With roots dating back 10,000 years, Lima was once the richest and most important city in South America. Today, it boasts over eight-million residents and serves as a primary cruise port for trans-Pacific ships arriving from the Far East, as well as for cruise ships following the South American coastline.
How to Get to Lima
Your cruise ship will arrive at the Port of Callao, about seven miles from the center Lima. Taxis into the city are available at the port and are reasonably priced – the ride to the center should take around 30-45 minutes and cost around $15.
One Day in Lima
Spend your morning exploring Peru’s colonial history in central Lima. The entire area, featuring long, wide streets in a grid-like design, is an UNESCO World Heritage site. Your starting point should be the Plaza de Armas, which is surrounded by the Lima Cathedral, the Archbishop's Palace, City Hall and Government Palace. Note the beautifully restored balconies on the Archbishop's Palace and several other buildings surrounding the plaza.
From the Plaza de Armas, head to the 17th-century San Francisco Monastery and Church. Take a tour of the catacombs, which contain the bones of some 70,000 people, all sorted by body part.
After lunch, visit the National Archaeological Museum for a deeper look at ancient Peru or gawk at the vast collection of gold at the Museo de Oro del Peru (The Gold Museum of Peru). The Rafael Larco Herrera Museum is also well worth a visit, boasting one of the world’s largest collections of pre-Columbian art.
If you still have the time and energy, conclude your visit in the residential neighborhood of Miraflores. There, you will find Lima’s oldest historical site, Huaca Pucllana. This fourth-century mud-brick pyramid pre-dates Machu Picchu by 900 years. Visit the handicraft markets on Avenida Petit Thouars and then make your way along Avenida Larco to the Pacific Ocean. Stroll through the park and then stop at a restaurant in the Larcomar shopping mall to enjoy dinner with a view before returning to your cruise ship.
Spanish and Quechua are the official languages in Peru, but English is widely spoken in shops, hotels and restaurants in Lima. The currency is the nuevo sol, but some hotels and shops may take US dollars. ATM's are readily available in the city center, although some may only accept local cards. Credit cards are typically accepted, with VISA cards being preferred.