If you read my previous post, you will know that I recently had a fabulous experience in Peru with Yampu Tours! This established tour company, which offers customized itineraries, luxury tours, and authentic experiences, has been guiding travelers around the world since 1998. I started off my Peruvian adventures with them in the country’s vibrant capital city: Lima.
From ancient to colonial history, contemporary districts, and award-winning eateries, I had an incredible time seeing the best of the city in 24 hours with Yampu! If you only have a day in Lima, here are all the best places to visit…
Plaza de Armas:
This Main Square is the birthplace of Lima, located in the heart of the capital city. It was founded by Francisco Pizzaro in 1535 and has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO! Over the years, the square has served as a market, bullring, and even a place of execution.
This was also the headquarters of the Spanish Colonial Government, and was heavily damaged during an earthquake in 1746. Many of the buildings you see today were reconstructed after this time. Our Yampu Tour started in this square and I loved admiring the grandiose architecture of the Spanish Empire. You can see many beautiful balconies that are are very quintessential in Lima and nice the city a unique feature. The buildings that surround the Plaza include the Government Palace, Cathedral of Lima, Archbishop’s Palace of Lima, the Municipal Palace, and the Palace of the Union.
Cathedral of Lima:
When you’re in Plaza de Armas, I highly recommend going inside the Cathedral of Lima. Amazingly, construction began in 1535 and wasn’t fully complete until 1649. You’ll discover a beautiful mix of Gothic, Renaissance and Neoclassical architecture. Not only can you admire this stunning architecture when you go inside, but there are also many notable works of art from colonial times for viewing.
Casa de Aliaga:
Casa de Aliaga is definitely the oldest colonial mansion in Lima, and quite possibly in all of South America! This is reasons enough to visit, along with its ornate interiors. Visiting this mansion is like stepping through time.
The house has been own and lived in by the Aliaga family since Francisco Pizzaro granted it to Jerónimo de Aliaga in 1535. Inside you will find absolutely beautiful woodwork and art, including an impressive wooden staircase. The elegant salon rooms are richly decorated and feature Colonial furniture. I also loved the Spanish tiles on a a few of the walls, as well as the impressive wooden balcony that has been wonderfully preserved.
I love when museums are housed in historic buildings, and the Larco Museum is no exception. This museum is located in a restored 18th century vice-royal mansion that was impressively built on a pre-Columbian pyramid from the 7th century!
Inside, you will discover chronological galleries that show a great overview of 5,000 years of Peruvian history. The museum boasts a complete pre-Hispanic collection of gold and silver objects, as well as pieces of erotic pottery.
Their restaurant is worth noting, as its beautifully situated on the museum’s terrace, with lovely views of the mansion.
For those who enjoy a bit of shopping while on their travels, Larcomar is the place to be in Lima! This popular seafront shopping center is located in the affluent Miraflores District.
This is one of the most unique shopping malls in the world, as it’s located on a cliff with spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean. In fact, it won an award for Innovative Design in Contraction granted by the International Council of Shopping Centers. There are over 160 shops here, as well as restaurants, a movie theater, bowling alley, and more. Along with shopping, I personally loved watching all the hang gliders take off from the cliffs at Larcomar!
Aloft Lima Miraflores:
Aloft hotels around the world are known for being stylish, boutique properties. The Aloft Lima Miraflores is the first Aloft hotel to make its home in Peru.
I enjoyed staying in this modern hotel thanks to its spacious accommodation and contemporary decor. It was very vibrant and I especially loved the art design throughout the hotel, even in the elevators! Our room was the Breezy Room. Also, The wifi is fast and free which is always a plus.
La Tiendecita Blanca:
We enjoyed lunch at this iconic bistro in the heart of Miraflores. Dating back to 1936, this is one of the oldest eateries in the city. Over the years, they’ve received a great number of Peruvian personalities as guests.
At La Tiendecita Blanca, two distinct cultures are featured here. The original owner and baker Don Alberto Bachmann Schön hailed from Switzerland. He wanted to create a Swiss environment in his restaurant, along with mixing Peruvian flavors and that’s exactly what you can still enjoy here. I had a delicious potato dish with cheese for my starter, along with fresh fish for my husband and chicken fettuccine for me. Dessert was an amazing apple pie with ice cream. We also enjoyed Pisco Sours, a famous Peruvian cocktail that consists of Pisco (brandy), lime juice, simple syrup, and an egg white!
Huaca Pucllana Restaurant:
Huaca Pucllana is an amazing archaeological site located in the Miraflores District. Construction dates back to the 5th century!
We enjoyed an impressive dinner here at their wonderful restaurant that overlooks the grounds. This place is the perfect location to spend your last meal in Lima. Not only are the surroundings memorable, but so is the food. Head Chefs Marilú Madueño and Andrea Massaro offer a contemporary view on Peruvian cuisine, using a rich variety of local products while playing with different colors, textures, and flavors. I enjoy a meal of trout, followed by meringue pudding for dessert.
Whether you have 24 hours in Lima, like me, or a few days, Yampu Tours really help to make the most of your time in this capital city. There is so much to see in Lima and I truly feel as if I saw the highlights. Thanks to their local guides and fabulous food suggestions, I really got to immerse myself in the Peruvian culture.
Disclaimer: I was a guest of Yampu Tours, but all opinions here are my own.