Peru #2 Getting in and out of Lima airport without a taxi

I’m rather sure I’m not the only traveller out there reluctant to take taxis. Obviously, you can save a lot of money by taking local buses, and as a bonus prize, you prevent deceitful taxi drivers getting their undeserved share of the tourist’s spoils. Where I fully developed my disdain for taxi drivers I don’t know, and while I admit there are a handful of honest ones out there, the times that they’ve overcharged, taken longer routes than they should, chosen areas with high traffic and lied about the existence of public buses and bus terminals are contributing factors. It’s not like I’m a victim of these conniving chauffeurs every time I step foot in a foreign country; I also feel the pain of others who have suffered as a consequence of their sorcerous ways.

Anyway, taking a bus to and from the airport is pretty simple in Lima, despite what people say about safety issues, though I only took this option on the way out. It takes around an hour in normal traffic, but add another 30 minutes in rush hour. The cost is 3/S and you pay the driver as you board. Basically just outside of the terminal you head towards a bridge in the shape of a plane and catch either the IM-18 (a blue one) or the OM-18 (a red bus) to the right as you exit the terminal. Some forum users allege that the latter doesn’t run this route, but it did for me. Amongst other destinations, the bus will say O.Miraflores (Ovalo de Miraflores) on the side, the central point of the neighbourhood where the majority of tourists go and where the hostels are, but be careful not to jump on one going to San Juan de Miraflores, a district way out in the metropolitan area of the city. To do this, it’s very likely you’ll have to wade through a storm of taxi drivers alleging that buses haven’t been invented in Peru yet, and locals may not be too well-informed if you ask them about routes. The buses are decent size, but likely to be full, so if you have masses of luggage, be aware that you may end up standing up all the way. When arriving, jump off at Óvalo Miraflores (AKA Parque Kennedy) and you’ll be right in the middle of Miraflores. On the way back, simply take the bus on the other side of the street (Avenida José Pardo).

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Turn right here
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The bus stop is under that bridge in the shape of a plane.

If you are to take bus to your next destination in Peru, be aware that there is no bus terminal as such in the city and that companies set off from their own mini-terminals, most of which are across from the National Football Stadium on Avenida Paseo de la Republica in the La Victoria neighborhood. There is a Metropolitano (fast but very full buses which have their own lanes) stop called Estadio Nacional, and to use the service you need to purchase a card (4/S) and pay 2.50/S per journey.

In terms of flights, I managed to bag a 12-hour BA flight from London Gatwick  to Lima at rather short notice for just under a modest £500/$600 (for whatever reason the Wednesday flights are the cheapest) and having talked to other travellers, I wasn’t the only one to pick up a decent deal with an airline you often overlook for cheap flights.

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