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Getting To And Away From Peru


The peak seasons for traveling via airplane to Peru are June to August and December. Prices are higher and tickets sell out quickly. Outside of these months, you should be able to buy tickets at a lower price.

The main carriers offering flights from North America are American Airlines, Delta and United Airlines, as well as four Latin American airlines: Avianca, Copa Air, Lan Peru and Taca.

The main carriers from Europe are Avianca, Iberia, KLM, Lufthansa and LAN. All fly from various cities in Europe via Madrid (except KLM which flies via Amsterdam and Lufthansa which flies via Munich or Frankfurt). American Airlines, Delta and United Airlines also fly from Europe to Lima via the US.

From Australia and New Zealand, airlines that fly to Peru include Aerolineas Argentinas (via Buenos Aires), LAN Chile (via Santiago), Quantas (via Santiago) and United Airlines (via the US and Central America).

Departure Tax

Previously, travelers were required to pay a departure tax when flying out of Peru. However, since early 2011, this tax should now be included in the price of the airline ticket itself. Note the operative word should: it may be the case that not all airlines include the tax, so be sure to check with your airline in advance. If you are required to pay the tax at the airport on your departure, you must pay $30.74 at the tax cash desks on the second floor of the airport. This fee is payable in cash only (Peruvian soles or dollars). No credit cards are accepted.

There is no departure tax for leaving the country by land.


Land border crossings exist between Peru and Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Ecuador.

From Ecuador

In Ecuador, buses from Guayaquil, Machala and smaller towns nearer the border go to Tumbes and Piura in north Peru. This is the most common route for accessing Peru from Ecuador, though you can also go from Loja (Ecuador) to Piura. It is also possible to travel directly south from Loja or Vilcabamba in Ecuador and cross the border at La Balsa, from where you can travel onto a number of towns in the Northern Peruvian Andes, including San Ignacio, Jaén and Chachapoyas (transport on these routes is often bychiva, an open-air bus).

Buses also run directly from Quito and Guayaquil in Ecuador to Lima.

From Colombia

There is no direct land crossing between Peru and Colombia. The U.S. State Department warns that "the entire Peru/Colombia border area is very dangerous" due to narcotics trafficking and armed guerrillas. You will need to go to Peru from Colombia via Ecuador. If you wish to travel directly to Peru from Colombia by land, Ormeño (URL: runs buses from Bogota to Lima via Quito and Guayaquil in Ecuador. It's a journey of around 72 hours, and costs $180.

From Brazil

Land travel between Brazil and Peru has been very sparse due to the limited and poor quality roads. There are, however, plans underway to construct major roads connecting Sao Paolo to Lima, and Iberia in Brazil to Puerto Maldonado in Peru. In the latter region there already is a (muddy) road going to the Brazilian border, which you can access via a few mini-buses and trucks, but most people prefer to be ferried by boat.

From Bolivia

From Bolivia you can cross into Peru at either of the border crossings at Yunguyo (just south of Copacabana) or Desaguadero, both of which are located on Lake Titicaca. Several bus companies run from La Paz, Bolivia to either Puno or Cusco in Peru via these two crossings.

From Chile

The most common crossing point from Chile to Peru is between Arica, Chile and Tacna, Peru. Several bus companies serve this route; in addition, if you're in a hurry, you can pay a little more for a taxi, or if you have time to spare, you can take the train.


Many travelers dream of sojourning up the Amazon and its tributaries by boat, crossing from one country to another. Although not as common as it once was, a number of tourists still choose this adventurous means of transport. It’s a slow journey, stopping at villages along the way to drop off and pick up passengers and cargo. (Indeed, it can get quite crowded). Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Compare prices and departure times of different boats before purchasing your ticket. If you can, inspect the vessel for cleanliness. Pay only the captain or another authorized person, and obtain a receipt.
  • Larger boats have cabins (some even with air conditioning and private bathrooms); however, these are significantly more expensive than hammock space on the deck. If you opt to travel swinging along in your hammock, be sure to choose a spot away from the fumes and noise of the engines, the insect-attracting lights and the bathrooms. Have rope not only to hang you hamaca (hammock), but also to hang a sheet/blanket/clothes for privacy. Board early (often it is possible to do so the night before) to land a choice spot.
  • Use a mosquito net and repellent, and don’t forget to take your malaria medication.
  • Be sure secure your belongings very well; lock your berth or bags, and always keep the key with you.
  • Food will be provided, as will water. Bring along some fresh fruits and snacks. Have your own cup—and some diarrhea medication, just in case.
  • It gets remarkably cool at night on the river; light, warm clothing and a blanket (or cloth hammock) will keep you warm.

From Ecuador Twice a week, motorized canoes ply the Napo River from Coca, Ecuador to the border town of Nuevo Rocafuerte, Ecuador (full day, $35). From Nuevo Rocafuerte, another canoe takes you to Pantoja, Peru (two hrs, $10). Irregular boats go from Pantoja to Iquitos (four to five days, $25). Check in Coca for immigration and boat details before beginning this journey.

From Colombia In the middle of the Amazon jungle is a triple border—Leticia, Colombia; Tabatinga, Brazil; and Santa Rosa, Peru—where the respective countries’ immigration formalities are performed. You can take a boat across the Amazon from Leticia to Santa Rosa ($3). Vessels leave Santa Rosa for for Iquitos (speedboat, 11-12 hrs, $60; slow launch, two days, $25 in a hammock, $35 in a cabin).

From Brazil Many boats make the long journey up the Amazon from Manaus, Brazil to Tabatinga and Leticia on the Brazilian/Peruvian border. This route takes seven to eight days upriver and costs from $80. From Leticia you can take a boat on to Santa Rosa and Iquitos (see From Colombia above).

From Bolivia--This sojourn is only for the most hardy (and patient) of souls. Three days or more can pass between boats. From Riberalta, Bolivia, you take a boat to Puerto Heath (three days), and from there a canoe to Puerto Pardo, Peru (five hours) and then to Puerto Maldonado. Check locally for the most recent and accurate information.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Peru: Getting To and Away , Getting To And Away From Huambo, Getting To and Away, Getting To And Away , Getting To and Away from Zorritos, Chachapoyas - Getting To and Away, Getting to and away from Tacna, Getting To And Away From Moquegua, Getting To and Away and Getting To and Away from 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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