Founded in 1535 by Francisco Pizarro, Lima is today a sprawling place ringed by shantytowns. December to March is reliably sunny, but from May to September, sea fog blankets the city. Nonetheless, Lima is the inevitable arrival point for foreign visitors, and it does possess some impressive Spanish Colonial buildings in its historic center. Several museums will also appeal to the inquisitive traveler, especially the Museo Larco, which displays one of the world’s largest collections of pre-Columbian art in an 18th-century colonial mansion constructed atop the remains of a seventh-century pyramid. Peruvian cuisine has become a global phenomenon, and Lima now boasts some of South America’s top restaurants, such as Astrid y Gastón and Central.
The upscale residential neighborhood of Barranco (Spanish for “ravine”) was developed in the early 20th century as a seaside retreat for the Limeño aristocracy. After a long period of decline, it is once again prosperous, fashionable and home to many of Peru’s leading artists, photographers and musicians. MAC Lima (Museo de Arte Contemporáneo - Lima) debuted in 2013 on Avenida Miguel Grau. Housed within a striking modernist building designed by the Peruvian architect Frederick Cooper Llosa, it contains a permanent collection of works by Latin American artists. These were acquired from 1950 until the present day. The museum’s café, which overlooks a park and a pond, is a tranquil place in which to relax.
The Museo Larco (Avenida Bolívar 1515, Pueblo Libre. Tel.  1-461-1312) displays one of the world’s largest collections of pre-Columbian art in an 18th-century colonial mansion constructed atop the remains of a seventh-century pyramid.
Head to the exclusive Miraflores neighborhood of Lima to try Jonathan Day’s delicious breads and baked goods. A Lima native who has worked as an engineer and actor as well as a baker, Day studied at Tartine before experimenting with his own recipes for seven years. El Pan de la Chola (Avenida Mariscal de La Mar 918, Miraflores) specializes in breads made with local grains and Andean pseudocereals like quinoa and kiwicha, and his sourdough and focaccia with olive oil are the stuff of legend.