Peru is all in all a bit more wild, chaotic and generally more exciting as Bolivia. But same cheap. Not necessarily the nicest country in South America which I crossed during my tour. But there are several reasons, why I would like to return to Peru. Not because of the streets tho, but hitchhiking worked very well, allthough I faced some unexpected complications.
Hitchhiked distance: 2754 kilometer
Number of lifts: 47
Average waiting time: 24 minutes 44 seconds
Waiting time total: 19 hours 23 minutes
The Log you can find Log Peru
First I hitchhiked several days through blocked roads from Copacabana near Lago Titicaca to Cusco. What a nice welcome. From there I made my way north through anarchic Lima into Ecuador. Lots of transit.
Peruvians are very proud folks in general. Different to Bolivia, where I perceived a more humble attitude. The rich cultural backround comes through. People keep their heads up and seem a bit dangerous sometimes. But also here I made the experience, that behind the surface most of the people are very gentle and friendly, if you approach them with a smile. They are more direct than their neighbours, but not as bitchy as the Argentinians. I liked it.
Beside that I recognized about Peruvians: Rock, classic Rock and good old psychedelic Rock´n Roll. In the radio we got all that long forgotten classics going on. Music from my childhood. Supported by cover bands in the bars of Cusco. I think I somehow got the impression, that Peruvians are the rockers of South America.
Roads yes. There is a highway up to Lima, which starts behind Ica and is part of the Panamericana. In general this is a good route through plane land with a good road, but the Peruvians don´t really know how to use this brand new Highway. Which means it ends up in some chaotic traffic, which I found everywhere in Peru with it´s orgastic blowoff in Lima. Weird city.
Beside this highway you also got the country side. The streets there are usually quite okay, but eastwards of Nasca you got a lot of serpentines and a longer tour can be quite exhausting here. Maybe a little bit more exhausting as the real rural mudd roads, because the speed is higher and you are exposed to gravitation.
Keeping areas are found very easy, but the big roads are sometimes a bit narrow. But there are much worser countries for his, I don´t want to complain! Here and there you can find nice roundabouts which are always a good choice for positioning. City are often small and good to cross, even by walking. Near the coast you should be cautious, cause there are some big ones like Nasca or the Spawn of Chaos: Lima.
There are tol-stations in Peru which are also quite suitable for hitchhiking. On the big highways there are also some nice rest-areas. All in all some good options for positioning in Peru. The moving is very slow. Either the roads are shit, or the traffic unable. Or both.
Walking worked here. But it is hard to make the Peruvians stop sometimes. I was used to Bolivia where literally everything stopped, which passed by.
But in general I had the feeling that hitchhiking worked quite well, with one snag: They expect you to pay. This was indeed a widely spread expectation towards hitchhikers, especially in the South. It is much different to Bolivia or the other countries in South America, because in Peru you will also meet a lot of locals who are hitchhiking. I haven´t seen that in other countries as much as in Peru.
This fact makes your life indeed a bit more complicated here. I recommend to be clear from the beginning, before entering the car, that you won´t pay, don´t have money and do hitchhiking. Often they pick you up anyway. Also I want to note, that the Peruvians are not very offensive, when asking for money, but point out very friendly, that they would need money for gas. Sometimes I wanted to give something, but they said it is okay, because I am a Gringo. But this was more exceptional. Better have a clear communication and avoid unpleasent suprises.
Lima might be the biggest Moloch I ever crossed and this is not meant negative. The city contains a strange charme and the traffic was so chaotic, that I felt in love with this unique Mayhem.
Cusco is the tourist capital of South America and all treks to Machu Picchu start from here. You will face a strange mix of backpackers, families and weekend travellers in this place. The city is very beautiful, makes good money from the tourist, nice bar culture and some clubs with wicked locals and drugs on every corner.
In Peru you can try the psychoactive San Pedro, which is legal and to buy on the market. In the mountains you can attend to some rituals with shamans and get some tripping in the old ruins. I never attended to thos kind of rituals, but principially you sit around a camp fire and take psychedelic drugs. Sounds not too bad and you don´t get in conflict with the law.
As I just had a look at the pictures again, I have to add something. Peru is beautiful. The landscape is very intriguing. The desert on the western coast is as beautiful as the mountains in the east part. And Cusco is definitely the moste beautiful city I saw in South America. Colonial style. Very nice buildings, just too much tourists.