As a nation, Peru suffers from a veritable embarrassment of riches when it comes to natural beauty and pre-Columbian heritage. So for a long time Lima has simply left the rest of the country to it and gotten on with the business of being the capital. As a result, it is often overlooked by travellers, preferring to pluck the low-hanging fruit at Cusco and Arrequippa than spend time digging the noise and chaos to find its hidden charms of the Peruvian Capital.
But hidden amongst the modern skyscrapers are genuinely ancient temples and pristine colonial mansions; within many of the bleaker modern monstrosities are genuinely inspiring art galleries, exceptional gastronomic adventures and fascinating museums where you could lose yourself for weeks, let alone and afternoon. Because while many of the mountain communities appear to lag several centuries behind, Lima has taken the fast track to the 21st century.
Where to stay
The Miraflores Hotel maintains has an excellent range of facilities and maintains a high standard of service. Peru Star Apartments are spacious and comfortable, with staff that are genuinely eager to help with their local knowledge.
Where to eat
Astrid y Gaston is widely regarded as the best restaurant in town, serving fine Peruvian fusion cuisine in what feels like a refined wine cellar. Chala, near the Bridge of Sighs, has an excellent menu of costa fusion food – Peruvian traditional meals with a Mediterranean twist.
What to see
The historic Plaza de Mayor is the closest thing in Lima to a genuine tourist sight; though the Museo Larco has over 45,000 pieces of Pre-Columbian art tracing 4,000 years of development. Bicycle tours have become a popular way of seeing the city, with plenty of local guides available to give you a real insight into its history and culture.