13 Reasons You Should Visit Lima Over Cusco

© Art DiNo / Flickr
© Art DiNo / Flickr
Photo of Brandon Dupre
18 July 2017

Lima is no longer just a layover between Cusco and Machu Picchu. It has now become a destination in its own right. Considered by many as the food capital of Latin America, “The City of Kings” deserves your attention. Here are 13 reasons why you should head to Lima over Cusco.

The food

Lima’s food scene has exploded and is now considered the gastronomical capital of Latin America. With the Pacific Ocean right next door, it’s hard to beat fresh seafood and ceviche. Plus, the number of world-class restaurants here is hard to beat anywhere in the world, with Lima boasting two restaurants that rank inside the top 10 in the world.

Ceviche | © Thomas S. / Flickr


Surfing kind of goes without saying, but Lima has plenty of waves to catch along its coastline, especially in Herradura, where you can find perfect lefts.

Surfing in Lima | © © Cristóbal Alvarado Minic / Flickr

No altitude sickness

Being at sea level, you won’t confront any problems when flying into Lima. However, the same can’t be said of Cusco. At over 10,000 feet (3,048 meters) above sea level, anyone arriving in Cusco is almost certainly going to feel some effects of altitude sickness. It is always best that you take it easy for a couple of days as your body acclimates.


The sheer volume of luxurious hotels and accommodations in Lima are staggering. From boutique hotels in colonial mansions to massive luxury hotels, the city’s options are endless. Peru’s wealth is all concentrated in Lima’s Miraflores, San Isidro, and Barranco districts.

The art

There are probably more art galleries in Miraflores and Barranco alone than in all of Cusco. If you want to see Peru’s best art—from historical to contemporary—Lima is where you’ll find it.

The Lima Art Museum (MALI) | © VasenkaPhotography / Flickr


Not only does Lima have no shortage of music venues, but musicians from all over Peru will migrate to the city with the hopes of being discovered. Lima is on the forefront of new musical sounds, including chica or electronic cumbia.

The museums

Lima is home to Peru’s best and most famous museums. From the ancient and erotic pottery art at Museo Larco to Museo de Arte de Lima, the city has so many museums that visitors can spend days exploring them. Learn about Peru’s great history in Lima.

Museo Larco | © Kevin Tao / Flickr


The sprawling metropolis that is Lima offers what seems like an infinite amount of bars. You won’t go too far in the city without seeing a place to grab a drink. Enjoy drinking a pisco sour in an old colonial mansion or dancing at one of the many discos. Lima’s nightlife is unrivaled by anywhere else in Peru.


With all Peruvian designers inevitably moving to Lima, the city offers an exploding fashion scene, which is represented on the world’s finest runways. Explore all the unique boutiques from the country’s best designers.


Lima has amazing parks, and despite its traffic, it is very bike-friendly. Rent a bike and enjoy the ocean view along the Malecón in Miraflores.

Malécon in Milaflores | © Juan Carlos Martins / Flickr


Lima is the entertainment capital of Peru, and the country’s national soccer team plays in Estadio Nacional, which lies in Lima and is easily accessible by Peru’s train line, the Metropolitano. The 50,000-person stadium also draws some of the world’s biggest musical acts to the country.

The sea

With the Pacific Ocean as a neighbor, the sea offers endless possibilities. From renting a boat to relaxing on the beach during summertime, the ocean always makes for a fun outing.

The diversity

From Chinese to Japanese, Italian to Incan, Lima has more diversity than you’ll find anywhere else in Peru. You’ll see this reflected in their music, food, art, and in the faces of the people walking down the streets.

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