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  Peru : Handbook : Road Network


Highways of Peru

The Peruvian road network is made up of more than 70,000 kilometers (43,750 miles) of highways; 16,000 km (10,000 miles) are national routes. The highways are categorized by quality and by the type of automobile that travels on them; freeways, paved roads (asphalted highways), and dirt roads (roadbeds).

The freeways have two main lanes and one safety lane, good sign postings, and all types of vehicles transit them.  The majority of these routes correspond to the access circuit to Lima along the Pan-American highway, and you are required to pay a toll to use them.

The paved roads have one main lane and a safety shoulder.  All types of vehicles can circulate on them without problems and like the highways, you must pay a toll. 

  • The traffic on the asphalt highways is more intense at night and if you are driving in the Sierras it is recommendable to travel in the first hours of the morning. 
  • In the Sierra and in the jungle between January and March, the roads are blocked because of the rains and frequent landslides.

The dirt roads are constructed from a base of dirt and gravel, connecting important cities in the Sierra or in the jungle, small cities, towns, archaeological sites, or other places of tourist interest.  All-terrain vehicles are ideal as some of these routes are not in very good condition.

  • Some dirt roads have assigned ascending and descending days.
  • In the Sierra and in the jungle between January and March, the roads are blocked because of the rains and frequent landslides.

Road Infrastructure

The service stations (grifos) that are found along the Northern Pan-American Highway from Lima to Piura, and on the Southern Pan-American from Lima to Nasca, have bathrooms, shops selling lubricants and replacement parts, fast food, mini-markets, automobile repair shops, and car washes, along with providing petroleum and gas of different octane grades. The further away you get from these main roads, the more scarce the service stations and their services become. Selling fuel in a can is also quite common.

  • Service stations do not normally accept credit cards in the provinces.
  • The fuel price increases in relation to the distance and isolation of the stations.
  • Using a low octane fuel over 1,500 m (4,920 ft.) does not cause any problems, but it can affect the engine if used below 1,500 m.
  • Fuel in a can should always be filtered with a canvas or flannel material.

Some cities have automobile garages that specialize in specific makes of cars and in the smaller cities there are more general garages that do not offer any kind of guarantee.  Because of this it is best to verify the vehicle's condition before setting off on a trip.  Tire repair shops are found in any part of the country.

The tow truck service is generally expensive and scarce, however, there is insurance for auto rescue and towing that provides national coverage at a reasonable cost.


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