When looking for souvenirs and gifts for the family, a very good choice is this Mercado Indio in Miraflores, a few blocks away from Kennedy park and next to close to many hotels and lodges. Here you will find almost anything made in Peru, from small souvenirs intended for the table to the finest alpaca garments, as well as some home d�cor items and some silver jewellery, if you're looking for truly traditional crafts. There are some 100 stands, so odds are that with some little bargaining you will exactly what you wanted and at a fair price �and shop till you drop.
Local Expert tip: Despite the fact that most of the items sold in these stands are mass-produced, you can still find some unique pieces, so keep your eyes open. And there's even a small bar where you can try some herbal teas made from native curative Peruvian plants.
This impressive Baroque church was built by the Society of Jesus during the 16th century, and nowadays it is still both a spiritual centre and as well as a religious art museum. Its architecture of three naves and dome (with Moorish-influenced carvings) houses stunning gold-leaf covered altars. It is usually open in the afternoons, since many Catholics come here looking for the Sacraments. So you may have a chance to sneak in and fully appreciate not only its art pieces and architecture, but the real daily life of this church. San Pedro is also one of the oldest and most traditional churches in Lima, and one of the most solicited venues for celebrating weddings.
Local Expert tip: San Pedro is located pretty close to Torre Tagle Palace, so it can easily be included in almost any sightseeing downtown city tour. Don't miss the San Ignacio de Loyola altar and the many paintings hanging on the tall walls.
Larcomar is a trendy, nice, upscale shopping center located at the top of Miraflores cliffs (in front of the JW Marriott hotel towers), with a privileged view of the Pacific Ocean and also with many restaurants, pubs, discos, gift shops, boutiques, playground area for kids and a food court, plus a superb cinema theaters complex. Its architecture includes many terraces so everyone can enjoy the panoramic view from almost any point at the shopping mall. This is an informal meeting point for many people, locals and tourists, and is considered as a safe area, but, again, like in every big city, it's wise to keep an eye on your belongings.
Local Expert tip: There is plenty of parking space underground, but since you are in Lima to relax, we strongly advice you to take a taxi... or to walk. There is also a big park with some fountains on the ground level; definitely this is a kid-friendly area.
As a coastal city, Lima has a bunch of easily accessible beaches, that offer a complete experience to the visitor; sea, beaches, restaurants for all budgets and the possibility of practicing some nautical sports. These beaches are lined up and connected by a road that tours through several districts: San Miguel, San Isidro, Miraflores and Barranco, and are open to visitors during all the year, due to the benign, mild Lima weather. Some of the most popular beaches are Redondo, Agua Dulce and La Herradura, that can get really crowded in summer. Surfers come here during all the year too.
Local Expert tip: You may want to come walking from Miraflores cliffs, but it is probably wiser to take a taxi. And it may be even wiser to make sure that this taxi (or any other) will pick you up when you need it.
Located in the valley of Pachacamac, to the south of Lima, this ancient fortress used to be an Inca sanctuary consecrated to the adoration of Pachacamac god, who was believed to control the earthquakes; but it was also a place dedicated to rituals in honor of the Moon and the Sun. Pachacamac is a quechua word that means "the one that gives life to the world" and nowadays there is a Site Museum there, a place that houses many artifacts discovered in the area during several archaeological excavations; you may see a Peruvian Hairless dog, a common sight in all Peruvian archaeological sites.
Local Expert tip: Many people come here not only to see all these temples, but also to spend a day in the countryside, since there are many popular restaurants and picnic areas in the vicinity, as well as some places suitable to practice adventure sports, like paragliding or sandboarding.
An ancient religious site built by the Lima civilization (200 AD and 700 AD), this complex comprises several pyramid-shaped constructions oriented to the sea, since this place was a ceremonial space dedicated to the adoration of the Moon and the Ocean. Huaca Pucllana which is also supposed to have served as an administrative center, has been undergoing archaeological investigation for more than 20 years, and attracts many visitors every day because of its site museum but also of its superb restaurant, located on site. So you may as well schedule a visit to the ruins and end it with a five-forks lunch or dinner, all in the same place.
Local Expert tip: In addition to the well-kept site museum, there is a small local flora and fauna park, including some of the famous Peruvian Hairless dogs, also called "viringos". Guided tours in English available. Open Hours: Wed-Mon, 9am-5pm. General Admission: Adults, S/.10, Kids, S/. 1.
One of the most famous and probably the most visited by tourists, Museo Larco (as it is commonly called) combines a large, beautiful garden and a large building that in turn houses some of the most impressive ancient pottery, and metallurgy collections in Lima. But one of the main attractions here is the "Sala Er�tica" ("Erotic Hall"), which displays many pottery pieces that depict very explicitly many sexual practices of Moche's civilization (take note that minors are not allowed into this exhibition). General Admission: S/. 30 (less than US 10), Students and Kids S/. 15). Open Hours: Mon-Sun, 9am-6pm, including holidays.
Local Expert tip: The museum has a shop called "Galeria del Museo", a nice jewellery shop and an alpaca garments shop. There is also a small cafeteria where you can try and enjoy some Peruvian specialty coffees and wind down after visiting the museum.
In a few years, this place has become quite a very popular and unbeatable attraction, for both locals and foreigners: located not far from Lima Downtown, in the traditional Parque de la Reserva, this complex of 13 fountains offers two very different sights, depending if you visit them during daytime or at night, when color lights and laser beams are on: this is currently a must-see while in Lima. It actually comprises two parks separated by Petit Thouars Avenue, but linked by a tunnel which displays some artistic huge photos of these fountains. It's a very cool place to visit with your family, and you may also find some artistic shows on weekends.
Local Expert tip: Be careful with the larger fountains: keeps your eyes open since you may end up getting accidentally wet if you are not aware. Despite there are sandwich stalls in this park, usually you have to wait in line to buy something, so you may want to sneak some snacks and/or beverages in your backpack or purse.
This is by far the most visited place in Lima, this yellow-and-white 17th-century complex has witnessed most of Lima's historical episodes and survived a few massive earthquakes. The old Convent of Saint Francis houses a fine religious art museum that preserves some master pieces by Francisco Zurbar�n and other famed Spanish artists. There is a big, beautiful church built in the Colonial Baroque style and Moorish-style carved ceilings; the aforementioned museum; and the fascinating catacombs, where some 75,000 bodies lie. Tickets are on sale at the door, and you will have to wait a little for a guided tour in English.
Local Expert tip: Hundreds of pidgeons call this church home. They nest and rest on the fa�ade, and if you like birds you can buy small bags of rows of bird food outside. For taking pics, the best time is between 3pm and 5pm.
Lima's Plaza Mayor is the most important place to see regarding this city's history and current daily life... and lifestyle: Lima was founded here by Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro in 1535, in the land that previously was owned by indigenous Taulichusco chief. Nowadays you can admire its historical buildings, like Lima's Cathedral, the Archbishopric Palace, the Government's Palace, or the Lima Municipality, as well as an ancient brass water fountain. It's a good spot to start your explorations of this city. Adding its historical significance, the Independence of Peru was proclaimed here, in 1821. And you can find some very good restaurants in the vicinity.
Local Expert tip: You can take a ride on the many calesas (horse-pulled carriages) that circulate around the plaza. From here you can also take a short walk (along the Jiron de la Union) to other nearby attractions, like the more modern Plaza San Martin.