Peru Driving Guide 2021
Peru is a unique beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit
Peru houses one of the World's Seven Wonders and has the largest species of birds and mammals. Many tourists have said that the country can be rugged when navigating your way through the cities of Peru, and while that's partially true, it does not deny that there are more beautiful places in Peru than inside the city.
Whether a first-timer to visit Peru or not, let's look at some essential things needed to know about the country. When planning to rent a car before your trip, make sure to have your GPS and your map of Peru when driving (for back-up purposes) so that you wouldn't get easily lost while navigating through mountain roads.
Peru, derived from a Quechua Indian (Indians that live in the Andean highlands) word meaning land of abundance. It references the economic wealth produced by the rich and highly organized Inca civilization that ruled the region for centuries. The country's financial foundation has long been a wide selection of mineral, agricultural, and marine resources since the late 20th century, and tourism has also become a significant element of Peru's economic growth.
It is a mega diverse country with its habitat ranging from the dry plains of the Pacific coastal region in the west up to the tropical Amazon Basin rainforest in the east with the Amazon River. At 1.28 million kilometers squared (0.5 million miles squared), the country is the 19th largest globally and the third largest in South America.
As of 2018, Peru has a population of 31.99 million, being the 4th most populous country in South America. The country's growth rate declined from 2.6% to 1.6% between 1950 and 2000 and is expected to reach approximately 42 million by 2050.
Peru is located in western South America with borders from Ecuador and Columbia in the north, Brazil in the east, Bolivia in the southeast, Chile in the south, and the Pacific Ocean in the south and west. It extends wholly in the Southern Hemisphere, with its northernmost maximum reaching 1.8 minutes of latitude (3.3 kilometers or 2.1 miles) south of the equator, covering about 1,285,216 squared kilometers (496,225 squared miles) of western South America.
During the pre-Hispanic period, Quechua was spread across the highlands and along the Inca Empire coast. At the same time, some groups near Lake Titicaca spoke Aymara during the Spanish conquest time. Today, Quechua and Aymara are still common and are officially used with Spanish in regions where they are heavily spoken.
In the Tropical forest, outside Incan influence, numerous languages and dialects are now spoken in the Amazon region, reflecting the diverse linguistic heritage of the tropical forest people. An overwhelming number of Indians read neither their own nor any other language, just like their Inca ancestors. Meanwhile, in major cities and tourist areas, English and other European languages are commonly spoken.
Peru has a 1.28 million kilometers squared (0.5 million miles squared) landmass, making the country the 19th largest country globally and the third-largest in South America. Peru is generally described in three broad longitudinal regions, the arid Costa, the rugged Sierra, or the Andes, a system in the center, and the wet and forested Amazonia (the tropical Amazon Basin) on the east.
Peru has one of the Americas' oldest civilizations, ranging from the Norte Chico civilization starting in 3500 BCE, one of the five cradles of society, to the Inca Empire. Being the largest state in pre-Columbian America, with territories now including Peru, the Inca Empire has one of the longest histories of a country's civilization. Its history traces its heritage back to the 4th millennia BCE.
The Spanish Empire conquered Peru in the 16th century. The region has established a viceroyalty that encompassed most of its South American territories, having Lima as its capital. Peru formally declared independence in 1821 and completed its independence in 1824 by following the foreign military campaigns of José de San Martin and Simón Bolivar and the decisive battle of Ayacucho. The country enjoyed economic and political stability in the ensuing years but ended shortly before the "War of the Pacific" (1879 - 1884)with Chile.
Peru is a unitary state and a presidential representative democratic republic with a multi-party system established by the 1993 Constitution of Peru. The country's government is composed of three branches, which are:
- The Executive Branch consists of the President and the Council of Ministers that controls domestic legislation and serves as a Cabinet of the President, including the Prime Minister and 18 ministers.
- The Legislative Branch has the unicameral Congress of Peru, which consists of 130 members of Congress, the President of Congress, and the Commission staff.
- The Judicial Branch consists of the Royal Audiencia of Lima (Supreme Court of Peru), made up of 18 justices, including a Supreme Justice, 28 Superior courts, 195 trial courts, and 1,838 district courts.
According to a study about the Peruvian government, visitors in Peru have a satisfaction rate of 94%. Tourism in the country is the most rapidly growing industry in Peru, with an annual rate of 25% over the past five years, and is growing faster than any other country in South America.
International Driver’s Permit FAQs
An International Driver's Permit or an International Driver's License (IDP/IDL) is a travel document organized by the United Nations. It is a requirement, especially for drivers with a non-English driver's license, if you plan on self-driving in Peru. It can also help if local authorities will need identification from you.
An IDP is only required if you will be driving in Peru for more than 30 days or are planning to frequently self-drive in the country. It does not replace your original driver's license; it is only a translation of your native permit for your visit to Peru. Also, having a valid IDP means that you have understood the essential driving rules in Peru.
What Are the Benefits of Using an International Driver’s Permit in Peru?
As a tourist having an International Driver's Permit, you can rent and drive a car in Peru. All tourists need to have an IDP if they want to go around Peru. Either driving in Peru with a US license or driving in Peru with a UK license, you will still need an IDP together with your driver's license, proof of insurance, and visa for you to get behind the wheel. It ensures that you understand each driving rule in Peru and have a safe drive in Peru.
Is My Local Driver’s License Valid in Peru?
Your local driver's license is valid in Peru if you have an IDP while driving in Peru. For example, if you're driving with a US license in Peru but don't have an IDP, you got pulled over by the police at a checkpoint, or you were caught breaking a rule while driving. You will either be arrested or deported if you don't have the necessary documents with you. The penalty will depend on the Judicial court and the embassy.
Does an International Driver’s Permit Replace My Native License?
An International Driver's Permit will not replace your license. It is an additional requirement by the United Nations if you want to drive in another country without having any means to apply for their local driver's license while traveling.
Visitors with a non-Romanized driver's license are essentially required for an IDP to translate their native license. It is to avoid any confusion and help you find yourself needing identification or assistance from local authorities.
Renting a Car in Peru
Some visitors in Peru would consider an organized tour rather than going through all the needed documents and requirements to rent a car. And some would like to enjoy their visit without any means of driving. But, renting a car and driving during the holidays in Peru can ensure that you have more versatility and freedom during your visit. Still, it would be best to remember that driving in Lima, Peru, or other places is probably a lot more complicated than what you're used to in your home country.
Car Rental Companies
Driving in Peru can be part of your adventure when visiting the country, and if you need to rent a car, you need to make sure that you're up to it. And if you're decided that renting a car would be the best choice, sticking with one of the large international companies is highly recommended. This way, you won't have any problems with your payments, since smaller companies have had unusual charges that would ruin your travel. Below are some international rental companies located in Lima:
- Sixt Car Hire
For you to rent a car, you must first need to make sure that all documents are valid, and you must be at least 23-25, depending on the company, and have at least one year of experience of driving. Under 25 years old might have to pay a young driver fee when driving in Peru. The documents needed to prepare are:
- Driver's License
- Proof of insurance
- International Driver's Permit
Also, make sure that you thoroughly checked your rental agreement; some companies might make you sign something that doesn't quite fit your preference.
There are five types of vehicles in Peru you can choose from, and selecting a car will depend on where you're headed. You may want to drive to Cusco, Peru, from Lima, pass through the mountains or jungle towns. Either way, these types of vehicles will do the trick:
- City car
- Mid-range car
Car Rental Cost
When renting a car in Peru, you can expect approximately 20-70 US dollars per day, depending on the vehicle type you choose. Other expenses would be car insurance, fuel, tolls, GPS (5-10 US dollars per day), and car seats (5 US dollars per day). But if you have doubts about the GPS that will be provided, you can still drive in Peru using a map.
The driving age in Peru must be at least 18 years old but, to rent a car, you must be at least 23-25. Age requirements for car rentals will depend on the company of your choosing. And if you're at the minimum driving age in Peru with a year of experience behind the wheel, you may get an IDP to drive a car. Still, you must have a companion with the minimum age requirement in renting a car and depend on the rental company if they will allow it.
Car Insurance Cost
Although most rental companies include basic insurances, some might consist of minimal insurance covers with a high deductible, so you should read the fine print. It is also best to upgrade your insurance directly with the rental agency to have a safer drive in Peru. The cost of an average of 30-50 US dollars per day.
Car Insurance Policy
Most Peru companies already have the primary insurance for your car, but it is recommended that you upgrade your insurance. By reading your contract's fine print, you will see that basic insurance that's included may sometimes have minimal insurance cover with a high deductible. Minimum insurance will mean that the company would pay the least amount on the repair no matter how expensive it is, and you will be in charge of the rest of the payment.
Road Rules in Peru
If you're going to Peru for the first time, you may ask yourself these questions: “how is driving in Peru?”, “'How safe is driving in Peru?” or “is driving in Peru safe?”. To know all of the answers to these questions, let's take a look at the critical driving laws in Peru, and from there, determine whether it is safe to drive around the country.
Driving during the holidays in Peru is perfect if you want to enjoy every inch of what the country has to offer. There would also be a different kind of adventure waiting for you if you plan to drive in Peru. But before you start driving a car in Peru, it's recommended to check the essential road rules in Peru to help your way around the country.
Drivers in Peru can only have 50 milligrams of alcohol for every 100 milliliters of blood. Suppose you are caught driving under the said influence. In that case, you may get a massive amount on your ticket, or if anyone, passenger or pedestrian, got hurt, you may be sentenced to jail for 60 days to five years, depending on how critical the person is.
Honking of Horns
While everyone knows when and where you should honk your horn inside the city and countryside, you should also know that honking horns on mountain roads are one of the critical things you should remember when traveling to Peru. Since many mountain roads in Peru have blind spots, honking horns when turning could help you avoid any collisions, and even if you think that there's no car on the other side of the road, it's still good to make a habit of it while driving.
The speed limit on urban roads is 90km/h (56mph), 50km/h (31mph) on rural roads, and 100km/h (62mph) on highways. Going over the speed limit can be easily detected even if there's no police officer nearby. Traffic cameras are placed all over the country. If you're all alone on an open road and you attempted to drive past the speed limit, you can be sure that police officers would respond quickly if they saw you overspeeding in the traffic camera.
Driving at night
If you want to drive at night in Peru, reconsider it first before doing so. Driving at night in Peru is not recommended because there are conditions that are not ideal, like trucks that are not correctly using headlights, and buses would speed faster than usual. If there is a reasonable explanation for you to drive at night, make sure to be extra careful on the road. `
Turning on of Headlights
When driving on coastal and mountain highways, having your headlights on even in daylight is part of the country's driving rule. Fog is common in these areas and sometimes resulting in low visibility that frequently causes accidents.
General standards of driving in Peru are pretty common in your home country and many countries worldwide. Using mobile phones, seatbelts, smoking inside the car, and listening to loud music when driving. One thing that is different in Peru is that many drivers don't practice these rules, and sometimes they're the ones that cause traffic in the area.
Generally, when driving on urban roads, drivers are permitted up to 90 km/h (56mph), 50 km/h (31mph) in rural, and 100 km/h (62mph) on highways. Also, there are traffic cameras all around the country, so even if there's no police around the area, if the camera caught you overspeeding, you'll still be pulled over by the police.
Drivers in Peru would need to stay on the right side of the road except if you need to overtake the vehicle in front of you. In that case, you would need to go to the far left side lane of the road, but if you're not in a hurry, it's better to avoid the faster lane. Staying in the fast lane while casually driving can either cause more traffic or road accidents, and that also implies if you are driving fast on a slow lane.
Traffic Road Signs
Traffic Road Signs in Peru are the same as any other signs worldwide. The only thing you need to worry about is the road signs that have something written on them since all of the posted signs are in Spanish. If you're not familiar with the Spanish language, learning some of the road signs in Peru is highly recommended if you wish to drive in Peru.
Right of Way
Vehicles on the far right side corner of the road have the right of way unless there's a traffic sign that says otherwise or a pedestrian line on the road. If a pedestrian crosses, they have the right of way unless stopped by a traffic light, and emergency vehicles will always be an exemption. When in Peru, practicing this kind of driving will avoid any major accidents on the road.
Legal Driving Age
The legal driving age in Peru is 18 years old, but before getting behind the wheels, you must take their exam if you're planning on getting a driver's license in Peru. If you are caught driving without a driver's license, you would be sent to jail or deported.
Law on Overtaking
Overtaking in Peru will be on the left side, so if you're from a country that does the same, it wouldn't be difficult for you to drive in Peru. But there's an exemption when overtaking because some roads would have signs that have the phrase "NO ADELANTAR," meaning overtaking prohibited, and it would prevent you from overtaking.
If your home country operates on the right-hand side of a car, your driving experience in Peru would be the same as driving in your home country. Riding in Peru is on the right side and operates on the right side of the street, while overtaking is on the left side unless there's a traffic sign that says otherwise.
Other Road Rules
Knowing the general and essential road rules are major parts before driving but knowing this side rule is also important, especially if you're the type of driver that loves to drive fast. But do remember that even if you're driving fast, you would still need to go under the speed limit.
What is the Seat Belt Law in Peru?
Every passenger must be wearing seatbelts when in a moving car in Peru, front and back. And even if there's no penalty for this driving law in Peru, it is recommended that you should make a habit to practice wearing a seatbelt all the time because it could save a life.
Driving Etiquette in Peru
Many visitors in Peru have said that driving in the country can be considered an extreme sport and should take extra caution when driving along its street. And like in other countries, roads in Peru are not perfect, some may have cracks and potholes on them, and some are just in terrible condition due to trucks and buses that use them. So if you plan on riding along Peru's road, expect that there would be many streets that would need a lot of your patience.
Before signing the agreement with a car rental company, ensure that it includes towing services because there is no countrywide emergency breakdown number. If you're in the midst of nowhere and your car broke down, you could expect that you would be alone for a while if they didn't provide you with towing services.
If ever you got caught by the police, most likely you were caught overspeeding. The Policia Nacional del Peru or the Peruvian National Police are more on the harsh side of things and are alert whenever there's an accident. So if you did get their attention, don't be afraid, cooperate with them, and provide the necessary documents.
Having to be familiarized with some Spanish phrases before arriving in Peru can be helpful, mostly since not many areas in the country speak English, particularly outside the tourist areas. And these phrases would help your driving experience much more comfortable:
- How do I get to (destination)? - ¿Cómo puedo llegar a (destino)?
- Where is the tourism police? - ¿Dónde está la Oficina de la Policía de Turismo?
- To the right - A la Derecha
- To the left - A la izquierda
- Stop (noun) - Parada
- I am lost - Estoy Perdido (man)/Pérdida (woman)
When facing a checkpoint in Peru, there are things that you need to remember, first prepare all the required documents so that when an officer asks for them, you could hand the documents to them. And second, other police officers would make your trip miserable, giving excuses that you've broken one of their road rules, and when that happens, make sure to get concrete proof and not just the words that came out of their mouths. If you want to have evidence yourself, it's advisable to have a dashcam if you run into any serious problem.
Aside from the driving situations discussed, knowing some driving range may also be important to travelers who love driving from north to south. It is also indicated below if it is safe to drive in the country for a long time.
What Is The Driving Range in Lima, Peru to Cusco?
The start of the driving range in Lima, Peru to Cusco will depend on where you would take your route. If you prefer to take highway 35, it will take you a day of constant driving. In route 28A, it will be 20 hours and 30 minutes, and in route 30A, around 19 hours. All of the hours and driving directions in Peru or any other country will depend on your pit stops and traffic along the way.
Is Driving in Northern Peru Possible from Lima?
Yes, driving in Northern Peru is possible from Lima. However, be mindful that there might be tolls on highways, so best to take some cash with you. Most tolls in Peru aren't automated and would prefer to take money instead of credit cards. Remember that it is not recommended to drive at night. Accidents tend to happen when driving at night because trucks aren't accurately lit, and buses tend to be faster at night.
Is Driving in Peru Safe?
If it's your first time traveling in Peru, frequently asked questions are, “is it safe to drive in Peru?”, “How safe is driving in Peru?”. and “how is the driving in Peru?.” Well, to tell you the truth, driving in Peru can be considered an extreme sport. Drivers in Peru are often described as aggressive, and streets in big cities are always crowded with traffic. Other than inside the city, the country still has a lot to offer, and renting a car is recommended when traveling outside the city.
Driving Conditions in Peru
Driving situations and conditions in Peru are different from the US and can be dangerous. When visiting the country, visitors are advised to familiarize some of the essential driving rules and local laws before operating a vehicle. You should also be aware that the roads in Peru are not great. Some have cracks and potholes, while others got worn out due to heavy trucks and buses that pass by.
As stated by the WHO data published in 2018, deaths in road traffic accidents reached 4,179, around 2.82% of total deaths. The death rate per 100,000 population would be 13.73, making Peru in the 110th place in the world on road traffic accidents. It's a big jump since 2010 as they were third on the highest death rate worldwide at the time.
Starting slowly in Nuevo Audi Q2, the Peruvian vehicles market had grown once more in October 2020. Around 15.312 thousand units were sold, but there was a 25% decrease in sales, about 96.302 thousand compared to the previous year. Brand-wise, the top marketer Toyota remained flat at 0.4% on marketing, followed by Volkswagen, which is the best performer on the leaderboard with the marketing of 10.5%. Simultaneously, Mitsubishi had the sharpest drop, falling a steep of 64.1% on the marketing.
Peru has many toll roads, and the country has a total of 74 toll roads. There are toll roads under a state-owned company, and the Ministries of Transport and Economy run others. When passing by toll roads, it's best to have some extra change lying around in case some toll roads wouldn't accept credit cards.
The roads in Peru, explicitly driving in Lima, Peru, can be described as regularly clogged. Lima is home to 33% of Peru's population, and the majority of that population needs to get around the city, meaning every hour of the day, you can find traffic on most of the roads in Lima. So if you're staying only around Lima, the best solution would be to take a taxi. But other roads outside Lima are advised to be driven with a rental car.
Other roads outside Lima may sometimes be in poor shape. Some cracked and produced potholes overtime. Even so, Peru has a lot to offer, and many visitors in Peru prefer to rent a car when going to other tourist destinations than traveling on tour. It allows them to visit places in their own time and at their own pace.
Peruvian drivers are aggressive once on the road. Sometimes they don't stick to the designated driving lanes, and you'll find cars driving side by side, even on a two-lane highway. There are also times that even if you're careful on your drive, some Peruvian drivers will do something impulsive that would end up in a road accident. So when you're driving on Peru's roads, make sure to have your A-game.
Knowing these conditions is excellent if you want to rent a car to prepare yourself for the local drivers and roads in Peru. But knowing the speed measurement in the country is also a great tip since speed signs don't have any indication if they're in miles or kilometers, and there's a possibility of traffic violation or accident if you don't know what kind of speed measurement they use.
Is the Driving Speed in Peru Kilometers or Miles?
Everyone knows that speed is measured in either kilometers or miles per hour. Depending on which country you are in, the designation for both may change, but most states have adopted kilometers, and currently, about 9% of the world uses miles per hour. And Peru is also using kilometers when driving, like many other countries.
Things To Do in Peru
Peru is one of the many beautiful countries in the world. The economy’s increasing, finding employment everywhere, and living expenses are low. Unfortunately, it's not that easy when a foreigner such as yourself can find a job. But even if that's the case, an improving number of overseas employees in North America, Europe, and Asia works in Peru.
Drive as a Tourist
Driving as a tourist in another country might be fearful to some foreigners, but it can also be exciting since there's always an adventure waiting around while on a road trip. Also, it's always best to drive when having your vacation so you'll have more time on your hands and you can carry everything you might want and need without the thought of someone stealing it .
Work as a Driver
Proving that you're professionally skilled and qualified, it is advisable to bring any work-related certifications with you to have them legalized by a Peruvian consulate and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for you to take it to an official translator. When everything is all prepared, there is a day in companies in Peru called "application day." Application day is specifically for job hunters like yourself that the company arranges for you to come and meet them personally. Remember, the application day is scheduled not only for you but also for everyone interested in the position.
Sending a CV by email can also be an option but be prepared to never hearing from them again. It's not because you're not qualified for the job but because emails are mostly ignored and sometimes don't reach the recipient. If you want to make sure that they got your application, you can call them and ask if they have received your email.
Work as a Travel Guide
The tourism industry in Peru has more than tripled since 2000, and it is now one of the few jobs that have vital opportunities for foreigners, especially if you are fluent in the English language. If you want to land a job in Peru quickly, cities like Machu Picchu and Sacred Valley are the best towns to find one.
Apply for Residency
Applying for residency in Peru can be quite tricky if you already have a job in the country. If you want to apply for permanent residence, you would need to have a visa stating that you have been in the country for three years. If your application is approved, you will need to renew it every five years, and at this point, you are now qualified to apply for citizenship in the country.
Other Things to Do
Now that you have the basic information on what to do for job hunting, the only thing left is to have a Peruvian driving license. Getting a driver's license is part of the requirement if you want to have a job as a driver, but if you prefer to have other kinds of jobs, applying for one can be a good primary I.D., and who knows, you might end up buying a car. Below is detailed information on how to get a license in Peru.
How To Get a Peruvian Driver’s License?
If you want to get a Peruvian driver's license, you can convert your native permit, but do mind that it will be a bit harder or get it from scratch. If you decided to start from the beginning, you would need to meet their terms and regulations when getting a Peruvian driver's license and part of that is you should be at least 18 years of age. Other requirements would include:
Medical exams can be done at several authorized clinics in Peru and costs between 75 Sol (Peru currency) to 100 Sol. Requirements to take the medical exam are Carné for foreigners and DNI for Peruvians.
The written exam will test your knowledge about Peru's rules and regulations, infractions, penalties, first aid, etc. The exam will consist of 40 questions that will need to be answered in 40 minutes, meaning one minute per question. To pass the exam, you will need to score a minimum of 35. Requirements for the written exam are:
- Carné for foreigners and DNI for Peruvians (original and copy)
- Passport photo with white background for foreigners
- Medical exam certificate, original and copy
- Payment receipt of 56 Sol from Scotiabank, Interbank or BIF
- Appointment schedule
Before taking the driving exam, you need to first pay at Scotiabank, Interbank, or BIF. Once done, you can make an appointment for your driving exam online. Requirements for the driving exam are:
- Carné for foreigners and DNI for Peruvians (original and copy)
- Passport photo with white background for foreigners
- Medical exam certificate, original and copy
- Passed written exam certificate, original and copy
- Payment receipt
- Appointment schedule
Top Destinations in Peru
Peru is a country that has lots to offer and begs to be explored. No matter what type of traveler you are (historian buff, adventurer, or food lover), Peru provides many activities to satisfy every tourist with its land, history, colonial, and modern traditions that would give you an unforgettable experience. It's no surprise that Peru can attract visitors worldwide with its ancient sites, topography, and several ecosystems, making it one of South America’s popular destinations.
Peru's capital city, known as the City of Kings, symbolizes the Spanish colonial history, industry, and independence. Although many would say that Lima is an overpopulated city, you can still experience Peru's history in one of their museums. You can also try a food tour, where you could try an original delicacy from the country.
Commonly, if you go to Peru, the first place that you will land is in Lima. But, let's say if your flights' destination is in Cusco; if that's the case, these are the driving directions to Lima, Peru.
- Take Av La Paz and Primavera to Alameda Pachacuteq/San Martín.
- Take Route 3S, Route 28A, Aup. Panamericana Sur/Panamericana Sur y Carr. Panamericana Sur/Route 1S to Av Paseo de la República in La Victoria.
- Take Av 9 de Diciembre and Avenida Alfonso Ugarte to your destination in Cercado de Lima.
Things To Do
Lima is famous because of the symbolism it gives through colonial history, industry, and independence. Travelers would be busy in Lima for days with its ancient concrete pyramids, oceanfront parks, and colonial architecture.
- Visit the Museo Larco
It is a local museum in Lima where you can see Peru's history. Here you can find ancient collections from the pre-Columbian culture where it exhibits Peru's indigenous people. There is also an on-site restaurant and beautiful gardens where guests can also enjoy.
- Explore the Miraflores
Miraflores has the best way to enjoy Peru's coastal views and feel the city's tradition and history. You can do other things in Miraflores; if you want to stroll through a park or have a superb view of the Pacific Ocean, you can go to Parque del Amor or want to see an ancient clay pyramid you may find it in Huaca Pucllana. And if you need any souvenirs or a relaxing day, why don't you go shopping in Larcomar.
- Go on a food tour at Lima Gourmet Company
If you're a food lover, you should consider having a food tour with Lima Gourmet Company. They offer morning and evening tours around Lima and serve the best and authentic food the city provides for 130 US dollars. But if you have a limited amount on your budget, there is also a Haku Tour that offers various group outings not limited to food.
- Walk Around the Plaza Mayor
If you want to have a nice relaxing day in Lima you can visit the Plaza Mayor at the center of the city. The Plaza Mayor is the oldest public space in the city, and it was planned to have the most important buildings around it. When visiting the plaza, you can take a walk around the area to appreciate its surroundings, or you can also go to the Government Palace, the Cathedral of Lima, and the Municipal Palace that is built around the Plaza.
- Hangout Along the Malecon de Miraflores
If you plan to go to Miraflores, adding Malecon would be one of the places you might want to go to. The area can give you a magnificent view of the ocean, and it's a perfect place to hang out since it's spacious, clean, and of course, the incredible coastal views. Best activities to do when visiting Malecon de Miraflores are walking along the football courts and renting a bike to see the beautiful gardens that are filled with flowers.
Cusco is the initial seat of power for the Inca empire and was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1983. It is a city near the Urubamba Valley of the Andes mountain range, and it is the seventh most populated city in Peru. The city has a romantic vibe and European feel with its Inca and 16th-century architecture and narrow, winding street.
Driving in Cusco, Peru, from the capital city Lima, will take you about a day, give or take, but every road trip is worth it if you know that there's going to be a spectacular destination ahead.
- Take Avenida Alfonso Ugarte to Au. Panamericana Nte./Ctra. Panamericana Nte./Vía Evitamiento/Route 1N in Rímac.
- Drive from Carr. Central, Route 3S, Route 3SB, Huancayo-Huancavelica/Mariscal Castilla and Route 3S to Cusco.
- Take Tomasa Tito Condemayta, Urb. Chinchero - prolg. av. Humberto Vidal Hunda and De La Raza to Calle Plateros.
- Your destination will be on the left.
Things To Do
Cusco became famous for it is a beautiful city with a romantic vibe and a European feel. Cusco was also declared a World Heritage by UNESCO in 1983. It is the Incas’ capital city and is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in South America. The buildings of the ancient Inca city became the foundation for the Spanish culture today, and most of the stone walls that are aligned in the streets were built by the Incas.
- Taste the cocktails at Museo del Pisco
If you want to relax and enjoy the scenery, Museo del Pisco is the place for that. They provide guests with cocktail classes and flight tasting of pisco, a typical Peruvian alcoholic drink that you take before a meal to stimulate the appetite.
- Visit various shops and restaurants at Plaza de Armas
It is Cusco's main square and the city's most iconic site where you can comfortably stroll and hangout. Various shops and restaurants around Plaza de Armas and hold the Cusco Cathedral, a UNESCO Heritage Site. You can see archeological relics, artifacts, and colonial works of art are displayed.
- Go hiking at Vinicuna
Vinicuna, a mountain in the Andes of Peru, has an altitude of 5,200 meters above sea level. Vicuna is known as the famous Rainbow Mountain, where you can have an all-day journey from Cusco. It has a high elevation that would be fantastic for hike lovers. You can access the mountain either by driving for two hours from Cusco and a five-kilometer walk or a 4-hour ride through Pitumarca and a two-kilometer walk up the hill.
- Visit San Blas
While in the city, visiting the San Blas or, as locals say, 'bohemian' or 'artisan' can be very relaxing if you want to enjoy a day away from the tourism-focused areas. It's less lively ,and you can enjoy a picnic day with your friends or family. You can also visit the nearby local clothing and jewelry shops or the nighttime bars where you can relax and have a wonderful time listening to live music.
The Sacred Valley of Incas
The Sacred Valley or the Urubamba Valley, an excellent destination if you want to explore the Inca ruins and enjoy outdoor activities. You can stay at the Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba if you plan to explore the region for a few days.
Driving in the Sacred Valley, Peru, from Cusco, will take you about two hours, depending on the traffic and pit stops along the way. There are two ways to get to the Sacred Valley, either take the Urubamba road or the Route 28G and Route 28B.
Driving direction by Urubamba Road
- Take Av La Paz and Primavera to Alameda Pachacuteq/San Martín.
- Take Route 3S to CU-1185.
- Follow CU-1185.
- Continue to Yucay.
- Turn right onto Amaru Yupanqui.
- From Amaru Yupanqui, you can either hike to the Sacred Valley or take a tour.
Driving direction by Route 28G and Route 28B
- Take Av La Paz and Av. Infancia to Av. de La Cultura/Route 3S.
- Follow Route 28G and Route 28B to Amaru Yupanqui in Yucay.
- Turn left onto Amaru Yupanqui.
- From Amaru Yupanqui, you can either hike to the Sacred Valley or take a tour.
Things To Do
The Sacred Valley is a top destination where you would see and explore the ancient Inca ruins and has many famous archaeological sites. It is also known that the Chanapata civilization had first used this area around 800 BCE because of the rich soil that can be used for agriculture.
- Join Adventure Tours
While staying in The Sacred Valley, you can go on adventure tours that offer biking, horseback riding, hiking, and rafting throughout the region. You could also enjoy an adventure of your own if you don't like the tight schedule that tours have.
- Exploring Locations
In the Sacred Valley, there are numerous breathtaking locations that you can explore. The Salinas de Maras, a network of nearly 3,000 salt pans, filled by an underground spring. Moray's ancient site is a deep bowl-like indentation in the Earth (about 100 feet), believed to have been the Incan agricultural laboratory. And lastly, the town of Ollantaytambo, a common starting point for the Inca Trail (hiking route to Machu Picchu) and the home of the Incan fortress with large stone terraces that were built into the hillside.
- Go Hiking
There are some hiking grounds in the Sacred Valley that you can go to, like Pisac Town. Inside the town, you would get to see the Pisac Terraces, where locals practice a millenary custom called trueque or bartering that only occurs on Sunday. There is also a citadel of Pisac equal to Machu Picchu. It is an archaeological network where you'll be able to see the biggest pre-Hispanic cemetery in the Americas.
- Enjoy Chincero’s Color Culture
If you're a person that loves art, you may want to visit Chinchero, where you can find colorful Andean textiles. This town is 12,342 feet (3,761 meters) above sea level ,and you will get to see the Quechua community that knits using an ancient textile art that they have inherited from the Incas. When you get to the town of Chinchero, you will see how they exercise the technique of making and dyeing blankets and garments.
If you have some time to spare, you can also explore the baroque-style colonial church and the old town square if you want to know how the two cultures (Inca and Spanish) joined together.
Machu Picchu is one of the 15th-century Inca citadel located in the Eastern Cordillera in southern Peru, on a 2,430 meter (7970 feet) mountain ridge. Archaeologists believe that the place was constructed as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti. Machu Picchu is a groundbreaking destination, and maybe the reason why visitors in Peru would like to visit the area. Machu Picchu will not let your hopes down, and it is part of the Seven Wonders of the World.
To go to Machu Picchu, you can either take a bus ride up to the mountain or take the Inca Rail trail that departs from Cusco or Ollantaytambo. Although to visit Machu Picchu, you would need to buy your ticket in advance because only a limited number of visitors could go to Machu Picchu.
Things To Do
Machu Picchu, part of the Seven Wonders of the World and has never let any visitors in the area be disappointed. It is Peru's main attraction and has many mysterious ruins on the top of the mountain.
- Go hiking to Machu Picchu
If you're staying at Aguas Calientes, waking up early and lining up for the bus is your priority if you want to have tickets for Huayna Picchu or if you like, you can hike up to Machu Picchu if you like the rush of an adventure. The route to Machu Picchu is more direct when hiking than taking the bus and will take you within one to two hours, depending on how fast you go.
- Explore the ruins
Once you get to the top of Machu Picchu, you will see many ancient ruins of "The Lost City of the Incas," and it's pretty common to explore each one of them, starting from the Temple of the Sun down to the Prison Group and The Temple of the Condor. You can also take your time to get pictures of some ruins to prove that you have visited the ancient ruins in Machu Picchu.
- See the Intihuatana
Inside the ruins, you can get a chance to find the Intihuatana. The Intihuatana is an important carved stone that the Incas used as an astronomical device. The stone's English meaning is "hitching post of the sun," since the Incas believe that the carved stone kept the sun in place while traveling across the sky.
Arequipa is another UNESCO World Heritage sights. It is surrounded by three volcanoes, and its architecture is impressive. The city is popular because they use white volcanic stones called sillar to make their buildings, making their structures very distinctive. Some would even say that the city of Arequipa is prettier than Cusco.
Arequipa is a city where you will find a lot of activities for every type of visitor. There are many historical sites and museums to visit, animals to see and take pictures with, and foods that are only available in the city. There is also a location inside the town to relax after a busy day in the city.
From Cusco, it will take you about nine hours to get to Arequipa. Before driving to Arequipa, it's best to plan your road trip so that you'll know when and where to take a break. Also, having some extra cash with you will be helpful since you will need to pass a toll road in case they don't accept credit cards.
- Take Av La Paz and Mateo Pumacahua to Av 28 de Julio.
- Follow Route 3S to Route 34G in Sicuani.
- Continue on Route 34G. Take Route 34J to Route 34A in Arequipa.
- Turn right onto Route 34A.
- Continue on Aviación. Take Av. Chachani, Av. José Abelardo Quiñones and Andrés Martinez to Av. Mariscal Cáceres in Arequipa.
Things To Do in Arequipa
There are a lot of activities you can do while in Arequipa, like shopping in their local market, seeing Alpacas, visiting historical structures, etc. When planning your trip, make sure that you have your camera with you since there are many beautiful sceneries that you would want to capture.
- See the Alpacas
If you haven't seen an Alpaca before, going to Mundo Alpaca is the only place in the area where you can visit one. Aside from the animal, Mundo Alpaca is also a museum where local women show visitors their traditional art of weaving. If you like some of their works, there's also a shop in the area where you can buy hand-crafted clothes.
- Try the Food in Sam Camilo Market.
San Camilo market in Arequipa is one of the best markets in Peru, and it gives tourists an authentic experience. When touring the market, you shouldn't miss out on their traditional foods, including the Peruvian classics like Soltero de Queso and Rocoto Relleno. There is also black corn selling in the market and Peruvian avocados called Paltas.
- Visit Santa Catalina Monastery
The Santa Catalina Monastery was constructed in 1579, and it is the home to an organization of nuns, a collection of fantastic artwork, and religious artifacts from different historical times. If you want to visit Santa Catalina Monastery, it is best to plan before sunset, so you'll have enough time to roam around the Monastery and eventually climb to the rooftop to get a great view of the sunset.
- Relax at the Plaza De Armas
After a long day of touring and experiencing their culture, the best area to relax in the city is the Plaza De Armas. You can walk around or rest on the benches around and soak in the ambiance of the city. There is also a free walk tour in the plaza if you want to know the history of the area. The walking tour is an excellent way for visitors that have a tight budget since all you need to pay the guide is their tip at the end of the tour.
- See The Colca Canyon
Colca Canyon is the second deepest canyon in the world, and it's every hiker's dream to explore inside this impressive geographical feature. If you want to visit the Colca Canyon, walking and horse riding are the best way to explore the area if you're on a budget. To get to the Colca Canyon, you would need to drive outside Arequipa, but it's still one of the main trips of the city.
While exploring the canyon, you may want to find the Andean Condors, where you can enjoy a bath in the hot springs and sense how authentic the village life is in the area or see smoking volcanoes.
Even though many people may agree that Peru is not an ideal to call it home and a stress-free country since road traffic and conditions are a lot to handle in cities. But outside the boundaries of the town, there are still so many beautiful destinations all around. Undoubtedly, you'll find something worth your time during your road trips and probably take your breath away in each place that you go, with any driving directions you take in Peru.