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A closer look at Lima: Pueblo Libre

by Jessie Kwak | 1 April 2010 3 Comments

If you’re interested in a hearty dose of Peruvian history, check out Pueblo Libre. Spend an afternoon wandering through the quiet colonial streets, sipping pisco in historic bars, paying homage at ancient crossroads, and, of course, allow plenty of time for the museums.

Beer Libre!

Pueblo Libre is a quiet residential area just a short taxi ride from Miraflores or Downtown, just north of Magdalena del Mar. Today its citizens are beginning to promote their tourist appeal, with signs like “No tocando el claxon tendremos mas Turismo … Al Turista Pueblo Libre conquista!” (“By not honking our horns we’ll attract more Tourism … Pueblo Libre will conquer the Tourist!”). More power to them: their little neighborhood kicks ass, and has done so for centuries.

Pueblo Libre was founded in the 16th century, but was renamed “Free Town” in 1821 by Jose de San Martín, the same year that Peru was declared independent from Spain. Simón Bolívar and San Martín both lived in Pueblo Libre, and Bolívar’s mansion today houses the National Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology and History of Peru

"Watch out Gringo!"

The NMAAHP (en-mop) is probably the best place to go if you’re interested in Peru’s history, and if you can only see one museum in Peru, this has my vote for its sheer comprehension. The museum has a concise and well-organized display of ancient Peruvian artifacts, and is laid out to take the visitor on a tour from ancient history through Conquest, Independence, and on to modern day. You can also visit a Bolívar’s home and see a collection of his weapons, desk, uniform, etc.

Lima: A Cultural History (Citiscapes)
by James Higgins

Entrance is S/.11.50 ($4) for adults, and a guide is available (highly recommended) for S/.15 ($5.75) in English and Spanish.

The Museo Rafael Larco Herrera is also located in the area. Their several permanent exhibitions include a chronological display of pre-Columbian artifacts, a Gold and Silver Gallery said to house the largest collection of jewelry of pre-Columbian Peru, and a popular gallery of Ancient Peruvian erotic pottery. It’s housed in a 17th-century vice-royal mansion. They’ve got a great photo gallery on their website, as well as having all 44101 pieces in their collection cataloged online.

When you get tired of museums, Pueblo Libre has some great little cafes, including the historic Antigua Taberna Queirolo, owned by the same people that produce those fine wines and piscos. Particularly if you’re interested in seeing old photos check out this place, as the walls are full of old black and white prints. (106 Av San Martin).

Drink up

The Traveler’s Cross (Cruz del Viajero) is another famous bit of history. Made in Spain and placed by Franciscan monks in 1672, the cross was an important stop for travelers heading out on a long journey.

Want more? Check out En Peru, and Wayward Winos and more of Robert’s Photos.

Welcome to Pueblo Libre

Written by Jessie Kwak

I am a farm girl who moved to the big city, and then just kept right on moving. I love camping, hoppy beer, and good conversations. See all posts by


  • Keith said:

    Love your site – keep it up the great work!

  • Kerry-ann said:

    thanks for your posts. We are going to Peru in October. We will be in Lima for 3 nights so looking for all the interesting and unique things to do. We might to a half day tourist tour – but after that we want to explore the local areas without the hustle and bustle of a tour leader. This will be my first time to South America and so looking forward to it.

  • Tony said:

    I will leaving for Peru tomorrow morning and staying there for a couple of weeks. I so look forward to it all.. Your website helps me out alot.

    Thank you.
    Tony Q