Photo Credit: Danielle Villasana
I did extensive research on Spanish classes when I first moved to Lima. I read reviews; I compared prices; I talked to friends, and I sat in on classes.
Since I was on reporting trips every other week and learning a lot on the road, I didn’t end up taking a class. BUT, perhaps you can benefit from my many hours of research:
Hispana Spanish Language School
- Have you taken a basic self-defense class? This isn’t Lima-specific. You can use those tips to get out of bad situations in your own neighborhood. Check out the options available in your city, and sign up! It’s incredibly helpful and empowering.
- It’s common to get robbed here. I rarely carry a purse. I invested in a lot of lovely sports bras and keep my money there. I could still get robbed, of course, but I feel like I’m less of a target. The Significant Other uses a money belt.
- Leave your passport in the hotel/hostel and take a copy of your passport with you. You’re more likely to get robbed on the street than in a hotel, where a bad review on TripAdvisor could bring down business. NOTE: Hostels generally have lockers so bring your own lock!
- If you have a lot of expensive camera equipment, I’d recommend getting insurance for it. In Miraflores, you’re safer, but be very careful with your camera equipment in downtown Lima. Exercise common sense and:
- Don’t leave your purse/camera on the back of your chair or under your chair. Always keep everything important to you on your lap, with the strap wrapped around your wrist.
- Don’t walk around alone with equipment. Always have a partner/group.
- Get a camera case that doesn’t look like a camera case.
- Put your camera away unless you’re actively using it.
- Keep the camera strap securely around your wrist at all times.
- Keep the camera close to your body.
- If you’re in an unfamiliar area, try not to speak English. It instantly makes you more of a target.
- Don’t walk around at night alone.
- If you’re here for a while, buy a Peruvian SIM card from Claro or Movistar, the local cell providers. If not, use free wifi. Then download the app EasyTaxi. It’ll let you call safe taxis. They’re slightly more expensive, but always worth it. I rarely take taxis off the street. People get robbed quite frequently. [Significant Other adds: EasyTaxi also offers a price guide, so you can keep your driver honest.]
- Taxis will try to stiff you. Count your change before leaving. Ask how much it costs before getting in. For off-the-street cabs, a ride shouldn’t cost more than 15 soles to downtown. For EasyTaxi, it shouldn’t cost more than 20. If you’re getting around within Miraflores, it’ll be 10 soles. Check the price guide for the current rates.
- When going out drinking, be overly cautious. It’s conceivable that the bar tender will slip you something—even if you’re in a large group. And this warning doesn’t just apply to young women. Everyone is a target. Stick to bars that are recommended and in nicer areas of town.
- Don’t drink the water. I use it to brush my teeth, but I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re new to the country.
- Don’t eat fruits without washing them in a cleaning solution. Also don’t eat any uncooked vegetables, especially salads, unless you’re at a nice place. I got food poisoning my first week here because I ate a salad at a fast food restaurant.
- Don’t wear flashy jewelry (or any jewelry!).
- Be aware that stores open late most days and very few things are open on Sundays. Don’t leave any necessary purchases to the morning or the weekend.
- Everyone says this, but it’s worth repeating… If you’re getting robbed, give them your stuff. Your stuff is replaceable—you aren’t!