Peru’s sprawling capital city is a far more appealing place to visit than it used to be. Lima has always had its share of historic attractions, ranging from the pre-Inca ruins of Huaca Pucllana sitting incongruously in the central Miraflores district of the city, to a well-preserved ‘Plaza de Armas’ dating from the colonial era, complete with its imposing Basilica Cathedral, as well as the Monastery of San Francisco perching above a subterranean world of expansive catacombs. Culture vultures have also always been drawn to Lima’s excellent museums, the Gold Museum and the fascinating archaeology and art collection on display at Larco Herrera being particularly noteworthy.
What sets Lima apart nowadays, however, is a much cleaner and safer feel, a cosmopolitan buzz thanks to its flourishing economy, and a thriving foodie scene. Some of South America’s best restaurants can now be found here, and with Peruvian cuisine enjoying ever-increasing renown on the world stage, gourmet tours and cookery classes in the city are a great way to get under the skin of modern Lima. And whilst the city’s official ‘centre’ is still not the most attractive place to visit, the coastal districts of Miraflores and Barranco, as well as neighbouring San Isidro, are where the majority of quality hotels are to be found along with plenty of bars, restaurants, leafy parks and squares. Lima experiences hazy skies throughout much of the year due to its unique geographical position, so you are unlikely to spend time on the beach, but the sea-facing restaurants around Miraflores are a wonderful place to enjoy fresh ceviche and the sweeping views of the Pacific coastline.