Before you set out exploring the mysterious mountain city of Machu Picchu, the floating villages of Lake Titicaca and the tropical treasures of the Amazon jungle, Firstly, discover the striking contrasts of Peru’s coastal capital Lima.
Ancient and modern… rich and poor… fascinating and entertaining… practical and elegant: Lima is a city of contrasts.

However, Almost a third of all Peruvians call this sprawling metropolis home and they live in everything from modern high-rise condos to humble hill-top shacks.

There, the painted façades burst with color in summer… but this image is paled by the fog that rises from the Pacific Ocean in winter. So, in this ever-changing city you can find a new surprise at every turn.

All you have to do is prepare your senses; Along the boulevards of Central this city you’ll be immersed in the sounds of chaotic traffic, while quiet benches await in coastal parks.

Everywhere you go in Lima you can feel the hot desert sun warm your skin, and at the same time taste the salty sea air.

Bajada de los Baños

HLaiza, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

To experience the bohemian side of this city, follow the Bajada de los Baños, a walkway that runs from the coast through the quaint Barranco district.

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Bridge of Sighs, Lima

Bridge of Sighs, Lima

Stroll over the Bridge of Sighs, a legendary place of forbidden romance between a wealthy girl and a handsome street sweeper.

El Malecon

El Malecon Lima

Rich or poor, all Peruvians find common ground in the city’s many public parks.
El Malecón, a continuous stretch of paths and flower beds, allows you to explore the coastal cliffs of the Miraflores district on foot.

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Huaca Pucllana

Image by rdlncl from Pixabay

It’s in modern neighborhoods like this that you almost forget that Lima was built on the ruined pyramids and temples of ancient civilizations.
Yet, in its heart you can retrace the steps of the Lima people in Huaca Pucllana, a place of ceremony and sacrifice from around 1,500 years ago.

Plaza de Armas, Lima

Plaza de Armas

Indigenous Peruvians still observe the rituals and beliefs of their forefathers, despite being devout Catholics today. This religion was introduced to them by Spanish conquistadores, along with the Castilian language and Baroque architecture.
To see fine examples of their colonial legacy, visit the Plaza de Armas, which is also known as the Plaza Mayor. It was here that the Spanish explorer Francisco Pizarro founded Lima in the 16th century.

Lima Cathedral

Lima, Peru - Cathedral of Lima City

His quest to make the “City of the Kings”, the capital of the New World started with the construction of the Lima Cathedral.
Inside, look for Pizarro’s tomb, early religious artworks and the gold-plated altar.
Pizarro lived and worked in the Government Palace across the street, which is still the official seat of government today.

Historic Center, Lima

Historic Center Lima

Take a horse-and-carriage tour from the Plaza, a romantic way of exploring Lima’s UNESCO-protected
Historic Center with its typical colonial balconies. Peru gained independence in 1821, but the Spanish influence has never been erased.
Take a peek inside inner-city museums and libraries to find stately rooms, soaring glass ceilings and colorful tiled courtyards.

Museo Larco

Velvet, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Another highlight is the 18th-century Museo Larco, which stands on the ruins of a 7th-century pyramid.
The colonial mansion in the Pueblo Libre district houses an impressive collection of ceramics, artworks and golden jewelry from pre-Columbian times.
The exhibits show the history of ancient Peru through arts and crafts.

Parque de las Leyendas


Nearby Parque de las Leyendas, which is Lima’s zoo, introduces the wild animals of Peru’s remote Amazon jungle to all who can’t travel there themselves.

Parque de Exposicion, Lima

Yhhue91, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Another popular family attraction is Parque de Exposición in the city center, where kids and adults alike love splashing around in the water fountains.
As the day turns into night, the park’s magical light show is a reminder that anything is possible in Lima.
Don’t forget, Lima is the perfect stepping stone to the many natural, cultural and historic treasures that Peru is so famous for.
Take your pick from coastal deserts… lush rainforests…. fertile altiplanos…. and snow-capped mountains to see the many faces of Peru.