Seven “Must See” Museums in Lima


The city of Lima, Peru was founded in 1535 by Francisco Pizarro, and would later become the capital of Peru and a thriving metropolis. With that in mind, Lima is the site of a complex and intriguing colonial history. But besides the colonial history, Lima is an excellent place to learn about the Incan and Pre-Incan cultures that once thrived in this country. For anyone who enjoys learning about culture and history, it is important that you don’t miss out of the many excellent museums and historical sites that can be found in Peru’s capital city.

1. Museo Pedro de Osma.

Pedro de Osma Museum. ©LuzArte

Perhaps the number one cultural attraction in Lima, the Museo Pedro de Osma boasts one of the most impressive collections of Peruvian artwork for the fifth to eighteenth centuries. The pieces, which include paintings, sculptures, furniture, and silver belonged to Pedro de Osma Gildmeister (1901-1967) and are on display in his historic family house in Barranco.


2. Museo Larco.

A Mochica headress held in the Larco Museum. ©Lyndsay Ruell

The Museo Larco in Pueblo Libre has one of the most fascinating collections of artifacts from Incan and Pre-Incan ancient cultures, as well as a gallery devoted entirely to erotic artifacts from ancient times. But besides the unique

ceramics, textiles, and metalworks that are on display in the permanent collection, the museum offers beautiful gardens and a delicious on-site restaurant where you can experience Peru’s rich gastronomic culture.

3. Museo Amano.

The Museo Amano in Miraflores is known for its incredible collection of textiles and archaeological materials from pre-Colombian Oeruvian cultures. The museum was opened by Mr. Yoshitaro Amano, a Japanese businessman who collected objects that had been discarded by tombraiders. Recently remodeled, this museum is dedicated to the conservation and research of Peru’s textile history.

4. Lugar de la Memoria, La Tolerancia y La Inclusión Social (LUM).

For those who are interested in Peru’s more recent history, be sure to stop by the LUM in Miraflores. This museum is a space that commemorates the events that occurred during the internal conflict in Peru between the years of 1980 and 2000.

5. Iglesia y Monasterio de Santo Domingo.

Santo Domingo Convent Lima, Peru. ©Laslovarga

The church and monastery of Santo Domingo dates back to sixteenth century Lima and is famous as the burial site of three very important Peruvian saints: Santa Rosa de Lima, San Juan Macías, and San Martín de Porres. But besides the its interesting relics and deep-rooted colonial history, the church and its convent are sure to interest any art or architecture buff with its baroque paintings, vintage Spanish tiles, and rococo-style Santo Domingo steeple.

6. Cementerio Presbitero Matías Maestro.

Filled with hundreds of mausoleums, monuments, and elaborate sculptures, the Museo Cementerio Presbítero Matías Maestro is a labyrinth of Peruvian history. This cemetery is the final resting place for many very celebrated figures, including Augusto B. Leguía, José de la Riva Agüero, and Antonio Raimondi, so it is a must see for anyone with a keen interest in Peruvian history. You can take a guided tour of the cemetery during the day, and on certain days of the month you have the option of a nighttime tour.

7. Catacombs of San Francisco.

Catacombs in the Monastery of San Francisco. ©Thomas Quine

Underneath the Monastery of San Francisco in downtown Lima there are catacombs that are estimated to contain between 25,000 and 70,000 human remains dating back to the eighteenth century. The colonial church itself is a fascinating example of colonial architecture, and housed in its library are approximately 20,000 antique texts. But the real attraction is the underground cemetery with its low vaulted ceilings and brick and limestone walls.

Lima is a fascinating city that is steeped in history. If you have a great deal of time to spend in the city, it is easy to lose yourself in the culture and the past. If you have only a few days, take the time to visit one or more of the attractions listed above. You surely won’t be disappointed.

We’d like to hear from you. If you think there is any other museum worth mentioning that we missed on this list, feel free to share in our forum topic The Best Museums in Lima.