Things to see in Lima

Tourist offices

Iperú Lima

Plaza Gourmet Nivel 1, Lima, Peru
Tel: +51 1 234 0340.
Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 1100-1400 and 1500-2000.
www.peru.travel

Miraflores

The seaside suburb of Miraflores is Lima’s main tourist hub due to its high concentration of tree-lined parks, pavement cafés and fancy restaurants. Take in the sea breeze along Malecón, a clifftop promenade, before visiting local arts-and-crafts boutiques and the contemporary Larcomar mall. It’s not all modernity though –the Huaca Pucllana adobe pyramid dating back to around 500 AD.

Opening Times: Daily 24 hours.
Admission Fees: No
Disabled Access: No
Unesco: No
Address: Miraflores, Lima, Peru
Monasterio de San Francisco

This grand, yellow Franciscan monastery is one of Lima’s absolute treasures. Its library is a feat in itself, with thousands of rare and ancient texts, while the refectory has biblical figures and a stunning carved cedar cupola. The main draw is its spooky subterranean catacombs, said to harbour the remains of 25,000 people, with many bones and sculls exposed for viewing.

Opening Times: Daily 0930-1745 (catacombs); daily 0700-1100 and 1600-2000 (monastery).
Admission Fees: Yes
Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: Yes
Address: Plaza San Francisco, Jirón Ancash y Lampa, Cercado, Lima, Peru
Telephone: +51 1 426 7377.
Museo Larco

Peru’s fascinating past is put on show at this private museum, home to one of the largest collections of pre-Colombian art in South America. Its exhibits include Incan artefacts as well as those of the Chimú, Nazca and Moche cultures. It also has an infamous collection of erotic ceramics. The bougainvillea-strewn mansion also boasts an excellent café-restaurant.

Opening Times: Daily 0900-2200.
Admission Fees: Yes
Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: No
Address: 1515 Avenida Simon Bolívar, Pueblo Libre, Peru
Telephone: +51 1 461 1312.
Plaza de Armas or Plaza Mayor (Main Square)

With its old street lamps and bronze fountain, Lima's impressive central square is a picture of colonial elegance. Dominating the north side is the Palacio de Gobierno, home to Peru’s president, where crowds gather at midday to witness the changing of the guard. Other main institutions include the cathedral, the elaborately balconied Archbishop’s Palace and the mustard-yellow City Hall.

Opening Times: Daily 2 hours.
Admission Fees: No
Disabled Access: No
Unesco: Yes
Address: Plaza de Armas, Cercado, Lima, Peru
Barranco

Bohemian Barranco attracts a party-loving crowd with its lively milieu of restaurants and nightlife. The streets are lined with impressive colonial houses once built for the city's richest families. All that remains of Barranco's original tram system is a beautifully restored, solitary tram car. Weekend visitors can take a short ride, leaving from the small Museo de Electricidad.

Opening Times: Daily 24 hours.
Admission Fees: No
Disabled Access: No
Unesco: No
Address: Barranco, Lima, Peru
Circuito Mágico del Agua (Magic Water Circuit)

Take a trip downtown at sunset to the Parque de la Reserva to witness a mesmerising Bellagio-style water and light spectacle. The pathways meander across the park past powerful jets spraying water from thirteen fountains that change colour and synchronise to music – it’s a surprisingly impressive sight.

Opening Times: Wed-Sun 1600-2200.
Admission Fees: Yes
Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: No
Address: Parque de la Reserva, Avenida Petit Thours, Cercardo, Lima, Peru
Telephone: +51 1 424 0827.
MATE

Set in an elegant 19th-century townhouse, the Asociación Mario Testino (MATE) is dedicated to the photography of the prominent Lima-born fashion photographer. Founded by Testino himself in 2012, the intimate gallery showcases his iconic portraits of the likes of Kate Moss, Madonna and Princess Diana and results in one of the trendiest cultural attractions around.

Opening Times: Tue-Sun 1100-2000.
Admission Fees: Yes
Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: No
Address: Avenida Pedro de Osma 409, Barranco, Lima, Peru
Telephone: +51 1 251 7755.
Website: www.mate.pe
Museo de la Inquisición (Spanish Inquisition Museum)

The infamous Court of the Inquisition was first held on the site of this small museum in the late 16th century. The basement has chilling examples of the torture instruments used by the Inquisitors. In contrast, behind the museum bubbles Lima's Chinatown. Enter through a decorative Chinese-style gateway to sample some of Lima's best chifas (Chinese restaurants). 

Opening Times: Daily 0900-1700.
Admission Fees: No
Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: No
Address: Jirón Junín 548, Cercado, Lima, Peru
Telephone: +51 1 311 7777.
Museo Oro del Perú (Gold Museum of Peru)

Here, the loot that made Peru famous and Spain wealthy is on display. There are hundreds of dazzling gold and silver artefacts from pre-Conquest to colonial times, including a yellow-feathered Inca poncho and a skull sporting teeth made of pink quartz. Notoriously, in the early 2000s, many of the museum’s artefacts were exposed as fakes. The museum now assures that all displays are authentic unless stated as reproductions. 

Opening Times: Daily 1030-1800
Admission Fees: Yes
Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: No
Address: Alonso de Molina 1100, Monterrico, Lima, Peru
Telephone: +51 1 345 1292.
El Convento de los Descalzos (The Convent of the Barefooted)

Several hundred colonial and religious paintings are the main attraction of this atmospheric monastery, tucked away in the offbeat Rímac district. Founded in 1592 by descalzos, meaning ‘the barefooted’ and referring to Franciscan friars, its highlights include the kitchen, infirmary, the monks’ cells and the Chapel of the Virgin Carmen. Guided tours available in Spanish.

Opening Times: Daily 0930-1300 and 1400-1730
Admission Fees: Yes
Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: No
Address: Alameda de los Descalzos, Rímac, Lima, Peru
Telephone: +51 1 481 0441.
Newsletter