Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Day 1 in Lima!

We arrived! But not without some difficulty, of course. The first day was more or less just travel. I took a flight from Kansas City to Chicago; from Chicago to Fort Lauderdale; and from Ft. Lauderdale to Lima, Peru. I left KC at 6am and arrived in Lima around 9:30pm (it's the same time zone here, but the US time will change with daylight savings, which is not observed here). Of course we had various lay-overs in different cities.

Tips for future Travelers:
- Spirit airlines has some of the CHEAPE$T flights to Central and South American countries. Do some shopping around when booking flights, but I would make sure to check the prices for this airline! With that said, Spirit only flies out of some international airports. The available airports in the Midwest were in Chicago and Dallas.
- Other airlines that are cheaper than most US airlines are: Copa, and Taca
- Be ready to speak Spanish when you arrive at Lima's airport. You will go through customs and immigration, and it is VERY helpful to know Spanish during this process. I was handed a card on the flight to fill out immigration and customs information and the entire card was in Spanish without any English translations. ATTENTION STUDENTS: You do NOT need a visa in Peru. I was told at the airport that anyone staying longer than 90 days must get a visa, but this is really not the case. And it is a huge hassle to go through the process of obtaining a visa. For this, you must say you are a TOURIST when you go through immigration at the Peruvian airport. And also, they will ask (all in Spanish) how many days your trip will be. The maximum amount is 183. This is the number that I would recommend giving if you are studying for a semester. It is VERY IMPORTANT to let them know an accurate amount of time (or longer) that you will be in Peru because there is a charge of $1 a day for every day that you are in Peru over the amount of time that you gave at the airport. If you say nothing to them, the immigration attendant will put 30days typically. Also, there is a $50 fee to change the number on the sheet. This can be a hassle.
- BE AWARE OF WEIGHT LIMITS FOR LUGGAGE. It can change from airline to airline. This created a fairly embarrassing problem while I was traveling. I flew on an American airline to Chicago, which allowed 50lbs for checked-in lugguge. Once I arrived in Chicago, I switched airlines to Spirit Airlines and found out (while trying to check in my bag) that the limit now was 40 lbs. I then had to find a way to immediately shave 10lbs from my bag, and my carry-on was not going to fit more than another pound or two. Which left me with one option- to wear as many pounds of clothing as is physically possible. (Remind you- it's July and over 100 degrees in Kansas). Only some of those in line behind me were entertained- others seemed frustrated.

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