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Metropolitano The new trans-Lima electric express bus system, El Metropolitano (www.metropolitano.com.pe), is the fastest and most efficient way to get into the city center. Routes are few, though coverage is expanding to the northern part of the city. Ruta Troncal (S2.50) goes through Barranco, Miraflores and San Isidro to Plaza Grau in the center of Lima. Users must purchase a tarjeta intelligente (cards S4.50) that can be credited for use.

Bus Otherwise, traffic-clogging caravans of minivans hurtle down the avenues with a cobrador (ticket taker) hanging out the door and shouting out the stops. Go by the destination placards taped to the windshield. Your best bet is to know the nearest major intersection or landmark close to your stop (eg Parque Kennedy) and tell that to the cobrador – he’ll let you know whether you’ve got the right bus. Combis are generally slow and crowded, but startlingly cheap: fares run from S1 to S3, depending on the length of your journey.

Bus routes The most useful routes link Central Lima with Miraflores along Av Arequipa or Paseo de la República. Minibuses along Garcilaso de la Vega (also called Av Wilson) and Av Arequipa are labeled ‘Todo Arequipa’ or ‘Larco/Schell/Miraflores’ when heading to Miraflores and, likewise, ‘Todo Arequipa’ and ‘Wilson/Tacna’ when leaving Miraflores for Central Lima. Catch these buses along Av José Larco or Av Arequipa in Miraflores. To get to Barranco, look for buses along Av Arequipa labeled ‘Chorrillos/Huaylas/Metro’ (some will also have signs that say ‘Barranco’). You can also find these on the Diagonal, just west of the Parque Kennedy, in Miraflores.

Lay of the Land

With over 30 municipalities, Lima’s historic heart is Lima Centro (Central Lima). Av Arequipa, one of the city’s principal thoroughfares, plunges southeast toward well-to-do San Isidro, the contemporary seaside neighborhood of Miraflores, and Barranco to the south.

The principal bus routes connecting Central Lima with San Isidro and Miraflores run along broad avenues such as Tacna, Garcilaso de la Vega and Av Arequipa. These neighborhoods are also connected by the short highway Paseo de la República or Vía Expresa, known informally as el zanjón (the ditch).