Despite its location on the coast of Peru, Lima is the second driest capital city in the world (after Cairo, Egypt), which gives the city a distinct “Latin American desert” kind of feel. Although many travelers skip it entirely or race around on a 24-hour stopover before heading onto Machu Picchu, Lima is a worthwhile travel destination in its own right. It has great food, fabulous nightlife, and plenty of festivals to have you fiesta-ing (is that a word?) well into the night. Here are our top 5 things to check out.
1. Paraglide at Miraflores
Get your trip to Lima off to an exciting start by paragliding with PeruFly in Love Park. Take to the skies and glide over the coastline, taking in the beautiful views and enjoying the ambiance. Don’t worry, the flights are tandem so you won’t get lost at sea – there’s a paragliding expert there to make sure you land safely back on two feet!
2. Dance the night away in Barranco
There are lots of great spots in Lima to experience the famous Latin nightlife, but our favorite is in trendy Barranco. The neighborhood has an awesome bohemian vibe, where the drinks are cheap and the atmosphere is laidback. Add in great music and crowded clubs and bars, and this is the place to be if you want to dance until you see the sun come up (or just until your feet hurt).
3. Basilica y Convento de San Francisco
This one’s for the lovers of all things that little bit creepy and unsettling. The Basilica y Convento de San Fransisco is an imposing yellow Monastery built in 1674 and home to an incredibly impressive library with some 25,000 antique books. While the books (and the Monastery itself) are pretty cool, it is the catacombs under the Monastery that are the main, creepy attraction. Over 25,000 people are thought to be buried in the catacombs, and there are daily tours.
4. Visit Museo Larco
There’s lots of great markets in Chiang Mai, but our pick is the expansive daytime Warorot Market, which sells everything you could possibly want (and way, way more). Here, you will join both travelers and locals looking for affordable goods from clothing to food to homewares and everything in between. You can find some great deals here, however, to do so you’ll need to be prepared to haggle the prices right down!
5. Huaca Pucllana
Given that Peru is home to one of the most famous archaeological sites on the planet, you can almost be forgiven for skipping over those in Lima – but it would be a real shame! One of the best is Huaca Pucllana, a clay pyramid that is located in Miraflores (you can go there after your paragliding experience!). The pyramid was built by the ancient Lima Culture, which lived in the area of modern-day Lima between about 100 and 600 AD.