Lima is a vast, complex metropolis, with a history dating from the era of its wealth and importance to Imperial Spain to its current status as a dynamic, growing city of trade, industry and tourism.
Plaza San Martín, with its colonial churches, promenades and palaces marks the beginning of a guided tour that unearths much of the country's turbulent past. En route, visit several palaces including the Torre Eagle Palace (built for the treasurer of the Royal Spanish fleet and considered to be the most striking of Lima's 18th century mansions). Another building which borrows its architectural style from Baroque and Moorish Spain is the Monastery of San Francisco with its fascinating library and catacombs.
The final port of call is the private Larco Museum with its collection of beautifully modelled pottery, unique gold and silver work, mummies, and ceramics from pre-Inca civilisations. Afterwards, continue to the airport for a 1hr flight to the colonial university city of Arequipa.
Arequipa is Peru’s second city, a traditional rival to Lima, relatively calm and conservative in comparison to the dynamic capital. The buildings here are constructed from sillar, a white-grey volcanic stone, and appear translucent against a rich blue sky. The domes, spires and pillars add to a somewhat Middle Eastern aspect. The city lies at the foot of the slopes of the conical El Misti Volcano.