Getting around Peru is relatively easy and inexpensive. Owing to its varied and unique terrain of mountains, deserts and rainforests, travelling around the country can be an interesting but sometimes tricky and time-consuming experience.
Public transport in Peru
Buses offer a relatively cheap means of getting around Peru, but they’re often overcrowded and slow. A number of private companies are also available, and many of these companies operate their own bus stations. For long-distance buses, it’s possible to book tickets online or buy tickets directly from the bus company offices.
There are a number of train services, but they don’t offer a practical means of getting around Peru. Trains are mostly used by tourists who want to enjoy a scenic journey around the country. In particular, the most popular train route connects Cusco with the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu.
Taxis are plentiful in Peruvian towns and cities. The taxi industry is not thoroughly regulated though, and many private vehicles also operate as taxis. Few taxis are metered so it’s best to negotiate the fare before embarking on a journey.
There have been some issues with unregistered taxis taking advantage of unsuspecting foreigners, and even using taxis to carry out crimes, so expats should be cautious when hailing a taxi from the street. Ordering a taxi ahead of time over the phone may be a more expensive option, but it is also a safer one.
Colectivos are shared minibus taxis that operate along fixed routes in and between Peruvian towns and cities. These are often ageing vehicles with questionable safety records. These vehicles also tend to be overcrowded and drivers have a reputation for driving erratically.
Some ride-hailing apps, such as Uber, are also available in larger cities and are usually more convenient, as they circumvent any possible language barriers and payment issues.
Driving in Peru
For expats living in a Peruvian metropolis, it’s normally quite easy to get around using public transport and a private vehicle is not necessary. That said, many expats do choose to have a car, especially if they want to explore more of the country.
Roads are generally in poor condition and driving standards in Peru are bad. Traffic can be horrendous in the cities, especially in Lima, and accidents occur frequently.
Travelling at night can also be risky due to crime, especially in rural areas. Outside of the main cities and towns, many roads are unpaved and a four-wheel-drive vehicle may be necessary.
Air travel in Peru
Due to the country’s size and vast distances, it is often more convenient to fly between cities in Peru. Some towns are, in fact, only accessible by plane.
Jorge Chavez International Airport, located just outside Lima, is the country’s main air hub. Several international carriers have regular services to and from Peru, while the main air carriers operating within the country include LAN, Star Peru and LC Peru.
Are you an expat living in Peru?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Peru. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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