Lets get right to the point and break down some high yield information for a visit to Lima!
1. Getting there: I booked my flight to Lima relatively last minute and paid $770 for my ticket on American Airlines. This was with one stop in Dallas. As I mentioned in previous posts, Latam Airlines has a very good reputation and safety record in Peru. If you are not flying on an American carrier, Latam seems to be the way to go. The flight to Lima is not terribly long, so we made this a long weekend. Our arrival was 6:15am on Saturday and our departure was at 12:52am Monday morning. This left us with a full two days in Lima for the highlights. Upon arrival, there was a somewhat lengthy line to get through immigration. The line does move, but because of the length, allow for some time here dependent on the number of flights landing at the same time. Upon departure, they do have a great lounge in their international terminal. Every time we have been, there has been a short line to get inside the lounge. The first time they were in the process of remodeling. I thought it was fantastic though. Food and drinks of every kind were available (ex. as much champagne as you wanted). When we were in Lima the second time, the remodel was complete. The access to food and drinks was more limited. The complimentary drink limit was two per person. This was a slight disappointment compared to our previous experience.
In the airport, as you might expect, there are opportunities in the duty free area to buy chocolates and also Peruvian salt.
2. Getting around: Ahead of time, I was concerned about getting around. The city of Lima is very spread out. I made a list of the sights that I was interested in seeing to gauge what was close together. I read that there is no regulation on the taxi system in Lima. Practically anyone can put a sticker in their car that says taxi. However, some companies do have a better reputation than others. In addition, comments were that often drivers don’t even know where they are going. They do not run a meter, so ensure that you inquire the price ahead of time. We started by taking a taxi to our first and second stops of the day. Our hotel called the first one for us. The price of 10 SOL for the first ride and 20 SOL for the second seemed very reasonable to us. However, we decided to look at Uber prices. They were very cheap! We ended up taking Uber the remainder of the trip. Fortunately, we did not have any issues with Uber at all. Our 40 minute drive to the airport at the end of the trip cost us a mere $10 USD.
3. Plan ahead: If you are interested in the culinary scene in Lima, make sure that you book reservations ahead of time. Approximately two weeks prior to the trip, we made our restaurant reservations. Central restaurant is typically booked months in advance. Astrid y Gaston had a lunch reservation, but we were not able to have the tasting menu if we took a dinner reservation. We made all of our reservations online. Mayo bar and Kjolle did require a small fee upfront to reserve the seating.
4. Hours of Operation: Most of the sights and attractions were open on Sunday. However, this was not the case for many restaurants. It seemed that all of the higher end restaurants were closed on Sunday. We were interested in a couple of restaurants in the Barranco district and tried to get in for a very late lunch around 3, and they were closing for the day. Also, restaurants open fairly late for lunch and dinner. Astrid y Gaston opened at 1pm. So, the very first lunch seatings were at this time. We decided to have drinks before dinner at Mayo bar and reserved 7pm for drinks. At 7pm, we arrived, and could not find the entrance. Turns out, this was because they do not open until 7pm and the gate had not been opened yet. We were literally the only people in the restaurant for a good 20 minutes.
5. Weather: We went to Lima during their summer time. This is a nice break from the winter in the US. I thought the weather was absolutely perfect when we were there. Despite the overcast skies, I definitely got a lot of sun. Do not forget to bring sunblock. Also, do not worry about rain in Lima. A guide on one of our tours said Lima gets less than 1 inch of rain per year! Despite this, it was relatively humid.
**A word of warning for those who like to drink: If you want to spend a weekend in Lima and like alcohol, pay attention to Election time. This is something that will absolutely be on my radar on a future visit to the city. Starting on Saturday morning of one of our visits through Monday, they were not allowed to serve alcohol anywhere. This also means that you are not able to purchase it from a store and drink it in your hotel room either. Missing out on the wine pairing at dinner was not ideal for me. It was something that I really looked forward to. The only option available to us was the liquor that was in the mini bar of our room.