When I made my plans for Lima, almost everybody asked me why I wasn’t going to Cuzco and then, of course, on to Machu Pichu. Truth is, I didn’t feel like squeezing two additional flights, the discovery of another city and the ascent to Machu Pichu (and consequent decent) into just four days. Instead, I decided to stay in Lima and make the best of it.
A very good decision this was. While most tourists, i.e. the fellows I spoke to, seem to consider Lima only as a necessary stop on the way to Machu Pichu, I found it to be an amazing, rich and surprising city. Lima has much to offer for those with a bit of time on their hands: of course culture but also architecture and nature. While the historic city centre is among the least impressive parts of the tourist trail, the beautiful district of Miraflores, the museums and temples that lie in or just a few kilometers outside the city are absolutely worth visiting.
Personally, I also enjoyed spending some of my time walking around purposelessly or sitting in a coffee shop all the while observing the people and their ways to go about life: the reckless way of driving, the concerted effort of keeping the city clean, the Sunday afternoon walks through the park with the compulsory treat for the kids.
If you find yourself in Lima, I can only advise to pick the visits from the Time’s “10 things to do” that suit you most but also to take a deep breath* and relax in one of the many restaurants and coffee places every once in a while.
*unless you are close to a busy road.