Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) is around 26 miles west of Washington DC. city center. It is the second busiest airport in the Washington DC. area, but has the most international traffic, with the other airports in the region focussing on domestic flights. Jose Chávez International Airport (LIM) is Peru’s largest airport, and is situated 7 miles from the center of Lima.
The distance between Washington D.C. and Lima is long as intra-American flights go, clocking in at 3,506 miles, but the route is well-served by airline providers, with between 60 and 80 flights a day between the two destinations – around 500 flights a week.
Nine airlines fly at least one leg of the route, including LATAM, Copa Airlines, United Airlines, Avianca, American Airlines, Delta, and Air France. There are no direct flights from Washington to Lima, however, with most stopping at least once. Where the stopover is depends on the airline passengers are flying with, but typical places include Cancun in Mexico, Panama City, and Houston. With one stopover, the journey time can be as short as nine hours and 25 minutes, or as lengthy at 31 hours and 15 minutes.
Although IAD is out of the center of Washington DC., it remains an easily accessible airport by public transport. The Metrobus runs from downtown DC. to IAD around every 30 minutes, departing from three different stops in the city. This journey should take around 50 minutes, although in bad traffic it’s liable to take longer. Alternatively, passengers can take the Silver Line Metro out to the Wiehle-Reston East station, where there is a short bus ride to the airport proper. IAD has extremely reasonable long-term parking prices on its Economy Lots.
The best way to get from LIM to the center of Lima is by Lima Airport Taxi, which is a dedicated taxi service to and from the airport. The journey takes around half an hour, and costs somewhere in the region of 15 USD. If you’re in the mood for more of an adventure, then public transport is also an option. This only costs half a dollar, but does involve riding in a minivan for around two hours.
Lima is one-hour behind Washington DC, so there won’t be any major jetlag to contend with, but there are plenty of differences between the two places. For one, they are in different hemispheres, so the seasons are reversed. In terms of summer temperatures, the two places are not that different, but as a whole Lima is much more temperate than DC with no real cold season. Because of this, Lima has less of a ‘high season’ than other destinations, but it is usually hotter and slightly more popular between December and May.
In Lima the currency is the Peruvian Sol, for which there is a currently a good dollar-Sol exchange rate of 1 dollar to 3.4 Sol. Things will generally be cheaper there, as well, so your money will go further than in the United States. The official language of Peru is Spanish, and although there are indigenous languages still spoken, those who do speak them will usually be bilingual.
Head to the Larco Museum
Probably the best museum in the city, the Larco Museum hosts thousands of artifacts from before the Spanish colonization. The museum is full of interesting sculpture and ceramic art, with a particular focus on pre-Spanish erotic ceramic art, which was derided by the conquistadors. The museum is unusual in that its storerooms are open to the public, so visitors can explore more than just the items in the main display.
Eat and drink plenty
Peruvian food, and particularly that found in Lima, is rated as the best in South America. It has plenty of classic dishes like ceviche – raw fish marinated in lime juice – lomo saltado (stir-fried beef), or aji de gallina, a spicy stew with chicken. But, the capital is also known for innovative cooking. Great options include Malabar, where head-chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino experiments with traditional Amazonian produce, or Mayta, where Jaime Pesaque has installed a fantastic pisco bar (a traditional Peruvian cocktail).
Walk around the Plaza de Armas
The historic center of Lima, the Plaza de Armas square, sometimes known as the Plaza Mayor, was built originally by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro when he founded the city in the 16th century. Relatively few of the original buildings still survive, but the square remains a place of great importance, with a number of the city’s landmarks within its four sides, including the Lima Cathedral and the Government Palace.
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