Ins and outs

Getting there

All
international flights
land at Jorge Chávez Airport, some 16 km from the centre of the city. It is a little further to Miraflores and Barranco. Transport into town is easy if a bit expensive. Remise taxis have desks outside International Arrivals and National Arrivals:
Taxi Green
, www.taxigreen.com
,
Mitsui
, and
CMV
. There are many taxi drivers offering their services outside Arrivals with similar or higher prices (more at night). The
Bus Super Shuttle
, www.supershuttle airport.com
, runs from the airport to San Miguel and the centre, San Isidro, Miraflores and Barranco. To get to Miraflores by combi, take the 'Callao-Ate' with a big red 'S' ('La S'), the only direct connection between the airport and Miraflores. Catch it outside the airport, on Avenida Faucett. From downtown Lima go
to the junction of Alfonso Ugarte and Avenida Venezuela where many combis take the route "Todo aeropuerto-Avenida Faucett". At busy times (which is anytime other than very late at night or early in the morning) luggage may not be allowed on buses.

Note

Do not take the cheapest, stopping buses to the centre along Avenida Faucett. They are frequently robbed. Pay more for a non-stop bus. If you are feeling confident and not too jet-lagged, go to the car park exit and find a taxi outside the perimeter, by the roundabout. The security guards may help you find a taxi.

If arriving in Lima by
bus
from the north and heading for the airport, you do not need to go into the centre: ask to be let out at 'Fiori' (look for the sign on top of a building on the left-hand side of the highway). This is by the junction of the Panamericana and Avenida Tomás Valle, which leads almost to Jorge Chávez. Take a taxi from Fiori.

If staying in Lima after arriving by
bus
, it is likely you'll pull into the main terminal at Jirón Carlos Zavala, just south of the historic centre of Lima. Take a taxi to your hotel even if it's close, as this area is not safe day or night. Some of the high-class bus companies have terminals in safer areas.

Getting around

Downtown Lima can be explored on foot in the daytime, but take all the usual precautions. The central hotels are fairly close to the many of the tourist sites. At night taxis are a safer option. Many of the better hotels and restaurants are located in Miraflores and neighbouring San Isidro.

The Lima public transport system, at first glance very intimidating, is actually quite good. There are three different types of vehicle that will stop whenever flagged down: buses, combis, and
colectivos
. They can be distinguished by size; big and long, mid-size and mini-vans or cars, respectively. Always try to pay with change to avoid hassles, delays and dirty looks from the
cobrador
(driver's assistant). Routes on any public transport vehicle are posted on windscreens or written on the side.

Best time to visit

Only 12° south of the equator, you would expect a tropical climate, but Lima has two distinct seasons. The winter is from May-November, when a damp
garúa
(sea mist) hangs over the city, making everything look greyer than it is already. It is damp and cold, 8° to 15°C. The sun breaks through around November and temperatures rise as high as 30°C. Note that the temperature in the coastal suburbs is lower than in the centre because of the sea's influence. You should protect yourself against the sun's rays when visiting the beaches around Lima, or elsewhere in Peru.

Tourist information

iperú
has offices at
Jorge Chávez International Airport
; at
Casa Basadre
; and at
Larcomar shopping centre
. Ask for the helpful, free
Peru Guide
, published in English by Lima Editora, available at travel agencies or other tourist organizations.

South American Explorers
, see www.saexplorers.org. SAE is a non-profit educational organization that functions as a travel resource centre for South America and is widely recognized as the best place to get the most up-to-date information regarding everything from travel advice to volunteer opportunities. Services include access to member-written trip reports, a full map room for reference, an extensive library in English and a book exchange. Members can store luggage as well as valuables in their very secure deposit space. SAE sells official maps from the
Instituto Geográfico Nacional
, SAE-produced trekking maps, used equipment and a wide variety of Peruvian crafts. They host regular presentations on various topics ranging from jungle trips to freedom of the press. Discounts are available for students, volunteers and nationals. If you're looking to study Spanish in Peru, hoping to travel down the Amazon or in search of a quality Inca Trail tour company, they have the information you'll need to make it happen.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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