In Lima, transportation, traffic and uncertainty are often major topics of discussion among locals. It’s also true with travellers for whom getting around the streets of the capital city of Peru, whether by bus or by taxi, from or to the airport in Lima, may sometimes seem like a quite an adventure for many different reasons. Before we get started, if you plan on visiting Peru anytime soon, please make sure to check our food tours available across the country, such as our Street Food Tour in Lima’s Historic Center or our Arequipa Food Tour that showcases ancestral Andean cuisine. On the fancier end, we have our Lima Gourmet Tour for a unique biodiverse experience. But let’s go back to airport transfers, shall we?
Getting around in Lima – the main fears
First of all, of course, like in any big city, there is the fear of “getting lost” among Lima’s 10 million citizens.
We’ve also seen how some taxi drivers have a habit of trying to take advantage of tourists by inflating their prices.
Then there’s the fear of being attacked or having one’s luggage stolen. The most paranoid traveller fears possibly even getting kidnapped and can already imagine themselves in the jungle captured and surrounded by an independent militia demanding a ransom from the government for their release.
In particular, the fear of robbery is stoked by some accounts – some of which are truthful – from other unlucky travellers on social media and other discussion forums. These well-known but isolated incidents, which make a lot of noise, have unfortunately tended to create a kind of “false reality”. Of the 20 million annual passengers who arrive at Lima airport, a very large majority of travellers happily arrive safely without any setbacks. Nevertheless, a story about how much the taxi ride went smoothly isn’t really one that sells, isn’t it? 🙂
Even if these are isolated incidents, certain choices and behaviours may increase your chances of being a victim of one of the three misadventures previously mentioned.
In order to help you choose the best option for transferring from or to Lima airport, the one that’s best suited to your needs, your budget and that will allow you to begin and end your trip to Peru peacefully, we have made a list for you outlining each alternative.
5 transfer options for Lima airport
- Taxi reserved in advance
- Taxi taken directly from the arrivals area at Lima airport
- Taxi taken using a mobile app (Uber, Cabify, Beat, Easy Taxi)
- The Airport Express Bus
- The QuickLlama Shuttlebus
1. Taxi reserved in advance
Lima airport -> Kennedy Park, Miraflores: 94 soles ($28), up to three people
This option is the most comfortable but also the most expensive. By reserving a taxi in advance from a travel agency, you’ll be guaranteed a trustworthy professional driver who will wait patiently for your arrival at Lima airport. There’s no delay and no need to negotiate the cost of the trip.
- The driver will wait for you with a placard bearing your name in the arrivals waiting area (no chance of getting lost!) and will help you carry your luggage to the vehicle. Even if your Paris-Lima flight is late!
- By reserving in advance you won’t have any unpleasant surprises about the price and you can even pay in advance using a debit/credit card in order to simplify things on the big day.
- The condition of the vehicle (insured, inspected, up to standards) and the professionalism of the driver are generally better than with other options. English-speaking drivers may even be assigned to you upon request.
- The size of the vehicle can be modified to accommodate the amount of luggage you have and a van may even be reserved for groups or three or more people (There is a surcharge for this service).
- The driver will know exactly where to find your accommodations and will already have anticipated the best route to drive you to the proper destination all while avoiding major traffic.
- Air conditioned.
- No waiting time.
- More expensive
2. Taxi taken directly from the arrivals area
Lima airport->Parque Kennedy, Miraflores: 55 soles ($17), up to three people
If you choose this option, once you’ve gone through customs and your bags have been picked up, you must make your way through the crowd in the arrivals area to get the counter of one of the authorized taxi companies that operate in Lima airport. Even if the prices are clearly displayed and listed by destination, you can still expect to pay additional charges for your luggage, the amount of traffic, for service etc. These companies can be very creative when it comes to squeezing out a few extra soles by abusing traveller’s lack of knowledge.
- The comfort of a taxi at a low price.
- The chance to “dive right into the thick of it” as soon as you arrive.
- You must negotiate the price of the taxi ride until the driver offers you an acceptable rate. A difficult task for some especially if you don’t speak Spanish very well.
- Element of surprise: no guarantee as to the condition of the vehicle.
- An air conditioned car is not guaranteed (if required, ask for a car with air conditioning at the counter, at no additional charge, of course!).
- Waiting time.
3. Taxi ordered using a mobile app (Uber, Cabify, Beat, EasyTaxi)
Lima airport -> Parque Kennedy, Miraflores : 40-55 soles ($14-17), up to three people. The final cost may vary depending on the time and the application used
If you’re not in any great hurry to get to your destination and if your knowledge of Spanish is relatively good, then this is a viable option. Mobile taxi apps in Peru work in exactly the same way as in other countries so you’ll be in familiar territory.
However you’ll still have to deal with some obstacles. First of all you’ll have to connect to Lima airport’s public Wi-Fi then download one of four applications available in Lima (Uber, Cabify, Beat ou EasyTaxi – my preference is for Cabify and Beat!) and be sure that you’ve entered the correct destination. The price will be listed in the app so no bargaining is required.
It’s still highly likely that you will have to call the driver to coordinate a specific meeting place within the airport which is why it’s helpful to have an adequate knowledge of Spanish. Beware of the cost of the call which may vary widely from one dealer to another.
- Having the comfort of a taxi at a low price.
- Being able to choose your driver.
- Not needing to negotiate the rate since it will be indicated directly within the app when you confirm your reservation. You’ll be sure to pay the right price,
- Being required to connect to the airport’s Wi-Fi, download an app on your phone and correctly enter the address of your destination
- Facing increased waiting time since, usually, when you reserve the driver will not yet have arrived in the private area of the airport (there is a fee after 15 minutes!)
- Getting caught by the element of surprise: no guarantee as to the condition of the vehicle
4. Airport Express Bus
Lima airport -> Miraflores: 26 soles ($8) per person
If your hotel is close to one of the seven stops served by the Airport Express bus service (see below) then this is an option worth considering. If that’s not the case, then we do not recommend it because it is highly likely that you’ll have to walk a few blocks with your luggage or be required to use a taxi to reach your final destination. As for the cost, Airport Express is more affordable than a taxi for a solo traveller but is more expensive for groups of three, for example. Get out your calculator before making a decision. However, the biggest advantage is the fact that Wi-Fi is available on board – a great way to keep from getting bored while stuck in traffic – and the amount of baggage is unlimited.
- More affordable cost than a taxi for solo travellers
- Wi-Fi and USB ports for recharging devices available on board
- Air conditioned
- No luggage limit
- Specific schedule (every hour) which means that there will be waiting time
- Less comfortable than a taxi
- Limited to seven stops in Miraflores (several hotels including the Hilton) which means having to walk or take a taxi depending on the location of your accommodations
5. Quick Llama Shuttle bus
Lima airport ->Parque Kennedy, Miraflores : 15 soles ($4.70) per person
Unlike the AirportExpress bus, Quick Llama shuttle buses offer a more personalized service that will take you to your hotel door provided that it’s located in Miraflores (additional charges may apply). The price is also quite low and is quite economical for whatever the size of your group if the taxi option is too expensive for you. Quick Llama also offers Wi-Fi service on board.
- Very affordable price
- Wi-Fi on board
- Air conditioned
- Only stop at Parque Kennedy in Miraflores by default, but there’s a chance you can be dropped off at your hotel door in Miraflores for an additional 5 soles ($1.50) for a single traveller, an additional 2.5 soles ($0.75) per person for a group of two and no additional charge for groups of three or more.
- Fixed schedules (practically every hour) = waiting time
- Less comfortable than a taxi
- Reliability problems as noted by the reviews left on their Facebook page and on TripAdvisor
In the most objective way possible, we have outlined five transfer options from and to Lima airport that are feasible and that will suit everyone’s needs. Nevertheless, our experience with the area makes us more likely to choose option #1, a taxi reserved in advance.
Why? Simply because we think that taxi options #2 and #3 are not suited to the needs of the average traveller who is visiting Lima for the first time for the reasons detailed in our list of negative points. We also think that the difference in terms of cost compared to option #1 (a taxi reserved in advance) is not significant enough to give up the comfort and security that the first option provides.
Next we believe that QuickLlama is, in theory, an excellent option for those travellers on a tight budget or who prefer to not spend money on a taxi. In any case, their lack of punctuality prevents us from giving them our full endorsement. While the Airport Express service is of high quality, the lack of flexibility in the number of stops and the cost, which is not as much of a bargain as taxi (except for those travelling alone), lead us to conclude that it’s not necessarily the best option for the majority of travellers.
And if you have questions about other transfer options from Lima airport listed in this article, transportation and security in Peru in general, or if you just want to say “hi”, you can speak with us using our live chat.
We might even share some Peruvian cuisine recipes with you 😉