Thorough preparation is always necessary when you go on a trip, especially a long and far journey. I prepared as much as possible when I was planning for Lima - capital of Peru - the country located at a distance of a halfway around the planet. But preparation is never enough for a trip, there are always full of surprises waiting for you on the way of experiencing. Something that you would never be able to know beforehand but once you face it.
That is the reason why I share this post with you guys, to share my little experience I had when I was there. With my own experience of 1 week of staying in Lima, Peru, I will share some tips that are quite helpful for someones who want to travel Lima in the future. Actually, it's ok without these tips, however, it will be easier and you will be able to save quite a lot of money if you consider using my tips.
1. Oops!! You can't buy SIM chip in the airport.
When I had just landed in Lima Airport, I found out a SIM chip Counter. I needed SIM chip right away since Lima Airport provided free wifi within 30 mins and no more. Such terrible service. But you know what was even more terrible than wifi stuff? That was they didn't sell SIM chip for me. They said that I needed to register with my passport to buy SIM chip. "My passport? Ok, here it is". But they still refused me that they couldn't register with passport here and I needed to go service center to register. Oops. Really? I kept wondering why they put a Counter for selling SIM chip in the airport. Because Peruvian can buy but they don't need, and foreigners need but they can't buy. lol.
There are some tips for you
- If you need any information which is on the internet such as the address of the hotel, booking uber, etc, you have to do it quickly since you only have 30mins of using free wifi.
- Download some offline apps in your phone such as Spanish - English Dictionary (I used 'Spanish Dictionary - Dict Box, I downloaded it for just in case when I dont have wifi. Normally, I prefer using Google translation), offline map like maps.me (highly recommend this app for traveler).
- You can search some service center to buy SIM chip closest with your hotel, and dont forget to bring your passport to register. I bought Claro SIM chip. it takes quite long to register and has a lot of steps. I understood why they asked me to go service center to register. But I still dont understand why they put a counter to sell SIM chip in airport. :))
2. Don't take taxi
Taxi in Peru is a different kind of Taxi in Vietnam. It doesn't have some device to count how many kilometers and how much money. So it is really easy to get rip off if you don't know how to bargain. I'm never good at bargaining so that is why when I was in Lima, I only walked or took UBER. But the problem is UBER is quite rare in Lima, so sometimes you need to walk a lot. I often took Uber Pool - a kind of Uber that you gonna go on a car with someone else, to save money.
I will never forget the experience when I took an Uber in Lima. It was so dangerous because of the way of driving. So you need to be ready for it. :))
3. Money exchange
The currency of Peru is Sol. I just remember that 10 Soles equals $3 in value. I exchanged money in Lima Airport and after that, when I was walking around the center of Lima, I realized another way to exchange money besides do in money exchange counter.
In the streets, especially in Jiron de la Union, there are a lot of people wearing the yellow coat with "Exchange money" behind. They are people assigned to exchange money by the government. You can exchange money with them, really fast and safe. I feel like there are a lot of fake money in Peru, since whenever I paid money, they checked it thoroughly, see and keep touching to make sure. So be careful when you exchange money in somewhere that is not the bank, you may get fake money. But you can trust to exchange from "yellow man" on the street.
4. Get yellow fever vaccine right in Lima.
This tip this for someones who want to go Bolivia after finish traveling Peru. You can get Bolivian Visa in the border or Bolivian Embassy in Cusco, Peru as well. Having a certificate that proves you got yellow fever vaccine is a requirement to enter Bolivia. I tried to get this vaccine in Vietnam before I started traveling but I couldn't do it since in that time, there was no yellow fever vaccine in Vietnam, it ran out.
So I had no choice and just started my trip. I hoped that I would find out the way to get this kind of vaccine. When I was in Lima, I read a review of a blogger. She said that foreigner can get the vaccine in national hospital in Lima. And I got it for free here. Not like in Vietnam, I have to pay quite a lot of money for it. and a Singaporean girl I met in Bolivian Embassy even said that she paid almost $180 for yellow fever vaccine.
There are some tips for you
- Go to National Hospital (I forget the address) and find the place look like this photo. This is the place to get vaccine.
- Don't forget to bring your passport, they will not give you anything if you don't show the passport. After you got vaccine, they will give you a paper/certificate. Keep it carefully, you need to show it to Bolivian Embassy.
- It is free, and doesn't even hurt you. But your body may have some reaction with vaccine. You may have a fever within a few days after getting vaccine. You should not take a shower in the first 12 hours after take vaccine.
Those are tips that I accumulated myself through my experience in Lima. Hope it will be helpful for someones who are going to visit Lima.
Thank for reading!
● Lima, Peru