American Express -- There's an office in Lima at Av. Santa Cruz 621, Miraflores (tel. 01/710-3900); it's open Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm. There are other offices at Jr. Rio de Janeiro 216, Miraflores, Lima (tel. 610-6000); in Cusco, Av. del Sol 864, Cusco (tel. 84/243-918); and in Arequipa, Santa Catalina 105B (tel. 54/281-800). They will replace stolen or lost travelers' checks and sell American Express checks with an Amex card, but they do not cash their own checks.
Banks & Currency Exchange -- Peruvian and international banks with currency-exchange bureaus and ATMs are plentiful throughout Lima Centro, especially in the outer neighborhoods such as Miraflores, San Isidro, and Barranco, which are full of shopping centers, hotels, and restaurants. Money-changers, usually wearing colored smocks (sometimes with obvious "$" insignias), patrol the main streets off Parque Central in Miraflores and central Lima with calculators and dollars in hand.
Principal banks include Banco Central, Jr. Antonio Miró Quesada 441 (tel. 01/427-6250); Banco Continental, Av. Los Paracas s/n (tel. 01/436-1469); Banco de Comercio, Jr. Lampa 560 (tel. 01/428-9400); Banco Wiese, Jr. Cusco 245 (tel. 01/428-6000); and Citibank, Miguel Dasso 121, San Isidro (tel. 01/442-5146).
Dentists & Doctors -- The U.S. and British embassies provide lists of English-speaking doctors, dentists, and other healthcare personnel in Lima. An organization called Doctor Más (tel. 01/444-9377) sends English-speaking doctors to hotels for emergencies and prescriptions. For dentists, you might also try contacting the International Academy of Integrated Dentistry, Centauro 177, Urbanización Los Granados, Monterrico, Surco (tel. 01/435-2153).
Drugstores -- Two huge, multiservice pharmacies (farmacias) open 24 hours a day are Farmacia Deza, Av. Conquistadores 1140, San Isidro (tel. 01/440-3798); and Pharmax, Av. Salaverry 3100, San Isidro, in the Centro Comercio El Polo (tel. 01/264-2282). A chain with a number of storefronts across Lima is Superfarma, at Av. Benavides 2849 (tel. 01/222-1575) and Avenida Armendariz, Miraflores (tel. 01/446-3333). These and other pharmacies have 24-hour delivery service. For additional locations, consult the Yellow Pages under "Farmacias" and "Boticas."
Embassies & Consulates -- U.S., Avenida La Encalada, Block 17, Surco (tel. 01/434-3000); Australia, Víctor A. Belaúnde 147/Vía Principal 155, office 1301, San Isidro (tel. 01/222-8281); Canada, Calle Bolognesi 228, Miraflores (tel. 01/319-3200); U.K. and New Zealand, Av. Jose Larco 1301, Miraflores (tel. 01/617-3000).
Emergencies -- In case of an emergency, call the 24-hour traveler's hot line (tel. 01/574-8000) or the tourist police, or POLTUR (tel. 01/460-1060 in Lima, or 01/460-0965). The INDECOPI 24-hour hot line can also assist in contacting police to report a crime (tel. 01/224-7888 in Lima, 01/224-8600, or toll-free 0800/42579 from any private phone).The general police emergency number is tel. 105; for fire, dial tel. 116.
Hospitals -- English-speaking medical personnel and 24-hour emergency services are available at the following hospitals and clinics: Clínica Anglo-Americana, Alfredo Salazar, Block 3, San Isidro (tel. 01/712-3000); Clínica San Borja, Guardia Civil 337, San Borja (tel. 01/475-4000); Maison de Sante, Calle Miguel Adgouin 01/208-222, near the Palacio de Justicia (tel. 01/428-3000, emergency 01/427-2941); and Clínica Ricardo Palma, Av. Javier Prado Este 1066, San Isidro (tel. 01/224-2224). For an ambulance, call Alerta Médica, at tel. 01/470-5000, or San Cristóbal, at tel. 01/440-0200.
Internet Access -- Internet cabinas (booths) are everywhere in Lima. Rates are about S/2 to S/3 per hour, and most are open daily from 9am to 10pm or later. Try Telnet, Jr. Camaná 315; Internet Pardo, Av. José Pardo 620; Cybersandeg, Jr. de la Unión 853, Of. 112; Wamnet, corner of Diez Canseco and Alcanfores, Mezzanine, Miraflores; or C@bin@s de Internet, Diez Canseco 380, Miraflores.
Maps -- Tourist-information booths give out free maps, but in a sprawling, confusing city such as Lima, they are inadequate for more than basic directions. Probably the best street map available is the "Lima 2000" map sold at bookstores and kiosks. Good topographical maps are available from the Instituto Geográfico Nacional (IGN), located at Av. Aramburú 1190, San Isidro (tel. 01/475-9960). Hiking maps are available from the South American Explorers, Piura 135, Miraflores (tel. 01/445-3306).
Newspapers & Magazines -- In Lima, you will find copies (although rarely same-day publications) of the International Herald Tribune and the Miami Herald, as well as Time, Newsweek, and other special-interest publications. Top-flight hotels sometimes offer free daily fax summations of the New York Times to their guests. Among local publications, look for Rumbos, a glossy Peruvian travel magazine in English and Spanish with excellent photography. El Comercio and La República are two of the best daily Spanish newspapers.
Police -- The Policía Nacional de Turismo (National Tourism Police) has staff members that speak English and are specifically trained to handle the needs of foreign visitors. The main office in Lima is at Av. Javier Prado Este 2465, 5th Floor, San Borja (next to the Museo de la Nación); the 24-hour tourist police line is tel. 01/574-8000.
Post Office & Mail -- Lima's main post office (Central de Correos) is on the Plaza de Armas at Camaná 195 (tel. 01/427-0370) in central Lima. The Miraflores branch is at Petit Thouars 5201 (tel. 01/445-0697); the San Isidro branch is at Calle Las Palmeras 205 (tel. 01/422-0981). A DHL/Western Union office is at Nicolás de Piérola 808 (tel. 01/424-5820).
Restrooms -- The only public restrooms you're likely to find will be in airport and bus terminals, bars and restaurants, museums, and hotels. Sometimes it's easier to duck into a large hotel than into a restaurant.
Safety -- In downtown Lima and the city's residential and hotel areas, the risk of street crime remains high. Although carjackings, assaults, and armed robberies are not routine, they're not unheard of, either. Armed attacks at ATMs have also occurred. Use ATMs during the day, with other people present. Most thefts occur on public transportation, such as buses and combis. There have been several reports of thieves who've boarded buses in and out of Lima to cities both north and south of the capital, relieving passengers at gunpoint of their valuables. Be very careful with your belongings; leave your passport and other valuables in the hotel safe, and use a money belt. Public street markets are also frequented by thieves, as are parks (especially at night) and the beaches in and around Lima.
Although the large-scale terrorist activities of the local groups Sendero Luminoso and MRTA were largely stamped out in the early 1990s, there have been reports of a possible resurgence. Neither group, however, is currently active in any of the areas covered in this guide.
Telephone -- Lima's area code is 01. It need not be dialed when making local calls within Lima, but it must be dialed when calling Lima from another city. Telephone booths are found throughout the city; the principal Telefónica del Perú office, where you can make long-distance and international calls, is on Plaza San Martín (Carabaya 937) in Lima Centro (tel. 01/224-9355). It's open Monday through Saturday from 8am to 6pm and Sunday 8am to 1pm.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.