Lima, Peru

This huge metropolis, which rises over a long shoreline of crumbling cliffs, is the second-dryest capital in the world after Cairo. Climb on the wave of chaos that spans high-rise condos built next to pre-Columbian temples and swift Pacific waves rushing toward deafening traffic jams to take it all in.

But Lima is also intelligent, with a long history of civilization. Elegant museums showcase exquisite pottery, contemporary art is unveiled in galleries, solemn religious processions harken back to the 18th century, and tropical beats are played in packed nightclubs. No tourist can fail to notice the city’s culinary prowess, which is a product of a more than 400-year-old gourmet revolution.

That’s Lima. Glowingly messy, full of artistic delights, and shrouded in history (and occasionally fog). Don’t even consider skipping it.


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