If you’re visiting Lima, planning ahead of time is key to make sure you don’t miss out on all the incredible things the city has to offer. From grand plazas to bustling markets, Lima is a bustling metropolis with a variety of attractions to explore. Whether you’re a history buff or an art enthusiast, the city’s rich culture and heritage will never cease to amaze you.
Lima is an ideal way to begin your journey in Peru, offering a perfect blend of culture, history, and architecture. From its archeological sites to its urban areas and Colonial-style buildings, the city holds something for everyone. To maximize your visit, here are some of the “off the beaten path” spots to explore.
Huaca Mateo Salado
Mateo Salado, an archaeological site located in the districts of Pueblo Libre and Breña, is a sight to behold. With a total area of 16.4 hectares, this area is divided into three sectors, each surrounded by modern buildings creating an impressive panorama where the past and present merge. It is an incredible visual experience that you won’t want to miss out on.
Whether you’re a history buff or simply looking for a unique experience, Mateo Salado is the perfect place to explore and learn. From the artifacts discovered in the area to the historical buildings and monuments, there is something for everyone. So, don’t miss out on the chance to explore this incredible archaeological site and take in the beauty of the past and present colliding.
Visiting Barranco is a must while in Lima – the neighborhood is overflowing with charm and character, from its mural-splashed buildings to its delicious local treats.
Stepping into Barranco is akin to arriving at a whimsical wonderland. Filled with vibrant street art, cozy cafes and bars, and a bevy of beautiful old mansions, the neighborhood is a respite from the moody skies above Lima. Dubbed the SoHo of Lima, Barranco is the city’s hippest district, boasting a bohemian atmosphere and plenty of delightful experiences.
From the colorful murals to the many hidden eateries, Barranco is a delightful place to explore. Wander down the cobblestone streets and you’ll find old summer houses, museums, and plenty of places to enjoy a meal. Whether you’re looking for a romantic dinner or an afternoon snack, Barranco has something for .
Brain Museum – Museo del Cerebro
Hidden away off a dilapidated avenue, behind the Institute of Neurological Science, lies the biggest exhibition of human brains in Latin America. Located in a place where one would least expect it to be, the collection is home to a vast array of different brains, all belonging to different species of humans. Each brain has been carefully preserved and cataloged, providing a unique insight into the inner workings of the mind.
Nestled in the heart of Lima, Peru, the Brain Museum is a unique collection that provides a window into the complexities of the human brain. Run by Neuropathologist Diana Rivas, this museum showcases over 3,000 examples of brains and fetuses damaged by a variety of neurological diseases, psychiatric disorders, and substance abuse. From brain tumors to fetal alcohol syndrome, visitors can get a glimpse into the physical effects of different conditions and how they affect the brain. The museum is not for those with a weak stomach, as it contains specimens that can be quite graphic.
The ruins of a site that was once the most significant spiritual center in the coastal region of Peru for over a thousand years still stand today.
Pachacamac was a god of considerable influence and power, so it’s no wonder that a settlement named after him, with a shrine devoted to him, would become a major force as well. This ancient settlement was a powerful hub in pre-Columbian Peru, a bustling center of commerce, politics, and religion. It was home to important temples and palaces and boasted a huge population, with estimates ranging anywhere from 10,000 to 40,000 or more. It was a thriving, vibrant city with a long and storied history, and for centuries it was the center of power in the region.
At Pachacamac, depending on the season, the temperature can become quite sweltering. The desert coastal areas of Peru are particularly vulnerable to the sun’s heat, making it essential to take precautions against sunburn.
As the site is quite exposed, it is recommended to apply heavy sunscreen with an SPF of at least 50. To further prevent sunburn, it is wise to bring along a hat and sunglasses to shield your eyes and head from the intense rays of the sun. Additionally, it is important to stay hydrated and wear light, loose-fitting clothing to keep cool.
Visiting the traditional district of Chorrillos is a great way to explore an oft-overlooked area of Lima. Originally a small fishing village, it has grown in both Colonial and Republican times to become a popular beach resort for Lima’s elite. Unfortunately, the district saw extensive destruction during the Pacific War, but despite this Chorrillos has managed to remain a great place to visit. From its historical buildings to its beautiful beaches, there is much to explore here.
Whether you are looking for a peaceful afternoon stroll or a taste of fresh seafood, Chorrillos is sure to have something to offer. With its unique atmosphere and traditional fisherman’s pier, it is an excellent destination for anyone looking to get away from the touristy side of Lima. So why not take a trip to Chorrillos and discover for yourself why this traditional district is worth a visit?
Cripta de los Héroes
Cementerio Presbítero Matías Maestro, which is considered to be one of the oldest and most historic cemeteries in Peru, is believed to be haunted by many. Inaugurated back in 1808, the cemetery is now home to 766 mausoleums, as well as 92 historical monuments. The most famous of these is the Cripta de los Héroes (Crypt of the Heroes), which serves as the final resting place for a number of Peru’s celebrated military heroes.
The Crypt of the Heroes was inaugurated on September 8, 1908, as a memorial to the brave Peruvian soldiers who lost their lives in the 19th-century War of the Pacific. This conflict saw the allied nations of Peru and Bolivia suffer a loss of 18,000 men, with another 8,000 injured. While some of these individuals became celebrated heroes, many of the casualties of the war remained unknown. The Crypt of the Heroes seeks to pay tribute to all of these fallen warriors by honoring their memory in Lima.
The public can access the cemetery from Monday to Saturday, between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. For those who would like to enhance their experience, guided tours of the crypt can be arranged in advance with the Beneficencia de Lima or a local tour agency. The night tours, in particular, are quite popular and usually start at 7 p.m.
Fortaleza del Real Felipe
The Fortaleza del Real Felipe, in the seedy port district of El Callao, Lima, is a place known for its resident spooks. In the wee hours, skeletal women with wind-whipped hair can be seen atop the ramparts, while children giggle demonically as they run down the passageways.
The fortification of Real Felipe still stands as a reminder of the harshness of history. Its austere walls, resembling warts, continue to be a testament to the violence of bygone days. There is an atmosphere of sorrow that lingers around the fort, its rough walls still seeming to bear witness to the struggles of the past.
The savage cruelty of the tyrannical rulers of the Torreones del Rey y de la Reina (Towers of the King and Queen) was a sight to behold. Their fortress within a fortress became a chamber of horrors, where prisoners of the patriots were crammed into the dungeons, their feet never touching the ground, and forced to remain standing even while they were asleep.
To make matters worse, any overflow of prisoners were shackled in the narrow and airless corridors, where they were frequently drenched in steaming hot water. Those unfortunate enough to be held captive in this environment had a life expectancy of a mere 60 days.
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