If you want to make a spare buck in Lima, buy a taxi sticker from the market for US$0.50, plop it on your windshield, and start picking up passengers. Understandably, the vast majority of taxis in Lima are unofficial and unregulated, and assaults on passengers picked up at the airport occur occasionally.
The best way to take a taxi is to call a registered company and pay an additional 30–50 percent. Recommended taxi companies include Taxi Lima (tel. 01/213-5050, daily 24 hours), Taxi Miraflores (tel. 01/446-4336, daily 24 hours), and Taxi Móvil (tel. 01/422-6890, San Isidro, daily 24 hours).
If you feel comfortable, and have a smidgen of Spanish, stand on the street until a safe-looking, registered taxi passes by. These should be painted yellow and have the taxi sign on the hood of the car and a registration sticker on the windshield.
Older taxi drivers tend to be safer than young ones. Of course, avoid old cars with tinted windows and broken door handles.
Bargain before you get in a taxi or you will get fleeced.
Fares from the airport to Miraflores should be US$15–20, airport–center about US$15, Miraflores–center about US$6, and Miraflores–Barranco about US$4. Prices go up during rush hour and at night. Taxis can also be rented by the hour for US$12 (registered taxi) or US$8 (street taxi).
Bus and Colectivo
Buses and colectivos, or minibuses, are an interesting, economical way to travel around Lima. Bus fares are US$0.50 on weekdays and a fraction more on Sundays. Colectivos cost US$0.70 on weekdays and US$0.80 on Sundays. You can tell where buses and combis are going by the sticker on the front windshield (not by what’s painted on the side). There are also slightly more expensive colectivo cars, which can take up to five passengers and are a bit faster than the van-style colectivos, which in turn are faster than buses. To get off a bus or colectivo simply say “baja” (“getting off”) or “esquina” (“at the corner”). Have your change ready, as money is collected right before you get off.
To reach Miraflores from the center, head to Garcilaso de la Vega (formerly Wilson) and take one of the buses or colectivos marked Miraflores or Todo Arequipa, which go all the way to Parque Kennedy. To reach Barranco, take a bus marked Barranco/Chorrillos from the same place. Or head to Miraflores and change buses there.
From Miraflores, most buses and colectivos can be taken from Larco along Parque Kennedy. To reach central Lima, take the bus marked Tacna/Wilson and ask to be dropped off at the central street of Ica or Callao. To reach Barranco, take the bus marked Barranco/Chorrillos, and the airport is Faucett/Aeropuerto. However, buses for the airport aren’t very reliable and at times only come within five blocks of the airport. Take a taxi and keep your luggage safe.
The major rental car agencies are Hertz (Salaverry 2599, San Isidro, tel. 01/421-0282, airport tel. 01/517-2402, www.hertz.com.pe, 24 hours), Budget (Larco 998, Miraflores, tel. 01/444-4546, airport tel. 01/517-1880, www.budgetperu.com), and Avis (Grimaldo del Solar 236, Miraflores, tel. 01/446-3156, www.avisperu.com). There are many more options under Automóviles-alquiler in the yellow pages.
Private drivers can also be hired for the hour, day, or for a trip like the Nasca Lines. Many travelers who are only in Lima for a single day would greatly benefit from a driver who recommends museums and restaurants and then drops them off at the airport in the evening. A highly recommended driver is José Salinas Casanova (tel. 01/9329-2614, casanovacab [at] hotmail [dot] com, US$7/hr) based out of the Hotel Antigua Miraflores. Miguel Vásquez Díaz (Carlos Izaguirre 1353, central Lima, tel. 01/9809-2321, sumisein [at] latinmail [dot] com) and English-speaking Mónica Velasquez (tel. 01/9943-0796 or 01/224-8608, www.monicatourism.da.ru) are also recommended. Fidel Loayza Paredes (tel. 01/533-1609, armandoloayza280671 [at] hotmail [dot] com) does not speak English but is trustworthy.
© Ross Wehner and Renée del Gaudio from Moon Peru, 3rd Edition