Lima Basics

I hated Lima when I first visited in 2009. I gave it a second chance in 2014 and I’m happy I did. It has improved dramatically since my first visit. It’s easier to get around, there are better restaurant choices, and it was much safer the second time around. What a difference a few years makes!

Plaza Mayor in Lima, Peru

Plaza Mayor

Lima is served by Jorge Chávez International Airport. You can fly directly to and from many cities in North and South America and a few in Europe. A taxi from the airport to the Miraflores district should cost no more than S/50. Make sure you negotiate and set the price with the driver before leaving the airport. Legitimate drivers will be inside the arrival lounge and wearing ID tags around their neck.

Getting around Lima has been made much easier with the new bus system with a dedicated lane called the Metropolitano. It’s very quick and easy to get from districts like Miraflores and Barranco to the historic city center. You can buy a card from the station and refill it as necessary. The cost of the card is S/4.50 and each ride is S/2.

Plaza Mayor in Lima, Peru

Plaza Mayor

Although security has improved dramatically, Lima is still not the safest city to visit. You should be fine in areas like Plaza Mayor or Miraflores where there are many tourists, but you should be extra cautious in other areas. On my first visit in 2009, I was warned about visiting some areas alone. In 2014, the only warning I was given was to hide my camera away from the touristy areas. Things are much better, but it’s not worth taking chances.

Watch out for money changing scams. I was ripped off when I got change for a S/50 note and was given counterfeit bills. Be careful who you buy things from off the street.

For hotels, upscale Miraflores is probably the best place to stay. On my first visit, I stayed at Hotel La Castellana. It was a very nice hotel with comfortable rooms and a short walk from the center of Miraflores.

Hotel La Castellana in Miraflores, Lima, Peru

Hotel La Castellana

On my second visit, I stayed at B&B Miraflores Wasi. It was basic but comfortable with a nice breakfast. It is very near Huaca Pucllana and about a ten minute walk to central Miraflores. The staff seemed a bit cold and they charged me for my first night even though I emailed them ahead of time to tell them my flight was cancelled and wasn’t going to make it until the following night. I wasn’t happy about that, but I can understand that’s their policy.

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