Lima is the capital of Peru and its largest city.
Founded in 1535 by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro, the modern city is a curious mix of the modern mega city with some 'islands of modernity', large but orderly slum areas and colonial architecture in the city center. Lima was the seat of the Spanish rule during 300 years, and as such it has wonderful churches, cloisters and monasteries that are worth a visit.
Lima is also the best place to try the wonderful Peruvian cuisine, which has a huge variety of ingredients from coast, mountain and Amazon regions. The cold sea current in front of Peru's large coast makes the sea very rich in fish and seafood, which have a great taste due to the special plankton they eat. Fish and seafood restaurants are therefore worth the time, and not expensive.
Lima is built upon a valley surrounded by an extremely arid desert. In the summer, the weather is usually beautiful, very warm and sunny, sometimes with rains around January. In the winter, the city is overcast and rainy for days at a time. The rain in the wintertime doesn't fall hard, but it gets everything wet. Temperature also falls to around 7-12 C⁰ (45-55⁰ F), which seems chillier when combined with the general dampness.
Metropolitan Lima is a metropolis of almost 8.5 million people. Many of these people have migrated from the Andes mountains fleeing the internal conflict beginning in the 1980's to find work and refuge in Lima, some, without success. For this reason, there is widespread poverty in the city center and in the peripheral areas. If you fly into Lima, the first thing you see upon leaving the airport is mainly working-class, lower-middle class, neighborhoods between the airport and Lima's historic center.
Lima's pre-Hispanic and colonial architecture is beautiful and the city has several museums (such as Museo Larco) that tell the story of a country with a long history that produced a large number of coastal and Andean civilizations (such as the Moche, Chavin, and the Incas) and many local cultures. There are several archeological sites both within and around the city (locally known as huaca).
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.
Airlines and destinations
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.
If you are merely transiting through Lima, the airport has a separate hall for connecting international passengers, who need not pass through Peruvian immigration or customs, but will have to pass through a security checkpoint dedicated to screening connecting passengers before they can enter the secure area of the terminal where the international gates are located. Due to congestion, the airport often does not assign gates to flights until less than two hours before departure.
Bus to and from Miraflores
Airport to Miraflores: Get out of the airport and turn right on the main road. You will find the bus stop after the overhead bridge. The bus, IM-18, has a blue stripe; it is very new and big. It will say O. Miraflores on the side and it costs 2 Soles. It is a comfortable trip that takes around 1h30mins to two. You can get off at Av Jose Pardo, close to the Parque Central de Miraflores which is the main spot at the tourist area. No extra charge for backpacks or a small case but there is no dedicated luggage space. Be careful with your valuables at the bus stop.
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. Again, it is the IM-18, with "Faucett" written on the side (which is the avenue that gives access to the airport). The journey is comfortable and it takes about an hour to 1h30mins. Let the driver know that you are going to the airport and they will drop you off right across the street from the main entrance.
Official bus service of Lima airport
Lima Airport is located in Callao, one of the most dangerous districts in Lima. In order to stay safe, it is highly recommended to avoid using random taxi services and public transportation. Being the only official bus service of Lima airport, Airport Express Lima connects Lima Airport to Miraflores in a safe and easy way all year around. All buses are equipped with free Wi-Fi, USB cable ports, clean toilets and large baggage storage areas with no weight limit. It costs 25 soles, or $8 for a one way ticket. This price only make sense if you are traveling alone, since a taxi or Uber only cost 40 Soles to Miraflores directly to your hotel, saving you carrying your luggage from Parque Kennedy to your hotel/Airbnb.
Airport transit shuttles
A cheaper option than the official airport bus is Quick Llama  which charges 15 Soles ($5) to Miraflores. 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 aware 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 to chose from, it is safe and reliable and free to use, no charges or fee for using this online tool. Its best to use a Certified Ground Transportation supplier so you can always be on the safe side. The taxis when you leave the terminal are safer than the ones outside of the airport grounds. 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. Paying 40 S/. (the fair rate as of Dec 2019) will get you a taxi to Miraflores (not during rush hours) after some discussion probably, normal airport rate starts at 50-60. Getting to the airport with taxi can take 30-35 minutes or depending on traffic one hour and a half. Beware of the S/5 they may suddenly charge to exit the airport parking, make sure your offer includes this charge.
Also, Uber works in Lima along with Taxibeat and Easy Taxi which are similar apps but can often be cheaper than Uber. If you take an Uber outside the airport area, which is a 5 minute walk to go outside the gate (where the pedestrian bridge Puente Monark is on Google Map), you can save 10 soles, the same goes if you ask the Uber to drop you off there versus getting dropped inside the airport.
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.
Two new central Terminals at:
Most companies still maintain their own terminals in La Victoria, lined up along Paseo de la Republica, not Lima's nicest neighbourhood. Others are along the cross streets off of Paseo de la Republica (28 de Julio, Jaime Bauzate y Meza, Ave Mexico, Javier Prado Este, etc.), which are better. There you find some of the more reputable companies like Cruz del Sur, Linea, Movil Tours, CIAL, OLTURSA, Ormeño, TEPSA, and ITTSA. Avoid bus companies that allow travellers to get into the bus outside the official stations. They are normally badly managed and can be dangerous, due both to unsafe practices and/or to highway robberies, which are unfortunately not uncommon. This should be heeded especially by female travellers going on their own. There are many shoddy bus services in Peru.
There are scams going on in the buses between Ica and Lima (July 2013) where people put water on the floor so your bags get wet and then they tell you to put it on the shelf above you. Later on, they distract you while getting off and then steal your backpack. If someone puts water on the floor be very careful!
Peru Hop offers a safe option for making your way to/from Lima with stops along the way to appreciate the real beauty of Peru. With a variety of passes to choose from, all counting with an onboard bilingual guide to assist you, you will be glad to have discovered so many gems on the road to Lima. Best of all, Peru Hop will drop you off right at your hotel/hostel’s door in Lima.
Regular buses run up and down the Panamerican Highway and inland:
For information on national and international bus services, consult AndesTransit.
Companies and terminals
The below are some of the individual bus terminals in La Victoria or elsewhere:
If going further, a taxi ride between adjacent neighborhoods costs about S/6 soles(US$2), if you speak Spanish well enough. A longer ride may cost from S/9-21 (US$3-7). A reasonable price for a taxi service between the airport and Miraflores is about S/36 (US$12), but may cost more from within the airport. By custom, taxis do not have meters; rather, the fare should be negotiated before boarding the taxi, or, if you request one by phone, at booking time. If asking for a ride on the street, don't be fooled into getting into the cab before a rate is negotiated. Be very discerning about which taxi you choose, and avoid hailing random cabs off the street as much as possible.
Caution is advised in Lima, and the same goes for taxis. As a foreigner, do not ever get into shared taxis, and it might not hurt to look if there's someone hiding on the back seat or the trunk before entering.
Taking the taxi safely in Lima:
The taxi driver might take you to a different location where others are waiting and/or threaten you with a gun or knife. By the time you get to your hotel or hostel you will not have your passport, money, backpack or anything else for that matter. Even though most of the taxis in the center of the city are quite safe, be extra careful around the airport and especially the bus stations. Preferably take a taxi from a taxi company.
Rideshare Services Uber, Beat, InDriver, Cabify operates within Lima. Uber Pool is the cheapest option. They are easier for non-Spanish speakers and removes the chance of being overcharged.
Micro Buses or Combi Vans are small vans, small mini-buses, or larger full sized buses often packed full of people. You could stop them at any street corner. Lately however, the government has clamped down and insists that they only stop at defined "paraderos" (i.e., bus stops), at least in the more upscale parts of the city like Miraflores and San Isidro. In a combi you usually pay between S/0.50-1.20. You won't need to haggle over the fare. Beware of pickpockets.
There are also medium and large buses. They operate the same as the micro buses but tend to be a little slower and are safer.
On the side (and/or above the windscreen on the front) of every bus or van you will find written the names of the major avenues it travels along. The conductors generally lean out the door of the bus yelling the names of destinations. If you're unsure, ask the conductor. Again, beware of pickpockets. A good app for Android and iPhone to use is TuRuta, made specifically for Lima's intimidating bus systems . It also shows you how much each ride cost and the time needed. A more user friendly but with less bus options is Moovit. Lima's bus system is efficient and cheap once you understand it.
Metropolitano  is a rapid transport bus system. This bus system is modern with dedicated lanes and express routes, as well as wheelchair access. Buses are often crowded but express routes traverse the city quickly, even during rush hours. Rechargeable cards are used as tickets with a minimum purchase price of S/5. To enter the system costs S/2.50 soles, you may change buses within the main line of the system for free. You can also buy one card and share it, saving you having to buy a rechargeable card for each traveling member.
Metro de Lima Also known as Tren Eléctrico  Line 1 is fully functional, with passenger trains serving Villa el Salvador, Parque Industrial, María Auxiliadora, Jorge Chávez, Ayacucho, Angamos, San Borja Sur, Javier Prado, Arriola, Gamarra, Grau, El Angel, and Presbitero Maestro all the way to Bayovar in San Juan de Lurigancho in Lima's northeast. There is a flat fare of 1.50 soles, but an electronic card must be purchased first.
Line 1 – currently 26 stations through 11 districts
See Lima/Javier Prado East for more information.
Line 2 is under construction
Live Folklore shows
More information about tourism, the National Authotity 
For some reason it is very hard to change money other than Euros and US-Dollars in Lima. You can't even change the currency from neighbouring countries in normal money exchanges and banks. You might find more flexible exchange offices at airports, but they often charge ridiculous service fees and exchange-rates. Changing money in Miraflores can be done safely with cambistas on the street, but you must follow a few simple rules to avoid being cheated. First, make sure that the cambista is wearing the vest-uniform indicating that he or she is an authorized, licensed cambista. Always ask for the exchange rate ("tipo de cambio"). It is worth it to compare with several cambistas, especially if you are changing a significant amount of money. Some of them do tricks with their calculators in your face and you won't notice, so the best way to know how much you should be getting is to bring a calculator yourself or use the one in your cellphone. Finally, make sure that the bills the cambista gives you have his or her seal ("sello") stamped on them - that way, if by chance one of them turns out to be counterfeit you can come back and complain. I have never gotten counterfeit notes from a cambista, but asking for the seal probably helps maintain the incentive for honesty. Please also note changing 500 Euro notes into soles can be a challenge: not many banks or cambistas accept it (Aug 2015), so it's wise to bring cash in 100s or 200s at maximum.
As anywhere, your best bet is usually to simply draw money from an ATM. There are banks dotted all over Lima and some of them have guarded ATMs. Chances are your bank will charge you a fortune every time you withdraw money so it is better value to get as much as possible when making a withdrawal. Banco de Credito and Scotia ATM's generally allow withdrawals up to 700 soles. Interbank has been known to charge insane fees (around $18 for a $50 transaction). Banco de la Nación (MultiRed ATMS) doesn't charge any fees.
Withdrawal limits and commissions of local banks (for russian SberBank's visa electron card):
At the airport, the only ATM on the ground floor is Interbank, but if you go upstairs and turn right there are ATMs from the other banks, too. You can exit the airport and walk across the bridge to Banco de la Nación to withdraw money from your ATM card.
For most Canadian and American cards, there is a substantial withdrawal fee (between 14 and 18 soles per transaction) from all bank machines in Peru.
Fortunately, most of Lima business accept dollars.
If you are interested in purchasing Peruvian folk musical instruments, there are a number of stores selling charangos, quenas, antaras, etc. on Calle Cantuarias right near Astrid y Gastón. If you have the time, a number of these stores can help you find a teacher to learn how to play your purchase.
A limited section of cheap English books from prices of one sol can be found at the first stall on 964 Jiron Camana in the center. There are a large number of Spanish language book stalls in this area.
Gastronomy has always been, since the days of the Spanish vice royalty, an essential aspect of life in Lima. During the last few years, however, the city's dining reputation has experienced a huge leap in the eyes of the world due to the fact that experts gathered in the Fourth International Summit of Gastronomy Madrid Fusión 2006 and formally declared Lima to be the "Gastronomy Capital of the Americas". The offerings in Lima are nowadays most varied and cover a wide range of types and cuisines, both regional and international.
Despite the wide range of choice in Lima's many restaurants, ceviche is surely number one on the list of dishes you must get to know, not only because it happens to be the "Peruvian national dish", but because of its unparalelled delicious taste. With the increasing interest in the Peruvian cuisine, ceviche is quickly making its way onto tables all over the world. But if you want to enjoy the real thing, don't miss it during your stay here in ceviche's Mecca. There is at least one cevichería in every neighbourhood, so it won't be hard to find one. Moreover, most criollo restaurants include ceviche on their menus; indeed, many restaurants do, even the more upscale nouveau-cuisine.
Peruvian food tends to be heavy (not spicy). If you want spicy, soury sauce, ask for ají. Travelers longing for a delicious falafel or shwarma sandwich will be pleased to learn there is an excellent café along Parque Kennedy that serves these type of Middle Eastern foods at reasonable prices.
There is a heavy presence of Western fast-food chains such as KFC, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Domino's Pizza, McDonald's, Subway and Starbucks Coffee all over the city if you'd rather not try anything new to you. Places such as Chili's and Friday's are scarce, but can be easily found around Miraflores. Also, you shouldn't miss Peruvian-style hamburgers at Bembos or traditional Peruvian sandwiches in Pasquale if you want to give your everyday fast-food a local twist.
Lima is home to around 220,000 restaurants, cafés, juice bars and runs a program (Restaurante Saludable) to recognise clean and healthy restaurants. Only around 800 or 1.2% of venues have recieved this award, so keep your eyes open for the logo Restaurante Saludable.
See the Districts articles for more listings. San Borja is a relatively safe middle-class area, home to many businesses.
Miraflores, Barranco and San Isidro are some of the nicest and safest areas in the city. Although they sometimes come a bit pricier than the old city center and other parts, some budget accommodation options do exist.
If you witness a crime being committed, do not intervene unless you are really sure of what you are doing: many criminals, even pickpockets, carry guns, knifes, etc and may use them if feeling threatened. Although Lima has a reputation for being dangerous, you should be safe if you stick to busier areas where there are crowds of people, and stay away from areas that appear run-down, especially at night. Consider taking a taxi or an Uber to avoid walking through more dangerous areas.
In general, a tried and true technique for staying safe in Lima is to simply maintain a low profile. Leave the Rolex at home, don't wear the fine suit and don't carry a laptop when hailing taxis on the street, and keep a relaxed, friendly, smiling attitude. If you do need to go out dressed like a gringo, call a taxi rather than hire one in the moment - the few moments you wait and the few extra soles you pay will be worth it.
While there is not much violent crime against tourists, opportunistic theft is rampant. Watch out for pickpockets constantly. If you carry a purse, a camera, a backpack or just a pair of sunglasses hang on to them at all times. In crowded areas, put your back pack on your front and hold shopping close to you. Just keep your eyes open and be aware of people around you. In any case, if someone extremely friendly approaches (even wanting to shake your hand), just try not to talk that much, and they'll go away. It's normal to find polite people around trying to help tourists, but stay away from the extremely friendly ones.
Avoid the surroundings of Soccer / Football stadiums before and after big matches, since "barras bravas" (hooligans) can be very violent. Ask for advice if you plan to go there or thereabouts. Very infrequently, but occasionally, even in nicer tourist areas, gangs of youths, sometimes supporting rival football clubs, or strikers involved in a labor dispute may brawl. If you find yourself caught in the middle of such a confrontation, just try to move out of the way, preferably behind a closed door - these youths generally do not carry lethal weapons, and the worst that is likely to happen is that someone will get hit with a rock before the police arrive to break it up.
Districts of note
Some areas of Lima are safer than others: Miraflores and San Isidro have large populations of well-to-do and wealthy Peruvians, not to mention large tourist groups, so they have large police presence to protect the population. Other districts, such as La Victoria, are much more dangerous. Visitors would be well advised to stay out of these areas unless accompanied by an experienced native or visiting busy areas during daylight hours. Downtown Lima is normally well patrolled but be careful anyway. Callao (the port, technically a different city) is rather rough: ask for advice before going there if you plan to. The area around the airport is generally safe and well guarded but use common sense while lugging your luggage outside the airport.
Miraflores safety note: Beware of women approaching you asking if you can escort them home on a bus because they don't feel safe. They will take you out of Miraflores and into a dangerous district where you will be robbed. Tell them if they don't feel safe then ask a police officer for help, but do not take them home. They have no business at all asking a tourist, who doesn't know Lima, for help.
Staying safe for adults can also require an understanding of the sexual climate of Peru. In general Peru is a relatively conservative country in the sense of male and female roles, but at the same time Peruvians are extremely open to friendships with foreigners. Thus, some males can find themselves suddenly the object of flirtation by attractive young Peruvian women, but then be suddenly rejected for having violated some unwritten line of conduct in, say, discussion topics. Women can find themselves the object of unwanted looks and stares, but at the same time the risk of violence and rape is lower than in many other countries.
A problem that can arise is the Peruvian concept of the pepera, found at certain night clubs or pubs. Peperas are usually attractive women aged 16-25 that deliberately entice foreign tourists and then spike their drinks with sleeping pills and rob them once they're unconscious. Usually peperas work in groups of two, although smaller and larger groups exist as well. Male "peperos" also spike the drinks of women but robbery is often accompanied by rape. Peperas in general are found in dense tourist areas, such as Park Kennedy in Miraflores as well as the Plaza Mayor (former: Plaza de Armas) in central Lima. One locale in particular that is notorious for dangerous peperas is the Tequila Rock discoteca in Miraflores and its sister in Pueblo Libre (La Marina).
Another cultural concept worth learning is the "brichera" (or "brichero"). There are two types of bricheras: the first type are women that are genuinely looking to meet foreign men in the hopes of dating or marriage or even a quick fling. The second type are women that search for foreign men with the implicit purpose of exchanging sex for small gifts or money. This second type of brichera is risky, especially for foreigners lacking local sensibilities, since it involves prostitution. These bricheras do not use contraception reliably, and therefore pose a higher risk for transmitting STDs (Sexual Transmited Diseases). If you decide to have a fling, use a condom.
Another important point to be taken into consideration is that you should not pick up just any taxi, especially when you are leaving the airport. It is not strange to hear news that some taxi drivers cheated tourists (for example, going from the northeast point of the city to the southeast part would take you at most S/.50 soles and that is the largest distance in Lima so do not pay more than that) by charging them S/.100 or even S/.200 soles for normal rides (even though Peruvian taxi drivers normally tend to increase their fares in front of gringos, it is not a massive difference). It is most advisable to use one of the official taxi companies inside the airport (such as Green Taxi) with set fares to ensure your safety or you may use taxidatum.com, which is a large taxicab database where you can identify the driver, automobile and other relevant information before arriving to Lima, you can also book your taxicab service online with one reputable company and the taxicab driver will be waiting for you at your arrival, don't take any risk when choosing your taxicab service in Lima Perú.
Taxi drivers have also been known to participate in robberies, express kidnappings or serve as get away vehicles. While the overwhelming majority of Lima's taxistas are honest hard working people trying to make a living, you should be alert if you are going to hail a taxi on the street, especially if you appear to be wealthy and/or a foreigner. Your safest bet is to have your hotel call a taxi for you or keep the numbers of official taxi companies ("radio taxis", which are marked with registered numbers) handy. Lima's tourist information centers will be willing to call one for you as well.
Beware that although the green light is illuminated for pedestrians it is not necessarily safe to cross as cars may still turn right onto the pedestrian crossing, this can become very hazardous especially on wide junctions where you might be crossing six lanes, leaving you quite exposed in the middle of cars turning.
Cars regularly exceed city speed limits, some drivers are reckless, and especially on tight curves you may not see oncoming vehicles approaching at high speed.
Pedestrian crossings are painted in the style of a "zebra crossing" but pedestrians are expected to wait for a gap in the traffic. Most drivers have no intention to stop even when pedestrians are on the crossing.
Lane discipline is not adhered to. Many drivers switch lanes without looking.
Being the national capital, Lima hosts a large number of embassies. Many are clustered in San Isidro, Jesus Maria and Miraflores but they can be in the adjacent areas such as La Victoria or elsewhere. Some embassies are in a house located in a residential neighborhood and can be easy to miss while others are in bigger multi-story building along a busy road and easier to find.
If you are flying out of Lima internationally, the airport tax is US$31, US$7.40 for domestic flights. As of January 2011 this tax has been rolled into the purchase price of the tickets at this airport. Ensure you receive a sticker on the back of each ticket from the check-in counter to attest to this at the security checkpoint.
The surrounding residential towns of Lima in the foothills of the mountains offer spectacular views and are ideal day-trips from central Lima.
If you are flying to your next destination, you can take the "S" bus to the airport (ask at your hotel for the stops) or any micro bus that says "Faucett" on its side. The trip from Miraflores takes about an hour and costs 3 soles. Cabs are of course more convenient and much more expensive.
If you wish to take a long distance bus, see the Get In section above for bus companies, the various locations of their terminals and their destinations.
Some popular destinations from Lima are: