Last week I got back from an 11 day whirlwind of a trip through Mexico City, Quito (Ecuador), Guayaquil (Ecuador), and Havana (Cuba). After my 12 hour layover in Mexico City, I spent one night in the capital city of Quito, Ecuador and then flew to Guayaquil and spent 12 hours in the city. Afterwards, I flew to Lima, Peru and spend two nights there. I’ve been to Lima at least 10 times and it’s easily one of my favorite destinations in the world, but there’s always something new to learn with every visit. Here are 10 Things I Learned From My Recent Trip to Lima Peru:
1. The Taxi Cab Mafia still exists at Lima International Airport – One of the most dreadful things about landing at Lima’s Jorge Chávez International Airport is encountering the nasty taxi cab mafia right outside the arrivals hall. For fun, I went outside and was quoted 120 Peruvian soles ~ $38.47 USD for a ride from Lima Airport to Miraflores which should be more like 30-50 soles ~ $9.62 – $16.03 USD. It’s quite easy to negotiate a 30 soles ~ $9.62 USD taxi ride to Miraflores if you go up to the departures level and look for a cab driver who just dropped someone off (because they were going to leave empty handed). Taxi Verde (Taxi Green) will charge you a flat rate of 50 soles ~ $16.03 USD from LIM Airport to Centro, San Isidro, or Miraflores.
2. Uber is now available at Lima International Airport – I launched the Uber App for fun when I arrived at Lima Intl Airport and to my surprise there was Uber service available. I found out that you could summons an UberX from Lima Airport to Miraflores, San Isidro, or Centro Lima for a flat rate of 50 soles ~ $16.03 USD. UberBLACK isn’t much more and it’s just a flat rate of 60 soles ~ $19.23 USD. New Uber users can get up to 20 PEN off their first ride.
3. Chifas are freakin amazing – Every time I visit Lima, sometimes I forget how amazing the Chinese food is in Peru. A Chifa in Peru is basically a Chinese restaurant that is Peruvian infused. It’s not real Chinese food, but there’s just something about having fried rice with an Inka Kola in Peru. Best of all, it’s inexpensive and around 10.50 soles ~$3.37 USD for an appetizer and main course!
4. UberX is pretty cheap in Lima – As previously mentioned, an UberX ride between the city of Lima and the airport is a flat rate of 50 soles. There is no flat rate when using Uber within the city of Lima and it only cost 15 soles ~ $4.81 USD from Miraflores to Centro. That might seem a little expensive, but it can’t be beat for peace of mind in a clean air conditioned car with a professional driver. Yes, you can go the same route for 5-8 soles in a Tico taxi if you’re brave enough. New Uber users can get up to 20 PEN off their first ride.
5. Paragliding in Lima is ridiculously overpriced – Over the past few years, I’ve seen paragliding (parapente) in Lima to be around 100 – 150 soles ~ $32.06 – $48.08 USD. I was shocked to see it jump up to 240 soles ~ $76.94 USD now for a 10 minute paraglide session. Sure it includes an HD video, but I’d like to see tandem flights priced without the HD video as well.
6. Semana Santa week in Lima is crazy – I’ve been planning this entire trip for about 6 months now because of available award space and it just so happened to be around Spring Break and Easter. Semana Santa is Holy Week in Latin America which proceeds Easter and Centro Lima was packed to the brim. It’s basically holidays for the entire week before Easter and everyone celebrates.
7. The weather in Lima is amazing – Every time I come to Lima, the weather is perfect with plenty of sun. It reminds me of sunny Southern California where we get 300+ days of sunshine with hardly any rain. The one thing about Lima is that even though it’s mostly sunny, there is a high humidity with low clouds and mists. I’ll take sun and humidity over rain any day!
8. Street food in Peru is awesome – I know a lot of people cringe when street food is mentioned because of the way food is handled and there are no health regulations. I love street food in Lima because it’s authentic, fast, and inexpensive. Where else can you get anticuchos (grilled beef hearts) with tripe and potatoes for 10 soles ~ $3.21 USD?
It’s best washed down with a Chicha Morada drink made from purple Peruvian corn for 1 sol ~ $0.32 USD.
9. A Claro pre-paid GSM SIM Card is a must – It’s now quite easy to get a prepaid SIM Card in Lima nowadays. The new pre-paid internet plans are much simpler and easy to use for tourists. You don’t need to buy packets of internet anymore and data is now ‘Pay as you go’. Recharge your Claro account with soles and it will automatically deduct 1 sol ~ $0.32 USD for each 10 megabytes (MB) of data you use. It’s easy to recharge your card at the local Wong supermarkets.
10. The SUMAQ Lounge Wi-Fi at Lima Intl Airport still sucks – I’ve reviewed the SUMAQ VIP Lounge back in 2013 and 2014 and the Wi-Fi internet speeds were atrociously slow and non-working at times. It felt like dial up speeds which would disconnect frequently. I finally revisited this lounge last week and they still have the same problems with overcrowding AND the slow atrocious dial up Wi-Fi speeds. It’s ridiculous, but it’s safe to say that the nearby VIP Club Lounge Wi-Fi speeds were blazing fast this time around.