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Quick Reference Guide

General Questions About Safety

Let me start by saying, I’m born and raised in the USA. I look like a fullblown NorthAmerican. I live in a realtively humble area of Lima and have lived here, worked here, taken taxis here and walked the streets for 8 years now. NOT ONCE have I felt “Unsafe”

Although robbery and petty theft is common in Lima, violent crime rates are fairly low. While approximately 1.2% of Lima’s residents experienced a robbery in 2015 (most recent data), Lima’s murder rate and violent crime rates do not put it in even the top 50 most dangerous cities. Brazil, Mexico, and the United States have much higher rates of violence in their cities. So is Lima safe? Our opinion is it’s not any more dangerous than most major cities in the world.

Unfortunately Countries like the USA put out these bogus alerts telling tourist to not go to Peru due to Terrorism, when they themselves just had an attack on their own capital (January 6th Attacks). They choose to use the word “insurrectionist” rather than “Terrorists”. In Iraq it was Insurgents not terrorist. They pick and choose words to scare people. They are not playing fair on the world stage and you pay the price. Do not get me wrong I’m 100% American and love my home country as much as you love yours. I just see an attempt by countires to control others with false data for political gains.

My point is, what you see in the news isn’t always what the facts are. Gringo Taxis is your real time boots on the ground. Not some news story to get ratings.

In 2018 the USA had 246 serious assaults per 100,000 people accourding to the United Nations while Peru had 145. Where would you say is more dangerous?

Cusco, compared to Lima, is remarkably safe. Peru understands that tourism is a major industry and goes to great lengths to protect tourists in the region. However, you should still keep an eye on your belongings at all times. An item like a laptop or a camera could represent more than a few months’ wages for most people.

Quito is considered relatively safe for tourists, but like any major city, it’s essential to stay vigilant and take precautions against petty theft and scams. Violent crime rates in Quito are lower compared to some other cities in the region.

Traveling through Quito, one should always be hyper-vigilant. Not paranoid but vigilant. In certain areas and especially at night. Areas such as La Carolina park, El Ejido park, the bus terminals, and Old Town are unsafe. There is a high risk of muggings, kidnappings, and attacks, and much like the rest of Ecuador, armed robbery is a possibility anywhere or any time. For your own safety we recommend not resisting in any way. This will only increase the odds of you getting hurt as well as your things being stolen. As in Peru if you are kidnapped this will usually be for a few hours, they will bring you to an ATM and have you withdraw as much of the money as is possible. This could be extended if you have a large balance. Getting and using a cheap prepaid card may be the best option to limit any financial damages in the event something like this were to happen.

To help keep you safe Gringo Taxis only works with top tour providers with a proven reputation and stellar reveiws to back them up.

Let me be honest here, the only one who knows you’re a single woman traveler is you. That is unless you tell someone you’re on your own.

That said Peru is generally safe in the tourist areas, this includes Miraflores, San Isidro and Cusco. You may draw attention to yourself if you’re blond (most Peruvians have Black or Chocolate colored hair) and a blond will stick out like a sore thumb. 

Our advice; If you’re being bothered by a male here, simply look in the direction of a building entrance and shout “Thomas, I’ll be right there” The person you’re dealing with knows the name Thomas as a male Peruvian name and. . . Their back is to the door so they can’t see if someone was actually there or not.  You’re basically putting them on the heels and forcing them to leave you alone.

Another big issue here is being “Cat Called” , This will happen almost 100% chance of it happening. While this may be infuriating to you,  you’ll have two choices to deal with it.  1: Get Angry and let it ruin your trip or 2: Do not Respond, take it as a complement and just move on. 

Let me also say we at Gringo Taxis do not condone “Cat Calling” or any other type of demoralizing or humiliating things some men may do here. We’re suggesting ways to deal with it rather than ruin your trip.

According to the “Organized Crime Report at the national level and regions with the highest crime rate” of March 2023, prepared by Prosegur, robberies and aggravated thefts accounted for 81% of the events. On the other hand, regarding the provinces in which a higher rate of cases was reported, 77% of the total relevant crimes at the national level were concentrated mainly in the regions of Lima, Piura, La Libertad, Lambayeque, Arequipa, Ica , Callao and Ancash.

Notice there’s no mention of Cusco here? Or that “Lima” is a huge city with somewhere between 8-12 million inhabitants and most of the “crime” is in the outskirts of town in areas like Comas, Independencia, La Victoria all of which are miles, and miles away from the tourist locations such as Miraflores.

There has been a recent update today (Oct 11, 2023) to Peru’s “State of Emergency”. There has been an expantion of areas within Lima for 60 days. This State of Emergency now includes the districts of Lince and whats called Cerdado de Lima (Lima Center).  Outside of San Jaun De Lurigancho Lima Center is the has the second highest incidence of crime in the city.

The Lince district State of Emergency is geared towards Extortion and clandestine prostitution. With a higher police and or military presence from 12AM to 4Am. Citizens will have their rights diminished during these hours and are prohibited from going to group gatherings or clubs during these hours. 

As you can see not all States of Emergency are bad for tourist. Some are put in place to help tourist further enjoy their time in Peru. 

We would like to take the opportunity to point out a “State of Emergency is not all about “Crime”, a state of emergency can also be put in place for weather or damages caused by natural disaster. Such is the case in Limabamba in the Region known as Amazonas.

I’m not going to say your electronic items or watches etc. . .  are safe. Petty crime IS ABSOLUTELY an issue ANYWHERE in Lima, including Miraflores. 

If your things are not nailed down, screwed down, stapled down, glued down or you standing on it, the item is subject to being stolen. You can not leave a purse open or unattended anywhere or any time. Men who leave their wallets on the counter at a cash register, you’re a prime target. Women who leave their purse open at a cash register are also prime targets. People walking around looking at their phone using a map, that phone won’t be in your hand long.

General Money Questions

Money

In Peru, Gringo Taxis accepts payments in both USD and what’s known as PEN or the Peruvian Sol.

In Quito, Gringo Taxis accepts USD. Unfortunately the Ecuadorian money system is so unstable we only accept USD there.

Generally the banks here limit tourist to around 400 soles per transaction. This is around $130 (USD).  While this doesn’t sound like a lot, the purchasing power is much higher compared to the US

To withdraw more than the 400 soles you may need to go inside the bank so they can verify you are the person taking the money from the card.

Click on any of our blog posts and we have an exchange rate plugin just for you. The rates can change very fast so check often. Our plugin updates every 60 minutes.

Tipping is not a Peruvian custom, however it’s never unwelcome. A 10% tip at a restaurant would be considered generous in Peru.

As street taxi prices are negotiated beforehand, there is generally no tipping. However, if you feel the service was good leave a little extra with the driver, we’re sure that it’ll be appreciated.

And yes while I own a taxi, I still use local street taxis here in Lima myself. I also tip if they follow the rules, if not, well needless to say they get nothing extra.

Remember you’re in Peru, and while 10% of a $100 bill in the US would be $10 here it would be 10 soles which is about $7 less. Save your money! Remember to use the Sol when tipping.

Tipping is not mandatory in Ecuador, but it’s appreciated. A customary tip in restaurants is around 10% of the bill. You can also tip taxi drivers if you’re satisfied with their service.

Where Does Gringo Taxis Operate?

We currently provide service to both Lima’s Jorge Chavez International Airport and Cusco’s Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport. With a recent expansion to Quito Ecuador International Airport.

Currently Gringo Taxis operates in 3 cities. Lima Peru, Cusco Peru and Quito Ecuador. We could provide service in many more cities, however unlike many international taxi companies, we follow the rules and know just how hard it is to find trustworthy drivers.  This is even harder to find drivers who speak English. With 8 years here in South America we know firsthand how hard it is to find them. Don’t be fooled by websites offering English speaking drivers. They’re treating you like prey. We on the other hand stay small and look for the best of the best for your safety. And while not all of our drivers speak English, we are open and honest (transparent) about what we offer. 

We do operate in the Cusco Region to places such as Pisaq, Ollantaytambo etc. . . All of which are to or from the Cusco Airport or Cusco Center. 

General Taxi Questions

Airport Taxi

Our fares are fair! We only charge extra for the type of vehicle you choose, either a sedan, SUV or van. Otherwise, the fare is determined by district. So pile in with your friends and don’t worry about extra charges. Just keep the number of passengers to no more than the limit allowed in the vehicle. The limits are listed for each vehicle. 

Generally No. Gringo Taxis is an airport taxi business focused on providing on time pickups to and from the airports we serve.

The type of taxi we offer is a private hire taxi and we are required by law to have a reservation. Due to the time issues getting around the various cities we operate in, we cannot provide a quality service if we’re stuck in unexpected traffic somewhere far from our regular routes.

Yes we can, we have recently added beaches south of Lima such as Punta Hermosa, Punta Negra, San Bartolo to our ever expanding area of coverage.

The best beaches are located about an hour or more outside (South) of Lima to the south.

Gringo Taxis does not offer services to the beachs in Ecuador. You may however speak with our drivers and they may be willing to help you with that on their own.

This may sound odd to you but Peru does not require Car Seats for children. In fact the law allows a person to hold the child in their arms in the rear seats up to the age of 5. Then they are required to use a seat.

Gringo Taxis has car seats available in every area we service, unfortunately because no one uses them we have a limited number available. In Lima just pick the vehicle with the car seat option listed, in Cusco or Quito please add the Car Seat Option.

Gringo Taxis does not offer serives to the beaches or currently any locations outside of Quito. You may ask our drivers who are tour guides if they would be able to help you.

UBER

Let me start by saying 1: We’re not in competion with Uber. 2: Our clients want a more reliable. punctual service. 3: If price is the only thing you’re worried about and your safety and belongings are not an issue then absolutely grab an Uber. 4: If you have very low expectations, using Uber is perfect for you. 5: Finally we do not “dislike” Uber. We dislike the fact they violate the laws and no one holds them accountable.

Interestingly more than 50% of you who search for Uber ask the question “Is Uber Safe”. And even more odd is many of you still search to see if Uber works in Peru and Ecuador. The simple answer is YES. Remember I said the simple answer Uber works both in Peru and Ecuador. That said this should be a no brainer, if you need to question the safety, there’s already a problem. Below we’ll dive into more details.

Is Uber Safe
16 Months of search history here directly from my online performance results page. Obviously there's a thought that Uber is not safe
Does Uber Work In Peru
Yes Uber works in Peru and Quito Ecuador. But. . . Looking at this pic and the one above, you question their safety more than you wonder if they work in the two countries.

The simple answer is yes, yes they do. In fact you can use your same account from back in your home country and it will work fine in Peru.

There are 3 that come to mind

1: Didi, which is Ubers strongest competion as of late

2: Cabify, Charges in USD and is more executive level in Peru. Remember, this is Peru we’re talking about not a developed country, so executive here may not mean the same thing.

3: Yango, this the newest of the bunch and I have only had limited experience with them. They refused to answer an email I sent them asking for some information about their services. That seems odd to me, not very transparent in their ads online. In fact so vague I don’t see them growing, even Peruvians seem to question their business model.

Gringo Taxis has nothing against the Uber Platform. The idea is a solid one and has its place. Unfortunately Uber operates in Peru as they do everywhere, outside the law. 

Even popular tour buses here in Peru write posts on “Why not to use Uber for airport pickups” Uber in Peru is the same brand but not the same level of service. If you questioned their service back in your country, you would be prudent to question that here as well.

Apps such as Uber are not allowed to operate at the airport or even in the area of Lima called Callao. That doesn’t mean they don’t offer the service, they do. If they get caught they just pay the fine. Problem is, if the driver gets caught he gets the ticket and the points on his license go to him and not Uber. Same infraction in 12 months and they lose their license for 12 month, do it again and lose it for 24 months. Using Uber is putting a drivers ability to feed his family at risk. I’m not saying don’t use them. I’m saying, think before you jump.

Many Expatriates live here and post in the various groups about their “White Knuckle Ride” in their Uber. Often discribed similar to a ride through hell. 

The simple answer is yes, yes they do. In fact you can use your same account from back in your home country and it will work fine in Peru.

How Much Does An Airport Taxi Cost

Gringo Taxi

Unfortunately the “Cost” of a Gringo Taxi Airport Taxi is hard to say. I’m not being vague but rather honest here.

We base our rates on different districts within our operating areas. Our rates are competative with the local Airport Taxis with the added convinence of online scheduling from anywhere and a choice of payment options. Finally no lines! you walk out to the main arrivals hall and our driver’s meet you, escorting you to their vehicle.

As mentioned above as well as this is 2023 and the blogs you are all reading are from 2000 – 2020. With an off chance you’ve found one written more recently stating you can get “a Taxi” for XX amount.

Problem is did they tell you how big the vehicle was? In most cases, no they didn’t, they just wrote they got a taxi for XX amount. Did they mention if the vehicle had a natural gas tank in the trunk space? Most likely not. What they did is tell you what a basic Sedan price was 10 years ago or 5 years ago. Or they found a desperate driver and they took advantage of the situation because “everything in negotiable in Peru”

Did they tell you if their driver ran out of gas on the way to their hotel or Airbnb? Most likely not. Or if they were robbed en route? Again most likely not.

This is not a joke, these things really happen every day, all day long here. What you all are familar with is not what you’re purchasing from a Peruvain taxi. You’re purchasing “Mediocre” with them which is why their rates are so different.

Unfortunately this is true. In both countries drivers are really poor and many don’t understand the finances that comes from running a business. They often don’t make enough to cover the actual cost of the trip they’re doing and will ask for additional money either during the trip or just before the trip is about to end.

Many times and I mean quite frequently, airport taxis will quote you a rate, then after you’ve agreed they’ll ask you to pay the parking for them, adding to your expense.

Here at Gringo Taxis we’ve done the math, run the numbers and give a fare price for the trip which typically takes a driver 3 hours to complete the drive and 1-2 hours waiting at the airport for you.

Our rates include parking (varying times based on the service level you choose). You going over the allowed free time will incurre an additional charge, but that’s after you’ve already had a choice to pay for additional parking upfront and chose not to. Our rates include all tolls for any trips that would have them (not all do and not all rates include tolls). You can 100% count on a local Taxi to ask you to pay the tolls when her pulls up to the toll booth. Adding more to your cost. 

Are local Taxis cheaper? They are if you don’t mind paying additional as the trip goes on, if you don’t mind the occasional running out of gas, they are if you don’t mind running in 100 degree heat in a black car with no A/C, they are if you don’t mind the fact the driver likely doesn’t have insurance. I could literally do this all day. Point is, you get what you pay for both in Peru and Quito. 

How Long Does The Ride Take

Coming from a profesional driver and not a tourist that comes to Peru once and then posts their experience. The trip to or from Miraflores in Lima Peru can take as little as 35 minute or as long as 2.5 hours depending on if it’s a holiday in Peru, accidents on the way, rush hour etc. . .

Arriving in Lima from 6PM to 8PM will take around an hour to 1.25 hours to get to your hotel. This is also true for other areas close to Miraflores such as San Isidro or Barranco

Trips to the Lima airport are equally as bad. Please plan your pickup with at least 1 hour driving time planned into your schedule.

However if you’re arriving or departing at any time on a Sunday 45 minutes will be a good allowable time to get to your destination.

Many tourists have long layovers and have read about Huacachina thinking it’s a good place to burn the 12 hours between flights.

Sorry to disappoint you but if you’re arriving say around 8:30AM  you won’t have time to go there. The drive is 4.5 hours without traffic, arriving at or after 8:30AM will put you smack in the middle of the morning rush hour, three toll booths which are always jammed up. This makes the trip closer to 5.5 hours to get there. Then rush hour coming back is another 6 hours or more. You will spend the entire trip driving and sitting in traffic.

A better plan would be to see the ruins in Pachacamac (Lurin) which is only about 1 hour south of Lima. Maybe not your ideal day out after already seeing ruins in Cusco but better than a full day at the airport. with nothing to do.

Rides can take as little as 30 minutes or as long as 60 minutes depending on your arrival or departure times. Please plan on the ride taking an average of 45 minutes when scheduling.

Leaving at 04:00AM the ride is about 3.5 – 4 hours. All drivers (not just Gringo Taxi Driver’s) like to leave at 4AM to avoid the headaches involved with the commercial inspection about 2 hours south of Lima. The Inspection is not the problem, it’s the police looking to get a bribe form the drivers and they’ll invent any reason to get it. 

That said no legal taxi can drive to Paracas legally. Lima put restrictions on vehicles with a Taxi Plate on them. This means if you find a driver who will do it they will most likely be a family car and not have insurance in the event of an accident.

Gringo Taxis ha drivers who are legal taxis but without a taxi plate. That sounds really screwed up but it’s the facts. Lima has a Bill that is being discussed and until further notice certain vehicles along with the correct documentation can operate as a taxi. Luckily we have on working on our team with just such permission.

This topic is so complex I could write a book on this.

For a bit of information on Paracas check out the link 

Airport Specific Questions

Airport Transfer

This is the easy part. Truly easy so relax knowing this will not be hard. 

While the Lima Airport can be crazy with traffic and lots of people waiting for family finding the driver in Lima is as simple as find the right door to exit the building at.

In Lima for International flights, look for the driver at door #4 in the main arrivals hall. If you don’t see the door, simply ask any airport employee to point you in the right direction.

For Domestic flights in Lima, look for the driver at door 12. There is a coffee shop just inside the door the driver will be near the coffee shop.

In Cusco look for your driver in the taxi ranks with a sign.

In Quito the airport is much smaller. Finding the driver is as simple as finding the arrivals hall. Really Quito has a small airport and nowhere near as busy as Lima

Generally you need 45 to 60 minutes. However a lost bag can hold you up to 2 hours.

International flights the airport and airlines recommend the following.

Arrive with 3 hours to spare for security. 

This is often more time than you need but. . . The Lima Airport for example uses a single door for security for both domestic and international flights. 

Domestic flights both the airlines and the Airport recommend arriving with 2 hours to spare.

The Quito Airport and airliines recommend the same as above.

Any tourist entering either Ecuador or Peru will be required to have at a minimum 6 months validity on their passport. If you do not have the required time, they will put you right back on the same plane you flew in on.

Left Luggage is actually a thing in Lima and actually the name of the place you’ll leave your luggage.

How To Find Left Luggage In Lima

International Arrivals: Pass the car rental booths and enter the main arrivals waiting area. You’ll see a Store named “Listo” to the back (To your left as you walk into the arrivals hall).

Left Luggage is to the left of the Store.

Domestic Arrivals: You’ll need to exit the building and walk from doors 10-13 to door # 4. As you enter straight ahead of you is a Store named “Listo”. Left luggage is to the left of that store.

In both cases thte Left Luggage location is somewhat hidden. They have a sign with rates outside the last tiem I was there. 

The last rate I saw was $11 per bag per day.

Their Contact information is Contact: +511 9225 59112 | [email protected]

According to the Lima Airport Left Luggage is open 24 hours a day.

This is their website and you can contact them in advance!

https://www.bagparkingquito.com/

Safe Taxi Questions

As with any South American Country, taxis, especially airport taxis can be not only difficult to find a legal driver but equally as hard to find on who will not rob or assault you between the airport and your hotel. 

Gringo Taxis has a track record for not only being reliable, punctual and dependable but also safe. We didn’t become a Certified Excellent provider on TripAdvisor on accident.

Schedule a taxi to or from the airport and see why we’re rated so highly for yourself. Bottom line is our driver’s love what they do, they’re not in this for the money, they actually enjoy meeting new people every day.

Taxis in Peru are a whole other beast. There’s so much to say about them I wrote two separate blog posts on them. This one on Hotel Taxis Scams and this one 3 Tips On A Trustworthy Taxi In Lima 

If safety is your priority those two blogs will get you pointed in the right direction regarding taxis in Peru.

Before getting into the vehicle take note of the weather. Is it rainy or damp roads? If so make sure the car has an actual tread on it. 

In Lima we get so little rain here if the roads get wet they become very dangerous to drive on with all the oil on the road coming to the surface. This would be akin to driving on ice in the Northen Part of the US.

As soon as you enter the vehicle make sure the door opens so you can get out. Vehicles in South America are a luxury and literally any vehicle with 4 tires and a running motor is going to be used as a taxi.

Read and remember the plate number in case you are robbed or assaualted en route. At least you’ll have a place to start.

Agree on a rate for the trip in advance or schedule a Gringo Taxi to or from the Airport and save the hassle of not knowing.

Single persons traving should sit directly behind the driver. This will prevent the driver from being able to reach you or your belongings.

In a big city like Quito or Lima or any large city for that matter, exit and enter the taxi from the passengers side. Cars do not expect the driver’s side door to open unless it’s being parked. You could very easily be struck by a passing vehicle otherwise.

Miraflores To The Airport And Much More

Absolutely we can. We are a 100% legal taxi with many of our driver’s speaking English. 

Absolutely we do. Simply select Airport To San Isidro from the dropdown menu on our Lima Arrivals page. In the destination box put the bus terminal Jabier Prado Bus Station and we’ll know where you’re going.

Our basic Sedan is $25 with options to upgrade your vehicle choice to a larger more comfortable one.

Unfortunately, no we do not.

This depends on the route as much as you going to the local supermarket in your hometown. Everything depends on what route is taken.

The route can be from 19.6KM to 21.3 so just about 13-14 miles

Yes, yes there are. We call them Combis and they run often too. Unfortunately even a Peruvian would tell you not to do that. They live here and don’t have the option to take a taxi due to their financial situations. They “just live with it”. These can be found by walking to the far right or left cornerrs of the parking lot facing away from the actual airport building.

You can get a series of buses though if you’re intent on trying. The overall cost of a bus from the Lima Airport to Miraflores would be around 5 soles or just over $1.50 USD and would take close to 1.5 hours, however if it’s rush hour, you can plan on a two hour ride witghout question.

Warning, the above option is not a safe option with your luggage and based on the time of day/night you arrive.

Then there is the Lima Express Buss which is operated by the actual airport themselves. This bus leaves ever half hour and is around $8 per perrson. 3 people and you’re already at the taxi cost.  First you need to find the bus, then wait and wait and wait for it. There’s a better option, grab a Gringo Taxi and you’re on your way.

Unfortuantely this bus operates from 8 am to 11pm and most of your international flights arrive too late or too early to be able to use the service.

Flights To Machu Picchu

Unfortunately you can’t. Machu Picchu is an UNSECO World Heritage Site and you cannot buy a flight directly to Machu Picchu. You’ll need to fly into Lima and then fly out to Cusco Peru from there a bunch of other things such as a taxi or bus or train to get you to the entrance. Flying there is out of the question.