For a fairly average-sized country—especially compared to its sprawling neighbor Brazil—Peru has a generous sprinkling of manmade and natural wonders. Even cooped up in a hotel room in Lima, one cannot help but spot at least a few of the country’s landmarks and be drawn to explore the city. Here are some things worth checking out around the country for those who live for the sights.
Museum of the Convent of San Francisco
The Convent of San Francisco was the capital’s cemetery until the 1800s. Although now a museum of religious art, it shows hints of its past identity—catacombs, underground tunnels, wells, and the remains of some 25,000 worshippers. Several other places of interest, including churches, museums, and historical centers, can be found within a few blocks, so it may be worth an entire day’s trip.
Located at the center of Lima’s most historic neighbourhood, this town square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is an unwitting tribute to the city’s architectural background. The buildings surrounding the area boast wooden balconies, ornate carvings, and palace sculptures, many of which date back to the mid-1600s and were reconstructed in the 1800s.
Larcomar is essentially a cliffside entertainment complex, built seemingly precariously on a bluff overlooking the Pacific. Once you get over the breathtaking view, you can head inland for a wide range of entertainment venues: arcades, restaurants, cafes, ice cream parlors, and dozens of stores selling everything from local handmade clothing to souvenirs.
All we know about the Nazca lines is that they were probably made by a tribe dating back to 300 BC. The drawings span over 50 square kilometers in the southern Nazca Desert. Some are seemingly random lines, while others clearly represent animals, trees, and flowers. Theories as to what they were range from alien landing strips (as some of the drawings can only be seen from over 1500 feet high) to solar eclipse predictors. Musings aside, the sight is definitely worth a couple of days’ travel out of the city.
Once dubbed the most beautiful mountain in the world, the Alpamayo is a popular site for hikers because of the area’s calmness, good weather, and picturesque views. You don’t have to do the hike to appreciate its beauty—indeed, hikers warn that the path can be challenging—but its distinct shape can be seen from way off, making it one of the most striking landmarks of northern Peru.