Best Things To Do in Lima
Lima's long, rich history and vibrant culture provides a breadth of attractions for visitors. The city is filled with squares like Plaza de Armas that feature colonial architecture as well as pedestrian hangouts like Malecón de Miraflores. History buffs can wander unique attractions like the Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco and distinct museums, such as Museo Larco and Museo Nacional de Arqueología, Antropología e Historia del Peru. Experiencing Lima's culinary scene is an attraction in itself, so make sure you carve out time to sit down, relax and enjoy some Peruvian cuisine.
Updated May 19, 2017
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Known as the birthplace of Lima, the Plaza de Armas (also known as Plaza Mayor) functioned as the heart of the Spanish colony dating back to 1535. Travelers say it's a must-see for every first-time visitor to Lima.
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Named after the collector and father of Peruvian archaeology, Rafael Larco Hoyle, the Museo Larco boasts the world's largest private collection of pre-Columbian art. Housed in an 18th-century mansion, the museum fascinates visitors, who say the historic treasures housed within provide insight into the many indigenous cultures that once thrived in Peru. The collection includes more than 50,000 ceramic pots, as well as an extensive collection of gold and jewelry, including ceremonial headdresses.
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This active archaeological site sits in the middle of the Miraflores neighborhood. The clay and adobe structure, which once functioned as a ceremonial site during the pre-Columbian era, dates back to 400 B.C. Since the beginning of the excavation in 1981, multiple pyramids, ceramics, textiles and tools have been discovered. Most recently in 2010, four intact mummies were found undisturbed.
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The Spanish word malecón directly translates to "pier," but that word doesn't quite describe (or do justice to) the malecón in the Miraflores district of Lima. These cliffside pedestrian boardwalks offer breathtaking ocean views, and as such are usually filled with locals and tourists.
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Lima's art museum – also known as MALI – is home to more than 1,200 pieces of Peruvian art spanning 3,000 years, from the pre-Columbian times to the contemporary. You'll find pieces from multiple indigenous cultures, including textiles and ceremonial items as well as modern, abstract pieces from Peruvian artists.
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The Museo Nacional de Arqueología, Antropología e Historia del Perú (the National Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology and History of Peru, or MNAAHP) is the largest and most extensive in Peru, boasting about 300,000 artifacts.
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Inaugurated in 1672, this baroque-style church named in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi is best known for the network of catacombs located underneath the chapel. The catacombs contain an estimated 70,000 remains dating back to the 17th century. The church and convent are also home to a library with approximately 25,000 antique texts dating back to the 15th century.
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For a break from the many history museums in the city, make a visit to the MATE Museo Mario Testino. This small museum in the Barranco district is named after the famous Peruvian fashion photographer, Mario Testino. Displays include photographs of fashion legends, such as Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell, as well as collections of contemporary images from cultures around the world. Because of Testino's widespread portfolio, the permanent collection regularly rotates. A favorite among visitors is the room dedicated to Testino's photographs of the late Princess Diana. You'll also find special exhibits from other modern artists.
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