Peru Driving Advice and Car Hire Info
Driving In Peru
Peru drives on the right and providing you’re in the country on a tourist visa, you can drive using your own photo licence for up to 183 days. (No idea why it’s not 180!) . However, if your licence isn’t written in Roman Alphabet, an International Driving Permit is recommended. Speed limits are 100kmh on highways, 60km on rural roads and 30-40kmh in urban areas.
Peru has three main roads which run from north to south which are designated with odd numbers and around 20 East-West routes with even numbers.
North-South highways are-
The fully paved Panamericana (RN 1) which passes through the whole country from the Northern border with Ecuador at Aguas Verdes to the Southern border with Chile.The road is split in North and South sections from Lima with the Northern section passing through Chimbote, Trujillo, Chiclayo, and Piura. The Southern branch passes Ica and Camana then heads inland towards Arequipa and South to Moquegua and Tacna and onto the Peru-Chile border at La Concordia.
Further east is the Carretera de la Sierra (RN 3) (Highland Road), also known as the Caminos del Inca (Inca Road) as it follows the path of an old Incan route and connects Huancabamba, Cajamarca, Huaraz, Huánuco, Cerro de Pasco, Huancayo, Huancavelica, Ayacucho, Cusco, Juliaca, and Puno. The road is unpaved in places.
Carretera Marginal de la Selva (RN 5) (Jungle Road). The Northern section of the road links Tingo Maria, Tarapoto, Moyobamba, Bagua, Jaén and San Ignacio. The Southern section from Camisea through to Manu and Puerto Pardo is unpaved in many places and often in poor condition.
The most famous West-East route across Peru is the Interoceanic Highway which is a 2600km route stretching from the Pacific coast of Peru to the Atlantic coast of Brazil, which passes through the Andes mountains and the Amazon jungle.
Some sections of most main roads are toll roads- there are a total of 74 toll routes in the country, all administered by separate private companies. Payment is generally made at toll plazas on the highway
Generally, roads in major cities and main routes, especially toll sections, will be in good condition, though there are few multi-lane highways in Peru. Most minor routes are unpaved and are prone to flooding in the rainy season of November to April to April. Landslides are also common and can block even major routes for lengthy periods.
In cities, most drivers uphold road rules and driving standards are acceptable. In rural areas and on open roads, standards can be lower with stop signs and traffic lights often ignored. You should drive defensively and always expect the unexpected. Most roads are single carriageway and main routes are often full of slow moving trucks.
Colonial cities such as Cuzco or Arequipa have many small, congested cobbled streets. Many hotels have little or no parking. Avoid driving in the centres of old towns if you can and park somewhere safe such as a hotel on the outskirts and take a taxi into town.
Avoid driving at night if you can, as road hazards will be multiplied on poorly lit roads. Take care when passing or being overtaken by buses. Peruvian buses tend to be driven badly by tired drivers and the chance of errors is high. Also take care after rain on mountain roads which can deteriorate rapidly and may not have adequate guard rails. The coastal areas are prone to fog and you should drive ultra defensively if this is the case- other drivers may not. Local protests and street demonstration are common and often involve blocking roads . You should monitor local news and ask locals advice before attempting to pass a blockade.
Although I try and keep the information in the site updated as much as possible, in a rapidly moving world, situations can change daily. Therefore please use the site as an approximate guide, and in conjunction with other resources in order to form your view on driving conditions, roads, safety etc.
Peru Car Rental –
Sixt, Hertz, Europcar, National,Avis, Budget,Dollar, and Enterprise have outlets here often run by Peruvian companies such as Inka and Aerovan.
We currently have no local car rental partners in Peru. If you are a local car rental company who would like to feature on DriverAbroad.com please check details on our Partnering page or contact us on ADriverAbroad@Outlook.com
Peru Self Drive Rules-
None of the big companies allow cars to be taken out of Peru. Also there may be restrictions on certain types of vehicles being driven on unpaved roads in the Sierra Mountains and along the coast.