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Renting a Car

There are pros and cons to renting a car in Peru.  If you’re travelling through the country, driving does allow you to see appreciate the landscape at your leisure, and gives you a chance to go off the beaten trail a little bit.  Having a car also gives you more flexibility in your travel – if you decide you like a place, you can stay a little longer.

However, most of the people in our forum have advised against renting a car.  Traffic in Lima is very difficult to get around in.  Taxis, mototaxis, micros and buses share the streets, and driving rules are quite different from what you may be used to. Although most Peruvians are skilled drivers, they can at times take surprising risks in traffic – it’s not unusual to see 4 lanes of traffic on a two lane road.  Drivers frequently make left turns from the right lane or pull into traffic with little warning.  Taxis and buses will stop in the middle of the block to pick up or drop off fares.  Pedestrians and foot merchants crowd intersections, adding one more distraction.
Anyone wishing to drive outside of Lima should be comfortable with driving a standard transmission on poor roads in extreme mountain terrain and with sharing the highways with tractor-trailers and double-decker tour buses.  It’s recommended that you have at least some basic Spanish, for getting gas and asking directions  Driving yourself is definitely more risky than flying, and with rental costs, gas and mileage, can actually be more expensive.
If you must rent a car while in Peru, it’s highly recommended that you stick with one of the large, international companies.  Some of our forum members have had problems with unusual charges to their credit cards, and with being charged more than the agreed upon rate with smaller companies. The following rental car companies are located in Lima:
Budget - locations at Jorge Chavez International Airport, Miraflores and San Isidro.
Hertz – locations at Jorge Chavez Int’l Airport and in Miraflores
Dollar Rent a Car - locations at Jorge Chavez Int’l Airport and in Miraflores

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