Those passengers arriving on an international flight will be met by the tour leader or a local representative and escorted to the group hotel. The drive to the hotel through Lima encapsulates the invigorating bustle of this city of extreme contrasts. Lima, the City of Kings, was once the capital of Spanish America, and the remnants of its glorious past can still be seen in the faded grandeur of the colonial churches and splendid, traditional wooden balconies in the city centre.
The explosive growth of the last 50 years, so typical of capital cities in the developing world, has transformed Lima into a lively and chaotic low-rise city. Away from the busy centre, there are some superb traditional restaurants as well as archaeological museums filled to the rafters with pre-Columbian treasures. In crowded streets, throngs of traffic race out towards Miraflores on the coast, a modern middle-class suburb where your hotel is located. There will be a walking tour of Lima's colonial centre or those wishing to get further afield there is the opportunity to continue south to the archaeological site of Pachacamac, built entirely from adobe and one of the largest sites that the Spanish found when they arrived in 1533.