As with so many capital cities in this part of the world, you’re most probably visiting as a spring board to some of the areas of natural beauty in the country and, in the case of Peru, this is most likely for the amazing mountain hiking and Inca sites to the east (which are indeed fantastic and for more details see Hiking the 4 day Inca Trail, Driving through the Sacred Valley, Key sites just outside Cusco, The Old Town of Arequipa, and the Hiking the Colca Canyon travel entries). My big recommendation though would be to make sure you give yourself at least 2 days in Lima. Three reasons for this:
1. The food is world-class – not your standard “oh yeah the food is great” – more like Lima has 3/50 best restaurants in the world level (Paris has 5, London 4, Tokyo has 3, New York 3). The fusions of Spanish, Japanese, indigenous and African influences make Peruvian cuisine unique and exquisite
2. The neighbourhoods are awesome – walking through the neighbourhoods of Miraflores and Barranco with their chic lounge bars and cafes whilst being near the edge of the dramatic black cliffs that span so much of the coast of Lima is a great vibe to check out.
3. The paragliding from the cliffs is super fun and so incredibly easy to do – just rock up, get strapped in and off you go – I can’t think of any other cities in the world where it is that accessible and with such great views as you soar along the cliffs – just do it!
#1 The world class restaurants showcasing the best of Peruvian cuisine
#2 Soaring off paragliding - in less than 2mins from decision to being in the air - as you check out the Lima coastal areas from the air
#3 The dramatic black cliffs that span the whole length of the coastline
#4 Did I mention the food?
- Malabar (dinner) – great fusion dishes inspired by the Peruvian jungle
- IK Restaurante (dinner) – make sure you go for the 13 course tasting menu with wine pairing. One of my favourite ever dinning experiences
- Delfino Mar (lunch) and Isolina Taberna Peruana (lunch) two great, simple lunch spots
- For tips on other great experiences in Peru and for an itinerary for a trip there, see 2/3 weeks for the highlights of Peru
The below map shows experiences nearby with a colour that reflect the Overall Score of those experiences
Similar world class Big City Experiences
Background - how many times have you asked someone what a travel experience was like and the response was "amazing" or "awesome"? That response is nice to know, but it makes it hard to differentiate that experience compared to others. That is exactly what these scores are trying to do - differentiate the experience by giving a score out of 10 based on 6 categories and then giving an overall experience score
This overall experience score is calculated by: take the highest of the "Culture" or "Nature" score (1-10) + "Fun factor" (1-10) + "Avoiding the crowds" (1-10) + highest of the "Unique" or "World Famous score" (1-10). Then convert into a score out of 100
Extra detail - the logic being that I find all of the 6 individual scores important, but I don't want to mark an experience down just because it doesn't cover both "Culture" and "Nature", or because it isn't both "World Famous" and "Unique". Take the examples of Safari in The Serengeti and walking through Rome - they both appeal at opposite ends of the nature / culture spectrum, and you can have a fantastic time without needing to appeal to both sides. So, their overall scores aren't penalized for their lack of one or the other, and I've done the same for "World Famous" vs "Unique". But . . . I do think that the "Fun factor" of an experience is important, irrelevant of other factors, and so is "Avoiding the Crowds" (or where there are crowds that add to the experience). So, both of these scores are standalone