The Traveler’s Guide to Driving in Peru

Peru has some fascinating places to visit, and having a rental vehicle will make it much easier to reach them. Some of the places you may want to see include Machu Pichu, the Sacred Valley, Museum Larco, the Historic District of Cusco, and Mira Flores Boardwalk in Lima.

Renting a car in Peru

If you want to rent a car, you need to have a driver’s license and an international driving permit. The minimum age to drive in Peru is 18 years old, but you need to have at least a year of driving experience before you can rent a vehicle. Most of the rental car companies in the country will require that the drivers are at least 21 years old.

When you rent a vehicle, you are able to get to many of the most interesting parts of Peru that you might want to visit, and you can do it on your own schedule. Just make sure you understand the basic rules of driving in the country. When you are ready to rent a car, make sure you get the phone number and contact info of the rental agency, just in cases you have any trouble.

The road conditions and safety

There are several main, major roads that go through Peru running from north to south. They are toll roads, and depending on where you get onto and off of the road, the tolls can vary. You should plan your trip and route so you can get a better idea of the actual toll costs. The main roads are as follows.

  • Panamericana Sur/Norte (PE-1S/1N) – It is fully paved and passes through the entire country.

  • Longitudinal de la Sierra Sur/Norte (PE-3S/3N) – It is partially paved.

  • Interoceanica Sur (PE-26) and Interoceanica (PE-5N) - It is also partially paved.

Only the major roads in the country are paved and in good condition. The rest of the roads are unpaved and they can be very rough. This will affect your speed, so you need to prepare for that when you are creating your itinerary. In addition, you will want a 4WD to be able to traverse many of these areas.

From November to April, the rains are heavy, and this can make the roads even worse. The coastal roads and the mountain roads are often plagued by fog, particularly in at night and in the early morning hours. Because the roads are poorly maintained, it is not advisable to drive alone in rural areas. You should also have some way of communicating with the outside world.

The traffic flows on the right side of the road. Other drivers may not pay attention to the rules of the road, and they may be discourteous. You need to drive defensively and try to anticipate what other drivers are doing. You should have GPS as well as maps with you so you do not get lost.

The speed limit

It is important to follow the speed limit in Peru for you own safety and to make sure you do not get pulled over. The speed limits for different areas are as follows.

  • Highways – 100 km/h
  • School and hospital zones – 30 km/h
  • Small streets – 40 km/h
  • Urban areas – 60 km/h

Get a rental car to make your travels easier in Peru.


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