So I have been in Miraflores Peru for 48 hours now and I absolutely love it! It was a tad bumpy getting here from Tampa. My mother texted me a few hours from my flight and said airline pilots were having a strike in Atlanta where my layover was and specifically Delta, and I started to panic. NO! I’m spending a month in Peru for my 45th birthday and nothing is going to stop me! I get to Tampa check my flights and everything is totally fine. WHEW. Go to my gate. it’s totally cool. Should be a short hour flight to Atlanta then I had a 4 hour layover in Atlanta where I was going to get dinner wait for my direct flight 6 hours and 30 minutes into Lima. I was supposed to leave at 11:30 PM at night but it was already bumped to 11:45PM so my arrival time was 5:15AM into Peru. It’s literally direct south of Florida. Not a bad flight at all. So my flight was 7:30PM. It’s September 1st arrival September 2nd into Peru. If you are from Florida you know September is peak hurricane, tropical downpour season. Hence why I wanted to vacate for the entire month and not be there for hurricanes. During my 40th birthday Irma came through and destroyed my iconic birthday. I had a Gulf front view suite booked on St. Pete Beach with my friends, on 9-11-17. Yes my birthday is 9-11 so I’m already cursed. I do not have good luck on my birthdays. Irma ripped through and canceled my 40th and instead of me celebrating with my friends on a gorgeous Gulf view suite, I was hunkered down with my father and my cat in my condo, him cooking soup on the stove top and me drinking wine in my Tiara. So no, nothing was going to stop me from celebrating my 45th and hiking Machu Picchu!
As we sat there in the airport, the dark black clouds rolled into Tampa airport, thunder and lightning rumbled across the sky. BOOM. Loud alarms went off through out the airport. I looked the the girl sitting next to me, both worried looks on our faces. The clock said 7:15pm. But the gate attendants had yet to start boarding the plane. I said this doesn’t look so good. She responded, “Oh this will blow over in a few minutes.” As soon as the last words left her lips, a huge bright bolt of lighting struck down behind her and lit up the sky right in the middle of her head through the window. As if the universe was responding to her. Then the Delta agent come over the loud speaker, crackling voice, “I’m sorry folks but we cannot load the plane until the lighting stops in the area.” A loud sigh through out the crowd was heard.
It stormed and rain for another hour and half. We didn’t board the plane until 9PM. Time was ticking away. But I can still make my connecting flight. We got up into the air. Hour goes by we land into Atlanta, but taxi for what seems like an eternity. Finally get to the gate open the door and get off the plane and I have 20 minutes to find my connection. Running through Atlanta no time for food or water or anything, of course it’s on the other side of the airport. Everyone is running. Made it to the plane with 10 minutes to spare and just enough time to hit the bathroom. It was a close one!
The plane was completely full, every last seat was taken. I was glad I had enough time to go to the bathroom as I never had time to on the 2nd flight because the guy next to me slept the entire time. I hate waking people up. The flight was smooth from there on out. We landed on time in Lima, Peru at 5:15am. It was pitch black so even though I had a window seat, I couldn’t see anything.
Now the funny thing I have noticed about getting off the planes in South American countries previously, and this held true in Peru, they do not do the thing where they wait for the row ahead of you to exit. As soon as the plane lands everyone runs for the front. Since I was the last one on the plane, my bag was behind me. I was waiting for people to get out of the isle to get my bag and they just keep pushing and not letting me get in the isle to get my bag. It was like that when I went to Nicaragua 12 some years ago. As soon as the plane lands everyone just makes a beeline for the door and doesn’t wait for you if you are the row in front of them to exit. It’s weird.
So I finally get my bag and off the plane and onto immigration. There wasn’t any bathrooms getting off the plane just funneling you through to immigration. Also to note in Peru as of 2022 they are still very strict on mask mandates, everyone wears them in the airport outside and inside. So the flight attendants gave us masks as we exited the plane. You have to wear N95 or double regular masks.
So down to immigration I went. That was the first bathroom stall I saw, however it was a very long line for the ladies bathroom and the line for immigration was short. So I decided to skip it. Because if I could hold it for 7 hours and can last a bit longer. I was really glad I did. After I entered the line, a ton of people came after me. Another flight must have landed. So it only took me maybe 15 minute through immigration.
They do ask you for your vaccination papers. You need both your covid shots to enter Peru for now. Not a booster or a covid test, just the vaccination. Also you have to fill out a Health Affidavit online. That I had to give to Delta before I got on the flight in Tampa, to say I wasn’t experiencing any covid symptoms.
I got through immigration no problem then found a bathroom, whew. Went and got my bags. Then I had a ride already prearranged via my Airbnb which was only going to be $20 USD. I like doing this because after a stressful trip I don’t want to have worry about finding a ride. They know where you are going, who you are etc. You just get in and go.
So I got my bag, walked outside and there are like 50 people holding signs with peoples names on it. NONE of them have mine. Great. Now I couldn’t get onto wifi in the airport. I tried while waiting in line for immigration. But it didn’t work. I have Tmobile and my phones should have worked but I didn’t get the normal text like, Hey you are in Peru! I tried sending a message nothing worked. There was only 1 kiosk in the airport selling local SIM cards but they wanted $130 for 3 weeks which is highway robbery. In most countries you can get a month for $30.
So now I’m outside no phone no driver and I’m exhausted. So many people it’s cold. I’m looking around tons of people holding signs nobody with my name on it. Finally a nice man walks over and says you should stand over here and takes my bag. I then realize I’m standing in the street and cars are coming at me. I’m somewhat panicking at this moment because I do not know how I am going to contact my ride without a phone. I tell him I am trying to find my ride but my phone doesn’t work. He is nice enough to let me connect to his phone to get internet. He asks if I have a phone number, but I do not. Now I print off all my important document exactly for times like this if you have no internet. And you cannot access your information however there was no number on it. I do have my address of my apartment but I cannot find the contact info of the driver. Because this nice man would have called him for me since he has a local Peruvian phone. But I have no number. So I log into my airbnb account contact the host but its 6am, hes most likely not awake, I send a message and try & wait. However, I do not hear anything back, I’m exhausted I did not sleep on the plane. just can’t sleep on planes anymore.
So finally I just say out loud, “I guess I ‘ll just need to get a cab.” and this man who had been helping me this entire time says, “I can help you.” And shows me his taxi badge. LOL I had no idea he was a taxi driver. I honestly thought he worked for the airport or something because I wasn’t paying attention at all. I’m like oh ok, that’s why you were helping me. But I felt bad if my driver was actually there and I didn’t want to leave him, so I made one more walk though all the people waiting with signs yelling out my name and nobody responded. So I left with him.
He did find my apartment since I had the printed out address. The ride there was um more like a roller-coaster or sitting in the back of the Fast & Furious. Miraflores is about 45 minutes from the airport and traffic is crazy. Street signs and lanes are a mere suggestion. They cut in so close to one another leaving only inches. The cars communicate to one another by honking. So it’s very loud. Its enough to make you nauseous. There is not way in hell I would ever rent a car here and drive myself. Unless you want t death wish. I would not be able to navigate their roadways at all.
I finally arrive at my airbnb on the Pacific coast and the cost was a lot more than my prearrange driver was supposed to be. $50 versus $20 but at this point, I am just happy that I have arrived. I tipped him too because he was nice and helpful. The apartment is on beach side and absolutely gorgeous.
It was finally all worth it. I made it to Peru for my 45th birthday!