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Things to see in Lima

Attractions

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.

Address: Cercado, Plaza San Francisco, Jirón Ancash y Lampa, Lima,
Telephone: +51 1 426 7377.
Opening times:

Daily 0930-1745 (catacombs); daily 0700-1100 and 1600-2000 (monastery).

Website: http://www.museocatacumbas.com
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: Yes

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.

Address: Miraflores, , Lima,
Telephone:
Opening times:

Daily 24 hours.

Website:
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No

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.

Address: Cercado, Plaza de Armas, Lima,
Telephone:
Opening times:

Daily 2 hours.

Website:
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: Yes

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.

Address: , 1515 Avenida Simon Bolívar, Pueblo Libre,
Telephone: +51 1 461 1312.
Opening times:

Daily 0900-2200.

Website: http://www.museolarco.org
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

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.

Address: Cercardo, Parque de la Reserva, Avenida Petit Thours, Lima,
Telephone: +51 1 424 0827.
Opening times:

Wed-Sun 1600-2200.

Website: http://www.parquedelareserva.com.pe
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

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.

Address: Barranco, , Lima,
Telephone:
Opening times:

Daily 24 hours.

Website:
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No

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). 

Address: Cercado, Jirón Junín 548, Lima,
Telephone: +51 1 311 7777.
Opening times:

Daily 0900-1700.

Website: http://www.congreso.gob.pe/museo/index.html
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

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. 

Address: Monterrico, Alonso de Molina 1100, Lima,
Telephone: +51 1 345 1292.
Opening times:

Daily 1030-1800

Website: http://www.museoroperu.com.pe
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

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.

Address: Barranco, Avenida Pedro de Osma 409, Lima,
Telephone: +51 1 251 7755.
Opening times:

Tue-Sun 1100-2000.

Website: http://www.mate.pe
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

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.

Address: Rímac, Alameda de los Descalzos, Lima,
Telephone: +51 1 481 0441.
Opening times:

Daily 0930-1300 and 1400-1730

Website:
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Tourist Offices

Iperú Lima

Address: , Plaza Gourmet Nivel 1, Lima,
Telephone: +51 1 234 0340.
Opening times:

Mon-Sun 1100-1400 and 1500-2000.

Website: http://www.peru.travel

The tourist board provides trip-planning advice, tourist maps and brochures of Lima. It also has reliable information on the city’s main tourist sites. There are other offices at Jorge Chávez International Airport and at 610 Avenue Jorge Basadre.

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Featured Hotels

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JW Marriott Hotel Lima

The Lima offering from this reliable international hotel chain is a comfortable concoction of well-dressed rooms with sea views. Eat in at the second floor restaurant La Vista, offering Peruvian and international flavours, or try the Sushi and Cerviche Lounge for fusion fish dishes. The hotel also has fitness facilities, a spa and pool.

Miraflores Park Hotel

This highly regarded hotel benefits from a stylish location overlooking the seafront and public gardens in Miraflores. Views don't come much better than from the rooftop pool and breakfast is also served sky high in the poolside Observatory Restaurant. An additional restaurant, swanky bar, an on-site gym and spa add further appeal to the luxurious experience. 

Hotel B

One of the newest additions to the luxury hotel scene, art-boutique Hotel B in Barranco has quickly earned a sparking reputation for its elegant suites and seamless service. Set in a stunning white mansion enlivened by well-curated artwork, rooms are individually decorated and come with plush linens. The intimate dining room is served by celebrated Peruvian chef Oscar Velarde.

Hotel Antigua Miraflores

Set in a pink century-old mansion, Antigua is characterful and reasonably priced, especially considering its upmarket location in Miraflores. Handcrafted furnishings, antiques and free Wi-Fi complement the inviting rooms, some with kitchenettes and baths. Opt for a front-facing room which have a sense of history and a bit more comfort than the more modern ones at the back.

Second Home Peru

For creative types, Second Home Peru won't fail to impress. The timber-framed, century-old house and expansive gardens have fairy tale allure, decked out in life-size sculptures and colourful canvases by leading Peruvian artist and proprietor Victor Delfin. Each bedroom is unique and rich in quirkiness – opt for one of the three beautiful ocean-side stays to fall asleep to the crashing of waves.

Casa Andina Private Collection

Part of the Preferred Hotels collection, Casa Andina is everything you'd hope for in a night's stay. Set in a high-rise the heart of Miraflores, it offers its own restaurant, bar, gym and sauna. Contemporary rooms are outfitted with cutting-edge mod-cons and boast impressive views across the cityscape. Breakfast is plentiful and the obliging staff go out of their way to ensure visitors enjoy their stay.