Last year we went on a business trip to Lima. It was my first time ever in that city, and we were thrilled that at the end of our conference we still had an afternoon left for sightseeing. Following our usual protocol, we approached the hotel lobby and inquired about quickie afternoon tours. After all, when you have just a few hours between your meeting and your next flight, you want to make use of the time in the most expeditious manner.
Alas, it was not to be. All of the afternoon sightseeing tours had left already. This left us only with Plan B, which consisted in taking a cab and trying to go to as many places as possible in the least amount of time.
And of course, the best way to go is to ask the hotel lobby to call you a taxi.
Our cab driver was a very nice guy, who suggested that we went to the centro de la ciudad (downtown). This was an excellent idea, since everything is pretty much concentrated there, and we could see as many architectural wonders in very little time. When we asked him how much he would charge us, he said that it’d be just 10 soles (about $3.70 US). We decided that 10 soles per person was more than reasonable, and off we went.
[Click on images to see the larger version]
Once we got off, one of our colleagues remarked that cabbies in Lima do not have a taximeter, so you have to negotiate your fare beforehand. Hmmm… we thought, how much cheaper can a fare get from 10 soles.
Famous last words.
At any rate, we spent a wonderful afternoon visiting the sites, including the Plaza Mayor, Plaza San Martin, the Catedral de Lima (where I managed to nearly get thrown out for taking pictures*), and the Archbishop’s Palace.
*Note: I wasn’t using flash and never saw a “No Cameras” sign, so there.
And as you can see, the Limeños really, really like their balconies. And they do it so well!
At any rate, on the way back, we just hailed a cab, who told us that the fare would be 10 soles again. So much for negotiating, we thought. However, much to our surprise, when he dropped us at the hotel, we realized that he had meant 10 soles for the three of us! Live and learn, I say.
But the story doesn’t end there. Armed with our new knowledge, we decided to go ahead and go out for dinner. Only this time, we were not taking a cab from the hotel, but hailing one from the street. (There are a gazillion of them out there!)
Our fare for that second cab? 8 soles.
We were definitely getting good at this!
After our very yummy dinner (it’s hard to get a bad meal in Lima, even if you try), we hailed our fourth cab of the day. The fare? 7 soles.
At that point we decided that we needed to stop taking cabs or we would end up getting paid for hopping in one.
So now you know.
If you ever go to Lima, talk to your cabbie and negotiate your fare.
It will be worth it.
No need to thank me.