There are few things in life as convenient as taking taxis in Lima, Peru. You can find a cab in every single street in Lima. It should not take more than 1 minute (maybe 2 or 3 during rush hour) to find an empty cab. When looking for a cab you have some options:
Professional taxis are well maintained newer cars; painted yellow andor black (beware that color is not the only requirement) and driven by “professional” drivers (although once I swear this driver was an out-of-work NASCAR driver). You will have to call the taxi company to schedule a pickup, and are mostly seen at the airport and high-end hotels (Marriott, Los Delfines or Sheraton for example).
But the grand majority of taxis that you will see are regular cars driven by regular good people trying to earn an honest living. Nothing to be afraid, just like anywhere in the world, be careful when going to certain places at certain times. More than anything trust your sixth sense, if you feel weird about taking a particular taxi just wait and take the next one.
1. Size does matter (a lot). Prefer a bigger taxi if you are worried about safety and a small one if you prefer to save a couple of bucks (or more, depending where are you going).
2. Taxis don’t have a set price. Once you stop a cab and tell the driver your destination, he or she will give you a cost (not an estimate) that you are expected to pay when your destination is reached. Is not based on time or distance but in multiple factors, the destination could be a popular place (like Miraflores) and hisher chances to get another customer are pretty good, in this case for example you might get a break.
3. Do not accept the first estimate. You are expected to haggle over the price and it has no connotations of any kind. Bring the price down at least 1 or 2 soles. Your chances are greatly improved when you see another taxi just waiting behind in case the first one decides not to take you.
This is by no means a complete list of tips about taxis in lima, just wait, there is more to come…