la Exposición, this mammoth neoclassical structure was designed by the Italian architect Antonio Leonardi, with metal columns from the workshop of Gustav Eiffel (who later built the famous Parisian tower). The ground floor holds temporary exhibitions by both national and international artists, and the second floor houses a permanent exhibition that spans Peru's past, with everything from pre-Columbian artifacts to colonial-era art to republican-era paintings and drawings that provide a glimpse into Peruvian life in the 19th and early-20th centuries. One of the museum's treasures is the collection of quipus, or "talking knots": collars of strings tied with an array of knots, each with a distinct meaning (the closest thing the Incas had to writing). Leave time to sip an espresso in the café near the entrance.

    Paseo Colón 125, Lima, Lima, 01, Peru
    01-204–0000

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: S/12 (suggested donation), S/30 , Closed Mon.
  • 7. Museo Larco

    Pueblo Libre | Museum/Gallery

    Hot-pink bougainvillea spills over the white walls of this lovely colonial mansion, which is built atop a pre-Columbian temple. What those walls...

    Hot-pink bougainvillea spills over the white walls of this lovely colonial mansion, which is built atop a pre-Columbian temple. What those walls house is the city's most exquisite collection of ancient art, with works from all of Peru's major pre-Hispanic cultures spanning several thousand years. Highlights include a Moche stirrup vessel detailing grisly human sacrifices, a selection of Inca quipus, and thousands of ceramic "portrait heads" that give astonishingly realistic insights into their subjects' personalities. The sala erótica reveals that Peru's ancient artisans were an uninhibited lot, creating clay pottery adorned with explicit sexual images. Guides are a good idea, and the cost is just S/35 per group. The café overlooking the museum's garden is an excellent option for lunch or dinner.

    Av. Bolívar 1515, Lima, Lima, 21, Peru
    01-461–1312

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: S/30
    View Tours and Activities
  • 8. Museo Pedro de Osma

    Barranco | Museum/Gallery

    Even if it contained no art, this century-old Beaux-Arts mansion would be worth the trip for its design elements alone. The mansard-roofed structure...

    Even if it contained no art, this century-old Beaux-Arts mansion would be worth the trip for its design elements alone. The mansard-roofed structure—with inlaid wood floors, delicately painted ceilings, and stained-glass windows in every room—was the home of a wealthy collector of religious artifacts. The best of his collection is permanently on display. The finest of the paintings, the 18th-century Virgen de Pomata, combines Marian iconography with indigenous symbols in the Holy Mother's mountain-shaped robes festooned with garlands of corn. Other halls contain canvases of archangels, fine silverwork, and sculptures of Huamanga alabaster. Make sure to visit the manicured grounds.

    Av. Pedro de Osma 423, Lima, Lima, 04, Peru
    01-467–0141

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: S/30, Closed Mon.
  • 9. Plaza de Armas

    El Centro | Plaza/Square

    This massive square has been the center of the city since 1535. Over the years it has served many functions, from open-air theater for melodramas...

    This massive square has been the center of the city since 1535. Over the years it has served many functions, from open-air theater for melodramas to impromptu ring for bullfights. Huge fires once burned in the center for people sentenced to death by the Spanish Inquisition. Much has changed over the years, but one thing remaining is the bronze fountain unveiled in 1651. It was here that José de San Martín declared the country's independence from Spain in 1821.

    Jr. Junín and Jr. Carabaya, Lima, Lima, 01, Peru
  • 10. Bajada de los Baños

    Barranco | Promenade

    This cobbled walkway leading down to the "baths"—Barranco's beaches—is shaded by leafy trees and lined with historic architecture. Once the...

    This cobbled walkway leading down to the "baths"—Barranco's beaches—is shaded by leafy trees and lined with historic architecture. Once the route local fishermen took to reach their boats, it's now a popular promenade at night, when boleros and ballads can be heard from the adjoining restaurants. At the bottom of the hill, a covered wooden bridge takes you across a busy road, the Circuito de Playas, to a promenade containing beaches and restaurants. A short walk to the north is Playa Barranquito; Playa Agua Dulce is half a mile south.

    Lima, Lima, 04, Peru
  • 11. Barrio Chino

    El Centro | Neighborhood/Street

    A ceremonial arch at the corner of Jirones Ucayali and Andahuaylas marks the entrance to Lima's compact Chinatown, which consists of ten square...

    A ceremonial arch at the corner of Jirones Ucayali and Andahuaylas marks the entrance to Lima's compact Chinatown, which consists of ten square blocks of markets and chifas (Peruvian-Chinese restaurants). Of the latter, the best are Chifa San Joy Lao, which dates from 1927, and Salón Capón and Wa Lok on Jirón Paruro.

    Jr. Ucayali and Jr. Andahuaylas, Lima, Lima, 01, Peru
  • 12. Caral

    Ruins

    It’s the oldest city in the Western Hemisphere—rpredating the pyramids at Giza by some 400 years. Archaeologists say it’s revolutionized their...

    It’s the oldest city in the Western Hemisphere—rpredating the pyramids at Giza by some 400 years. Archaeologists say it’s revolutionized their ideas about the very nature of Homo sapiens. Yet this vast pyramid complex in Peru's Supe valley remains virtually unknown, to tourists and locals alike. Discovered by archaeologist Ruth Shady Solis in 1994, Caral is one of the most astonishing sites in the Americas, since it marks one of only six spots on earth where humans crossed what scholars call "the great divide"—i.e., where civilization itself began. When you go, you'll find excellent signage in Spanish and English, as well as informed docents to guide you through this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Walking amidst its crumbling pyramids and sunken plazas, it's impossible not to imagine a priest in his headdress and tunic, arms hieratically outstretched over the fire pit before him. The site is some 220 km (120 miles) north of Lima and not easy to find, so your best bet for visiting is to take an all-day tour.

    Panamericana Norte, Caral, Lima, Peru
    01-205–2500

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: S/11
    View Tours and Activities
  • 13. Casa de Correos y Telégrafos

    El Centro | Government Building

    Inaugurated in 1897, this regal structure looks more like a palace than a post office. You can buy a postcard or send a package, but most people...

    Inaugurated in 1897, this regal structure looks more like a palace than a post office. You can buy a postcard or send a package, but most people come to admire the exuberance of an era when no one thought twice about placing bronze angels atop a civic building. At one time, locals deposited letters in the mouth of the bronze lion by the front doors. About half of the building is given over to the Casa de la Gastronomía Peruana, dedicated to the country's culinary traditions, which charges admission. The museum entrance is on Jirón Conde Superunda, whereas the post office entrance is on Jirón Camaná.

    Jr. Camaná 157, Lima, Lima, 01, Peru
    01-427–9370

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: S/3
  • 14. Casa Riva-Agüero

    El Centro | Historic Home

    A pair of balconies with celosías —intricate wood screens through which ladies could watch passersby unobserved—grace the facade of this rambling...

    A pair of balconies with celosías—intricate wood screens through which ladies could watch passersby unobserved—grace the facade of this rambling mansion from 1760. Step inside and the downtown traffic fades away as you stroll across the stone courtyard and admire the ancient balconies and woodwork. The Catholic University, which administers the landmark, uses it for changing exhibitions, but the real reason to come is for a glimpse into a colonial-era home.

    Jr. Camaná 459, Lima, Lima, 01, Peru
    01-626–6600

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: S/2, Weekends
  • 15. Catedral

    El Centro | Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    In its nearly 500-year history, Lima's cathedral has been torn down, built back up, razed by earthquakes, shot at, hollowed out, and remodeled...

    In its nearly 500-year history, Lima's cathedral has been torn down, built back up, razed by earthquakes, shot at, hollowed out, and remodeled too many times to count. Miraculously, however, it's still here, and today shines more resplendently than ever, despite its hodgepodge of artistic styles and endless, meddling restorations. The church visitors see today is actually the basilica's fourth incarnation, reconstructed after the earthquakes of 1687 and 1746. The facade impresses with its stately Renaissance portal and neoclassical bell towers, but the interior is where the real action's at. Here, under arched ceiling vaults traced with fretwork and delicately carved choir stalls, you'll find crypts for Lima luminaries and recently excavated mass tombs for commoners. Crowning it all is the mausoleum of Francisco Pizarro himself, complete with the lead box that once held his skull. Recorded tours in English are available.

    Jr. Carabaya s/n, Lima, Lima, 01, Peru
    01-427–9647

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: S/10, Closed Sat. after 1 and Sun. before 1
  • 16. Cerro San Cristóbal

    El Centro | Viewpoint

    Rising over the northeastern edge of the city is this massive hill, recognizable from the cross at its peak—a replica of the one once placed...

    Rising over the northeastern edge of the city is this massive hill, recognizable from the cross at its peak—a replica of the one once placed there by Pizarro. On a clear day, more common during the southern summer, the views of the city below are lovely. The neighborhood at the base of the hill is sketchy, so hire a taxi or take a tour to the summit and back. Tour buses leave continuously from the Plaza de Armas until 5 or 6 pm.

    Lima, Lima, 01, Peru
  • 17. Convento de los Descalzos

    El Centro | Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    Founded in 1592 as a retreat for Franciscans who wanted to escape the bustle of worldly Lima, this functioning monastery offers an intriguing...

    Founded in 1592 as a retreat for Franciscans who wanted to escape the bustle of worldly Lima, this functioning monastery offers an intriguing glimpse into a colonial convent. Walled up in its self-sufficient cloisters, the good friars did more than just pray: they also ran an infirmary, a pharmacy with Amazonian plants, even a distillery for making pisco. The temple's ornamentation can be stunning—the chapel is inlaid with Nicaraguan cedar and mother-of-pearl—but what truly captivates here are the silences. The tolling bells still summon the faithful to prayer.

    Cl. Manco Capac 202A, Alameda de los Descalzos, Lima, Lima, Peru
    01-481–0441

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: S/10, Closed Mon.
  • 18. Country Club Lima Hotel

    Hotel

    Two royal palms stand guard, and a red carpet leads up the stairs to the entrance of this stately hotel built in 1926. Widely regarded as the...

    Two royal palms stand guard, and a red carpet leads up the stairs to the entrance of this stately hotel built in 1926. Widely regarded as the city's most elegant hotel, its lobby and halls are decorated with colonial art on loan from the Museo Pedro de Osma. Even if you stay elsewhere, it's worth dropping by for a drink on the terrace or in the pub. If you feel like a light meal in the early evening, consider the English-style high tea.

    Calle Los Eucaliptos 590, San Isidro, Lima, 27, Peru
    01-611–9000
  • 19. El Faro la Marina

    Miraflores | Nautical Site/Lighthouse

    Constructed in 1900, this little lighthouse at the north end of Parque Antonio Raimondi, a short walk north from the Parque del Amor, has guided...

    Constructed in 1900, this little lighthouse at the north end of Parque Antonio Raimondi, a short walk north from the Parque del Amor, has guided ships for more than a century. On sunny weekends, the large park that surrounds it is one of the most popular spots in Miraflores, with paragliders floating overhead and bicyclists and skateboarders rolling along the ocean-view malecón. Children of all ages play on the lawns and playground.

    Malecón Cisneros at Cl. Madrid, Lima, Lima, 18, Peru
  • 20. El Mirador

    Barranco | Viewpoint

    Head down the path to the left of La Ermita church and you'll come upon El Mirador, a scenic lookout with a splendid view of Lima's coastline...

    Head down the path to the left of La Ermita church and you'll come upon El Mirador, a scenic lookout with a splendid view of Lima's coastline all the way out to the port of El Callao. It's especially attractive at night, when you can see an illuminated cross and Christ statue on the promontory in Chorrillos to the south. There are also several good bars here, plus local criollo musicians who'll sing you "La flor de la canela" for a small tip.

    Lima, Lima, 04, Peru

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