Getting Around Lima
Public transportation is, without question, the most common way to navigate and get around Lima. The Lima public transportation system includes the city buses (combis/colectivos and micros) and taxis. Students can expect to use public transportation on a daily basis, and sometimes, several times a day.
Commutes around 25-35 minutes and sometimes more are commonplace and expected-it's simply a part of everyday life in Lima!
Aside from public transportation, many Peruvians walk from one place to another. While public transportation is convenient, the city is pedestrian friendly and walking is a great way to see the city, avoid too many connections/traffic jams, and get some exercise.
To learn more about the different ways to navigate Lima, please read the descriptions below.
Types of Transportation
There are more than 180 lines in the city of Lima and several routes provide connection to the greater metropolitan area. The normal fare is 1.20 soles ($0.40 USD), but you might be charged less if the distance is not very far. Upon boarding, indicate your destination and the driver will tell you the fare.
Combis are very prevalent in Lima and many locals use this service to get around the city. There are NO automatic ticket machines that issue tickets, but each combi is equipped with staff that, in addition to yelling out the various stops along the route, will also be responsible for collecting your fare.
You will always need exact change to pay a micro, combi or colectivo. If you don't have change, you will more than likely be asked, "¿No tienes sencillo?" ("Don't you have smaller change?").
In order to figure out your route, ask your host family or the owners of the student housing which bus to take. Each bus is painted with the names of the streets where it travels along its sides. Some buses use abbreviations such as "Tdo"(todo) to mean that they will go down an entire street. It's best to always ask before you get on the bus if they are going to your area or street. They will quickly tell you yes or no. When you reach your destination, indicate that you would like to get off the bus by saying "baja" (getting off).
When finding transportation to the university, most ISA students look for the micro or combi that says Salaverry, which is the name of the street on which the Universidad del Pacífico (UP) campus is situated. On rare occasions, students will have to take more than one combi or micro to get to campus.
If you do take a taxi directly from the street, it is recommended that you choose a newer, clean-looking taxi that is obviously being serviced regularly, and be sure that you have the exact change necessary to pay the driver. Also, have your money ready to pay upon arrival. Never take the TICO taxis. They are small, yellow taxis and would not hold up well if there was an accident. At night it is NOT recommended that you take street taxis alone, especially if you do not know the best way to get to where you are going.
Your site-specific orientation handbook that you will receive before departing for your program includes a list of recommended radio taxis.