Kelly Bast is a student at the University of Nebraska, Omaha and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is currently studying abroad with ISA in Lima, Peru.
Throughout my stay in Peru I have used just about every form of transportation known to man, encountering my fair share of challenges along the way. With that in mind, here is some advice for conquering the streets, waters, and skies of Peru:
1. Taxi: Barter like you mean it
Taxistas know a gringo when they see one and will not hesitate to overprice a ride. If you’re going somewhere new and don’t know what a fair price should be, a good rule of thumb is to counter with 5 soles ($1.75) less than their first offer.
2. Combi: Claustrophobic? Avoid at all costs
Imagine a small van with 25-30 adults squished inside. That’s a combi for ya. But what combis lack in comfort they make up for in their cheap price.
3. Dune Buggy: Hold on tight
Combis are crazy, but at least they have doors! This is the Peruvian equivalent to a roller coaster ride.
4. Bus: Don’t expect a seat
Be prepared to stand or give up your seat to a mother with small children. Also make sure you have small change! Break that 100 sole bill somewhere else.
5. Train: Bring a camera
Let’s just say I’m never going to forget the train ride back from Machu Picchu.
6. Airplane: Ditch the banana
Long story short? Declare your items if you decide to visit other countries. My friends and I took a weekend trip to Chile and one girl forgot about a banana in her backpack. In other words, the first hour of our trip was spent in the Chilean airport talking to agricultural security.
7. Boat: Bring oars
Thankfully, we were able to call for help when the motor of our boat malfunctioned in the middle of the Amazon River, but you should have a backup plan just in case!
8. Horse: Don’t fall off
Consider this your warning—Peruvian horses do what they want, when they want. But hey, if you are brave enough to mount the crazy beasts, go for it.
9. Bike: Explore the city
I highly recommend renting a bike on a sunny day in Lima. For just 20 soles ($7) per hour, you can discover all of the beautiful parks overlooking the Pacific coastline that Miraflores has to offer.
10. Moto Taxi: No, it’s not a motorcycle
In my defense, the Spanish word for motorcycle is moto, but needless to say many laughs were had when I mistakenly identified this type of taxi for a Papa John’s delivery bike.
Want to read more about Lima, Peru? Check out “Life in Lima: What Surprised Me Most”