Lima is much more than just a one-night stand for travelers to Peru. Preferring to quickly move onto Cuzco and Machu Picchu, or even Iquitos, the gateway for Amazonian explorations, most people choose to bypass any city sight-seeing and use Lima simply as a necessary layover from their international flights.

What first struck me about Lima was its brightly colored houses and buildings, painted intentionally in order to contrast against the often foggy skyline. As a San Francisco native, I immediately felt at home with this aesthetic (and climate). I began my journey in the historic quarter, where remnants of the city’s colonial past are ever present, particularly as you walk through the streets and peer up at the wooden balconies that characterize its buildings. After touring the cathedral and the magnificent Convent of Santo Domingo, I moved on to Barranco, an artistic district on the coast with a distinctly bohemian vibe. A short walk will take you to El Puente de los Sospiros, the Bridge of Sighs, where you can sit sipping a pisco sour and observe the sun setting into the ocean. And, as the gastronomic center of the Americas, Lima offers a fascinating variety of dining experiences that will leave your taste buds dancing!
Known for its variety and quality, Peruvian food reflects the many influences of different civilizations which have passed through its borders… and Lima is the best place to sample these culinary achievements.

My recommendation: don’t skip this center of commerce, culture, and history. A day or two spent exploring the city Pizarro called, “The City of Kings,” will leave you yearning to discover more!