Lima, the capital of Peru, has a fascinating range of architectural styles ranging from modern tower blocks and sprawling slums to the delightful colonial buildings left behind by the Spanish. In this post, we will give you a list of the best tourist attractions in Lima.
Tourist Attractions in Lima
1. Plaza de Armas
One of the best tourist attractions in Lima is the Plaza de Armas. It is also known as the Plaza Mayor. It sits at the heart of Lima’s historic center, one of the few remaining parts of the city that still gives a sense of the city’s colonial past. Acknowledged for its historical and cultural significance by being awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 1988, this is the spot where Francisco Pizarro founded the city in 1535. A colonial fountain serves as the square’s centerpiece, while some of Lima’s most important buildings surround the historic plaza.
Miraflores is one of Lima’s more exclusive neighborhoods and definitely one of its most scenic since it sits on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It is THE beach resort and entertainment center in Lima. The beach is very popular with surfers and paragliders. Miraflores oozes with upscale shopping opportunities, but travelers interested in Peruvian arts and crafts will head to Avenue Petit Thouars. Miraflores also is a magnet for people who like to party in its bars, clubs, and casinos. As a residential area, it blends the charm of colonial housing with today’s high rises.
3. Convento de San Francisco
San Francisco church and its monastery are most famous for their catacombs containing the bones of about 10,000 people interred here when this was Lima’s first cemetery. Below the church is a maze of narrow hallways, each lined on both sides with bones.
In one area, a large round hole is filled with bones and skulls arranged in a geometrical pattern, like a piece of art. If Mass is in progress upstairs, the sound reverberates eerily through the catacombs.
Visiting these is not for those who are claustrophobic, as ceilings are low and doorways between chambers are even lower, requiring people to duck when entering. But the catacombs are at the end of a tour of the church, so you can skip them.
There is much more to see here. The library, on the upper level, has thousands of antique books, and the monastery has an impressive collection of religious art.
4. Parque de la Reserva
The Parque de la Reserva is a lovely park by day but transforms itself into spectacular water, sound, and light show at night. The park’s 13 fountains are turned off during the day, but spring to life at night at this family-oriented tourist attraction in Lima.
Visitors who stroll the Magic Water Tour are awed by the fantastic displays that transform ordinary fountains into wondrous eruptions when combined with laser lights and music, including classics and Peruvian melodies. The Guinness Book of Records says the Magic Water Tour is the largest fountain complex in the world.
5. Parque del Amor (Park of Love)
You won’t find a more romantic spot to watch the sunset than the Parque del Amor (Park of Love) on the Malecón in Miraflores. Mosaic designs created from tiny tiles line the undulating walls, often compared to those designed by Antoni Gaudí for Parc Güell in Barcelona, Spain.
Lines from Peruvian poets – Abelardo Sánchez León and Augusto Tamayo Vargas among them – are worked into the mosaics. Paths meander along the clifftops, lined by flowers and leading to the park’s centerpiece, El Beso (The Kiss), a large sculpture of an embracing couple created by Peruvian sculptor Victor Delfín.
6. Museo Larco
The Museo Larco is a must-see for travelers interested in pre-Columbian art. The private museum, founded by Rafael Larco Herrera, is located in an 18th-century building that was built over a seventh-century pyramid. The museum’s collections, representing 5,000 years of Peruvian history, are arranged chronologically. The museum’s total collection numbers thousands of pieces. It is especially famous for its collection of pre-Columbian erotic pottery, which includes humans performing sex acts not only with each other but with gods and the dead. Equally impressive is the Gold and Silver Gallery, which includes objects such as funeral masks and jewelry worn by priests and rulers.