Peru is a South American country, situated on the western side and bordered by Ecuador, Columbia, Brazil, Bolivia and Chile. The country is famous for its Incan history, architecture and archaeology, as well as its colonial architecture, natural resources and food.
The population is generally very friendly, although as with any country it is important to respect cultural differences. Whilst the big cities such as Lima are becoming more and more westernised, there are still plenty of opportunities to become engrossed in the culture and way of life.
Overland travel opportunities in Peru aren't too hard to come by. Within cities themselves, buses and taxis are frequent and cheap. If you want to live as locals do, you can take communal mini-buses, called 'Micros'. Although they don't have official bus stops, they follow set routes and you ask the driver to stop when required. They are known to be quite dangerous, so unless you are seriously keen, we would advise against using them.
Inter-city travel is most commonly undertaken by bus. The roads in Peru vary considerably in terms of surface material, so expect a mixture of tarmac and gravel. Try to book a ticket in advance if you are on a strict timescale, as some routes can become fully booked.
Trains in Peru are generally comfortable, although you are advised to travel in Buffet or 1st Class to be a little bit more comfortable. They also tend to be reasonably priced (although some luxury services such as the services to Machu Picchu and Puno can be fairly expensive depending on comfort desired). Passengers are advised to book tickets in advance.
There are four principal rail routes in Peru:
- Cusco - Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu)
- Cusco - Puno
- Lima - Huancayo
- Huancayo - Huanacavelica