Friday, Apr. 02, 2010

5. Pucllana Temple (Huaca Pucllana)

You don't have to trek into the Andes to see vestiges of Peru's ancient civilizations. Lima has a large number of historical ruins, known locally as huacas, which can be spotted in many neighborhoods. They are generally fenced off, but that is the extent of the preservation. One of the major exceptions is the Pucllana Temple, or Huaca Pucllana, in the city's upscale Miraflores district. This adobe ceremonial center was likely built around 500 A.D., during the cultural height of Lima's history. Much of the site has been restored and excavations continue to uncover artifacts and the occasional mummy.

The huaca is creatively illuminated at night, giving it a movie-set aura. To make your visit even better, there's an on-site restaurant that serves haute cuisine prepared by an internationally trained chef. There's nothing like dining while taking in 1,500-year-old views. The restaurant stays open long after the ruins close.

The ruins are accessible Wednesday to Monday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; the last tour starts 30 minutes before closing. Admission is $2.50 for adults, and half off for children and students.