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By Plane

All flights from North America and Europe arrive at Lima's Aeropuerto Internacional Jorge Chávez (tel. 01/511-6055), located 16km (10 miles) west of the city center. Lima is connected by air with all major cities in Peru; there are regular flights to Ayacucho, Cusco, Puerto Maldonado, Juliaca, Arequipa, Tacna, Cajamarca, Chiclayo, Trujillo, Pucallpa, Iquitos, Tarapoto, and Piura. The major domestic airlines are LAN (tel. 212/582-3250 in the U.S., or 01/213-8200; www.lan.com), LC Busre (tel. 01/619-1313; www.lcbusre.com.pe), Star Perú (tel. 01/705-9000; www.starperu.com), and Taca (tel. 01/511-8222; www.taca.com). A new company that sounds like it should have been around for decades, Peruvian Airlines (tel. 01/716-6000; www.peruvianairlines.pe) recently entered the airspace with flights from Lima to Iquitos and Arequipa (with more destinations to come).

The airport has a tourist information booth (in the international terminal only), two 24-hour currency-exchange windows, three banks, ATMs, a post office, and car-rental desks, including Avis (tel. 01/575-1637, ext. 4155; www.avis.com), Budget (tel. 01/575-1674; www.budget.com), and Hertz (tel. 01/575-1390; www.hertz.com). The tourist information booth can help with hotel reservations. The arrival and departure terminals can be very congested, especially when long lines form to pay departure taxes, when a number of flights arrive at once, and early in the morning when many flights depart Lima for Cusco. Be very mindful of your luggage and other belongings at all times. To get through large groups of travelers and relatives all hovering about, you might need to forget about being polite and simply push your way through the crowd.

Domestic departures require payment of $6 exit tax; for international departures, the tax is $31. You must take your boarding pass to one of the booths in either terminal and stand in line to pay and receive a stamp indicating payment (in cash only) before proceeding to the departures area. Remember to reconfirm your flight at least 48 hours in advance and arrive at the airport with ample time before your flight. Flights are frequently overbooked, and passengers who have not reconfirmed their flights or who arrive later than (usually) 45 minutes before scheduled departure risk being bumped from the flight. Flights to Cusco are especially popular; make your reservations as far in advance as possible. Also check to be sure that you will have enough time to make your connecting flight if coming from overseas, and that you haven't been sold a charter flight inadvertently (American Airlines did this to me, and I was forced to stay over a day in Lima until I could get a regular flight the next day).

The airport is the best place to rent a cellphone for use in Peru. Representatives of Peru Rent-a-Cell (tel. 01/517-1856) are in the arrivals terminal offering inexpensive cell phone use (just $10 for the phone, and incoming calls are free).

To get from the airport to Lima -- either downtown or to suburbs such as Miraflores, San Isidro, and Barranco (the sites of most tourist hotels) -- you can take a taxi or private bus. When you exit with your luggage, you will immediately be besieged with taxi offers; the ones nearest the door are invariably the most expensive. Taxis (who have plenty of representatives hawking their services) inside the security area at the international arrivals terminal charge around $15 to Miraflores (about 30 minutes to 1 hour from the airport) and $12 to downtown Lima (Lima Centro) -- though they'll almost certainly begin by asking for more.

The Urbanito Airport shuttle service (tel. 01/814-6932 or 01/517-1893) delivers passengers to the doors of their hotels. Stop by the desk in the international terminal for information about buses to downtown, costing $6, and Miraflores and San Isidro, costing $8, which leave every half-hour or so. The shuttle stops at the hotel of each passenger; at peak hours, if there are many passengers, this might not be the fastest way from the airport. Unless you're alone, it's also probably not the cheapest. Call a day ahead to arrange a pickup for your return to the airport. Private limousine taxis (taxis ejecutivos, or remises) also have desks in the airport; their fares are about S/150 one-way. One to try is MitsuTaxi (tel. 01/261-7788).

By Bus

Lima is connected by bus to neighboring countries and all major cities in Peru. No central bus terminal exists, however; the multitude of bus companies serving various regions of the country all have terminals in Lima, making bus arrivals and departures exceedingly confusing for most travelers. Many terminals are located downtown, although several companies have their bases in the suburbs. Most bus terminals have nasty reputations for thievery and general unpleasantness; your best bet is to grab your things and hop into a cab pronto.

Of the dozens of bus companies servicing the capital and points around the country, the largest with frequent service in and out of Lima are Ormeño (tel. 01/472-5000; www.grupo-ormeno.com.pe), Av. Javier Prado Este 1059, San Isidro; Av. Carlos Zavala 177 (tel. 01/427-5679), and reservations (tel. 01/472-5000; www.grupo-ormeno.com); Cruz del Sur, Av. Javier Prado Este 1101, La Victoria (tel. 01/311-5050; www.cruzdelsur.com.pe), and Jirón Quilca (tel. 01/424-1005; www.cruzdelsur.com.pe); Transportes Civa, Av. Paseo de la República 575 (tel. 01/418-1111; www.civa.com.pe); and Oltursa, Av. Aramburú 1160, San Isidro (tel. 01/708-5000; www.oltursa.com.pe).

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.