For years, Peru has been largely known as a backpacker’s dream heavily focused on Machu Picchu. However, with more of its amazing sites like Rainbow Mountain and Lake Titicaca on the rise, Peru is becoming more of a hotspot for travelers of all kinds. And with Lima acting as the base for most journeys as home to the country’s busiest international airport, people are becoming more drawn to exploring the capital city. There’s plenty to explore in Lima, but here are few key stops to make in even the briefest of visits.
1. Plaza Mayor
Like many Spanish cities, Lima has its own Plaza Mayor, serving as the main attraction of the city’s Historic Centre. The group of eye-catching yellow and white buildings is an architectural monument to the age of the conquistadors. One of the most infamous conquistadors in history, Francisco Pizarro, had a large role in the construction of this plaza. While Pizarro is not a figure remembered very fondly, that doesn’t manage to put a dent into peoples’ fondness for this city square. The park in the center of these buildings isn’t very large, but is constantly bustling with activity. This may not be a place to spend hours of your time in Lima, but it remains a must-see regardless.
© Peter Collins
2. Huaca Pucllana
Many people travel to Peru for the stunning ruins of Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley, but you actually don’t even have to travel out of the capital to find ancient ruins. Huaca Pucllana had a few different ceremonial and administrative purposes during its pre-Incan life span, and today its pyramid of adobe and clay remains. This site is embedded in the bustling city, not only making it an easy place to visit, but also an intriguing juxtaposition to see. There is an entrance fee but it isn’t terribly expensive and you could opt to take a tour for a little more money.
© Jon Roberts
3. Kennedy Park
Kennedy Park is one of those special places that’s not only a nice spot for travelers, but also a solid part of the local community. It’s a well-kept, refreshing green space surrounded by lovely architecture. Locals come and go throughout the day and have little events there even on times as random as Tuesday afternoon. However, the park seems to be most known for being a home to numerous stray cats. A volunteer group tries to get these cats adopted and makes sure they are fed vaccinated, and many locals and travelers who love to see and pet the cats pitch in to the donation box to help their work.
© Jennifer Wankmuller
4. El Malecón
One of the gems of Lima is its coastline and El Malecón is a perfect walking trail to follow to see the highlights. This path will take you to some of the city’s most beloved parks, such as Parque del Amor and El Faro. Be sure to find a nice spot to park yourself along El Malecón for sunset to see this coastal city bathed in golden light.
© Christian Córdova
Whether shopping is your thing or not, it’s worth stopping by Lima’s Larcomar. If nothing else, this mall itself is a sight to see. Larcomar sits in the cliffs along the coast and while it’s home to many dominating international brands, there’s also a nice amount of stores unique to the area to help balance it out. There’s also a gallery that changes exhibits, meaning you can possibly find something different here with each visit.
© Miguel Vera León
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Cover photo © Jennifer Wankmuller