Traveling to Lima Overland

overland_south_america_hitchhikingLima is the primary international gateway to Peru and other Andean countries and is thus convenient and easy to reach from almost all international destinations. It can be reached by air, sea and road; however, flying into the city’s Jorge Chavez International Airport is one of the easiest ways to get here. The Pan American Highway is Peru’s main international highway, which runs along the coastline, connecting the north to the south.

It is possible to drive from Ecuador to Lima using the Pan American Highway, which connects with Nazca, Arequipa and Tumbes. From here, travelers can continue on to Lima. From La Paz in Bolivia, travelers can also drive into Peru and connect with the Pan American Highway at Puno before making their way towards Lima. Travelers from Chile can also connect to the Pan American Highway at Tacna and then continue to Lima.

The Pan American Highway is in good condition and routes are clearly signposted in Spanish, but English speaking drivers should have no problems finding their way. Distances are long and driving can become a little tedious after a while.

Local roads are mostly in good condition, but there are places which have potholes large enough to damage the suspensions of the car. It is best to travel with a group if you plan to drive, as there is safety in numbers.

Long distance buses connect Lima to all major Peruvian cities. The coach services are fairly regular and although journeys can be long, it is a cheap way of getting from one end of Peru to the other. It takes about 6 hours to get from Lima to Nazca; 14 hours to Arequipa; 24 hours to Cuzco; and 24 hours to Puno.

There are international bus services, on a regular weekly basis, to Bogota in Colombia; Quito in Ecuador; and Santiago in Chile. The journeys can be quite long and tiring, taking approximately 80 hours to get to Bogota; 30 hours to Quito; and 54 hours to Santiago. Foreign travelers must carry their passports with them even if they are traveling within Peru.