Note: See our section on the Lima Airport’s Response to COVID-19 to learn more about the protocols in place during the current pandemic.
You’ve already planned your dream vacation to Peru and visions of Machu Picchu have been dancing in your head. But, as the date approaches, your excitement is paired with some pre-travel nerves. Making your way through the Lima airport can be intimidating, particularly if you don’t speak Spanish.
To help you master Lima’s Jorge Chavez International Airport, we’ve compiled the information you need to know to make it through like a pro and get onto more important business—like enjoying your vacation!
Find out everything you need to know about the Lima airport in this guide:
- Response to COVID-19
- Lima Airport Basics
- Lima Airport Facilities
- Arrival Procedures
- Departure Procedures
Last updated by Melissa Dreffs in July 2020.
Lima Airport’s Response to COVID-19
Since March 22, 2020, the Lima airport has been closed to commercial flights. While still closed, the Peruvian government has announced domestic flights within Peru will be permitted from July 15, 2020.
Limited information is available regarding the return of international flights. Projections estimate limited international flights are predicted to begin in August. More specifically, Peru’s Ministry of Transport and Communications said in an interview that the borders may open in August but this is still being evaluated. It will probably be a “soft opening” with certain countries in South America such as Chile, Bolivia and Colombia. No news about the United States yet. We will continue to update this page as more information becomes available. See our official post for more information regarding coronavirus in Peru here.
Once the airport reopens, the following measures will be in place until further notice.
At the airport entrance
- Only passengers will be allowed to enter within 3 hours of their departure
- Check-in should be done before arriving to the airport. Passengers will need a printed or electronic boarding pass to enter.
- Obligatory use of masks
- Temperatures will be taken for every passenger. Those with a temperature above 38 degrees Celsius, the equivalent to 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit will not be allowed to enter.
- Shoe disinfecting mats
- Social distancing guides marked on the ground
Inside the airport
- Obligatory use of masks
- Glass separation wall at check-in counters
- Social distancing guides marked on floors and chairs
- Shoe disinfecting mats available
- Portable hand washing sinks and hand sanitizer dispensers placed throughout the airport
- Frequent cleaning in all areas
- Thermal imaging cameras throughout the airport
- Posters and reminders regarding hand washing and social distancing
Lima Airport Basics
The Jorge Chávez International Airport is located in the Callao district of Lima, Peru. The airport is 7 miles (11 km) from the historic center of Lima. Miraflores, the main tourist district, is 14 miles (22 km) from the airport.
The Lima airport is not only the main airport in Peru; it has become an increasingly important hub for the larger South American region. The airport served 22.1 million passengers and 192 thousand flights in 2018.
At a Glance
- Lima Airport Code: LIM
- Local Time: (GMT -5:00). Check the current time in Lima here.
- Flight Schedule: A detailed timetable of arriving and departing flights can be found online and in the main check-in area.
- Airport’s Busiest Times: 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.; 7:30 p.m. – 12:00 a.m. Most international flights to Lima arrive and depart late at night, between 8:00 and 11:00 p.m. This is the busiest time for transiting through passport control.
- Airport Safety: The airport itself is considered safe during the day and at night. However, it is best to avoid the surrounding areas off the airport and hotel premises. If taking a taxi, make sure to go with a registered company and do not accept unsolicited offers. Travelers should be aware of their surroundings and use common sense.
- ATMs: BCP, BBVA Continental, Scotiabank, and Globalnet ATMs are available throughout the airport.
- Money Exchange: Interbank and World Xchange kiosks are available throughout the airport.
- Favorite Restaurants: Before security: La Lucha Sangucheria. After security: La Bonbonniere near international departures and Tanta near domestic departures.
- International Franchises: Dunkin Donuts, KFC, McDonald’s, Papa John’s, and Starbucks are located before security. Starbucks is also found after security by the domestic departure gates. TGI Fridays is located after security by the international departure gates.
- Luggage Storage: A luggage storage service is available 24/7 on the first floor within the international arrivals hall. Daily and hourly options are available.
- Transportation: If you do not have a prearranged transfer, taxis, a bus, and car rentals are available.
- Airport Fees: Airport fees known as TUUA are now included in all international and domestic flight tickets.
Lima Airport Facilities
Whether you are in transit or if Lima is your final destination, the airport offers facilities typical of large international airports in South America or elsewhere. There are a handful of good restaurants and shops open 24/7 to make your stay comfortable. The numerous bathrooms throughout the airport are comfortable, clean, and family-friendly.
All airport facilities are in compliance with national regulations for accessibility and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The airport’s elevators, payphones, parking lot, toilets, ramps, etc. are accessible to people with limited mobility and people using wheelchairs. Assistance services and wheelchairs should be requested via your airline in advance.
There are an abundance of dining options in the Lima airport. Before the security checkpoint, you will find a food court with recognized fast food franchises such as McDonald’s, Papa John’s, and Starbucks. There are also several popular Peruvian options such as Juicy Lucy and Sangucheria La Lucha. There are great sit down restaurants located within the terminal serving up Peruvian and international cuisine, such as La Nacional, Paprika and Tanta.
You can find handicraft shops (including fine alpaca and silver stores), travel-related goods, electronic items, bookstores, among others. There is also a large duty-free area where you can find perfume, cosmetics, liquors, chocolate, and other products. See all Lima airport shopping options here.
All visitors are granted 30 minutes in two 15 minute intervals of free WiFi. Keep in mind that it may not be the strongest and most reliable connection. Additionally, there is an option to pay per hour by credit card. Some restaurants and cafes provide free WiFi with a purchase.
The airport operators are continually working to improve the connection and have a goal of free unlimited WiFi by 2021.
Money Exchange and ATMs
While Interbank and World Xchange kiosks are available for money exchange in the airport, rates are generally better in the city. Check the current exchange rate here.
There are BCP, BBVA Continental, Scotiabank, and Globalnet ATMs located throughout the airport. ATMs at the Lima airport dispense both USD and the local currency, PEN or soles. The ATMs will accept most international cards. ATM fees vary, but are typically between $5-8 USD per transaction.
There are three Lima airport lounges available. Complimentary access is granted to frequent flyers of various airlines, as well as guests with a membership or a priority pass. If space is available, guests can also pay a fee to enter at the door. All lounges have a maximum stay of 4 hours.
- SUMAQ VIP Lounge: The SUMAQ lounge is located in the international departures area opposite gate 17. Amenities include WiFi, buffet, nonalcoholic beverages, business center, television, restrooms and showers. Alcoholic beverages are available, but extra fees may apply. The lounge is open 24/7.
- HANAQ VIP Lounge: The HANAQ lounge is located in the international departures area down a corridor opposite gate 17, past the SUMAQ lounge. Amenities include WiFi, buffet, nonalcoholic beverages, business center, children’s play area, television, restrooms and showers. Alcoholic beverages are available, but extra fees may apply. The lounge is open 24/7.
- El Salón by Newrest VIP Lounge: The El Salón by Newrest lounge is located in the domestic departures area across from gate 13. Amenities include WiFi, buffet, nonalcoholic beverages, business center, children’s play area, television, restrooms and showers. Alcoholic beverages are available, but extra fees may apply. The lounge is open from 01:30 AM to 11:00 PM.
SIM Cards & Cell Phone Rentals
There are two Claro locations in the Lima airport offering local SIM cards with prepaid plans and cell phone rentals. A small kiosk is located in the international baggage claim and a shop is available on the second floor before entering security. While convenient, expect to pay a high premium at these locations in comparison to vendors in town.
Phone companies in Peru offer cheap, prepaid SIM cards with no contract. We recommend waiting until you are outside of the airport, whether it be in Lima, Cusco, Arequipa, or another city for the best deal. Learn more about purchasing a SIM card in Peru here.
There are two recommended Lima airport hotels: Costa del Sol and Holiday Inn. These hotels are ideal if you are arriving late at night and departing early the next morning.
The Costa del Sol is a lovely 4-star hotel that offers standard rooms and suites as well as a 24-hour restaurant featuring local delicacies. The only hotel on the Lima airport’s premises, Costa del Sol is located just in front of the international arrivals hall and domestic/international check in. A spa, sauna, indoor pool, and ample meeting rooms are also available. Due to the location, you are likely to find your stay a bit noisy, but the hotel does everything to guarantee a pleasant stay.
Holiday Inn is a nice 3-star hotel just across the street from the airport. While close to the airport, the main intersection needed to cross is very busy. Because of this, the hotel provides complimentary shuttles to and from the airport every 15 minutes. The hotel offers spacious rooms with soundproof windows to ensure a great rest in between flights. There is also a restaurant, bar, indoor pool, and gym on site.
Inside Travel Market you can find a pharmacy, or botica in Spanish. The store is located on the second floor before passing through security.
In addition, a medical service unit called Tópico de Sanidad Aérea Internacional in Spanish is available at the Lima airport 24/7. The medical center provides emergency medical services for passengers. Its main office is located on the first floor near domestic arrivals.
In addition, the health unit can administer the yellow fever vaccine to travelers. Proof of the yellow fever vaccination is not required for entry into Peru. However, the vaccine is recommended by the CDC for most travelers visiting the Amazon, such as Puerto Maldonado or Iquitos. For those unable to receive the vaccination before traveling, they can pay 145 soles (approximately $45 USD) for the vaccination at the Lima airport. It is recommended to be vaccinated at least 10 days before going to the areas with risk.
It generally takes around 1 hour to leave the airport, from the time the plane lands to finding your transfer. However, when several flights land around the same time, delays may occur. This, along with insufficient immigration staff and delays in the luggage pickup area, may result in it taking around 2 hours to move through all the checkpoints from the plane until finding your transfer.
Immigration & Passport Control
The first checkpoint is immigration and passport control. Peru does not require a visa for most countries, although there are a handful of exceptions. It is best to check with your local consulate or online with Visa HQ. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months from the date of entry.
Tourists from most countries are admitted for 90 days in Peru, a period that can be extended up to a maximum of 183 days (if needed) after paying a fee at the Office of Immigration and Naturalization.
In the past, you would also receive a Tarjeta Andina de Migracion (TAM), or Andean Migration Card—however, this document is now issued digitally, so there is nothing required on your end.
Baggage claim is located after passing through passport control. The belts are numbered with a screen indicating the flight they are serving. After picking up your luggage, you should head towards customs and the exit.
Flight attendants will pass out customs slips during your arriving flight. If you are not declaring anything, you will not need to fill this slip out. Items to declare include, but are not limited to, large quantities of cash, fresh meat and produce, commercial merchandise, weapons, etc. Only one customs slip per family is required.
If you have nothing to declare, you can simply proceed through the gate. If you have something to declare, be sure to provide your form to the customs officer so they can scan your luggage. Whether you do or do not have something to declare, bags may be randomly searched upon exit.
Once you have passed through customs, you will move onto the arrivals area. This is probably the most confusing part of the entire process of leaving the airport. Depending on the time of the day, you are likely to find hundreds of people waiting for their relatives and friends as well as a many taxi drivers and travel agency representatives.
If you have a transfer arranged (which is highly recommended, especially if it is your first time in Peru), your driver will be waiting for you holding a sign with your name alongside the name of your travel agency.
On the other hand, if you do not have a pick-up arranged, you will find a few transportation options:
- Official taxis are recommended, since taxis outside the airport are informal and do not have the best track record when it comes to safety. Official taxis have booths within the arrivals area to coordinate and pay for the taxi ride ahead of time.
- Airport Express Lima is the airport’s official bus option. The bus departs from the Lima airport to Miraflores once per hour, from 7 AM to 12 AM. You can find the timetable here.
- There are also car rental options for those adventurous enough to drive in Lima.
After sorting out the transportation, you will be off to start your Peruvian adventure.
On the way back to the airport—whether for your international flight back home or your domestic flight to another destination in Peru—the Lima international airport will be easy to navigate following these procedures.
We recommend arriving 3 hours ahead of your departure time for all international flights departing Peru and 2 hours ahead of time for domestic flights in Peru. In estimating your departure time from your hotel, take into consideration traffic in Lima. It tends to get busy between 6:30 and 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 and 8:00 p.m. These are considered rush hours and would typically imply at minimum 1-1.5 hour car rides from Miraflores to the airport.
Check-In and Baggage Drop
The check-in area is the same for both domestic and international flights. Peak times for checking-in are often very early in the morning and late at night. You are likely to spend 30 minutes to one hour checking in and/or dropping your luggage. Most airlines in Peru allow online check-in or provide kiosks at the airport to help speed up the process.
All passengers with flights booked with Peru for Less will be checked in ahead of time. Head to the airline’s kiosk to print your boarding pass or download your boarding pass from the airline’s website. Note that international flights require a printed boarding pass.
After check-in and baggage drop, proceed to the second floor of the terminal. There are many restaurants and shops available before crossing the security checkpoint.
There are two lines to enter security: one for international flights to the left and one for domestic flights to the right. A representative will scan your boarding pass and check your ID before continuing in line to the hand luggage scanners and metal detectors. Belts, jackets, and wallets should be removed and placed with the hand luggage before passing through the metal detector. Certain hand luggage restrictions apply.
Immigration & Passport Control
Domestic travelers will head to the right towards the domestic departure gates. International travelers will turn left to pass through immigration and passport control. In general, this only entails waiting in line to receive a departure stamp in your passport. Immigration officials may also ask simple questions about your stay.
However, if you have overstayed your allotted time in Peru, immigration officials will charge a fee of 4.30 soles, approximately $1.30 USD, for every additional day in the country. This must be paid in full before passing through immigration to your flight.
When To Be at the Gate
No matter what your boarding pass says, be sure to double check the flight schedule screens and reconfirm your gate and boarding time. It is necessary to report at the departure gate at least 45 minutes before the departure time. All in all, you will likely have about 30-60 minutes to explore the duty free area and other airport services before you need to be at your gate.
Lima is a launching point to many wonderful destinations in Peru and across South America. However, if time permits, Lima itself is packed with interesting things to do, and is well worth a visit even if you only have one day to explore. Whether you are staying in town or just passing through the Lima airport, we wish you safe travels and a wonderful time in Peru.