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Car & Motorcycle

  • Distances in Peru are long so it’s best to bus or fly to a region and rent a car from there. Hiring a taxi is often cheaper and easier.
  • At roadside checkpoints, police or military conduct meticulous document checks. Drivers who offer an officer some money to smooth things along consider it a ‘gift’ or ‘on-the-spot fine’ to get on their way. Readers should know that these transactions are an unsavory reality in Peru and Lonely Planet does not condone them.
  • When filling up, make sure the meter starts at zero.

Driver’s License

A driver’s license from your own home country is sufficient for renting a car. An International Driving Permit (IDP) is only required if you’ll be driving in Peru for more than 30 days.

Car Hire

Major rental companies have offices in Lima and a few other large cities. Renting a motorcycle is an option mainly in jungle towns, where you can go for short runs around town on dirt bikes, but not much further.

Economy car rental starts at US$25 a day without the 19% sales tax, ‘super’ collision-damage waiver, personal accident insurance and so on, which together can climb to more than US$100 per day, not including excess mileage. Vehicles with 4WD are more expensive.

Make sure you completely understand the rental agreement before you sign. A credit card is required, and renters normally need to be over 25 years of age.

Road Rules & Hazards

Bear in mind that the condition of rental cars is often poor, roads are potholed (even the paved Pan-American Hwy), gas is expensive, and drivers are aggressive, regarding speed limits, road signs and traffic signals as mere guides, not the law. Moreover, road signs are often small and unclear.

  • Driving is on the right-hand side of the road.
  • Driving at night is not recommended because of poor conditions, speeding buses and slow-moving, poorly lit trucks.
  • Theft is all too common, so you should not leave your vehicle parked on the street. When stopping overnight, park the car in a guarded lot (common in better hotels).
  • Gas or petrol stations (called grifos) are few and far between.