Fodor's Expert Review Convento de la Recoleta
One of Peru's most extensive and valuable libraries is in this 1648 Franciscan monastery. With several cloisters and museums, it's a wonderful place to research regional history and culture. Start in the massive, wood-paneled, wood-floored library, where monks in brown robes quietly browse 20,000 ancient books and maps, the most valuable of which were printed before 1500 and are kept in glass cases. Pre-Columbian artifacts and objects collected by missionaries to the Amazon are on display, as is a selection of elegant colonial and religious artwork. Guides are available (remember to tip). To reach the monastery, cross the Río Chili by Puente Grau. It's a 10- to 15-minute walk from the Plaza de Armas, but it's best to take a taxi.