Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Peru: How to Get Around

Inside the cities, there is usually no problem getting around on city taxis or buses. Buses cost between 0.70 and 1.50 Soles (US$ 0.20 - 0.40), taxis between 7 and 8 soles (US$ 2.00 - 2.40) in Lima, normally less in other cities. "Taxi" does not necessarily mean a car; the term also refers to bicycles, motor rickshaws, and motor bikes for hire.

Several Peruvians get around the country by bus. However, wherever possible, visitors tend to use one of the country's trains - an experience in itself - despite being considerably slower than the equivalent bus journey. With the distances in Peru being so vast, many Peruvians and travelers are increasingly flying to their destinations, as all Peruvian cities are within a two-hour flight from Lima.

By Train: Even when going by train, it's best to buy the ticket in advance. Buy 1st class or buffet class (still higher), or you risk getting completely covered by luggage. People will put their luggage under your seat, in front of your feet, beside you and everywhere where some little place is left.

By Boat: There are no coastal boat services in Peru. However in many areas - Lake Titicaca and jungle regions - water is the obvious means of getting around. There are plenty of small boats that will take visitors to the various islands throughout the lake. In jungle areas, most of boat transportation is a motorized-canoe. These aren't expensive and the price can usually be negotiated down at the port.

By Bus: Buses start from fixed points, either the central bus terminal or appropriate bus stop terminal. It's a good idea to buy your ticket one day before so that you can be relatively sure of finding a seat. If you come directly before the bus leaves, you risk finding that there are no more seats available. In most bus terminals you need to pay a separate departure tax of 1 or 1.5 soles.

By Plane: Some places in the jungle can only be visited via plane; Tickets can be bought from travel agents or airline offices in all major towns. The most popular routes, Lima-Cusco cost about $60 and usually need to be booked at least a few days in advance (more during the run-up to and including major fiestas). Other less busy routes tend to be less expensive.

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