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What to see

Lima’s sheer size often bewilders visitors, but many of the city’s museums, churches and colonial treasures are conveniently located in the centre of town. In the old days, the centre was filthy and overcrowded. However, a recent campaign to clean up the streets has proven successful and is now a centre of delight for those sightseers who have come to explore.

Tours usually start in the Plaza de Armas, which was the city’s main meeting point and marketplace for many years. Around 400 years ago, bullfights were held in this square and for those who are interested, the current bullring is only a 10-minute walk away.

Dominating the square is the Palacio de Gobierno (Government Palace). It stands on the site of the original palace built by Lima’s founder Pizarro. The Cathedral which was rebuilt in 1758 after an earthquake destroyed the original building can also be found in the main square. Pizarro’s daughter helped pay for the original cathedral, on condition that her father was buried in the crypt. The plaza is a great starting point in the city for those who want to soak up some of the history.

Nearby, the Pasaje Nicolas de Ribera el Viejo sports elegant cafés, while the Palacio Torre Tagle, with its Moorish-influenced wooden balconies, is one of the city’s most beautiful Spanish colonial mansions.

The Plaza Bolivar is located just a few blocks east where the fascinating Museo de la Inquisicion (Spanish Inquisition Museum) is located. Other ‘musts’ include the Museo de la Nacion which provides a wonderful overview of Peru’s archaeological riches, and the Museo de Oro (Gold Museum) which reveals a stunning collection of gold artefacts.

Away from the centre of this grandiose city is where one will find the fashionable seaside suburbs of Miraflores, San Isidro, and Barranco which offers lively, bohemian bars and other forms of entertainment. Miraflores has its own US-style shopping mall, Larco Mar, with ten-pin bowling, a multiplex cinema, snack bars, restaurants, discos and live music. The mall is situated right on the cliffs overlooking the sea. Take a peek at the beautiful view of the water while enjoying some of Lima’s finest shopping.

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