Flights to Lima land in the Jorge Chavez International Airport, in the downtrodden harbor district of Callao. Unfortunately, it’s one of the most dangerous areas in the city, so you shouldn’t go to the trouble of exploring or of trying to find a place to stay near the airport. The overwhelming majority of travelers stay in the seaside district of Miraflores, as it’s very safe and boast a great number of parks, quality restaurants, and tourist attractions. You can reach Miraflores yourself by taxi, shuttle, tourist-class bus, local bus, or rental car- here’s how!
Taking a Taxi from the Airport to Miraflores
International flight arrivals tend to be grouped together rather than spaced out, which can make the slog through immigration and customs vary greatly, from 20 to 90 minutes. As soon as you exit customs, you’ll come face to face with a crowd of people waiting to receive arrivals. Some are family members, while others are pre-arranged taxi and pickup services. Those who don’t have signs are generally looking to offer their transport services to anyone who doesn’t have anything arranged.
While we often recommend grabbing cheaper street taxis than airport taxis, this is absolutely not a good idea. Firstly, because of the high crime rate in the area where the airport is located. Secondly, because the taxis are as likely to get more expensive then cheaper! Inside the customs area, you’ll find approved options offering a flat airport rate: Green Taxi, CMV, and Mitsui Taxi Remisse. Uber is also available in Lima. You should expect to pay around 50 soles in order to reach Miraflores from the airport by taxi; this is a little less than US$15. Although it can vary due to traffic, the trip time is generally around 45 minutes.
(If you will be staying at our Lima hostel, Pirwa Inclan B&B, you can request that we arrange a pickup for you on your behalf. This isn’t included with reservations, however; pickups have a separate cost of 60 soles.)
Taking a Bus from the Airport to Miraflores
There are various options for taking a bus from airport to Miraflores. One is the Ebus Lima Airport Shuttle, which costs US$8 per person. If you’re traveling alone, this is an excellent deal, especially as you get wi-fi access and the ability to charge batteries during the trip. In addition, the drivers speak Spanish, English and French, and have tourism backgrounds.
You can also ask about the Airport Express Lima at the airport information desk. They have large buses leaving the airport every 30 minutes towards Miraflores also at a price of US$ 8 and US$ 10, including additional services such as free wi-fi, USB ports to charge phones, fluent english speaking guides and various stops around Miraflores.
If you are on a tight budget, or just like to feel fully immersed in local culture, you can take a local bus from the airport to Miraflores. After exiting the airport, turn right and walk just past the walking bridge. There, there’ll be a bus stop. The one you want is the Las Flores 18, whose code is IM-18. It’s recognizable by its blue stripe. One the side of the bus, where the main route points are written, it will say Miraflores. Fare is just 2 Peruvian soles, the equivalent of US$0.60. Don’t worry about paying upon entering, as you’ll generally be charged before disembarking or at some point along the route. To take advantage of this option, you must absolutely have Peruvian soles on hand, in change if possible. Any denomination greater than a 5 sol coin could be difficult for the driver or charger to break. Finally, do be wary of pickpockets, as it’s on local buses where you’ll be most likely to encounter one.
The local bus will take about 1 hour and 30 minutes to arrive at Av. Jose Pardo, by Kennedy Park (you might hear it referred to as Parque Kennedy, Óvalo de Miraflores, or Parque Central de Miraflores). This is convenient, as our hostel in Lima, Pirwa Inclan B&B, is located just four blocks from Kennedy Park!
There is another option that we haven’t gone into yet: car rentals are also available at the airport, and managed by companies that you’re familiar with, like Hertz and Avis. However, driving in Lima is a little tricky, most travelers aren’t up for the chaos in some parts of the city.