Thank you for considering a visit to one of the most important capital cities in South America, and the entrance to several great destinations in Peru. If you are stopping in Lima, give it a chance. Probably you have received several mixed thoughts. Of course, my point of view will go along the positive side. Please, visit Lima, and your reply after it, will be “Thank you for your advice”.
I am sure, that if you are on a cultural trip to experience the Andean world, the ancient civilisations, the wonders of the jungle, and history of this land, you may not be thinking in Lima. Sure, Lima is nothing related to this. It is a big city where you might experience a chaotic traffic and big buildings as any modern city.
But what makes it special? Why should I bother visiting Lima? My best recommendation is to visit Lima when you just arrived the country. It is a great introduction to the Peruvian society, economic growth, cultural quirks and multiculturalism. From here, and after understanding a bit of this, you can move on.
Now, in order not to make it larger for the answer… Allow at least 4 hours to enter the city if you are making a connection. Come on! Don’t stay at the airport! Make it worthwhile either visiting the Historic Area which is protected and declared a World Heritage by UNESCO or one of its museums, either the Larco Museum or the National Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. If you have 6 hours… mix the Historic Centre and one museum…. Hey! Allow a full day and stay in a wonderful hotel in the area of Miraflores, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and enjoy the Peruvian gastronomy, mixing your visits to the Historic area, a museum and one of the 200 Pre-Hispanic archaeological sites in the city! Pyramids of more than 2,000 years next to the modern apartments.
Of course not, a full day is not enough. Stay two nights and enjoy the Bohemian district of Barranco where you can visit one of the best coffee laboratories to try the exclusive Peruvian coffee and more, learn how to prepare handcrafted bread. Peru is proud to have several bread types which are pleasures for the senses. So, my general recommendation, stay at least two full days to explore this city which is mixed with ancient heritage, traditions, good food, and experiences that will enhance your visit to Peru.