Getting Around Lima
The best way to get around Lima is on foot. To a first-timer, getting around Lima can be a little complicated. Not only is Lima the name of the city, but also the name of a district within the city, as well as the name of the region surrounding the city and the larger Peruvian province in which the city and district lies.
If you're exploring the Historic Center or strolling the Malécon in Miraflores, you'll be fine on foot. There are a few transit options for traversing districts; the best one depends on how far you're going. Taxis are readily available, but you'll want to stick to prearranged rides (most hotels can call one for you) because street taxis are unregulated. The city also has multiple options for public transportation, but make sure to familiarize yourself with your route or carry a map along. You should avoid renting a car, as Limeños will tell you that it's a hassle to drive in the chaotic city.
You'll arrive in Lima at Jorge Chávez International Airport (LIM), which is located about 7 miles northwest of the city center. The easiest way to reach your accommodations is through a taxi service (you'll find a list of licensed taxis on the airport's website) or via the Airport Express, the official airport shuttle, which you can reserve in advance. If you're continuing your Peruvian journey to Cusco in route to the famous Machu Picchu ruins, it's smart to book the connecting flight or bus months in advance as these routes tend to sell out during the Peruvian summer (December to April).
You can walk around the central (Lima) district to soak up the sights or spend the day strolling Miraflores, where most tourists and travelers base themselves. There are plenty of public plazas and squares to rest in along the way. Just make sure to bring along plenty of water and comfortable shoes. Also, there aren't any official crosswalk laws so look both ways before crossing the street.
Taxis are a good way to explore more of Lima's popular districts, but travelers should be cautious when choosing a cab. Taxis are unregulated in Lima, so it's best to have your hotel arrange one for you – especially at night – even though you'll pay a little more to do so. If you do hail a taxi on the street, make sure to agree on a price before you get in the vehicle.
Lima has an extensive bus system and a metro. The metro is easy to navigate but only offers one line that mainly services more inland districts of the city. Bus service, however, is much more widespread. The city offers a rapid transit bus system called Metropolitano that provides an efficient way to travel from one district to another because it uses private lanes to bypass Lima traffic. It's a good idea to familiarize yourself with the main street near your desired destination before boarding since most buses have the main avenues along their route painted on the side. If you're unsure if you're on the correct route, ask the cobrador (bus conductor). You can purchase a reloadable card for 4.50 sol at any station; single rides cost 2.50 sol.
Entry & Exit Requirements
Travelers need a valid passport to enter Peru, as well as proof of departure or onward travel. Tourist visas, which are free and issued at your port of entry, are typically approved for up to 90 days. Whether you arrive at a port, an airport or a land border, you'll want to make sure your date and place of entry is officially documented by Migraciones (Immigration). Hold on to the record of your entry, as you will need it when you depart.
Although not required, a vaccination for yellow fever is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Keep in mind that it's illegal to take any artifacts out of the country, and reproductions need to be purchased from reputable vendors with documentation from Peru's National Institute of Culture. For more information about travel requirements and recommendations, visit the U.S. State Department's website.
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