Many people go to Peru primarily to visit Macchu Picchu. Lima, its capital, has thus become just an entry point for most everyone’s coveted dream of setting foot on this wonder of the world. Perhaps not a fair assessment of what Lima can offer. But what’s going for it is how many of us visitors have very few expectations of this Peruvian capital. In fact, I’d dare say many of such expectations dwell on Lima’s gastronomic delights. After all, Peruvian cuisine has attracted global interest and many of its restaurants rank among the best. But that should not take away the charm off Lima’s unique attractions.

The capital has a very charming plaza with an ancient fountain, cathedral and monastery. After having your fill of archaelogical sites, fortresses and temples, it is refreshing to feel the ocean breeze as one walks along the promenade facing the Pacific.

For sure, you can’t miss that most erotic monument to “The Kiss” — strategically situated along the coastal park while paragliders hover above it.

Peruvians are proud of Lima’s major scenic attraction: the Pacific. If your first agenda is to try their cebiche and roasted or fried cuy (guinea pig) , you can check out the bistros lining the promenade serving these Peruvian delicacies. And if you’re there on a happy hour, go ahead and take sips of the Pisco Sour before checking out the core of the city: the Plaza Mayor or Plaza de las Armas.

In 1535, Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro “founded” Lima and created this beautiful square with all the important buildings around it. One can only imagine all kinds of Peruvian festivities and entertainment being held here. It does have its dark history as well, having stood as venue for public executions relating to the Spanish Inquisition. In the past, the same square was also used as arena for bullfights or corrida. Seeing those ladies in tiered skirts and bow hats sitting on benches or just strolling around the square add charm to the place.

The market in Lima gave us our first taste of the many, exotic fruits of Peru. I’m a big fan of chirimoya and I was eager to have more than a slice of it. The papayas were very sweet and there were many other fruits whose names I can’t recall now. If only for these fruits and the local vibe of mercados, one shouldn’t miss a visit to the market.

Many visitors will spend 2 nights in this capital, just before and right after flights to and from Cusco. That’s alright. You can take in the square, the oceanside promenade, the Nikkei restaurants, a couple of museos or monasterios in those 2 days. Lima may be underrated, even ignored, but it is certainly a good break after your Incan adventures.