are car rental services in Lima. The rates can range to $50 to $80 for
a day. Using a taxi service may be an alternative. Most all rental vehicles
are standard or manual transmission. Driving in Lima would require good
driving skills to watch out for other drivers who make their own lanes
at congested intersections, where space allows between vehicles. It
would be best to study a street map to know your route ahead of time
as there are many streets (mostly secondary) that are one way but unmarked
as such. There are traffic lights at intersections or more common are
the police officers who direct traffic at rush hour. Of course, using
the seatbelt, and keeping windows closed and doors locked will increase
your chances for a uneventful journey. You can find more about these
rental services on the internet, such as Hertz.
Peruvian driver habits can be orderly when it comes to traffic lights,
however the best advice is to allow plenty of space between vehicles
while driving or in passing zones, and be prepared by thinking ahead
of the other driver. On main arteries and connecting side streets, there
will be morning and afternoon rush hour traffic, Av. Javier Prado, Av.
La Marina, Av. Faucett, Av. Canada and the Via Expresa are those having
the most volume during these hours, and during the day. Busy intersections
may have traffic police directing the flow. Busy streets, with unmarked
lanes, will have drivers making their own lanes if there is space between
vehicles. Be patient, and pull over to let vehicles pass if you are
driving slower than traffic or unsure of where you are going. Most importantly,
be alert and allow plenty of space when combi's are closeby. Drivers
of combis compete for passengers and while mostly pass vehicles then
move to the right side of the road to pick up or drop off riders.
Bus or Combi
Throughout the city, there is a large volume of buses, micros (mini-bus)
or minivans "combi's" which are all people movers. A typical
combi is pictured here. There are signs or shelters marking a designated
stop, called "paradero" (pah-dah-dare-do) These vehicles stop
along the road or at intersections to pick up passengers that wave to
them. They have markings or signs indicating the places they go, streets
that their route follows, or streets that they cross over. As you see
one approaching, try to look for a familiar name on a sign, close to
where you'd like to go. Also, try to notice if the vehicle is crowded
with people, as many are. Wave to the combi when you see it coming,
they'll pull over. If one stops, tell
the attendant where you'd like to go, or all
you need to do is ask the driver or assistant if they pass by your street
or its nearest intersection- example "Pasa por Larco y Arequipa?"
The answer will be Si or No, or they'll tell you how close they get
to it. They might say "cruce" (or cru-sa) which means "crosses"
the street you asked about. If you board, you can ask the assistant
or driver to tell you when they come to your stop, by simply saying
"Me avisa" (advise me), after you tell them the block ("cuadra")
and avenida or intersection. When you see your stop approaching, beforehand,
stand up and move towards the door, and say "baja" (ba-ha)
which means you'd like to get off.
The fare of a bus or combi may be s/.1 sol if traveling relatively close,
within the same district. Or the fare could be s/.2 soles if traveling
from one side of the city to another. If you are not sure of
the cost per person, normally they will give you change, for example
if you have a 2 soles or 5 soles coin. This is good when in doubt of
the combi charge, giving a 2 or 5 soles coin will cover the fee and
they will give you the change without having to know spanish. There
are times when the attendant might overcharge a little, but we find
that if it happens that little amount is worth the convenience.
This method of transport will take up more of your time, twice as much
travel time than a taxi would. Combi's work to get every passenger than
can. The large buses are not as competitive, and do seem to progress
more consistently, although the smaller combi's can manuever better
on a combi will put yourself among the residents of Lima and their culture.
You can meet all kinds of people. It is best to sit along the aisle
for easier exit or stand and hold the railing above. If crowded it could
be better to stand, than to be sitting too close to someone you do not
know, based on your impression. If you see that the vehicle is close
to being filled with passengers, it may be best to wait for the following
combi's driving the same route. They normally pass frequently, possibly
every 15 to 20 minutes, more or less.
Traveling to destinations outside of Lima can be done comfortably via
bus lines such as Cruz Del Sur or Ormeno. These are luxury style motorcoaches
with two levels, a vip section, bathrooms, televisions, climate-control,
and attendants with meal service! They depart from their stations in
Lima. Check their websites for itinerary and tariffs.
Using taxi transport in Lima is an economical and convenient way to
get around the city. First, if you booked your lodging before arrival,
check to see if airport pick up is included with your stay. Many times
the hotel or hostal offers a free or discounted shuttle service.
The first encounter you would have with taxi drivers is at the airport.
After passing towards the exit, there will be a group of taxi drivers
asking if you need transportation. These are so-called "official
taxis" that overcharge unknowing tourists. They are not all trustworthy,
and not employees nor contracted agents of the airport. Simply signal
"no" by shaking your head or by waving your index finger.
Don't be afraid if asked; be insistent. Once outside the building, there
are two lanes for autos. Cross over the first lane, to the second lane
where incoming taxis stop to let off passengers. There you can flag
one down to inquire or negotiate a price for where you'd like to go
(more on that below). There are taxi services that use a white color
car, mainly of a small station wagon style. These may be more comfortable,
and perhaps safer, than the small yellow taxis which are an Asian model
called "Tico." These drivers are many times waved through
by airport security to encourage you to use the "official taxis"
who pay the a fee to be "official."
taxis would have a raised "taxi" sign-bubble on the roof.
Private taxi drivers, which use their own auto when they see fit, might
only have a sign on the windshield. If you are new to Lima, it
may be better to advise using a white or yellow taxi. Independent taxis
are better left for the locals. At any rate, it is advised
to always sit in the back seat, as opposed to next to the driver in
the front. And, keep the windows up and doors locked, as there will
be times when the car is stopped at intersections with much foot traffic...better
safe than sorry, as always.
Much To Pay?
DO NOT GET INTO A TAXI UNTIL YOU KNOW THE PRICE !! Prices are not fixed
and they do not use meters. Call-ahead taxi services will tell you their
fare upfront. This is a question that depends on the distance, urgency
and time of day. If you are in a hurry, or late at night, it might be
just as well to not attempt to negotiate more than once. Also, if you
need to travel to the other side of the city, you might not find a taxi
that would want to travel that far, if it is late in the day. These
example circumstances will warrant a higher fare. These "official
taxi drivers" will charge a fee of US$20 or more to or from the
airport (and other drivers try to charge the same), especially to/from
Miraflores where most foreigners stay. If you leave the airport terminal
and inquire with a taxi that has just left off a passenger, the driver
will offer a fare to take you to your destination OR he will ask you
how much you would like to pay. It would be helpful for you to ask workers
in the airport for an idea of a reasonable taxi fare to your destination.
To Miraflores, a reasonable fare may be approximately s/. 25 Soles (about
You can ask the driver-
How much would you charge to go to Miraflores? "Cuanto cobra para
ir a Miraflores?"
The driver may ask you- How much would you like to pay? "Cuanto
quisiera pagar?" or "Cuanto pagaria?"
To respond, you may offer an amount, depending on your timing. Example,
twenty soles "veinte soles." Then he will say Ok "esta
bien" or he will ask for a higher amount. Then, you can continue
negotiating or accept his counter-offer. It really is a simple process.
At times there may be traffic or other taxis watching and waiting behind
him, in case you are not satisfied and would like to ask another driver.
in Miraflores or other district, the fares to addresses within that
district are relatively low. A 2009 taxi fare from one side of a district
to another may be s/.4 soles (s/.3 to 5 range), for example. Traveling
outside of the district will see a higher fare, such as into an adjoining
district for about s/.8 or so. Taxi fare from Miraflores to La Molina
may be s/.14 approximately. Taxis can also be available for hourly or
daily rental, which is good for multiple stops.
You do not need to give a tip, unless the driver carries your heavy
luggage, or gives other "extra" assistance. A tipcould be
a few extra soles or more, if the assistance warrants.
precautions you should keep in mind are similar to using cabs in other
aware if the driver wants to charge an amount that seems very cheap.
Better, to look for another.
small bills (currency, ie. $1 and $5, less of $10's) with you, at least
for your initial arrival. It is easier to pay or make change with small
currency amounts, or you will have to look for places to make change,
which can be very inconvenient.
entering, make sure the cab is available without other occupants inside
nor in the back area behind the seat, or do not get in.
the safety of the passengers, from accident or theft, sit in the back,
not in the front.
your items at hand, if possible.
-A common problem in using taxis is when passengers exit without all
their belongings or the driver intentionally takes
off with your items, which has happened with the airport's "official
taxis." It is a new environment and you may be tired from the trip.
Stay alert when exiting, and keep your fingers on your bags. A good
rule to remember when you have luggage in the trunk of the cab is to
wait for the driver to exit the taxi first, upon arriving at the destination.
That way there is less chance of forgetting or for the driver to leave
with your luggage in the trunk.
to have a general idea of the routes you might take. The common route
is via Avenida La Marina, to travel between the airport and Miraflores
area of the city. If the driver wants to go through another direction
or area of the city, stop and look for another taxi.
-Please, enjoy the ride. The large majority of taxi drivers are friendly
and like to talk, although most only know spanish. Like most all people
of Peru, the drivers like to give advice or answer your questions. Most
taxis are available to call for future trips that you may need, or tours.
On-Call Taxi Service-
an example, here is one such taxi-dispatch service available in Lima.
This is provided only for convenience to the reader. There is no knowledge
as to any negative or positive comments of this service. Their website
appears to be thorough and professional.
RadioTaxi - an on-call taxi service. They sell a prepaid fare card (prepagado)
that gives a 5% discount on fares. They offer a callback service, via
an online form. Telf. 223-6831. They say it is best to call in advance
to arrange a taxi. The dispatcher then contacts the driver.
Address: Av. Jr. Ismael Bielich 705, Of. 501, Santiago de Surco, Lima