First, let’s look at the pros and cons to renting a car in Peru, and then we’ll give you the links to the most reputable firms. So, the upside to renting a set of wheels while in Peru is that it gives you unrestricted access to most of the country, allowing you to appreciate the landscape at your leisure, and gives you a chance to go off the beaten trail. Having a car also gives you more flexibility in your travels – if you decide you like a place, you can stay a little longer. You can get off the beaten track, making it much easier to meet locals. In terms of your budget, if you are traveling with 3 or more people, cost sharing the rental fee and fuel can even be cheaper than buying tickets on the reputable bus companies.
Two common excursions for tourists, for example, are the trips from Lima to Piura – located in the northwestern region of Peru – where you can find beautiful beaches and tropical weather all year round and from Lima to Cusco, which is a two day drive, or longer if you make stops to eat, rest and visit touristic attractions while on the road.
Another big plus is that advances in navigation technology have also eliminated one of the biggest barriers to renting a car: finding your way around! Thanks to navigation softwares like Waze, it has become easier to drive around the country (as long as you stay on the main roads).
However, if you want to rent a car to drive in Lima, keep in mind that navigation is only one of your challenges. Unless you are used to driving in traffic which many describe as “chaotic”, “stressful” or “insane” you will be facing a steep learning curve. Taxis, mototaxis, motorcycles, bicycles, and buses small and large share the often overcrowded, narrow 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. And taxis and buses will stop in the middle of the block to pick up or drop off fares. Pedestrians and foot merchants crowd intersections, or worse, jaywalk, adding one more distraction. But take heart! Learning to drive in Lima is not an impossible skill, thousands of expats who have settled here have managed, but know what you are up against. All that said, if you are only in Lima for the short term, our recommendation is that you rely on taxis. Much easier in the short term!
If you decide to rent a car while in Peru, it’s highly recommended that you stick with one of the large, international companies, since some of our forum members have had problems with unusual charges to their credit cards with smaller companies. These are some of the best known car rental companies located in Lima:
Budget – Locations at Jorge Chavez International Airport, Miraflores, San Isidro, San Borja and Barranco.
Hertz – Locations at Jorge Chavez Int’l Airport, Miraflores, Surco and La Molina.
Sixt Car Hire – Locations at Jorge Chavez Int’l Airport and Miraflores.
We’d like to hear from you. Have you rented a car in Peru? How did it go? Tell us about your experience in our forum topic: Car rentals in Lima.