Peru

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Flag of Peru Peru
Information
Language: Spanish
Capital: Lima
Population: 29,180,900
Currency: Nuevo Sol (PEN)
Hitchability: <rating country='pe' />
Meet fellow hitchhikers on Trustroots or BeWelcome
<map lat='-9' lng='-74' zoom='4' view='0' country='Peru'/>
Fabzgy and Dome Hitchhiking a few km, standing in the door and on the back buffer-bar

Peru is a country in South America located at the Andes mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Perú borders Bolivia, Chile, Brazil, Ecuador and Colombia. Hitchhiking is quite doable. Some Peruvians might expect you to contribute to fuel cost, but if you make your intentions clear you should be alright.

The Coast

That would be all of the Sechura Desert, and the Pan-American highway. Hitchhiking is easier on this highway, and works well around the clock. This is where you will get the longest, smoothest rides of Peru. You will rarely be charged for rides on this sector of the highway. Not to mention the endless swathes of campable desert.

The easiest part is Panamericana - the motorway connecting Piura in the north, through Chiclayo, Trujillo and Lima along the coast with Nazca in the south. So many lorries, you won´t have any problems there. Most of them go long distance, so you`ll easily do 400+ km in a day.

In the deep south of Perú there's the towns of Ilo and Boca del Rio between the bigger inland cities of Moquegua and Tacna. Hitchhiking here is so easy you wonder why there's still people taking the bus. Mind of a Hitchhiker got invited for some spontaneous couchsurfing, then freecamped next to the Jesus Christ statue in Boca del Rio with the blessing of the guys fixing the telephone towers and finally went to Tacna and stayed at the bomberos (firefighters) for a while. The people here are utter relaxed, though be sensitive with talking about Chile as the next cities in Chile (Arica and Iquique) used to be Peruvian territory and Tacna used to be Chile for a while. There's many Chileans in town for shopping, so one might find a direct ride to the border from the city centre. Tacna is also the only place in Perú with a big mosque due to Pakistani immigration in the '90s because right-steering-wheeled cars were allowed in Perú then. The mosque is possibly a place to sleep in too if you ask the Imam nicely and respect Islamic customs (no shoes inside and both men and women cover up, try to be clean). If you go to one of the Pakistani restaurants they might invite you to their home too.

It gets more difficult once you´re heading to the jungle or the andes - roads are much worse, with much less traffic, and worse, majority of which are public buses, combis and the like, so not many options to hitchhike, but if you´re patient, still doable.

Mountains

Expect very slow, long rides in old trucks, similar to the mountains in Bolivia. There is a train from Puno to Cusco, but it is very expensive. However, there is also a very hoppable freight train that runs during nights and is an exhilarating ride. themodernnomad rode this freight train out of Cusco and then turned right around and rode it back.

Mind of a Hitchhiker didn't catch any slow, long rides in old trucks in the mountains at all on her way from Puno to Moquegua/the Pacific Coast (370km). From Puno to Moquegua is the Ruta PE-36B and the best way to get out of town is with micro number 33 which stops at the end of the city next to a speed bump ("tope"). As a lot of people moved from Puno to Tacna for economic reasons, there's many big buses passing through and if you ask nicely you can go for free for a bit. Try to hitch from one of the peajes (toll stops) where there's usually policemen checking papers who are willing to stop cars for you. It gets really cold and rainy here and between Puno and Moquegua there's no roadside accomodation so carry a tent. Once you pass Titire, the mining area starts with its heavy trucks full of ore. There's plenty of Toyota Hilux on the road too for faster transportation and they're more likely to stop than any other kind. This is a popular route for Bolivian trucks too and all Peruvian drivers seem scared of them as they tend to treat curves as straight lines. The landscape here is some of the most changing you can witness in one day of hitchhiking as it goes from Titicaca mountain lake, to altiplano, rocky peaks, snow (in summer too), sand mountains, Dakar-worthy dunes, desert and finally oasis and the Pacific. You're allowed to cry.

Border Crossings

How long can I stay in Perú?

Without asking or being asked for how long, hitchhiker MOAH just got 90 days in Perú, which probably applies to all EU citizens. There's stories that if you ask the migration officer nicely, you can get 180 days just like that. Bingo!

What to do with your coca leafs?

Coca leaves, the ground product for cocaine, are legal in Perú and you'll probably hitch with some drivers with a big ball in their cheek chewing constantly. Though it's from the Andes region, helpful for combating altitude sickness and makes a pretty mean tea, it's not "legal" in all countries to carry with and one must be careful with border crossings and it might be wise to give it to another traveler/local or plain dump it (in the trash). As it's both legal (and growing) in Perú and Bolivia, it wasn't an issue to take a full bag of leafs over the border, as experienced by MOAH from Bolivia's Copacabana to Perú's Puno at the Titicaca Lake, so that could also apply the other way around. They didn't check any luggage at all on either side to be honest. WITHIN PERÚ there are special protected subregions though where Peruvian fruit and seeds can't be imported from one district to another and if you take a freaking apple from Puno and take it to Moquegua (where they have a super valley full of avocados (palta) and begins the "Ruta de Pisco"), you might be fined. Didn't apply to coca leafs though.

To/From Bolivia

Puno - Copacabana WARNING: avoid Copacabana at all costs during any public holiday, especially if you're dependent on hostels and can't go camping. All of La Paz flocks to the lake on (long) weekends especially around Christmas and NYE. There's about 50 "hostales" and they manage to get all of them full. Even fast food takes an hour during holidays. The following originally appeared on the page for Bolivia From the occasionally extortionately priced town of Copacabana (which is actually the "original" Copacabana if you have a Trivia night) you have to get to the border town of Kasani 12 km south, which passes the Copacabana airport. You can hitch there or say fuck it and take the 3 Boliviano micro (which is 2 for locals/non gringos). The Migración office is on your right hand now and you have to have your passport and green paper (sucks if you lost it, I don't know the consequences of this but it probably involves a bribe) ready for the angry men. Should take one minute to check out of Bolivia if you manage to answer questions correctly and not piss off anyone in the process. Hurrah! Now you have to walk 300 meters past the church the Perú statue and you'll find the Peruvian office on your right hand too. Again, you'll have to fill in a form that you have to carry with you during your entire stay like upon entering Bolivia. These guys were friendly, which probably has something to do with the fact that they have a nicer building to perform their job in. The first town on the Peruvian side is named Yunguyo and you're about 2 km away from it. You can get a 2 Soles micro there or walk to the end of it to get to hitch to Puno, which is really easy though it's still 120 km away! As experienced by MOAH, hitchhiking in Perú is a fucking breeze compared to Bolivia.

To/From Chile

Mind of a Hitchhiker hitchhiked over the border from Tacna in Perú (complejo fronteriza Santa Rosa) to Arica (complejo fronteriza de Chacalluta) in Chile in 2016 and describes the process as following. The 40km road from the outskirts of Tacna passes by the airport, which is an OK place to start hitchhiking even though there's no speed bump ("tope") and the cars drive pretty fast. One can walk 5km from Tacna's plaza here or take bus 35 leaving from the centre. There's also a village called Ciudad de Dios 2km further on this road where the cars go slower and 5 km after that the train line crosses the street and slows cars down as it functions as a speed bump. At the train rails all traffic officially goes to the border but the bus doesn't go farther than the village mentioned previously. People get a little nervous around this border so it might be hard to convince people to take you all the way to Arica through customs. At the Peruvian side all people get out of the car to pass through immigration without their luggage. Keep your piece of stamped paper you got upon entering Perú ready. Your driver carries a form with details of the passengers in the car that they need to show on both borders. You can't leave the car between borders as the number has to be the same. Your driver will need your name, document number and a few other details like whether you're married or not. The Peruvian side should be relatively easy to get through. One kilometer further is the Chilean border where everyone has to get out of the car with their luggage which goes through a scanner. After getting your entrance stamp, the Chilean side requires you to fill in a form declaring you don't carry seeds and other plant products or have more than one laptop, two phones and some other random rules applying to your luggage. Two packs of cheaper Peruvian cigarettes should be fine, but more can be tricky. Only your luggage goes through the machine and your body doesn't go through a metal detector, so what's in your pockets probably remains your own business. Occasionally they have dogs here. After passing both borders with your driver you can find another ride or just carry on with your drivers to Arica as that's only 15 km away and everybody is going there anyway. Welcome to Chile!

Cities

Personal Experiences

November 2012 - I hitchhiked from Chiclayo to Casma, then to Huaraz. Chiclayo to Casma was easy-peasy, I walked from the center where I couchsurfed all the way out of the town, along the Panamericana Sur, with my thumb up. You only get good traffic once a bit further out of the city, with less local traffic. You should get a lorry within 30 min, for me it was that, a lorry with local guys transporting mangoes. They dropped me off at Trujillo, where I got another lorry within 5 minutes. All the way to Casma, where I stayed overnight. This is where it got harder, as you´re off the main route, there´s hardly any traffic and the best I could do within 2 hours was a 40km ride by a very friendly local family. After they dropped me off (and during the ride), there was virtually no other car on the way to Huaraz, but public transport (combis). So I called it a day and took the combi. But if you have more time and patience, you can still do it, just expect to spend a lot of time waiting and walking. lukasc

(hitchhiking is cultural imperialism sometimes? we'll see!) Yeah! you can hitch Peru! Man, I got picked up by this amazing troupe of singing girls and their piano player who took me in and out and fed me fruit and trussed me up real nice. I was awful dirty, an what gorgeous girls. I found the south more difficult, cause no one had cars. don't take that $80 45minute train to Machu Picchu: the money goes to big-wigs in Chile, to whom Peru's ancient corrupt president sold the rail two decades ago. or so they say in Aguacalientes. -k wikipedia:Peru

I found hitchhiking quite hard in Peru, mainly cos of the lack of private vehicles. i managed to get from Chiclayo to Tumbes up by the Ecuadorian border hitching - staying overnight in Piura and Máncora. Most cars will wanna charge you, but the odd lorry will pick you up. Don't be surprised if they make you hide when going through the toll booths, it's a legal thing.

I've hitched through Peru on a couple different adventures through nearly every region. Hitchhiking in Peru varies from great to all right, depending on the place. Just expect to walk a lot. There are some very enjoyable places off the side of remote desert roads by the coast and in the south, and the jungles are some of the coolest of South America! I only sometimes got asked to pay, and if I made it clear I wasn't out to pay for rides then there were no problems whatsoever. - themodernnomad

Hitchhiking in Peru is rather easy. After having hitched nearly 2000 km in Peru I have not been asked to contribute any money for the ride. Most rides are in private vehicles and the people are very generous. They like to buy you meals and invite you to their homes." - Eripson

I spent around 5 months hitching in Peru. I found that hitching worked well, but markedly less so than its northern neighbor Ecuador. I spent many a long night hour huddled in the back of open-air rig trailers slicing through the cold mountain air. Don't forget that winter gear. -Chael777

3 weeks thumbing and bumming about, May 2014 - I found Peru a brilliant place to hitchhike, and met a raft of wonderful characters. There seemed to be alot of fear being spread from the locals about delinquency in the larger coastal cities, stark warnings in particular about Tumbes, Truijillo, Chimbote and Pisco. This could be paranoia, but violent crime is in the rise, so it might be wise to try and hitch 'past' these cities. I had no problems in all my time, and didn't even feel unsafe. Churches, tolls and police stations were all happy to let me camp nearby. Food is cheap and filling, truckers spirited. People warmer in the south. Sneaking into Machu P is very difficult, and I gave up and paid a ticket. Gulp. For me, not worth it at all. Most of the other sites, e.g. Ollantaytambo, are easy to sneak into. Present yourself in the right manner and you'll get many free lifts from taxi drivers and tourist minibuses" - lukeyboy95

I spent about 3 weeks in Peru in September 2015. Along the Pan American highway makes for fantastic hitchhiking, and safe too. I spent days and nights continuously hitchhiking by the coast, even hitchhiking inside the cities and stopping now and then to sleep in the deserts wrapped up in my tarp. Some of the Peruvian truck drivers I meet were great guys, often wanting to buy lunch and chat (having Spanish is extremely useful). Lima has an active Couchsurfing scene too and is a nice city, my favorite part of Peru was hitching the road from Lima to Arequipa, the cliffs were stunning. I lost a bit of love for the country however when I hitchhiked up to Cusco and then on towards the Bolivia border. The hitchhiking was far more difficult away from the coast and the locals often demanded money unless they were truck drivers. Be prepared to chip in with gas around Cusco and Puno but don't let anyone rip you off. Lake Ticitaca is worth a visit if you can swing it but to be honest if you miss Cusco I wouldnt be too upset, its not the highlight. I need to return someday and explore Peru's Amazon" - HoboSpirit