Museo Nacional de Arqueología
A 15-minute walk away from Museo Larco is Pueblo Libre’s laid-back Plaza Bolívar and the Museo Nacional de Arqueología, Antropología, e Historia (Plaza Bolívar s/n, Pueblo Libre, tel. 01/463-5070, http://museonacional.perucultural.org.pe, 9:30 a.m.–5 p.m. Tues.–Sat., US$5 including tour).
Though smaller than the Museo de la Nación, this museum presents a clearer, certainly more condensed, view of Peruvian history, and linked with the Museo Larco, it makes for a complete day in central Lima. Exhibits include Moche ceramics, Paracas tapestries, Chimú gold, and scale models for understanding sights of hard-to-see Chavín and Huari sites.
The museum’s most important piece is the Estela Raimondi, a giant stone obelisk that once graced one of Peru’s first ceremonial centers, Chavín de Huantár (1300–200 B.C.), near present-day Huaraz. It is carved with snakes, pumas, and the first appearance of the Dios de los Báculos (Staff-Bearing God), which would reappear, in different incarnation, throughout Peru’s ancient history. The tour includes a walk through the adjacent colonial home where independence leaders José de San Martín and Simón Bolívar stayed.
Around the corner is the 16th-century Iglesia Magdalena (San Martín and Vivanco, 6:30–8 p.m. Fri.–Tues., 8 a.m.–8 p.m. Thurs.), which has attractive carved altars and a gold painting of Señor de los Tremblores (Lord of the Earthquakes). An excellent restaurant, café, and pisco-tasting bodega, all steeped in tradition, are down the street.
© Ross Wehner and Renée del Gaudio from Moon Peru, 3rd Edition