Peru at a Glance
Transportation in PeruiStockphoto
Public transportation in Peru consists mainly of bus transit.
Getting to and around Peru should not be a problem: Peru has over 190 airports, nearly 2,000 kilometers of railways, and over 137,000 kilometers of roads, as well as 9,000 kilometers of navigable waterways.
Public Transport throughout the Country
The biggest and only international airport is the Jorge Chavez International Airport in Lima. It is located circa eleven kilometers outside of Lima’s city center. Public transportation and taxis are readily available to take you to and from the airport.
If you are already in Peru and want to explore one of the many beautiful towns and coastal cities, getting around by car is also an option. The Pan American Highway cuts straight through Peru from the Ecuadorian border to the Chilean one. Roads are in good condition and the route also allows you to take in the scenery. Please be aware, however, due to the mountainous terrain, falling rocks may block roads on occasion. You should only drive cross-country if you are an experienced and secure driver. Otherwise feel free to rent a car with a driver, available for reasonable pricing at any number of car hire companies.
Should you prefer to let someone else do the driving, you have the option to take a train or long distance bus to most cities across the country. The inter-city bus system is quite efficient and not very expensive. Well-known bus lines are Cruz del Sur and Ormeño, both of which also service neighboring countries, and are a comfortable alternative to the car. Rail transport in Peru is not so widely distributed, due to its mountainous geography which complicated construction and service. However, the 20th century saw some major improvements in Peru’s railway system and there are several passenger trains transporting travelers (mostly tourists) across the country.
Public Transport in Cities
Larger cities in Peru have a public transportation system. El Metropolitano, the rapid transit bus system in Lima, is the easiest and most reliable form of public transportation. Their website (in Spanish only) gives information on ticket prices, routes, and timetables. Additionally, Lima is trying to finalize the construction of its above-ground mass transit system, the Lima metro. Currently there is only one line in use, which connects the southern part of Lima with the city center.
Arequipa’s public transportation system consists of a bus and mini bus system. You can easily and cheaply get around by taxi as well. Regardless of where you travel with a taxi in Peru, make sure that you negotiate the price beforehand and that the meter is on.
It is probably most comfortable to have a car in larger cities. Most Peruvians who can afford to, own a car with a driver. If you prefer the independence of having your own car, it is recommended that you hire a chauffeur as well. Peruvian drivers can be quite hot-tempered and sometimes drive erratically.