Jorge Chavez International Airport is the main airport serving the city of Lima, Peru, and is the main international centre for the country. The airport serves as a hub for Taca, LAN Peru, Peruvian Airlines, Star Peru and LC Busre.
This is a rapidly expanding city and Peru is becoming a major tourism destination in South America, which are contributing factors to the airport being one of the fastest growing airports in the Americas.
The airport was named after a well-known Peruvian aviator, Jorge Chavez Dartnell, in 1965 and this is when the current structure was erected. Since its inception the airport has been renovated and expanded. In 2010, the airport was named the best airport in South America. Further renovations are in the works, as traffic to the airport continues to increase at a very high rate and tourism is booming in Peru. Scheduled for completion in 2014, a second runway will enable much more traffic to pass through the airport. This is as well as other renovations currently in the works.
Of note at Lima’s main airport is the Skytrax Lounge, which, in 2010, earned the distinction of being the top VIP lounge in the world; quite an impressive distinction for an airport of its size.
When landing and clearing customs at Jorge Chavez Airport, many passengers will notice that there are long queues and crowded spaces. If you are flying in from a foreign country, bear in mind that this is quite common in Latin America. Upon making your way to the baggage claim area, you will notice a slew of locals willing to give you a taxi ride or help you with your bags. While many of these locals are just looking to make a living, do keep in mind that you should negotiate a fair price before heading off with your cab driver, as some taxi drivers here have been known to take advantage of naive tourists who have just landed.
This is a country where there is substantial poverty so, when in the area outside the security checkpoints, be alert of potential pickpockets, as this has been a reported issue in crowded spaces in Lima, such as the airport or bus stations.
Transportation is plentiful through the use of either taxies or the mini-buses that transverse the city. If you are brand new to Lima, take the taxi route, as this will be much easier to navigate and get where you are trying to go without having to figure out the bus system, which can be quite confusing. The mini-buses are great if you have some assistance from a local or speak Spanish fluently but, for travellers who have just flown in, it can be a tricky task to figure out. Also of note is, once you get outside the main airport area, the surrounding area is fairly industrial and somewhat undesirable. Don’t think that you can walk to anything that is very close by, as you may find yourself in a bit of a rough area. Taking a taxi is, without question, your best route in getting into the city, so search for a friendly and informative driver in the pick-up area.
If flying out of Lima, keep in mind that baggage theft does occur here and, for a small fee, your bag can be security wrapped to prevent this. This feature is offered near the baggage check-in desks.
Also of note is that the city’s bus terminals are not located very close by and will require a shuttle or taxi, if this is where you are heading to next.
Much of the city’s top accommodation will be found within the Miraflores district, which is a nice, clean and safe area, located about eleven miles from the airport. Here, you will find big name hotels and hostels, as well as great dining and entertainment options.
Overall, this is not a huge airport, yet it is very busy. Given this, expect crowds and long queues, but you will likely be pleased with the modern services and convenience, as well as the efficiency that this airport is run with.
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