Peru: Local Travel Info
Mountainous terrain, vast coastal deserts and steamy, tropical rainforests
Internal Flights and Major International Airports in Peru
The main international airport in Peru is Aeropuerto Jorje Chavez in Lima, which connects with North America and Europe. There are also some international flights to and from Iquitos in Amazonia and Cusco, which connects with Bolivia. Many of Peru's provinces and also have airports, usually in the regional capitals. There are some 36 airports in Peru and some of the main ones for internal flights are: Arequipa, Tumbes, Puerto Maldonado (Madre de Dios Province), Trujillo, Juliaca (Puno) and Cusco.
Getting to and from the Airport at Lima
Getting to and from the airport in Lima is reasonably straightforward. It is located 10 miles (16 kilometres) northwest of the centre of Lima, and is approximately a 20-30 minute drive from Miraflores. Arrivals at Lima airport can be chaotic because many international flights are timed to land in a short time-span. This means that there may be a rush of people all trying to clear customs and immigration at the same time. As a consequence, you may have to wait up to 1.5 hours before you finally enter the arrivals lounge, which can also be chaotic. It can be full of Peruvian families waiting for returned relatives and with taxi touts, who will try to pressurise you to take a ride with them. You are strongly advised to pre-book your taxi, or use one of the official taxi companies – Green Taxi, CMV, and Mitsui – all of which have booking desks in the arrivals area. This will cost you more than the “unofficial” taxis, but is safer. As a guide, it should cost you about £10 to £11 (45-50 nuevos soles) for a taxi ride to Miraflores and less for one to the centre of Lima. The cheapest way to get to Lima form the airport is by bus, which runs along Alfonso Ugarte. It will cost you about 50p, but is not recommended if you have a lot of luggage. Some hotels provide shuttle mini bus services, which are usually free and there are also the Urbanito Airport Shuttle and the Super Shuttle Airport services, which have desks in the international terminal and will take you to your hotel for a fee.
Travel Costs in Peru
The cheapest way of getting around Peru is by bus, which cover almost all of the country, both on local and long-distance. You will find luxury coaches linking all of the major towns and cities in Peru, which is the way that most Peruvians and budget travellers get around. The coaches and buses on less popular routes in Peru are not as modern, or comfortable. Another inexpensive option, and one which will make a change from bus travel, is travel by train. However, there are only two railway lines in Peru. For those in a hurry, or who can spend more on travel, Peru has an extensive network of internal flights, which link Lima to nearly all of the regional capitals and other main towns. Another option is to travel by taxi. Even for long-distance journeys, this can cost only a little more than hiring a car. However, you need to check first that the driver is reputable. For shorter taxi journeys, remember that not all taxis are metered and be prepared to haggle over the fare so that it's agreed before you take the journey. Car hire is another option, provided you can cope with poor roads and low driving standards.
Renting Cars in Peru
Hiring a car in Peru will usually upwards of £14 per day. There are international car hire companies that visitors can use to hire saloon cars and four-wheel drive vehicles. In order to hire a car, you will need your driving licence and passport as identification. You will also need to pay a deposit, usually with a credit card. Hire companies will usually only hire cars to people aged 25, or older. It is worth checking that you are covered for loss and theft when hiring the vehicle. Please note that most hire companies have hidden charges, for mileage, insurance etc that are added on to the daily hire rate. You should check in advance for these before agreeing to rent a car.
To book car rental in Peru online, view our Car Hire section for Peru . We offer Ok Alpha users the latest special offers and best rates available for car hire in Peru . We advise you book your Peru hire car in advance so you can pick it up and drop it off directly at the airport.
Drivers License Requirements in Peru
In Peru, they drive on the right-hand side of the road. A UK Driving Licence can be used in Peru and you will not need an international driving licence. You need to take extra care on Peruvian roads because Peruvian drivers can be very aggressive. The road surfaces are often poor, there are many unmarked hazards, including frequent landslides and poorly marked temporary road repairs. Road signs in Peru are often small and are sometimes misleading. For these reasons, it is not really a good idea to drive at night. You also need to be aware that many Peruvian drivers, and especially of larger lorries, do not obey the rules of the road. This can make driving somewhat hazardous to say the least.
Peru by Bus
It is easy to get to all parts of Peru by cheap and frequent buses and coaches, except for parts of the Amazon and Machu Picchu. Even on long-distance routes, most coaches run full, so it is always a good idea to book your ticket in advance if you can. There are numerous independent bus companies, many of which have their own booking offices in the bus stations of most towns. (Not all Peruvian towns have bus stations, though). Sometimes the seating on Peruvian coaches can be cramped and the mechanical condition of some buses leave a lot to be desired. The best buses are generally those that run on the most popular routes. A typical fare for a long-distance bus journey in Peru from Lima to Cusco, a journey of about 380 miles (608 kilometres) by road, would cost about £13 for a semi-bed seat and £15 for a full-bed seat.
Peru by Taxi
Renting a taxi in Peru for longer distance journeys can cost little more than hiring a car and driving yourself. If you do decide on this travel option, make sure that you hire a taxi from a reputable firm and that you choose a taxi company that is prepared to cover long-distance journeys. Taxis are also an option for shorter journeys, especially in larger cities, such as Lima. Taxis in Peru are not metered, so it is always best if you agree the fare before you set off on the journey. It will help if you speak enough Spanish to negotiate the price, but as a Gringo in Peru, you can expect to pay a little more than the locals. It has been estimated that about one in seven cars in Lima are taxis. However, your safety is not guaranteed if you do decide to use one one of the many unofficial “street” taxis in Lima, either in terms of vehicle safety (many are old, poorly maintained and without seat-belts), or the risk of theft. These taxis can be identified by the red and white sticker on the windscreen. A trip from Miraflores to Lima airport in one of these taxis should cost you about £4.80. There are also officially registered taxis in Peru, which you can order over the telephone, or from a taxi stand. They are perhaps a better option if you are a woman travelling alone at night, or if you have valuables on you. Official taxis have a licence number painted on the side and are usually yellow in colour. They will cost you twice as much, or more, as the unofficial taxis per journey and they can also be hired by the hour. In Lima, there are also taxis colectivos, which travel along set routes and pick up passengers en route, rather like buses. The most useful colectivo routes for the visitor are from Lima to Miraflores and from the Plaza San Martin in Lima to Callao. You will recognise a colectivo by its red sticker in the windscreen and by the fact that the driver will be holding his hand out of the window if he has any vacant seats, indicating how many seats he has free. A typical colectivo fare is about 70p to £1.
Cycling in Peru
Cycling is becoming ever more popular in Peru. Bicycles can be rented from towns such as Huaraz, Huancayo and Cusco. If you rent a bike from a Peruvian rental shop, you will be expected to stay in the area and not want to use the cycle for long-distance travel. Cycling in Peru can be hazardous, especially if you decide to use the major routes, such as the Pan American Highway. You will not find Peruvian lorry drivers sympathetic and may be liable to being knocked off your cycle. You will also find cycling on the Pan American dirty and rather boring. Cycling in the Andes will be a much more enjoyable affair, but you will need to use a mountain bike there, because the roads are generally in a very poor condition. Renting a mountain bike in Huaraz or Cusco would cost you about £18 per day.
Water Transport in Peru
Even though Peru has a long coastline on the Pacific Ocean, the sea is not used for getting form one place to another. You will find many opportunities for travelling by boat on inland waters, however. You can take a trip on Lake Titicaca, the world's highest lake, to visit the many sights and ancient archaeological ruins that are scattered on its shores and islands. Perhaps you would like to travel on one of the mighty Amazon's many Peruvian tributaries, or perhaps use a motorised dugout canoe for shorter river journeys? In fact, in eastern Peru, water is a major means of transport.
Hitchhiking in Peru
As in any country, hitchhiking in Peru carries certain risks and it is not recommended. Also, it is not practical for several reasons. There are relatively few private cars in Peru, and public transport is relatively cheap too. In the remoter areas, you will find that lorries and private cars may stop for you, but they will usually expect payment for the journey. In these circumstances, it is always a good idea to agree the price in advance if you decide to take the lift.