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  Peru: Handbook : Transportation



Driving in Peru


Driving in Peru, whether in the city or on the highway, can be an adventure. Transit in this country is chaotic for anybody who is not used to it: Peruvian drivers are very aggressive and there are not many signs (the signs you do see can be ambiguous). In addition, be careful with thefts of windshield wipers, hubcaps and even the wheels themselves; it is not a good idea to park in the streets.   If you are going to drive at night, be very careful, because the roads are not in good conditions, the buses drive at high speeds and the trucks do not have lights.


Taxis are a highly recommended method of transportation within the city, especially in Lima given the size of the city and the mess of traffic. You should decide on the cost of the ride with the taxi driver before heading out. It shouldn't cost more than US $ 5 in the big cities, so haggle over the price if necessary.
In the larger cities, there are some radio taxi companies which offer more security and can pick you up when and where you prefer, but prices are a bit higher.

Urban buses ( Microbuses )

Red light

These buses are found only in the main cities, and they can hold twenty to forty passengers. There are no defined bus stops, so you should watch out for where you need to get off so you can warn the driver on time.

Collective pick up trucks (Combis)

This means of transportation involves pick-up trucks, each one with a capacity for 10 people. They move quickly throughout the city and are cheaper; nevertheless, they are not recommended due to the high speed and aggressive manner of driving.


Interurban buses

In Peru, there are two ways to travel by bus between towns. The first option involves buses, called 'caleteros', that stop in every town along the route.  Direct buses are more expensive but a lot better.


In some parts of the country, cargo trucks are used as a means of transportation for passengers. Passengers and drivers agree on the price at the time of departure; but you should get there early in order to find a good seat.


In Peru, the company in charge of the railway system is the ‘Empresa Nacional de Ferrocarriles’ (ENAFER) or the National Railway Company. There are two routes in the country; the most touristy and widely used is the Southern one, linking Arequipa with Juliaca, Puno and Cusco, or Juliaca and Puno. The last route departs from Cusco to Machu Picchu and Quillabamba, though the stretch to this last destination is interrupted. The other railroad links Lima with Huancayo and Huancavelica, however, the first stretch is not in service.
When traveling by train, you may choose from several categories depending on your necessities and budget. The best ones are Pullman or buffet; then, first class, business/tourism and the always-overcrowded second class. For the route from Cusco – Machu Picchu there is an auto coach, a kind of faster but costlier electric train.

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