Peru’s capital city was founded by Pizarro in 1535, and the modern-day city of Lima is a sprawling metropolis encompassing ruins from pre-Inca times, ultramodern shopping malls and coastal beaches. Here are a few ideas on where and how to spend your time in Lima.
Day 1: Colonial city
Get to grips with Lima’s history and sheer size by taking a stroll through the historic city center. Lima’s lively hub focuses on the pedestrianized street Jiron de la Union, connecting the city’s two main squares, Plaza de Armas and Plaza San Martin.
Follow your nose or join a Small Group Discovery Walking Tour of Lima to hear tips and tales from a local. Make sure to include the catacombs of the Monastery of San Francisco on your itinerary, as well as the city’s cathedral.
Day 2: Peruvian flavors
One of the best ways to open the door to Lima’s secrets is through the city’s food and drink. Make your way to the huge central market to sample the local churros, juices and street snacks.
Or combine a Lima market tour with something different - learn to make Peru’s legendary cocktail, the pisco sour. It’s a heady mix of lemon or lime juice, brandy and sugar, and you’ll shop for the ingredients at the market.
Day 3: Cusco culture
Capital of the Inca Empire, Cusco is only an hour’s flight from Lima. The narrow lanes and cobbled backstreets are still lined by massive walls built by the Inca, and a rich collection of colonial churches pinpoint the city’s leafy squares.
Cusco’s museums feature fabulous collections of Inca jewelry, pottery and textiles, and one of the best examples of the Inca’s famously well-fitting stonework forms the base of the colonial church of Santo Domingo. It’s a lot to take in, so see the highlights on a combined Cusco Markets and Ruins Small Group Tour for a guided stroll through Inca history.