Armed with superior weaponry, Francisco Pizarro and his men mounted the backs of mighty stallions and galloped east toward the heart of the Andean empire. Upon arrival, Pizarro and the conquistadors killed the almighty King Atahuallpa, toppling the Inca Empire and beginning a new era of Spanish colonial rule in the area we now know as Peru.
Using the existing Inca infrastructure as the foundation for the development of the Viceroyalty of Peru, the Spanish built elaborate European-inspired cities across Peru, often erecting religious and administrative centers atop former Inca buildings.The result is a beautiful combination of pre-Columbian and Spanish architecture that make for some of the most intriguing colonial city tours in Latin America.
World Heritage Sites
While the colonial era is behind us, Peru’s amalgamated colonial cities are truly extraordinary to visit and shed light on the unique history of Peru. Colonial city tours in Peru are nothing short of world-class, especially in the more prominent colonial cities such as Arequipa, Cusco, and Lima, which have all been recognized by UNESCO as cultural world heritage sites. These colonial city tours make the perfect compliment to a Peru trip filled with Inca ruins and natural wonders. You don’t have to be a history buff or an architecture connoisseur to appreciate the catacombs beneath the Monastery of San Francisco or the definitively baroque Basilica Cathedral of Arequipa rising in front of Volcán Misti.
Peruvian Viceroyal History
At Paragon Expeditions, we offer some of the finest Peru colonial city tours. Led by historically informed and charismatic guides, our privately guided city tours in Peru provide insight into implementation and adaption of European architecture, and illuminate the distinctiveness of different periods of Peruvian viceroyal history. From early Renaissance buildings such as the Basilica Cathedral of Lima to neoclassical masterpieces such as the Monastery of San Francisco, our expert local guides introduce you to the must-see colonial buildings and bring the history of Peru to life with their knowledge and intrigue, leaving you with a greater appreciation for the history of the region.
Spanish and Pre-Columbian Fusion
In addition, these privately guided experiences also demonstrate the strong pre-Columbian influences in Peruvian cities. On our colonial city tours in Cusco, you will discover Inca foundations and walls that hold together Spanish cathedrals; inside of which are locals who make the sign of the cross and pay homage to mother earth (pachamama) during traditional coca leaf ceremonies. We invite you to experience Peru’s unique cultural mélange with one of our expert local Peruvian guides, who can explain the ins-and-outs better than anybody.
Short List of Our Favorite Colonial City Tours
- Arequipa Colonial City Tour: Plaza de Armas and the Santa Catalina Monastery
- Cusco Colonial City Tour by Night
- Cusco’s Plaza de Armas and Qorikancha
- Lima Colonial City Tour: Bolivar Plaza, San Francisco Cathedral and Catacombs