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Old 12-21-2016, 10:44 PM
 
Location: Chambers County
1,133 posts, read 1,813,164 times
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Will be flying in and out of all these in March. I am unfamiliar with international airports in general. Any advice, tips, or noteworthy information to share about any of these? Thanks.
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Old 12-22-2016, 08:58 AM
 
Location: Chattanooga, TN
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Only familiar with Lima:

Most of the staff speaks English! Its obviously the polite thing to attempt to start talking in Spanish but they will switch over when they hear you. Flight attendants speak English too.

Get your passport out as soon as you're out of the cab, they will want to see it before you can even get in the front door. I had a connecting flight Cusco-Lima-Quito and I had to go literally all the way outside and back in to check in to my second flight..

I think the airport had free wifi for a limited time (30 minutes or something).

Its not as busy an airport as you might think. No lines for security at all when I was there. Security lets you keep on your shoes and is way more reasonable and lax in general. Plenty of food places and coffee shops inside.

The airport is in a really sketchy/slummy part of town. If you are spending any time in Lima get away from the airport and go to Miraflores and Barranco.

Haggle with cab drivers and choose a price before you get in the cab. They might give you a 'gringo price' so haggle them down to something more reasonable. There are websites you can use to get a realistic price for a cab ride. Cab drivers won't speak any English obviously.

This is all I can think of right now, hope this helps! Have fun, I love South America!
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Old 12-22-2016, 09:35 AM
 
Location: Gallatin, TN
3,749 posts, read 7,058,514 times
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My advice is also with Lima's airport. I'd agree with just about everything mandolinman said.

Most incoming international flights to LIM arrive very late at night/early morning. Once you clear immigration and customs (I've never had problems with immigrations wait, customs on the other hand can be a long wait...:45-1:00), you'll go through ground transportation where you can arrange for a taxi. I would recommend using one of these taxi services as they're licensed, though more expensive. It's a safer decision. You do hear occasionally of taxi drivers taking advantage of tourists for a shakedown though I don't think it's as common as it used to be, but these licensed taxis are the safest you can find I'm told. Also expect to be asked by other drivers if you need a ride...I was asked about 6x a few weeks ago as I left.

If you have a connecting flight to another Peruvian destination, you may be able to go ahead and check in, but you'll literally have to leave the airport, walk outside, and re-enter the domestic gate. If you can go ahead and get through to the domestic terminals, great. If not, you can join the large group of people waiting in the upstairs food court which many people sleep at or find other ways to wait.

Past the food court upstairs is security. Once you go through security: to the left is the international terminal (exiting the country) and immigration. To the right is the domestic terminals.

Overall LIM is a pretty easy airport to navigate and is pretty logically arranged. The international terminal is pretty nice, actually. A good number of snack/drink options. A few quick service restaurants and bars I think, too. Domestic terminals aren't quite as nice. If you're slated for one of the low number gates downstairs (1-7 I think?) you're going to be bussed to the plane that is waiting on the tarmac which is a different experience. Just kind of fall in line with the rest of your flight and pay attention to the gate announcements (bilingual).

The other thing I'd add is Lima traffic is notoriously terrible. Depending on where you are in the city, add at least an hour drive time to get to the airport on time...though honestly, I'd add 90 minutes or more to be safe. Even once you get to the airport, the congestion is quite bad at night. I've waited 30 minutes in line just to get close enough for my ride to drop me off at the door.

In addition to Miraflores and Barranco, San Isidro is a nice area. As is Surquillo.
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Old 12-22-2016, 02:50 PM
 
Location: Upland, CA
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I really enjoyed the Mexico City airport.. The one thing I would say is to definitely do not buy anything at the Duty Free, they were confiscating almost every liquid at the gate.
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Old 12-24-2016, 02:48 PM
 
Location: on the streets
36 posts, read 29,951 times
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Surprise! International airports are just like national airports - they use airplanes to get people to and fro.


I don't understand the question.
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Old 12-24-2016, 03:58 PM
 
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The airports in Mexico City and Bogota are not that much different than airports in the US as far as modern amenities are concerned. The only downside is that they force you to clear immigration/customs even if you are connecting to another international flight (then again the airports in the US requires this too for foreign visitors, which means that Latin Americans need to apply for a transit visa even if they just have a layover in say Los Angeles or Houston), and then check in their baggage again.

If you can find a flight on Copa Airlines then you can avoid this since their hub at Panama City allows people on connecting international flights to avoid immigration/customs.
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Old 12-25-2016, 09:42 AM
 
Location: Chambers County
1,133 posts, read 1,813,164 times
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Thanks to (most all of) you all for the insightful responses. I don't know Spanish or Portuguese, so will there be sufficient signage in English to navigate the airport well? I would be happy to try to communicate with customs in their language, but it would be terribly inefficient. Would they likely have an English speaking customs agent to help? I know Houston Intercontinental airport has multilingual agents in abundance, so I thought they might.
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Old 12-25-2016, 11:03 AM
 
605 posts, read 469,824 times
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Most major airports in Latin America will have some personnel who speak English (plus in Mexico City and Bogota they usually have English on the signs, I assume Lima is the same way) so it's a non-issue.
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Old 12-26-2016, 10:18 AM
 
Location: Brazil
1,237 posts, read 1,001,856 times
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In the airports you won't have difficulties, but if you don't speak any portuguese I believe it's nice to book a transfer service with an english spoken guide to take you to the city.
In Brazil you do not get your luggage in the public area, you get in a room at those mats as soon as you leave the plane. After that, you pass through immigration and customs. If you hire a transfer, he will be waiting for you only at the exit of this exclusive area of the arrival. He won't be permitted to go until the luggage area.

If you're an american citizen, you need to have a visa in advance to fly to Brazil.
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Old 12-27-2016, 01:43 PM
 
Location: Gallatin, TN
3,749 posts, read 7,058,514 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by southeasttexas View Post
I don't know Spanish or Portuguese, so will there be sufficient signage in English to navigate the airport well? I would be happy to try to communicate with customs in their language, but it would be terribly inefficient. Would they likely have an English speaking customs agent to help?
You should have no problems with the signage in Lima. Even in domestic terminals I noticed most (if not all) was bilingual...same is true of Cuzco and Arequipa which are not international airports. Likewise gate announcements and boarding instructions are usually bilingual too.

I have never had an issue with language through immigration. I speak Spanish at an intermediate level but usually the immigration agents default to English once they see my passport. Same is true for gate agents, even using national airlines such as Peruvian or TACA/Avianca. No issues through customs with language either.

With all that said, I absolutely recommend learning the basic phrases before you travel. Days of the week, numbers, left/right/up/down, time, and as much travel-related language as you can. There are lots of free or reasonable apps out there to help you cram before your trip: Duolingo, Rosetta Stone, etc. It will greatly help your confidence if you know enough to be able to read signage or communicate at least on a very basic level with others in the native language.
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