The Best Cultural Tours to Take in Lima, Peru

The streets of Lima | © Raphael Desrosiers/Flickr
The streets of Lima | © Raphael Desrosiers/Flickr

Lima is a city steeped in history, with tours being a great way to understand and add context to its beautiful landscapes, remarkable buildings, and the people who live and work in them. These are the best cultural tours to take while in Lima, Peru.

Art tour of Barranco

The bohemian neighborhood of Barranco is the art capital of Peru—just take a walk around its streets to take in all the unique street art and many murals. The neighborhood is known for its independent art galleries, which can all be seen on a tour. Free walking tours that accept donations are available and will show you the most important street art in the barrio so you can really understand this part of Lima.

Historical center tour

Without a doubt, the most storied part of Lima is the city’s historical center. It was once the capital of the Viceroyalty in Peru and some of the buildings, though renovated, still stand from that time. The best way to enjoy the historical center and learn about its history is through guided tours, some of which are free walking tours that can be arranged from any hotel and will take you through the entire center. Make sure to wear some comfortable shoes because you’ll be doing a lot of walking.


Located below the San Francisco church in Lima’s historical center are the bones of 16th- and 17th-century limeños. Tours of the catacombs can be arranged in English, last about an hour, and make for an eerie flashback that will teach you all about early Spanish traditions.

Monastery of San Francisco, Jirón Lampa, Cercado de Lima, Lima, Peru, +51 1 4267377

Isla Palomino

Take a boat tour to the Palomino Islands just off the coast of Lima to witness Peru’s abundant marine life. The Humboldt current runs along the Pacific coast of Peru, carrying nutrients and plenty of wild life. You’ll find all kinds of birds and sea lions that you can even swim with.

Larco Museum tour
Erotic pottery at Museo Larco

Erotic pottery at Museo Larco | © bobistraveling / Flickr

The Larco Museum is Lima’s finest: you’ll discover a collection of archeological artifacts from all over the country and learn about the history of Peru’s most ancient civilizations, which pre-date the Incas by hundreds of years. Tours of the museum can be arranged on-site and are well worth the price.

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Huaca Pucllana

This massive, pre-Incan adobe pyramid, which stands in stark contrast to the rest of urbanized Miraflores, was once an important administrative center and is now one of the neighborhood’s main attractions. You can take a guided tour through the site, marvel at its history, and learn about a culture more ancient than that of the famous Incas.

Huaca Pucllana, cuadra S/n, Calle General Borgoño 8, Miraflores, Lima, Peru, +51 1 6177148

Peruvian cuisine classes

You can’t leave Peru without learning about some of the country’s delicious foods and how to make them. Peru has recently experienced a culinary revolution and is the new gastronomical destination of Latin America. Book a cooking class in Peru’s culinary capital and learn how to make ceviche and a proper pisco sour, or take a tour that features the nation’s delicious food and drink.