South America Warnings
To take a cab in Lima:
This is most confusing to many tourists visiting the capital city because taxis don´t use meters. When you stop a taxi, you don't just hop in and tell him where you're going, there is some procedure to do first. If you're stopping a taxi on the street, make sure it is not a Tico o other really small car, because they aren't as safe. Also make sure the driver is dressed appropriately. The taxi driver will roll down his window, which is when you are supposed to tell him where you're going (say, Miraflores) then he can either refuse to take you there, in which case he will drive off, or tell you his price. Make sure you ask at your hostel or hotel how much should they charge and don't accept higher prices.(most taxis are a maximum of s/15) Many taxi drivers will charge incredibly high fees to tourists. ALWAYS BARTER. The taxi driver is used to it, he will always tell you a price higher than what he expects to be paid (just in case you might agree)
Once you agree on a price and destination, THEN you go in the cab.
You might want to ask around for a calling taxi service, but that´s usually more expensive.
When you're in Lima, try to dress as 'normally' as possible. Don't walk around parading your Cusco souvenirs around or walk down Miraflores with your sandals,khaki pants and large backpack in plain winter because you might not get robbed, but you will be an easier target, specially if you´re alone. Also, you will get charged a lot more at vendors or non-formal establishments if you look like a foreigner. When you are in Lima, try to dress more like a local, that is, how you would normally dress if you were back home.
Also, Lima is a modern city, and you can buy here almost everything that you can find elsewhere, so if something is missing from your gear, you'll probably find it asking around.
If taking buses:
If you have the budget, i would definitely recommend Oltursa as a safe way to travel around Peru. If not, do avoid Cruz del Sur because they have the highest accident rate. Bus crashes between the most economic businesses are a common thing. Also try to seat in the middle of the bus, better if next to the aisle, as it is safer (never at the front).
Walking is not the safest method of transportation, it is okay in Miraflores, San Isidro and most parts of Barranco but not everywhere else. You can go from a nice zone to a dangerous one in just a block so be careful.
Apart from this just common sense to avoid any nasty situations. Lima is beautiful city with lots to offer.
But the post by KarinaM is a little misleading. Quote "If not, do avoid Cruz del Sur because they have the highest accident rate". The quoted text is not true at all.
There is a document that you can download (sorry I can't find it now and appear to have deleted it from my laptop as I'm now in Colombia) that was produced by the government that recorded all the accidents, injuries and deaths on the roads in Peru (from two or three years ago). They were listed by bus company and it told you how many fleets or buses the company had so you could make a comparision as to which was deemed safer.
Cruz Del Sur were one of the safest if I remember correctly. The other company they list in LP also had a good rating. They are more expensive but for certain long overnight routes I felt they were were worth the extra money (which is when most accidents happen).
Also as I said at the top, if you're coming to Bogota you might want to check which hostel you're staying in as there have been break-ins with the whole hostel being held up, robbed and people even assaulted (you can google it). I think the last attack was a few months ago but according to another website (not sure if I can link or say) 4 or 5 different hostels have been held up in this area, with one being held up twice.
If anyone knows which hostels (I know of one, it's well documented - Again google) were held up I'd be grateful for the info
http://www.mtc.gob.pe/portal/ranking_co ... 7-2008.pdf
I may have been a little harsh on KarinaM as Cruz del Sur did have the third highest accident rate, but what you have to consider is the number of 'Flotas' (buses) that they had at the time. They had the 4th largest number of buses and only one company with more buses had fewer accidents: (TRANSPORTES LINEA S.A.).
Not trying to call Karina out but the company she mentions isn't even on this list: Oltursa
I've since googled them and they have hardly any destintations either. http://www.oltursa.pe/index.php?id=293
It looks like they don't even go to Cusco, that can't be right, surely?
However, they are listed on the US gov site http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_t ... fic_safety where I found the link to the PDF above
I found other good companies were: MOVIL TOURS S.A. and EXPRESO INTERNACIONAL ORMEÑO S.A.
This is nothing new, but after spending the last week there, I can report opportunistic crimes and trickery are still common. Four people at my hostel got robbed while they were in BsAs, only one was somewhat violent - a guy got wrestled to the ground for his iPhone, but onlookers interceded and scared the thief away.
A group of folks from the hostel were at the markets in San Telmo. They found an empty street and sat down; the girl set her purse down to dig through it, and left it unzipped for just a few minutes, right beside her. Suddenly, two Argentinian ladies appeared, one of them asking for directions in broken English. The girl was distracted for five seconds, but realized something was amiss-- why would a local be asking her for directions?-- sure enough, there was a kid stooped over in her purse, grabbing her wallet.
In Mendoza, a gal was on a bike tour and had her daypack in the front basket (unsecured). While stopped at an intersection, someone zoomed by on a motorbike and snatched it.
And in Brazil, someone got mugged at knifepoint in Rio in broad daylight, but they admitted to fitting the "tourist" description (goofy hat, shorts, backpack, map in hand, obviously lost).
As many others on this thread have said-- a quick robbery can happen to anyone; even the locals wear their purses cross-body with a hand on it. In Rio, my good friend who's Brazilian didn't even carry a purse. Just be smart, leave stuff you can't afford to lose in a locker (passport, $), only carry a day's worth of $ in your pockets, etc.
All that to say-- I loved my time in South America, and although I got lost or confused often, the locals were usually more than willing to help, despite my abysmal Spanish.
Sor Raimunda wrote:Warning ArgentinaAll the prices that you see are expressed in PESOS ARGENTINOS, not in Dollars or Euros.i.e. If you want to buy a t-shirt and the price is "8" don't ask if they are "8 dollars". Unfortunately if they see that you are a tourist thay will try to make to pay in Dollars or Euros. And the product will cost you more than what it really costs.Gabriela
Whoa. Thanks for this.
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