Downtown Lima

Though civilizations have occupied the Lima area even before the Incas, the city reflects its time under Spanish rule the most. Nicknamed the “City of Kings,” it was the capital of the colonial viceroyalty of Peru. To get a feel for that era of Peruvian history, head downtown to the Plaza de Armas. From there, visit Lima Cathedral, the Casa de Aliaga (the residence of Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro; visits by appointment only), and—a major must-do on most visitors’ lists—the catacombs at the Convento de San Francisco. (While you’re at the monastery touring the catacombs, don’t miss seeing its library, one of the oldest in the Americas). Numerous palaces and other colonial piles lie nearby, and several are open to the public.

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