#3: Discover Colonial Downtown
From Miraflores, you’re about 20-30 minutes away from the main plaza in Lima. Gold buildings border two sides of the plaza, representing the Inca gold that was so coveted by the Spanish conquistadors (or so they say!). The two remaining sides of the plaza are home to the National Cathedral of Lima and the Governor’s Palace, which is Peru’s version of the White House.
Take a moment to enjoy the palm trees and water fountain located in the middle of the plaza. If time permits, enjoying a stroll through the National Cathedral will expose you to Peruvian artwork and, interestingly enough, the final resting place of Francisco Pizarro, the main Conquistador who conquered (founded?) Peru.
Once you’ve finished looking around the Cathedral, you can peer through the gates at the Governor’s Palace and watch the changing-of-the-guard. The streets to the right (north) of the Governor’s Palace are a great place to buy touristy trinkets.
2-3 blocks from the main plaza is the San Francisco Monastery. Home to one of the oldest libraries in South America and home of the famous Peruvian catacombs, the San Francisco Monastery is a must see if you’ve already made it this far. The tour costs approximately $3 USD and will quickly illuminate you on the history of Lima.
If you still have time in the day and are interested in viewing Pre-Colombian art and artifacts, a quick trip to Larco Museum will be worth your time.
Between food, culture, architecture, ocean views, and history, Lima is truly more than just a stopover on your way to Amazonian and Andean adventures, it’s the gateway to your trip of a lifetime.