If your travel plans are leading you to Lima, Peru, you’ll need to find a taxi to get you from the airport to your hotel or other destination. You do have a few options for your airport transportation, but as in most things some choices are better than others – and you get what you pay for. Most taxi drivers in Lima are honest hardworking people, but there are a few bad ones out there. Before you start looking for a taxi in Lima, it’s a good idea to know how the system works and what you should be looking for.
There are a few taxi services that have counters in the airport and they offer high quality and safe service with vehicles that are well maintained. Of course, their prices are a little bit higher than the general taxi off the street, but this isn’t a time to be worried about saving a few dollars. Most people get off the airplane tired and confused, not sure of where they’re going. Having a taxi reserved and waiting for you makes things much easier and can protect you from all kinds of trouble, including theft and violent crime.
If you decide you’d rather save a few dollars, there are often taxi drivers waiting in the passenger pick up area who have dropped off fares and are looking for someone to take back into the city. Generally, these drivers are safe, but remember that Peruvian taxis do not use meters. You must make sure you get a price negotiated before you let them take your bags! They are often pushy and will pretend not to hear your questions – stand your ground and be firm, and don’t be afraid to say no if you aren’t satisfied with the price. Prices will vary depending on your destination; expect to pay about 30 soles ($12) to Miraflores or San Isidro, 20 soles ($7) for downtown Lima, or 50 soles ($18) to La Molina.
Under no circumstances should you walk outside the gates of the airport with your luggage to find a cheaper taxi outside. While there are often taxis waiting at the roadside there, this is one of the most dangerous spots in Lima from which to take a cab. While most drivers are just looking for a fare, there are some who cruise this spot looking for tired passengers who don’t know any better. They’ll offer very low rates to get you into their cab, and then take you to a deserted area and kick you out – after taking all your money, your wallet, luggage and passport. The risk simply doesn’t justify the dollar or two you might save.
One final note: if you’re staying in a decent hostel or hotel, they usually have taxi drivers that they use to pick up their guests – often at no charge to you. Make sure you check with your hotel for transportation options before you make other arrangements.