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While Machu Picchu remains Peru’s shining gem, a stop in the capital city of Lima on a South America cruise offers a worthy and sophisticated glimpse into urban life in Peru. Pre-Columbian settlements like Huaca Pucllana stand side-by-side with modern skyscrapers, and museum after museum pays tribute to Lima’s impressive archaeological remnants.
No matter how new or shiny Lima may appear, this is a city with deep roots. It’s no surprise that things to do while in port on a cruise to Lima, Peru would favor the intellectual traveler, whether you’re eager to sit and read a book at the Main Square or see where Francisco Pizarro is buried in the catacombs of the Lima Cathedral. Lima is close to the sea, making it the place where ceviche earned its international fame. The culinary scene here makes “best of” lists every single year. Even with limited time in Lima, a day’s worth of ancient history, art, and culinary expertise is just enough for the city to stick with you forever.
Please Note: While we don't currently sail to Lima, you can still discover the beauty of the country on one of our Machu Picchu cruises. Browse our luxury cruises to the Galapagos and Machu Picchu below.
Art aficionados on a cruise to Lima, Peru will not want to miss the chance to see the Larco Museum, which houses thousands of pre-Columbian artifacts, including pottery, jewelry, and more. An hour-long guided tour is a great way to understand the history of the Larco, and tours are available in both English and Spanish. They’re open Monday to Sunday, 9am to 10pm.
Leisurely stroll the plaza, which is one of the top areas where tourists exploring Lima go. This UNESCO World Heritage site was founded by Francisco Pizarro in the 16th century. Today, it’s an important square where one can see many of Lima’s biggest sights concentrated in one area, like the Government Palace and the Lima Cathedral.
In the Miraflores district of Lima, discover ancient proof of a lost civilization at this pyramid built by a pre-Incan civilization who called this area home. It’s an incredible sight for learning, where excavators and archaeologists discovered burial sites for noble people as well as artifacts and ceramics from their daily lives. Today, Huaca Pucllana greets visitors with thousands of years of history as well as a cafe, gift shop, and various workshops.
Don’t leave Lima without seeing the impressive Gothic-style Cathedral of Lima, which was built in the 16th century. Tour the ornate interior, where many religious works of art are housed. Beneath your feet, important figures and Spanish conquistadors are buried in the catacombs of the cathedral.
The best way to understand Lima’s culinary clout is through a food tour. It’s the perfect excursion for foodies and hungry travelers, where you’ll have the chance to sample all sorts of Peruvian specialties and delicacies. Lima Te Llena, Lima Tasty Tours, and Delectable Peru are just a few of the companies hosting food tours in Lima.
Art lovers can spend an entire day lost among the impressive collections of Peruvian artists at the Lima Museum of Art in downtown Lima. The museum has collections that range from 13th century BC works of art to pieces from the colonial period. Admission is free on Wednesdays, and there are over 12,000 pieces currently on exhibit in the museum today.
When you cruise, Lima, Peru might not be as energetic as a Buenos Aires or a São Paulo, but the city boasts some pretty amazing cultural sights. A walking tour of the city, typically available in English and other languages, is a great way to immerse yourself in everything Lima has to offer.
While on a cruise to Lima, Peru, its reputation as one of the top foodie cities in the world might surprise you, but believe the hype. The area’s fresh seafood helps add to the culinary delight. After all, ceviche is one of Lima’s biggest edible contributions, imitated all over the world in the classic Peruvian style. Try the signature conchas negras type of ceviche, which is served with black clams and found up and down the coast of Peru. If you’re feeling daring, try anticuchos, which are grilled cow hearts that typically come on a skewer. They’re a popular street food and bar snack. Chinese restaurants are called chifas, and they often take creative approaches to integrating local ingredients. African and Chinese cuisine greatly influence the culinary scene of Lima.
Nearly 10 million people live in Lima today, but the city wasn’t always Peru’s most vibrant metropolis. The history of Lima dates back thousands of years, and the city has fought off occupations, natural disasters, and world wars. From the 1500s to the 1900s, Lima was occupied by the Spanish. The city was decimated by a horrible earthquake in the mid-18th century, but quickly rebuilt. By 1821, Peru gained its independence. Then, Chilean military forces ransacked the city. Another earthquake in 1940 meant that the city had to rebuild yet again. Today, Lima has fought the odds to become a cultural hub, developing a luxe culinary scene and slowly becoming a top place to live in Peru. Today, Lima is continuing to grow and evolve as a capital city and as the beating heart of Peru.
From your cruise to Lima, Peru, you’ll see that the port of Callao is very minimally equipped, and there’s not much to do nearby the port except hop into a taxi to Lima. It takes about 30-45 minutes to get into the center of the city from Callao. Plan accordingly when getting back to the ship.
Lima is a large, frenetic city, so getting around can be a challenge if you’re unfamiliar with navigating a city and have a limited working knowledge of Spanish. Taxis are an overwhelmingly popular method of transport, but they tend to be more expensive at night. Lima also has a crowded but efficient bus network, which is most helpful for travelers if they know where they’re going or at least know the streets where they need to exit the bus.
On a cruise to Lima, Peru, you’ll discover the city of Lima is a shopper’s paradise, where high-end retail and tourist markets mingle together. Note that many shopkeepers take a long lunch, so shopping during the middle of the day can be hit or miss. The Mercado Central is a crowded but bustling local market, and the Feria Artesanal is a good spot to find handmade goods by local artisans at an affordable price.
Peru uses the sol (S) as the official currency. Banks typically have 24-hour ATMs which offer better exchange rates than other places. Bargaining is okay here, but only at cash-only markets or souvenir places. There also aren’t any hard and fast rules about tipping in Peru, and it’s encouraged to tip only if the service was excellent.