Once a compact city surrounded by small towns, Lima is now a vast metropolitan area that is home to nearly 9 million people. Most of it has little to offer travelers, so you'll want to limit your exploration to the distritos, or neighborhoods, listed here. Most of the city's best hotels and restaurants are in three adjacent neighborhoods—Barranco, Miraflores, and San Isidro—to the south of the historic center, El Centro, but the bulk of its attractions are clustered in El Centro and nearby Pueblo Libre. You'll consequently need to take taxis between neighborhoods, though an express bus called the Metropolitano provides a quick connection between El Centro and the neighborhoods of Miraflores and Barranco. The airport is in a separate city called El Callao, about half an hour to the west of El Centro and an hour from most hotels. Trips between Barranco and Miraflores or San Isidro should take 10 to 20 minutes, whereas travel time between any of them and El Centro is 20 to 30 minutes. During rush hour (7:30 to 9 am and 5:30 to 7:30 pm) travel times double.

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  • 1. 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 and other bones, the Convento de San Francisco is...Read More

  • 2. Huaca Pucllana

    Miraflores | Archaeological Site/Ruins

    Rising out of a nondescript residential neighborhood is this massive, mud-brick temple complex. You'll be amazed at the scale—this pre-Inca...Read More

  • 3. 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...Read More

  • 4. Museo Larco

    Pueblo Libre | Museum/Gallery

    Fuchsia bougainvillea tumbles over the white walls surrounding the colonial bishops mansion built atop a pre-Columbian temple. It houses the...Read More

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  • 5. Museo Pedro de Osma

    Barranco | Museum/Gallery

    Even if there were no art inside this museum, it would still be worth the trip to see the century-old mansion that houses it. The mansard-roofed...Read More

  • 6. Parque del Amor

    Miraflores | Park/Playground

    You could imagine you're in Barcelona when you stroll through this lovely park designed by Peruvian artist Victor Delfin. Like Antoni Gaudí...Read More

  • 7. Plaza de Armas

    El Centro | Plaza/Square/Piazza

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

  • 8. Plaza San Martín

    El Centro | Plaza/Square/Piazza

    This spectacular plaza is unlike any other in the city. It is surrounded on three sides by neocolonial buildings dating from the 1920s, the...Read More

  • 9. Bajada de Baños

    Barranco | Neighborhood/Street

    The cobbled road that leads down to the "Baths"—the beaches—is shaded by massive trees and lined with historic architecture. Once the route...Read More

  • 10. Barrio Chino

    El Centro | Neighborhood/Street

    A ceremonial arch at the corner of Ucayali and Andahuaylas marks the entrance to Lima's tiny Chinatown. It consists of little more than a block...Read More

  • 11. Caral

    Archaeological Site/Ruins

    Few people realize it, but the oldest urban site in the western hemisphere is just 220 km (120 miles) north of Lima. Caral was first settled...Read More

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  • 12. Casa Riva-Agüero

    El Centro | House/Mansion/Villa

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

  • 13. Casa Solariega de Aliaga

    El Centro | House/Mansion/Villa

    Lima's oldest house, commonly known as Casa Aliaga, is a beautiful example of Spanish-colonial architecture a block from the Plaza de Armas...Read More

  • 14. Casa Torre Tagle

    El Centro | House/Mansion/Villa

    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...Read More

  • 15. Catedral

    El Centro | Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    The first church on the site was completed in 1625. The layout for this immense structure was dictated by Francisco Pizarro, and his basic vision...Read More

  • 16. Cerro San Cristóbal

    El Centro | Viewpoint/Scenic Overlook

    Rising over the northeastern edge of the city is this massive hill, Cerro San Cristóbal, recognizable from the cross at its peak—a replica of...Read More

  • 17. Convento de Santo Domingo

    El Centro | Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    The 16th-century Convent of Saint Dominic offers a glimpse of life in a cloister. This sprawling structure shows the different styles popular...Read More

  • 18. Correo Central

    El Centro | Government Building

    Inaugurated in 1924, this regal structure looks more like a palace than a post office. You can buy a postcard or send a package, but most people...Read More

  • 19. Country Club Lima 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...Read More

  • 20. El Faro de la Marina

    Miraflores | Nautical Site/Lighthouse

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

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