Cultural diversity in the middle of so much ancient history.
Lima has long been a stopover for international visitors to Peru on the way to Cusco or the Amazon -- a mere transfer lounge of eight million people. That's not the case any longer as hordes of visitors are descending upon Peru's capital, the largest city to benefit from Peruvian culture. Lima is a place of contrasts. The city itself is draped dramatically over Pacific cliffs while wide beaches, now being cleaned up, wait below. Adobe pyramids dating back thousands of years sit alongside glass-fronted skyscrapers in the never ending battle between the past and the present. The colonial center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is home to Republican mansions, remarkable cathedrals, a pulsating Chinatown, and a convent set over a vast series of catacombs. Some of the best pre-Colombian archeological and history museums are only steps away. Many consider Lima's dining scene the best in Latin America. Visit rustic beachside cevicherias or dine on Novo Andina cuisine with Chilean wines in a Miraflores bistro. After dinner, head to the bars and clubs in Barranco or Larcomar to dance until dawn on a pisco sour-fueled binge. If you still haven't seen enough, head just outside the city to the Caral pyramid complex or the summer fashion scene at Asia Beach.