- The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes. Marcel Proust
Travel to Lima, Peru
Peru was just named the world’s top culinary destination at the World Travel Awards for the second year in a row. In Lima, celebrity chefs command the same levels of attention as politicians and Peruvian dishes like ceviche and pachamanca are appearing on the menus of Michelin-starred restaurants in places like New York and London. From the posh, seaside bistro to the humble food stall in the market, you can almost always count on finding delicious food in Lima, even if you’re on a young writer’s budget like I am.
Sure, Machu Picchu gets all of the attention, and of course it’s magnificent. Why else would so many people list it as their trip of a lifetime? But besides the Incas, there were plenty of other civilizations, the remains of which can still be seen in Lima. In Miraflores, you can visit Huaca Pucllana, a pyramid belonging to the Huari culture that predated the Incan empire by over a thousand years. Also to the south, you can visit Pachacamac, a massive temple complex built in 800 BCE. What’s interesting about both of these sites is how the city nearly envelopes them, with the rough hewn bricks of the pyramid walls blending into the modern skyline.
Try to Crack the Combi Code
Want an adventure? Try using Lima’s chaotic public transport system. Known as “combis,” these little vans zip around the city, often at break-neck speeds and stuffed to the gills with commuters. You can tell where they go based on the street names painted on the sides, but good luck finding any more information besides that. Fares are usually one sol, or 50 cents for short journeys.
Lima also has an excellent selection of museums, some of the best I’ve seen anywhere in the country. For example, you can admire the erotic pottery at the Museo Larco, or see a haunting collection of photographs from the armed conflict at the Museo de la Nacion.
If you visit during the summer, beginning in October and ending around April, you can expect gorgeous sunny weather, long days and beautiful sunsets. But if you visit during the winter from June to September, well, you’ll just enjoy the mountain sun in Cusco that much more!