5 Unusual Things to See in Lima
1. The erotic gallery – Museo Larco
This large collection of pottery will probably make you blush. The Museo Larco looks like any other museum at the beginning. You will find exhibitions about the fascinating Peruvian history: each room represents a specific topic relating to old common cultural practices in Peru (music, dance, jewelry, sacrifice, war, death, gold, ceremonies, ornaments, vases…). However, at the end, you enter into a totally different room, which is the place dedicated to eroticism and sex. All these pieces of ceramics make clear references to the desire, the physical attraction, erotic practices. These potteries mainly show scenes of reproduction and well as non-reproductive rituals, like oral or anal sex. While some artifacts were made to be humorous, others were created to represent humans, like divine beings, engaged in erotic encounters. This original gallery is an opportunity for people to approach sexuality by understanding ancestral practices and older culture. Actually, these archaeological treasures celebrate the Peruvian pre-Columbian history, a great place to discover our ancestors’ relationship with each other thought their sexual lives.
Address: Av. Bolívar 1515, Pueblo Libre Lima 21
Normal price : 30 soles
Student price : 15 soles
2. Huaca Pucllana
Everyone knows a little bit about the history of Peru or at least has heard about the Inca ruins and the most famous related sites. But did you know that you are not obliged to cross all the country to see ruins, as there is an archaeological complex in Lima? It’s called Huaca Pucllana and it is situated in the district of Miraflores, less than 10km from the historical center of Lima. Here, you will be able to see hundreds of stones and rocks, representing kind of stairs and making the impression of a pyramid. This site was the urban center of a lost civilization, the Pre-Incan indigenous coastal civilization, dating from between 100 CE and 650 CE. We can observe very old systems of irrigation: indeed, as Lima is surrounded by a desert, they created a network able to carry water from rivers and springs to the city. In the area, you can also visit religious and ceremonial rites, places for public meetings, structures for storage… If you want to visit Incan ruins and discover Peruvian history without traveling hours and hours, Huaca Pucllana is a must !
Address: Calle Gral. Borgoño, block 8, Miraflores District, Lima
Normal price : 15 soles
Student price : 7.50 soles
3. The Diana Room – Museo Mario Testino (MATE)
Situated in the heart of the Barranco district of Lima, a flourishing cultural quarter, the MATE museum is a center which cultivates and promotes the culture and heritage of Peru. Through a dynamic program of exhibitions, events, guided tours and workshops, the museum attracts worldwide attention by offering Peruvian art as well as international contemporary art and photography. One of the permanent collection is the one dedicated to Lady Diana. Indeed, Mario Testino, the founder of the museum, took portraits of the princess of Wales for the Vanity Fair magazine in 1997. With these portraits, Testino has revealed a different, often hidden, side of Diana: modern, unrestrained, smiling, sexual. The famous photographer said that it was one of his best photoshoot experience, while Diana affirmed that it was one of her happiest day (British fashion and art journalist Meredith Etherington-Smith). Two months after the portraits were officially published, the princess died tragically: these portraits were the last ones taken of her before her death.
If you love the legendary Diana (who doesn’t love her?), you must visit this place and see these wonderful portraits of the princess.
Address: Av. Pedro de Osma 409, Barranco, Lima
Normal price : 10 soles
Student price : 5 soles
Foreign visitors : 20 soles
4. Catacombs – San Francisco Monastery
Just next to the Plaza Mayor, under the church of the San Francisco Monastery, you are far from imagine what can be found. Basically, thousands of skulls and bones. These catacombs hold more than 75000 dead bodies, or rest of bodies… Creepy and strange, as well as impressive and surprising, the remaining bodies are all creatively and decoratively arranged for visitors. During a 20-30 minutes guided walking tour (in English or Spanish), you discover the massive cathedral, before going down to subterranean passageways leading to the catacombs. Good to know, these catacombs are the second largest ones in the world, just after Paris ! A visit to the historical center of Lima is incomplete without the catacombs…
Address: Plazuela San Francisco (Esquina Jirones, Ancash y Lampa), Centro historico, Lima
Normal price : 15 soles
Student price : 8 soles
5. Mercado de Brujas (“Witch Market”)
Eating snake, frog or python skins? I am sure you never thought about that before! However, in this surprising place, the Mercado de Brujas, you can easily face your fears. Into a train station, this small market is well hidden and not easily accessible. Once you find it, you discover curious items, like smoothies blended with herbs and spices for various illnesses, what about frog for arthritis? Here the focus is on the traditional folk medicine, that was practiced by indigenous groups many years ago. Snake skins, sea shells, cactus leaves… « Witch doctors » will help you to find the best ritual item to cure your illness and will offer you the adequate natural treatment.
Address: Gamarra station, Avenida Aviación, La Victoria, Lima