When traveling outside the country, planning on how you’re going to get around the new city is a vital part of the planning process, whether it is by train, bus, renting a car, or car service it’s important to have an idea of what you want to do prior to arriving. Personally, when traveling to countries like Mexico and South America, I leave the driving to the professionals and do not attempt to rent a car. On my recent trip to Peru, we found out that taking a taxi in Lima is the most relatively quick and affordable way to get around town.
We arrived at Jorge Chavez International airport around 11 pm (most International flights leaving the states will arrive late evening) and right out of customs we were greeted by hundreds of men dressed in suits asking us if we needed a taxi service. This can be quite the shocking arrival coming right out of customs, so my first advice is to get situated with your suitcase, your traveling partner and make a game plan prior to coming out of the custom exit doors into the main airport. Be prepared to be pushed around by people asking you if you need help with your bags, and trying to grab your suitcase and direct you to the exit. Taxi drivers were fighting for all the new arrivals, so hold on to your suitcase and try to walk away from the Custom exit doors ASAP!
Now for your arrival, you can plan ahead and purchase your transfer vehicle ticket online: http://www.viator.com/tours/Lima/Lima-Airport-Arrival-Transfer/d928-5243LIMAPTHTL
for 15 bucks a person. They will greet you with a sign outside the airport main entrance and take you to your hotel. This is a safe way to get to your hotel after a long flight but it does come with the one downside, which is being able to locate the person picking you up. This can be quite the challenge due the amount of people in that area. If you decide to not book prior, right outside the exit doors to customs there’s a small desk that has prices listed on a board (depending on what part of the city you are going to) and they will get you a registered driver in minutes, this seems to be a quick easy way, since they have their drivers lined up already waiting for you. You still pay the taxi driver, but the price negotiation is done at the counter. I will say, no matter how much you negotiate with them, you will still pay about triple the asking price. I recommend going to the counter as a first time arrival in the city if you decide to not book before leaving the States, you will pay more, but it is faster and safer than trying to negotiate with the thousands of drivers outside.
Average cost to Miraflores from the airport (popular tourist neighborhood and where the majority of the hotels are located) is 45 sols ($13) you will pay about 80 sols ($24) using the counter method and about 60 sols ($18) with any of the taxi drivers waiting outside customs. You will get the 45 sol price if you walk up the street from the airport or if you negotiate pricing.
Every blog I read before departing my trip told me to only take the Blue or Green taxis, since these are registered taxi drivers and it’s the safest way to go. When we arrived to Lima, I was surprised to not see any green or blue taxis! Out of 10 there was maybe 1 and it was already taken. I had read that in 2013, there were an estimated 330,000 taxis circulating Peru's capital, from which only around a third were official and registered. The remaining two thirds were informal, meaning literally everybody could get into any type of car, put a taxi sign on top of it and offer to drive you around the city. I feel like those articles only scared me and made me very anxious, when the truth is, not once did I feel unsafe taking “unregistered taxis”, though this does not mean you don’t need to be careful.