To help you get your head around Peru’s centuries of history and culture, visit the well-regarded Museo Larco Herrera in Lima, housed in an 18th-century vice-royal mansion, built over a 7th-century pyramid and surrounded by leafy gardens. The chronological overview of 3,000 years of history takes you through pre-Inca cultures and pre-Columbian art, to present-day interpretations of pre-Hispanic ceramics.
The museum is structured in a series of galleries, and its highlight is the fine collection of Inca gold and silver jewelry and artifacts, studded with prized lapis lazuli, turquoise and amethyst. Painted pottery vases and tools are also displayed, along with elaborately fashioned metal ware, cotton and feather textiles. A unique feature of the museum is that visitors are granted access to the storage area, where 45,000 objects are arranged and cataloged.
If you’re looking for high-quality souvenirs, the gift shop sells a selection of reproduction pre-Colombian ceramics, textiles and 18 carat jewelry, as well as luxury alpaca clothing.
The Museo Larco Herrera is just off Avenue Bolivar, between Lima’s historic city center and the beachfront suburb of Miraflores.