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The 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 (smart card; S4.50) that can be credited for use.

Alternatively, traffic-clogging caravans of minivans hurtle down the avenues with a cobrador (ticket taker) hanging out the door and shouting out the stops. Look for 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 – they’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.

The most useful bus 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 Parque Kennedy, in Miraflores.

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).