Peru
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Getting Around Peru

BY AIR

Five national airlines run domestic flights throughout Peru: LAN Peru, LC Peru, Peruvian Airlines, StarPeru and Taca. All major tourist destinations in the country (Cusco, Iquitos, Huaraz, Arequipa, Puno, Puerto Maldonado and others) have airports and at least one carrier to take you there.

There is a departure tax of $8.72 per person for all domestic flights, payable in cash only (Peruvian soles or US dollars); credit cards are not accepted.

Some common sense rules when getting around Peru via plane are as follows:

  • Confirm your flight at least 72 hours in advance
  • Get to the airport at least two hours early
  • Make sure you have enough cash (Peruvian soles or US dollars) to pay the $8.72 departure tax. ATMs are available in every airport.
  • Only deal with official personal at airports: you may be hounded by so-called “helpers”. Accept nothing from strangers, and keep a close eye on your money, passport and personal belongings.

The five major domestic airlines are:

LAN Peru: www.lan.com

LC Peru: www.lcperu.pe

Peruvian Airlines: www.peruvian.pe

StarPeru: www.starperu.com

Taca: www.taca.com

BY BUS

Peruvians travel by bus more than any other form of transportation, and so do most of the country's tourists. Travel by bus is the least expensive way of getting around the country, though journeys can be long, and the quality of the buses varies widely, as do ticket prices. The higher-priced bus companies offer cleaner and safer buses, more comfortable seating, and a faster service.

Buses tickets for travel between large cities routinely sell out (especially during national holidays), so it is recommended that you purchase you ticket at least a day in advance. For some of the bigger companies, it is possible to buy tickets online using a credit card; for other companies you will have to go in person to the bus terminal or bus depot (you will need your passport number and some form of ID). The more expensive buses have toilets, and, while cheaper buses may also have bathrooms, they are often out-of-order or locked; the driver will usually make a stop or two along the way in order for passengers to go to the bathroom.

Many buses between major tourist destinations only leave at night, so bringing a blanket is advised both for sleeping and keeping warm.

Popular bus companies in Peru are:

Cial: www.expresocial.com

Civa: www.civa.com.pe

Cruz del Sur: www.cruzdelsur.com.pe

Flores: www.floreshnos.net

LĂ­nea: www.transporteslinea.com.pe

Movil Tours: www.moviltours.com.pe

Ormeño: www.grupo-ormeno.com.pe

BY TRAIN

Due to the high cost of maintenance, there are only a limited number of trains running in Peru. Most of the train services that exist are tourist-oriented and therefore prices can be high. Among the more popular routes are Cusco and the Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu, Cusco to Puno, and Lima to Huancayo. Tickets should be purchased at least a day in advance.

Rail companies in Peru include:

Inca Rail: www.incarail.com

Ferrocarril Central Andino: www.ferrocarrilcentral.com.pe.

Machu Picchu Trains: www.machupicchutrain.com

PeruRail: www.perurail.com

BY BOAT

More remote areas of Peru can only be reached by boat, especially in the Peruvian Andes. River transport is common from the Amazon towns of Iquitos, Puerto Maldonado, Pucallpa, Santa Rosa and Yurimaguas as well as further afield to Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador. Boat travel is generally basic; though some boats have (more expensive) cabins, it's the norm to sling up a hammock and sleep on the desk.

BY TAXI

Taxis in Peru generally don't use meters, so check at your hotel for normal rates and always negotiate a price with the driver before boarding the cab. Although it is more expensive, whenever possible ask the hotel/restaurant/bar you are in to call you a taxi instead of trying to hail one on the street. If you must hail a taxi on the street, always use a licensed one: the license plate number should be painted on the sides of the vehicle, as well as on its roof. Do not enter the taxi if someone else is in it. See individual cities for more information on local taxis.

Taxi fares are generally inexpensive: depending on the size of the city you are in, a short taxi ride will cost between $1-3. You can also hire taxis for day trips; prices vary depending on location and distance.

BY CAR AND MOTORCYCLE

If you wish to bring your own vehicle to Peru, an international driver’s license and insurance are obligatory for both car and motorcycle users, as is vehicle registration. Night driving and riding are not recommended. A recommended website for those traveling in their own vehicle is www.drivetheamericas.com, which has information on vehicle shipping between South and Central America. Motorcyclists recommend www.horizonsunlimited.com.

If you wish to hire a vehicle, you will need an international driver's license, passport, and credit card, and many companies require that you are at least 25 years old.

Some car hire companies in Peru are:

Avis: www.avis-int.com

Budget Car Rental Peru: www.budgetperu.com

Hertz: www.hertzperu.com.pe

BY BICYCLE

With the increasing political stability that has developed in Peru over the last ten years, more and more adventure cycling enthusiasts attempt to see the width and breadth of this country on two wheels. If you choose this transportation option, the following is recommended:

  • A steel-frame bike will be the most durable. Bring a bike that has a 26 inch wheel; such wheels are standard in Peru and finding replaceable parts for them will be easy.
  • Bring your own tire replacements, spokes and tubes for long trips.
  • A mountain bike is best for making it across Peru’s challenging geography.
  • Connect with other cyclists, as well as hostel and campground owners, in order to keep up-to-date on current safety precautions on routes.

BY HITCHHIKING

Hitchhiking in Peru is not recommended. If you do however decide to try hitchhiking as a means of getting around, some common-sense precautions should be used. A woman traveling alone should never hitchhike, and even men are better off traveling with a partner, in terms of both safety and getting rides. The safety factor increases with the number of fellow travelers. Traveling during the day is preferred, and most drivers expect some compensation.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Peru: Getting Around Huacachina, Getting Around Ica, Getting Around, Getting Around Arequipa, Getting Around The Peruvian Amazon Basin, Getting Around Nasca, Getting Around, Getting Around , Getting Around Piura and Getting Around Máncora.








By Martha Crowley

I work as an Editor/Writer at Viva Travel Guides in Quito, Ecuador. I first came to Latin America five years ago to escape rainy...

02 Jul 2012






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