This afternoon you will be picked up by your guide and driver and begin a city tour of colonial Lima, founded in 1535 by the ruthless Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro. Your first stop is the Plaza de Armas. Once an Incan religious center, the Plaza was ultimately seized by the Spanish, who covered it with grand cathedrals and palaces of their own. Towering over the north side of the plaza is the neo-baroque facade of the Presidential Palace. Originally built for Pizarro himself, the building now houses the Peruvian government and is home to the country’s president. The palace was also the site of Pizarro’s brutal assassination in 1541.
Visit the glass coffin holding his remains at the Catedral de Lima on the east side of the plaza, and admire the artistry of the cathedral itself with its hand-carved stalls, silver-plated altars, and mosaic walls. Walk a block to the 17th Century Monastery of San Francisco, famous for its Sevillian tile work and paneled cloister ceilings. Wander the passageways of the dreary catacombs below the church, rumored to contain close to 70,000 graves. Return to the modern district of Miraflores this afternoon to grab a plate of ceviche, do some shopping, and observe Limeños going about their day. Lunch and dinner on your own.