Are there any special requirements for driving or hiring a car in Peru?
Peru is a very dangerous country for tourists and becoming more so, especially in the cities. Road conditions are generally poor and the death rate on the road is 25x that of the UK.
Seat Belt Laws
By law, everyone in a moving car in Peru must be properly secured with seat belts where they are fitted.
Drinking and Driving
The drink driving laws in Peru are stricter than in the UK because of the number of alcohol related road fatalities. You must have no more than 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood – around half that of the UK. This means that even one drink can take you over the limit so it’s best not to drink and drive.
Must Have Documents
You will need to have both parts of your driving licence; paper and card, or an international driving licence if you intend to drive for more than 30 days in Peru. Whilst other documentation isn’t legally required, it’s best if you also carry the car insurance certificate, proof of ownership and a copy of your passport. If you’re driving your own car, you’ll need to have a Customs Duty Paid voucher to hand too.
The speed limits for Peru are as follows:
Open roads: 90 km/h
In Town: 50 km/h
Motorways 100 km/h
Minimum Driving Age
You have to be at least 18 to be able to drive in Peru. If you're renting a car the minimum age is 23 for most companies and you’ll need to have at least a year’s experience of driving. Under 25 and you’re likely to have to pay a premium for your lack of experience and age.
Safety Camera Warning Devices
Safety camera warning devices are not illegal in Peru but as road conditions are poor, it’s always recommended that you stick to the limit.
On the Spot Fines
There are no on the spot fines as such in Peru. If you are stopped by the police, you should be issued with a traffic offence ticket stating the offence and the fine and where it is to be paid. However, given the poverty and corruption in Peru, you are likely to be asked to pay the ‘fine’ in cash to the officer that stopped you. If you feel able to, you should ask for a ticket instead or to be given a receipt.
Child Safety Rules
There are no formal regulations on the safety of children in vehicles in Peru. If you are travelling with a young family you should make your own arrangements for suitable child restraint systems. If you are hiring a car from us, tell us your requirements when you book and we’ll ensure that restraint systems of international standards are fitted.
A minimum of third party insurance is compulsory in Peru and you should carry proof of it by way of a valid certificate.
Rules of the Road
Standard international driving regulations apply with one or two exceptions.
• Don’t drive at night outside of the main city areas
• Rural areas can have dangerous driving conditions
• There are very few traffic signs and traffic lights
Simply make sure that the vehicle being towed is securely attached and that you can see clearly around it..
There are no fixed speed cameras in Peru but when needing to build up cash reserves, police departments will mount mobile traps. There have even been incidences of bogus speed limit signs being put in place to generate offences. However, you’ll often find that speed limits in town are ignored and that the police do nothing about it.
Using Mobile Phones when driving
It’s illegal to talk or text on a mobile phone whilst driving in Peru unless you have a hands free kit although many people do.
Peru is a dangerous country for unsuspecting tourists and you are recommended to park your car in an attended or guarded parking lot.
Don’t be tempted by free parking or roadside parking where your car is out of your sight for any length of time. It’s far safer to use a guarded lot – for you and your car!
Police will monitor car parking in the towns and cities but rarely act on any infringement unless you are causing an obstruction.
There are no concessions for disabled drivers but if you ask politely at an attended garage and explain your difficulty you will often get help.
Motor Way Signs
Motorways in Peru have blue signs with white writing. Many motorways are not up US or European standards.
- Give way - Ceda el paso
- Traffic lights - Semaforas
- Right of way – Prioridad
- Exit – Salida
- Danger – Peligro
- No parking - Prohibido aparcar
- Slow – Despacio
- Lane – Un carril
- City centre – Centro ciudad
- Carretera – Local Highway
- Roadworks – Obras
- Where is the nearest petrol station? – ¿Donde es la gasolinera la más cercana?
- Excuse me, I’m lost – Por favor, estoy perdido…
- Go straight on – ‘Siga todo recto’
- Turn right – ‘Toma el giro a la derecha’
- Turn left – ‘Toma el giro a la izquierda’
- Detour - Desviacion
- Toll Road – Carretera de Peaje
- Road Closed – Cerrado.
- Road Open – Abierto
- Motorway – Una autopista
- One way street – Direccíon unica
- Dual Carriageway - Autovia
There are few sets of traffic lights in Peru and where they do appear they are regularly ignored. It’s best to imagine that even on a green light that the lights aren’t there and proceed with caution.
Most of the decent roads have either been privatised as toll roads or used as cash generators for the government.
The emergency number in Peru is 105 for the police, 116 for the fire service and 117 for the ambulance service.
What to do in an emergency
If you have a problem with your car you should phone the number given to you on the rental documents or attached to the windscreen of your car. If you are driving your own vehicle, wait for the police to pass, they give better assistance than the assistance organisations.
In the event of an accident you must stop. You need to call the police who will attend. Take details of witnesses and if the cars cannot be left in place, take photographs of the scene.
As of September 2014, the average price of 95 octane unleaded petrol in Peru is 88p whilst diesel is 79p. Prices can vary between the cities and towns and the smaller villages.