After only 3 days in Lima, it is clear that it is very different from Cusco. First of all, Lima is much, much bigger and more crowded (obviously). Lima is a true city, full of huge buildings and bustling with activity even at night. Cusco, though still a busy little town, has a much smaller, more personal feel. I felt pretty safe wandering Cusco on foot, but I don’t think I would do the same in Lima—it doesn’t feel quite as safe and it’s so enormous that traveling on foot is not practical all the time.
The architecture of the two cities differs as well. Cusco is modern, yet retains remnants of both Inca history and Spanish colonial history. There are still walls built by the Incas, which have been incorporated into regular buildings. Many of the buildings have those cute red tile roofs, white walls and wooden balconies that are the hallmark of Spanish colonial style. The buildings are not very tall, so the mountains are visible all the time. However, in Lima, no Incan architecture is visible (at least that I’ve seen so far). Rather, a lot of the buildings look European—they’re colorful and frilly. The tour guide yesterday said that people often paint houses and buildings in Lima bright colors in order to stand out against the perpetually grey/white sky.
The types of people in the two cities differs as well. Lima seems to have a more modern, international crowd. I’ve only seen one or two women in traditional dress in Lima, but in Cusco they were everywhere. The clothing style in Lima seems more like the style in the States. It’s also really clear that the people here are wealthier. There are more luxury cars, like Mercedes. The mall at Larcomar was also pretty boujee, with a Hugo Boss store and other luxury brands. It would have been hard to find these items in Cusco.