Any suggestions for staying safe while driving around Peru?

My wife and I are obvious foreigners with passable Spanish. We have travelled on buses, but this time we will be driving our own, older model car and would like to know any hints for staying safe while driving, getting accomodations and parking the car. Thank you in advance.


Country: Peru



Here some tips that can help both:

1) have all the documentation of the car
2) have your driver license (better if its an international one)
3) have a insurance in case of an accident
4) have a map of the places you are going, aprox arriving time, near towns
5) have some extra fuel in a recipient in case you don't find a near gas station
6) do not give a ride to unknown people
7) try to avoid to travel in the nights if you are in the highways (north or south)
8) some roads in Peru are in bad conditions, so have a replace tire

To find accommodation as a local one , they will show the best option. For parking the car find a hotel or hostel with parking, do not leave it in the street if you don't know how safety is the place.

Have fun on your trip!
Mil gracias. Es buena información.
Hello, Peru Travel Hub give you a great answer. Here you have other suggestions:

a) In Perú many drivers are very aggressive, especially the bus drivers and taxi drivers. You have to be very aware of everything when your driving and never think that the other drivers will be nice with you.
b) People: In Perú the cars are more important than people walking on the street. So if you're nice and give a person the right to cross the road, maybe the car behind you will blow the horn. (don't be surpriced)
c) If you have a crash, depending on the severity, you can come to an agreement with the other person or go to the nearest police station.
d) Windows: Try to drive with the windows close (if you have air conditioner will be great).
e) Parking: I never leave my car in the street. It's better to pay a parking lot. If a supermarket is near sometimes they have parking lots and you only have to buy something there. It's a good option.
f) Time: You have to be aware of the traffic. It's better leave your home before 8:00 am and go back before 5-6pm. After that, even if the place is very near, you will take some time longer to get there.

Well, you will get used to drive here. Don't worry!
Thank you for the great points that you have mentioned here.
beware for bad people that can say to you that you have a problem with your car and offer to you check it a common way to robber you
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Hi, you can drive save from Lima to Piura, to Cusco, Arequipa, Tacna. I´ve have traveled many times to Cusco and Arequipa by car, never had any problems, but never let others to get into your car, there are lots of police officer round the road, always keep a celular phone so you can call if have any problem. Take care and keep in touch so I can know that you are ok.
All those safety tips given to you are quite accurate and helpful but don't forget something else: you ought to know the roads you're gonna drive through; potholes, blind curves, places where the highway turns into a mere dirt path that crosses towns and villages, among other facts...
Hi there!!!

Very good comments below; I'd like to add a bit of experience with the police here; they are probably the biggest challenge of driving in Peru!! Many of them are nice and polite, but there are also quite a few that are out to get some money from you. So:
1. Always be polite, smile, greet them with a firm handshake and if you're funny, be politely funny. Try to ensure that they will like you a little ;-) For most officers, that's enough and you're off. They're just doing their job.
2. You might even try to give a compliment, or ask whether he isn't cold or hot or whatever for them standing there, you know, I think it's called ass-licking in English? hahaha
3. Have your paperwork in order and at hand, when I feel it's a tough one (meaning I have not done anything wrong but he's still looking to make trouble) I talk a lot, trying to distract him and maybe even he might find me annoying haha
4. If they ask you to get out, it's generally because they are going to ask you something "out of the book" if you know what I mean. I always try to pursue them to stay and share whatever they have to say with all my passengers; "I have nothing to hide!"
5. Normally with some good talking (always polite but stable) you should be able to "escape" without paying the fine for something you haven't done. However, when they are good discussers (and some are) they will start writing the "multa" (or you might have actually speeded of course, no-one's an angel), then there's the moral question: do you pay the S/.430 for the fine being a good citizen who dislikes corruption, or do you want to become part of the widely accepted corruption and get away with S/.20, or any other kind of amount or present? Once I got away with a few cookies (advanced level only haha), but I have had to pay once when they threatened to take my motorbike into the police depot (i did not have my license plate yet). That, is bad news; in those depots they will tear apart your vehicle and replace original parts with second-hand or chinese ones. I am not recommending anything here, as I said before it's preferrable not to become part of the corrupt culture, but once (in many years here) I have had to do it to not have my bike being put in the police depot. IF you have to do it, be discrete (and ashamed) and careful, and never take the initiative (there are fortunately many police officers that would reject it, but then fine you for trying to bribe an officer!).

And of course; stick to the rules! Note that at crossings you are officially not allowed to go faster than 35 km/h, which is slow on a wide, empty Panamericana with a good view on whatever might be coming from any side. But still (y lógicamente), it's on those spots where you will find our friends. So slow down when you see a crossing coming up and you cannot be sure whether a police car is standing there.

It seems strange to write about this, but to me it's the number one reason why I don't have friends of mine driving here in Peru; the police officers can be really bad even though you do nothing wrong. I hope the indications above will help you. For the rest; simply adapt to the (unwritten) traffic laws of Peru and anticipate: look far ahead, all around and be ready for anything! There are some crazy guys on the road here :-)

Thank you very much for this answer. In fact, it is the police issue that causes me the most concern and you have given me great information. ¡Que te vayas bien!
Thank you for a very complete answer on one aspect of Peruvian driving that causes me the most concern.
Driving in Peru is as if driving in Rome and Mexico city put together. Much to our regret we must inform you that the local police is there not to serve the public but themselfs if you catch my drift. Peru in general is a wonderful place to visit, however my sugestion is: leave your car at home and hire a driver (with his car) on a per day basis. It is not that expensive, you will be rested and enjoy where ever place you visit. Besides you will also contribute to the local economy without the fatige and anciety that driving in Peru implies.

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