Lima is the capital and the largest city in Peru. It is situated in a valley fed by the Rimac river, in the desert coast of the country near its Pacific port of Callao. It has a total population of 7 605 742 hab. (2007 estimate), approximately one-third of which lives in the shanty town settlements around the city. The city is divided into 43 districts, which constitute the Lima Metropolitana (metropolitan Lima) area.
It has a very humid climate, with a mild summer (temperature rarely goes above 31° celsius), a humid but mild winter (temperature never below 13°, but with 100% humidity) and no rain worth mentioning. As a result, the sky is almost always overcast, and it is only in summer that the sky clears.
How to go
Jorge Chavez International Airport (IATA: LIM, ICAO: SPIM) (also called Jorge Chavez Airport Lima-Callao). Flight Information – ☎ +51 1 511-6055, is in the harbour city Callao and within metropolitan Lima.
The airport is well connected with most cities in South America. There are regular flights to Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, Los Angeles, Newark, New York, Atlanta, Houston, and Dallas in the US. There are daily flights from Amsterdam, Madrid, Paris, Miami, Bogotá, Medellín, Quito, Santiago de Chile and Toronto.
Lima is the hub for many regional domestic flights and is served by LAN Peru, LC Busre, TACA Peru, and Star Peru.
Arrival at the airport can be chaotic. Most flights from overseas arrive in clumps either early in the morning or very late at night, which means that getting through immigration and customs can be tremendously time consuming; the difference between arrival at the gate and exiting customs can range from 20-90 min.
The area immediately outside of customs is typically crowded, full of people waiting for arriving passengers. It’s not uncommon for entire families to show up to greet a returning family member and the crowd is further swelled by pre-booked car and taxi service drivers holding up signs with passengers’ names; in recent years, a large area where passengers can stand freely and scan the crowd to look for people and not be accosted has been cordoned off in front of customs exit.
Bus Miraflores to the Airport
Airport to Miraflores: Get out of the airport at your right, after the walking bridge, there is a bus stop. The bus has a blue stripe, it is very new and big. It says Miraflores on the side and it costs 1 sole. It is a comfortable trip that takes around 1h30min. You can get off at Av Jose Pardo, close to the Parque Central de Miraflores which is the main spot at the tourist area. Nobody charged anything extra for the backpacks.
Miraflores to Airport: You can get the bus at Av Jose Pardo close to the crossing with Av Grau. There are designated stops called Paradero. The bus is big with a blue stripe e it looks very new and it says, among other words, Faucett on the side (which is the avenue that gives access to the airport) . The journey is comfortable and not very crowded and it took around 1h30min. It costs 1 sole and nothing extra for the backpacks. Tell the driver that you are going to the airport and you can get off right across the street from the main entrance.
Airport transit shuttles
The airport is a 20-40 min drive from San Isidro or Miraflores. Some hostels and hotels offer free airport pickup; check with your hotel regarding this service. Don’t worry about standing outside the airport alone for this; it’s well-lit at night and security guards are prevalent.
Be wary of the taxi drivers at the airport: if you need transportation at the airport you should avoid using the informal taxis outside of it that will accost you, and either hire it inside the customs reception area. Currently there are Green Taxi, CMV, and Mitsui Taxi Remisse, pay a premium to get a ride with them, or book taxi service ahead of time online with a reputable company where you can book your taxicab service online, you will have plenty taxicab companies and its members you chose from, it is safe and reliable and the best of all it is free to use, no charges or fee for using this great online tool. Its best to use a Certified Ground Transportation supplier so you can always be on the safe side. That being said, once you leave the grounds of the airport things get much cheaper rather rapidly and a trip to Miraflores shouldn’t cost you any more than S/.25 soles but it is obviously not as safe and secure.
Express airport bus
There is also an Express bus to Centro and Miraflores leaving from the Arrival hall; ask at the airport information desk.
Car rental is available at the airport via Avis, Budget, Dollar, Hertz, and National, but unless you have experience driving in extremely challenging environments you should avoid driving yourself in Lima. If you’re set on driving yourself, take cabs for a day or so and see what navigating Lima traffic is like before making that decision.
Hostels in Lima
All pictures by the author
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