Lima, Peru attractions: 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. It is best known for a mural of the Last Supper showing the apostles dining on guinea pig, with a devil standing next to Judas. The San Francisco church and monastery were consecrated in 1673 and it is one of the city’s best preserved colonial churches, having withstood the earthquakes of 1687 and 1746, although it did suffer extensive damage in a quake in 1970.
You can find this bridge, and its surrounding park, in the Barranco district. The bridge was built in 1876 and is small and wooden, but looks rather like something found on a postcard, which is why you may run into people posing for wedding photos as you walk around. The hustle and bustle of Lima’s Chinatown is not to be missed. Start on the main walkway, which is lined with Chinese-themed benches and lampposts and is not far from the Metropolitano, Peru’s bus rapid-transit system. From there, find a chifa restaurant (Chinese–Peruvian fusion food) and enjoy a meal.
While the grandest and most significant of Peru’s many pre-Colombia monuments are found beyond the limits of the capital, Lima has a host of museums to whet your appetite for learning about the country’s ancient cultures. The oldest of all Peruvian museums is the mammoth-sized Museo Nacional de Arqueologia, Antropologia, e Historia del Peru, covering every Peruvian culture you’ve ever heard of (and many you haven’t). You’ll find artifacts here that include the crossed hands stone from Kotosh and the seven-foot-high carved monolith, the Raimondi Stele from Chavin de Huantar. Only 35 kilometers southeast of the city, the Pachacamac site dates back to 200 AD, making it vastly older than Huaca Pucllana and practically ancient compared with Machu Picchu. Most of the buildings around today were built during Inca occupation in the 15th-century, and you’ll need a bit of imagination to return the adobe-brick temples to their former glory, many of which look like they’ve melted a bit in the sun. That said, if you want to get a glimpse of Peru before the Spanish arrived really, it’s an excellent place to start.
Campos de Vida Natural Foods – Corner of Ugarte and L. Prado. A little cafe and grocery store serving up homemade yogurt and integral breads, as well as Peruvian health foods like quinoa. Candy (corner of Brasil and Cusco) – This is the closest grocery store, although a quick taxi ride will get you to the posh Vivanda on Av. Javier Prado, or the small Plaza Vea on Av. Brasil. Candy is pretty bare-bones, but it’ll get you what you need. The produce section is a bit wilty, but why are you shopping for produce in a grocery store when you should be at the Magdalena Market? Find a few more pictures of this incredible ocean view penthouse on @AmazingPeruPenthouse on Facebook. Need a place to stay in Lima, Peru? Find even more info at Amazing ocean view penthouse in Magdalena del Mar, Lima.
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.