Driving in Peru is described by embassies and governments of foreign countries as “hazardous” and the driving standards as “poor”. For you and me that means the following: poorly maintained roads , especially if you plan to do some remote driving; traffic accidents are common; dangerous local driving practices; overtaking on every side with little concern for others on the road.
Is that enough to scare you out of renting a car in Peru? No? Good! Because many parts of Peru can be enjoyed by driving from one place to another. But don’t underestimate the driving times. While the speed limit is between 80 and 100 km (outside the cities), you won’t be driving faster than 60 km thanks to the landscape (mountains). Make sure to have Soles with you for the tolls (US Dollars aren’t accepted). A good GPS is also a must (so make sure the rental car has one).
But avoid driving in Lima, as the traffic is way too overwhelming for someone used to driving in civilized conditions.
What car to rent and where to rent it from
Many online car rental companies offer the possibility to rent a car in Peru , with several pick up / drop off points through the country. You’ll be able to pick up / drop off a car in Arequipa, Cusco and Lima.
Compact cars — such as Toyota Yaris — are a good choice if you plan to tackle paved roads. But if you want to travel to remote areas, consider an SUV (premium car) — such as Toyota Landcruiser.
Generally, the personal accident insurance is not included in the quoted price (so pay attention to that) and neither is the navigation system (GPS). With those extras, a compact car can set you back about US$78 per day, while the SUV tops US$200 per day.
Some of the car rental agencies operating Peru are: