Widely regarded as one of the world’s best food cities, Lima has much to offer beyond the pleasures of the plate. There’s a rich architectural history, a bit of a surf scene, emerging boho neighborhoods, and excellent museums, both contemporary and anthropological.
What We Love
MATE: Local-boy-made-good Mario Testino — who has photographed everyone from Naomi Campbell to Gwyneth Paltrow for major fashion magazines — gave the city a major cultural gift when he opened his contemporary, photography-driven museum.
Museo Larco: So, okay, maybe you don’t want to take the kids. But South America’s best museum of erotic art is surprisingly tasteful and fascinating. Let’s just say the pre-Columbian peoples were getting it on.
Best Known For
Ceviche: Whether you go no-frills at the longtime local institution Canta Rana (yes, that translates as “singing frog” — don’t think too hard about it) or upscale at celebrity chef Gastón Acurio’s La Mar, you can’t leave the city without sampling its signature dish of raw fish cured in citrus with red onions, sweet potato, and big-as-your-thumbnail kernels of corn.
Baroque and Renaissance Architecture: The city’s historic center has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its Rococo-inspired colonial buildings with elaborate facades, balconies, and garden courtyards.
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Who It's Best For
Adventurous Eaters: Once you finish your raw fish, you can move on to guinea pig and anticuchos (hearts of chickens or cattle). Or go gourmet at restaurants like the acclaimed Central, in the Miraflores district.
History Buffs: The city is rich in historic districts with old homes, colonial churches (especially San Pedro and San Francisco), and government palaces.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Traffic Is Intense: This city of 8 million sprawls across an area that’s as big as Rhode Island. And sometimes all of it seems to be covered with slow-moving cars. Allow extra time to get from one place to another.
Don’t Expect It to Be All Inca, All the Time: That empire was just one chapter in the city’s rich history; open your eyes and mind to the city's other influences.
Ann Abel is a Brooklyn-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Departures.