LIMA – While most foreign visitors to Peru’s capital stick to the historic city center, luxury malls and fashionable eateries, some are grabbing the chance to immerse themselves in Lima’s poorest district.
The “Shanty Town Tour” brings visitors to Villa El Salvador, where they can shop in local markets and climb the steep, narrow staircases of its overpopulated hills.
The chaotic urban landscape is the product of 50 years of mass migration to Lima by Andean peasants in search of economic opportunity.
For $45, clients of the Shanty Town Tour get a three-hour-long excursion through a district where up to 48 percent of the population lives on less than 303 soles ($90) a month, according to Peru’s National Institute of Statistics.
The Shanty Town Tour can be described as an “anthropological experience” because it allows tourists to “meet people in their real environment,” according to Edwin Rojas, head of Haku Tours, which offers the excursion to Villa El Salvador.
“I want to show the real Peru and residents liked the idea from the beginning,” he told EFE.
Rojas said he has used money generated by the tour to help build three community kitchens and two day-care centers in Villa El Salvador.