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Local transport

Local Transportation

In most towns and cities, it’s easy to walk everywhere or take a taxi. Using local buses, micros and combis can be tricky, but is very inexpensive.


Local buses are slow and crowded but cheap. Ask locals for help, as there aren’t any obvious bus lines in most towns.

A faster, more hair-raising alternative is to take micros or combis, sometimes called colectivos (though the term usually refers to taxis). Typically, micros and combis are minibuses or minivans stuffed full of passengers. They can be identified by stickers along the outside panels and destination placards in the front windows. You can flag one down or get off anywhere on the route. A conductor usually leans out of the vehicle, shouting out destinations. Once inside, you must quickly squeeze into any available seat, or be prepared to stand. The conductor comes around to collect the fare, or you can pay when getting off.

Safety is not a high priority for combi drivers. The only place for a passenger to safely buckle up is the front seat, but in the event of a head-on collision (not an unusual occurrence), that’s the last place you’d want to be.


Taxis seem to be everywhere. Private cars that have a small taxi sticker in the windshield aren’t necessarily regulated. Safer, regulated taxis usually have a lit company number on the roof and are contacted by phone. These are more expensive than taxis flagged down on the street, but are more reliable.

Fares Always ask the fare in advance, as there are no meters. It’s acceptable to haggle; try to find out what the going rate is before taking a cab, especially for long trips. The standard fare for short runs in most cities is around S5.

Tipping Tipping is not the norm, unless you have hired a driver for a long period or he has helped you with luggage or other lifting.

Long-distance trips Hiring a private taxi for long-distance trips costs less than renting a car and takes care of many of the problems with car rental. Not all taxi drivers will agree to drive long distances, but if one does, you should carefully check their credentials and vehicle before hiring.


Hitching is never entirely safe, and we don’t recommend it. Travelers who hitch should understand that they are taking a small but potentially serious risk. Hitchhikers will be safer if they travel in pairs and let someone know where they are planning to go. In Peru hitching is not very practical, as there are few private cars, buses are so cheap and trucks are often used as paid public transportation in remote areas.