LIMA , Peru (AP) — While Lima's elite passes its summer weekends in gated beach enclaves south of the Peruvian capital, the working class jams by the thousands on a single municipal beach of grayish-brown sands and gentle waves.
The only barrier to entry to Agua Dulce beach is two dollars, the price of bus fare to and from the beach some 12 miles (20 kilometers) south of the city center.
"There are Sundays when it's just packed to the gills," says Carlos Vergara, a portrait photographer who has been working Lima's beaches for 50 years.
Until the mid-20th century, Lima's lower classes couldn't afford beach-going, said Juan Pacheco, a historian of the city. Road-building to the coast solved that, and the rich began to largely abandon Lima's beaches to the poorer set.
On some weekends during the Southern Hemisphere summer, which runs from December until March, as many as 40,000 people a day visit the half-mile-long (kilometer-long) strip of Agua Dulce. Beachgoers arrive in groups of 20-30, hauling enormous pots of fragrant chicken and rice.