MatadorTrips.com recently posted this wonderful article by Alix Farr, about some of the ridiculous negativity facing Lima (often written by guide book authors and travel writers who have never really set more than half a foot in the city) and what its really like if you actually have a look around. (I made my defence of Lima at the start of my Weekend Getaways article)
It was on the floor of a Barnes & Noble in American suburbia when I first opened a guidebook to Peru. I was being sent to Lima for an internship program so, with bubbling excitement, I set to work dissecting every travel guide I could find.
You can imagine my discomfort when, upon flipping to page 64, I was greeted by an opening line that read something like, “Lima is the ugliest, darkest, most depressing city on Earth.”
The next book was no better. “You will have to swim through 6-foot piles of soot and dirt to make your way around Lima, all the while avoiding rabid dogs and over-stuffed pigeons.”
I left without a guide, telling myself that six months in a city where the sun doesn’t shine and I could be attacked by a band of savage street children would only make me stronger (if it didn’t kill me).
Two years later, I am still in Lima.
I’m convinced the people who wrote those reviews were tourists who stopped in Lima only as a layover to Cusco and hid in their hotel rooms watching BBC World News.
With Machu Picchu having recently won the title of one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, there has been an influx of visitors to Peru. Many, though, aren’t inclined to stop in Lima. But stay a while and you will discover how undeserving of those obituary reviews this city really is. This isn’t Paris, but Lima is a developing metropolis with culture and style.
Here are 8 reasons to spend more than a layover in Lima: