San Isidro and Miraflores
What appears to be a clay hill plunked down in the middle of Miraflores is actually a huge adobe pyramid from the Lima culture, which built a dozen major structures in and around what is now Lima A.D. 200–700. Huaca Pucllana (General Bolognesi 800, Miraflores, tel. 01/445-8695, http://pucllana.perucultural.org.pe, 9 a.m.–1 p.m. and 1:30–5 p.m. Wed.–Mon., free) has a small but excellent museum, which includes ceramics, textiles, reconstructed tombs, and artifacts from this culture that depended almost entirely on the sea for survival.
A recently discovered pot shows a man carrying a shark on his back—proof that this culture somehow hunted 455-kilogram sharks. No free wandering is allowed, but guides lead tours every half hour around the ceremonial plazas and a few inner rooms. This is a good option for those who cannot see the larger Pachacámac, 31 kilometers south of Lima. There is an upscale and delicious restaurant on-site.
A similar, though completely restored, stepped pyramid in San Isidro is Huaca Huallamarca (Nicólas de Piérola 201, tel. 01/222-4124, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Tues.–Sun., US$3.50), which offers a chance to understand what these temples once looked like. From the top, there is an interesting view over Lima’s most upscale district.
Museo de Historia Natural (one block west of the 12th block of Arequipa, Arenales 1256, Lince, tel. 01/471-0117, http://museohn.unmsm.edu.pe, 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Sat., 9 a.m.–1 p.m. Sun., US$3) is a severely underfunded museum with an aging taxidermy collection that nevertheless offers a good introduction to the fauna of Peru. Many of Peru’s top biologists work from here. Ask for permission to see the storage area in the back, where thousands of stuffed birds are archived.
Museo Amano (Retiro 160 near the 11th block of Angamos Oeste, tel. 01/441-2909, tours at 3, 4, and 5 p.m. Mon.–Fri., donations appreciated) has a small but interesting collection of 200 pre-Columbian ceramics, including a Nasca piece with a scene of human sacrifice, and a range of textiles, which are the museum’s specialty.
The Museo Enrico Poli (Lord Cochrane 466, tel. 01/422-2437 or 01/440-7100, 4–6 p.m., by appointment only, US$12) is one of Lima’s more intriguing private collections, with a huge range of textiles, gold and silver objects, and other artifacts. The owner, Enrico Poli, gives the tours personally and speaks Spanish only. Agencies often visit here with their own interpreters.
© Ross Wehner and Renée del Gaudio from Moon Peru, 3rd Edition