Lima is a difficult city for wheelchairs, with uneven sidewalks without ramps and infrequent pedestrian crossings (that drivers never heed). Crossing signals at traffic lights lack audio aids. Most large, modern hotels have elevators and one or two accessible, ground floor rooms. While infrastructure in the city is lacking, locals do try to be helpful.
Governmental agency Conadis offers Spanish-language information and advocacy for accessible travel.
Dangers & Annoyances
Like any large Latin American city, Lima is a land of haves and have-nots, which has made stories about crime here the stuff of legend. Yet the city has greatly improved since the lawless 1980s and most travelers have a safe visit. Nonetheless, stay aware.
The most common offense is theft, such as muggings. Do not resist robbery. You are unlikely to be physically hurt, but it is nonetheless best to keep a streetwise attitude.
The airport attracts crime – watch your belongings closely and beware anyone who approaches you outside gates claiming your flight is delayed, offering transport to the airline office for assistance – this is an express kidnapping tactic used to drain credit cards at various city ATMs. Once you are at the airport, stay inside and don't linger outside the passenger-only area. If you have a middle-of-the-night arrival, ask your hotel to send a driver.
Increased police and private security in Miraflores and in the cliff-top parks make them some of the city's safest areas. Barranco is mostly safe and pedestrian-friendly but has seen some evening robberies at a few restaurants and bars. Security may increase by the time you read this, but it doesn't hurt to go out with the minimum of your belongingsand leave the rest in a hotel safe. The most dangerous neighborhoods are San Juan de Lurigancho, Los Olivos, Comas, Vitarte and El Agustino.
Do not wear flashy jewelry, and keep your camera in your bag when you are not using it. It is best to be discreet with cash and take only as much as you’ll need for the day. Unless you need your passport for official purposes, leave it in a hotel safe box; a photocopy will do. Blending in helps, too: limeños save their shorts for the beach.
Be wary at crowded events and the areas around bus stops and terminals. These bring out pickpockets – even in upscale districts. Late at night, it's preferable to take official taxis. The areas of Rímac, Callao, Surquillo and La Victoria can get quite rough, so approach with caution (taxis are best).
Be skeptical of unaffiliated touts and taxi drivers who try to sell you tours or tell you that the hotel you’ve booked is closed or dodgy. Many of these are scam artists trying to steer you to places that pay them a commission.
Policía de Turismo Main division of the Policía Nacional (National Police) at Museo de la Nación. English-speaking officers can provide theft reports for insurance claims or traveler’s-check refunds. In heavily touristed areas, it is easy to identify members of Poltur by their white shirts.
Embassies & Consulates
Most foreign embassies are in Lima. Call ahead to schedule an appointment as attention to the public is often more limited than business hours.
Emergency & Important Numbers
|Peru's country code||51|
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Wi-fi access is widespread in cafes, hotels and restaurants. Lodgings often have a computer for guest use. While not as prevalent as before, internet cafes are easy to find, with economical rates.
Like in other Latin American countries, the LGBT+ community in Lima does not have a substantial public presence. While social acceptance has grown exponentially, Peru is a conservative Catholic country and the generational gap in acceptance is palpable.
Thousands participate in the city's Gay Pride march, Marcha del Orgullo Lima, at the end of June or beginning of July. Gay Lima (http://lima.gaycities.com) lists the latest LGBT+ and gay-friendly spots in the capital and social media apps can prove helpful for meeting locals.
Both Google Maps and the maps.me app can be downloaded for online access and prove extremely useful when navigating the city.
Canada-based ITBM (www.itmb.ca) features a city map. For far more detail, opt for Lima Plan Metro, produced by the Peruvian company Editorial Lima 2000.
For topographical maps and a good road map of Peru go to the Instituto Geográfico Nacional.
Banks are plentiful and most have 24-hour ATMs, which tend to offer the best exchange rates.
For extra security use ATMs inside banks (as opposed to on the street or in supermarkets); cover the key pad as you enter your password; and graze the whole keypad to prevent infrared tracing of passwords. Avoid making withdrawals late at night.
Banco de Crédito del Perú Has 24-hour Visa and Plus ATMs; also gives cash advances on Visa, and changes Amex, Citicorp and Visa traveler’s checks. The Central Lima branch has incredible stained-glass ceilings. There's another branch at José Pardo.
BBVA Continental A representative of Visa; its ATMs also take Cirrus, Plus and MasterCard.
Citibank Has 24-hour ATMs in Miraflores operating on the Cirrus, Maestro, MasterCard and Visa systems; it cashes Citicorp traveler’s checks.
Lima’s casas de cambio (foreign-exchange bureaus) give similar or slightly better rates than banks for cash, although not for traveler’s checks. They’re found downtown on Ocoña and Camaná, as well as along Av José Larco in Miraflores. Consider using street moneychangers carefully, as counterfeit cash is a problem.
LAC Dólar A reliable exchange house; can deliver cash to your hotel in exchange for traveler’s checks.
Moneygram Money transfers.
Travex Buy traveler’s checks or replace lost ones.
Banks 9am–6pm Mon–Fri, some 9am–1pm Sat
Restaurants 10am–11pm, many close 3–6pm
Museums Often close on Monday
Government offices 9am–5pm Mon–Fri
Shops 9am–7pm, some close on Sunday
Serpost, the national postal service, has outlets throughout Lima. Mail sent to you at Lista de Correos (Poste Restante), Correo Central, Lima, can be collected at the main post office in Central Lima.
Main Post Office Poste restante mail can be collected here, though it’s not 100% reliable. Bring ID.
Federación Deportiva Peruana de Ciclismo Has general information (in Spanish) on cycling and events.
iPerú The government’s reputable tourist bureau dispenses maps, offers good advice and can help handle complaints. The Miraflores office is tiny but is very useful on weekends. There's another branch in San Isidro.
Municipal Tourist Office Of limited use; check the website for a small number of listings of local events and info on free downtown tours.
Travel agencies can organize airline bookings and make other arrangements.
Fertur Peru Travel A highly recommended agency that can book local, regional and international travel, as well as create custom group itineraries. Discounts are available for students. There's another branch in Miraflores.
InfoPerú Books bus and plane tickets and dispenses reliable information on hotels and sightseeing.
InteJ The official International Student Identity Card (ISIC) office, InteJ can arrange discounted air, train and bus fares, among other services.
Lima Tours A well-known, high-end agency that handles all manner of travel arrangements. Also organizes gay-friendly trips and basic gastronomic tours of Lima.
Tika Tours Tour operator and travel agent; helpful for local information, as well as travel all over Peru.
Travel with Children
The good news is that Lima is full of families and locals are very welcoming toward children. Streets have a fair amount of chaos; if your family isn't used to navigating a busy city, you might find refuge in LarcoMar mall. Look for ludotecas (educational centers) that can provide indoor fun for a few hours. Kids can enjoy Parque del Amor, Circuito Mágico del Agua, chocolate-making workshops at Choco Museo outlets and beach time just outside the city.
Strollers can be more of a frustration than a help, unless you are staying fairly close to Miraflores' cliff-top trails, which can be excellent for strolling.