With fog bundling its colonial facades and high rises, it takes a little imagination to get beyond the grit of Lima’s first impression. After Cairo, this sprawling metropolis is the second-driest world capital, rising above a long coastline of crumbling cliffs. To enjoy it, climb on the wave of chaos that spans from high-rise condos built alongside pre-Columbian temples, and fast Pacific breakers rolling toward noisy traffic snarls. Think one part southern Cali doused with a heavy dose of America Latina.
But Lima is also a sophisticate, with civilization that dates back millennia. Stately museums display sublime pottery; galleries debut edgy art; solemn religious processions date back to the 18th century and crowded nightclubs pulse with tropical beats. No visitor can miss the capital’s culinary genius, part of a gastronomic revolution more than 400 years in the making.
This is Lima. Shrouded in history, gloriously messy and full of aesthetic delights. Don’t even think of missing it.