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Transport in Peru

Getting There
Peru is served by three international airports. Jorge Chavez International in Lima is about ten miles northwest of the city and it will take you about thirty-five minutes to reach the city centre by public transport. Iquitos International is located in the Amazon region in the northeast of the country and Cusco Airport is located about three miles southeast of the city. There are also a number of domestic terminals including Arequipa which is about an hour from Lima and half an hour from Cusco. Peurto Maldonado is about thirty minutes from Cusco and Juliacia about twenty-five minutes.

A number of international and domestic airlines fly directly to Peru including Aces, Aero Boliviano, Aero Continent, Aeroflot, AeroMexico, Aeropostal, Alitalia, American Airlines, Avianca, Continental Airlines, Copa, Cubana, Delta, Iberia, KLM, Lacsa, Lan Chile, Lan Peru, Lloyd, Lufthansa, Saeta, Servivensa, United Airlines and Varig.

As well as arrivals by air, however, there are numerous land crossings between Peru and its South American neighbours. To get to and from Bolivia you will cross the border around Lake Titicaca, for Chile the main crossing is between Arica in northern Chile and Tacna and for Ecuador the crossing is between Tumbes and Huaquillas.

Finally, you may also enter the country by river travelling from Brazil and Colombia. This journey can take up to three days, however, and sails from Tabatinga in Brazil and Leticia in Colombia to Iquitos in Peru.

Getting Around
Due to the vast expanse of the country, many people opt for internal flights if they have a lengthy journey to make. Aerocondor, Aero Continente, Lan Peru and Taca Peru handle the majority of all domestic flights and link Lima to all the major cities including Arequipa, Ayacucho, Cajamarca, Chiclayo, Chimbote, Cusco, Huanuco, Iquitos, Piura, Pucallpa, Puerto Maldonado, Tacna, Tarapoto, Trujillo, Tumbes.

You should note, however, the punctuality is not a predominant feature of domestic travel, particularly in the afternoon. Nevertheless, you should arrive at least an hour before all flights and book all seats well in advance. Tax on domestic fares is 18% and a further US$3.50 departure tax is charged on flights from the majority of Peruvian airports.

The most popular alternative for budget travel in Peru, however, is the country’s cheap and extensive bus service. They travel to everywhere in the country with the exception of the deep jungle and Machu Picchu. Several companies operate the Peruvian bus service including Cruz del Sur, Enlaces, Ittsa, Oltursa, Ormeno and Peru Bus and while most towns don’t have a main terminal, each has a branch office where you can get your ticket in advance – and this is highly advisable, particularly around the time of major festivals or holidays. In general, the price is a good indication of the quality of the service.

A final alternative is the country’s rail service which is operated on two major but unconnected networks. The Southern Railroad makes an overnight journey between Arequipa Juliaca and Puno three times per week and a day time journey between Puno, Juliaca and Cusco, also three times weekly. There is also a daily connection between Cusco and Machu Picchu.

The other rail service is the Ferrocarril Central Railroad which travels from Lima to Huancayo. This only travels once a month, however, and the service ceases completely during the summer months. If you do want to make this unique journey, it departs Lima on the last Saturday of every month and returns on Monday ant it really is worth doing if you can fit it into your itinerary.

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