Getting around Lima
The cheapest and most colourful way to get around Lima is to take a municipal bus, a privately owned microbus or a collective minibus (known as a combi or colectivo). The distances between the historic centre and suburbs, such as Miraflores or Barranco, make walking difficult.
Buses cover every part of the city and most services run between 0600 and 2300 (some until 0100). There is no specific bus service provider, but the Municipality of Lima (tel: +51 1 632 1300; www.munlima.gob.pe) is responsible for overseeing transport in Lima. Municipal buses and microbuses charge a flat rate. You can buy tickets from the driver. The combis (small vans converted for passenger use) are faster and cover the main routes but charge slightly more and have a poor safety record.
Line 1 of the Lima Metro (tel: +51 1 207 2900; www.lineauno.pe) runs between Villa El Salvador and Bayovar. A second line is under construction.
In Lima, you can hail taxis from the street. These don't have meters, so you should agree the fare before you get in. Street taxis usually have a red and white sticker in the window - some are private cars being used to generate extra income.
There are also some 24-hour licensed companies that accept advance reservations, such as Moli Taxi (tel: +51 1 479 0030). It's a good idea to lock your doors when going through rough areas. Licensed taxis are usually yellow and cost more than unlicensed taxis.
Driving around Lima is a stressful experience, mainly because traffic moves at terrifying speeds and does not respect the road lanes. Traffic lanes and even traffic lights are routinely ignored, and horns are frequently used. One tip for drivers is to keep a wide berth between cars, as shunts from behind are extremely common and often costly.
There is 24-hour parking available in most parts of the city - usually an open-air yard (playa). Parking meters are common in the suburbs of Miraflores and San Isidro.
Most car hire companies in Lima have offices at the airport, where everything can be arranged and the car picked up and dropped off. Drivers must be at least 23 to 25 years old. A valid driving licence, identification and a credit card are required. The insurance policy may cover only minor damage and not major accidents, though extra cover is usually available.
The three main companies in Lima are Avis (tel: +51 1 444 0450; www.avis.com), Budget (tel: +51 1 575 1674; www.budgetperu.com) and Hertz (tel: +51 1 517 2402; www.hertz.com). Car hire is expensive, reflecting the high cost of driving and Lima's accident rates.
The way the traffic hurls itself through Lima’s road system, it’s no wonder there’s no public bike scheme. Cycling isn’t massively popular, although it is possible to find bike hire companies. Guide-led bike tours have become more common. Green Bike Peru, Avenida Larco 345 (tel: +51 1 225 9607; www.greenbikeperu.com) offers both rentals and tours.