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All about the roads in Peru. B&B The Office Arequipa.

Driving in Peru offers a unique and adventurous way to explore the country’s diverse landscapes, from coastal deserts and Andean highlands to the Amazon rainforest. However, it also presents specific challenges and requires preparation and awareness. Here’s an overview of the roads in Peru, including their conditions, key routes, and driving tips.

Road Conditions

**1. Pan-American Highway: This is the most important and well-maintained road in Peru, running along the Pacific coast from north to south. It's generally in good condition, with paved surfaces and regular maintenance. However, sections can be prone to landslides and fog, especially in the winter months (June to September).

  1. Andean Roads: Roads in the Andes, such as the routes to Cusco and Machu Picchu, can be challenging. They are often narrow, winding, and steep, with varying conditions. Paved sections exist, but many areas have gravel or dirt roads. The weather can affect driving conditions, with rain causing landslides and snow at higher altitudes.

  2. Amazonian Roads: Accessing the Amazon region by road can be difficult. Many roads are unpaved and can become muddy and impassable during the rainy season (December to March). These roads require a 4x4 vehicle for safe travel.

  3. Urban Roads: In cities like Lima, Arequipa, and Cusco, roads are generally in good condition, but traffic congestion can be significant. Urban driving requires patience and attentiveness due to the high volume of vehicles and sometimes chaotic traffic patterns.

Key Routes

  1. Pan-American Highway (Ruta 1): Extending from the northern border with Ecuador to the southern border with Chile, this highway connects major coastal cities like Piura, Trujillo, Lima, Ica, and Tacna. It’s essential for accessing beach destinations, coastal archaeological sites, and major urban centers.

  2. Central Highway (Carretera Central, Ruta 22): This route links Lima with the central highlands and the Amazon basin. Key stops include La Oroya, Huancayo, and the mining regions. The road is crucial for accessing central Andean towns and agricultural areas.

  3. Cusco and the Sacred Valley: The road network around Cusco includes the routes to Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley, and the surrounding highland areas. The route from Cusco to Ollantaytambo and then onward to Machu Picchu (by train or hiking) is a popular tourist route.

  4. Interoceanic Highway (Ruta 26): This ambitious project connects the Pacific coast of Peru with the Atlantic coast of Brazil. It passes through key areas like Puerto Maldonado in the Amazon, providing an essential link for trade and travel between the two countries.

Driving Tips

  1. Prepare for Altitude: When driving in the Andes, be prepared for high altitudes. Some roads exceed 4,000 meters (13,000 feet), where altitude sickness can affect drivers and passengers. Take breaks, stay hydrated, and acclimate gradually.

  2. Vehicle Choice: For Andean and Amazonian roads, a 4x4 vehicle is recommended. Ensure your vehicle is in good condition, with a spare tire, jack, and emergency kit.

  3. Weather Awareness: Always check the weather forecast before traveling, especially in the rainy season. Landslides and flooding can block roads, and heavy rains can make dirt roads impassable.

  4. Local Driving Habits: Peruvian driving habits can be aggressive. Be cautious, use your horn to signal intentions, and be aware of pedestrians, cyclists, and livestock on rural roads.

  5. Safety and Security: Avoid driving at night, especially in rural or unfamiliar areas. Be aware of potential hazards like unmarked speed bumps (topes) and potholes. Keep doors locked and valuables out of sight to avoid theft.


Driving in Peru can be an enriching experience, offering the freedom to explore remote and beautiful areas at your own pace. However, it requires careful planning and awareness of local conditions and challenges. By preparing adequately and driving cautiously, you can enjoy the diverse landscapes and cultural treasures that Peru has to offer.

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