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Getting Around Lima


  Auto Rental
More Info Here
  Bus or Combi
More Info Here
More Info Here
More Info Here



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Mobility- Getting around

By Auto Rental

There 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.


By 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 in traffic.

Traveling 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.

By Motorcoach

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.


By Taxi

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."

All 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.

How 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 US$9).

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.

Once 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.

The precautions you should keep in mind are similar to using cabs in other major cities:

-Be aware if the driver wants to charge an amount that seems very cheap. Better, to look for another.

-Take 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.

-Before entering, make sure the cab is available without other occupants inside nor in the back area behind the seat, or do not get in.

-For the safety of the passengers, from accident or theft, sit in the back, not in the front.

-Keep 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.

-Try 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-

As 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

Life is an adventure, so too is travel.
Get out there and live!


Copyright 2009 - 2015 All Rights Reserved

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