The well-established cliché is to call Lima a city of contradictions, but it’s difficult to get beyond that description. Here you’ll encounter grinding poverty and conspicuous wealth in abundance. The hardships of the poor in this sprawling metropolis of 8.2 million inhabitants are all too evident in the lives of those struggling to get by in the crowded streets and frantic bus lanes.
The rubbish-strewn districts between airport and city and, even more so, the shanty towns on the outskirts emphasize the vast divisions within society. Most visitors, though, have the option of heading for Miraflores, San Isidro or Barranco, where smart restaurants and elegant hotels rub shoulders with pre-Inca pyramids, and neat parks and the cliff-top Larcomar shopping centre overlook the ocean.