Hitchhiking in Peru
Travelling across the great ancient Incan lands is going to be a memorable thing for you no matter how you do it. However, if you’re reading this, it’s because you were enticed by the word in the title, hitchhiking. Contrary to popular belief, it can be done.
Of course, arriving to Pariwana hostels or jumping on a bus after you’ve been thumbing around feels bizarre and other-worldly, but righteous. Hitchhiking means that you’ll be spending a few days on the road, without a preconceived plan of accommodation. That’s alright; that’s exactly what makes the trip so amazing.
Hitchhiking generally gets a bad rap, but your Peru adventure will greatly be enhanced if you trust in the road for a while. So, if you’re considering undertaking this challenge, there might be a few things you should know beforehand.
Read more: Hiking the Inca Ruins in Cusco
First, know that hitchhiking requires you to put your trust in people you have never met before, and people who decided to pick you up, not who you decided to pick you up! As such, it might be necessary to say that hitching isn’t the safest way to travel. There are some things you can do to make it safer in any case.
If you are a woman, then you should opt to travel in pairs. In fact, if it’s your first time hitching at all, you should want to do it with a friend. Rides might be harder to come by, but at least you’ll have safety in numbers.
You shouldn’t be worried though, because Peruvians are open to you. They will pick you up because they want to know you. Unlike on a quite Cruz del Sur bus, hitching with a Peruvian trucker, for example, will provide you with not only diverse conversation, but a unique experience.
Peru enjoys many paved roads, and thousands of small mountain roads. It’s legal to jump in the back of a pick-up truck, which doubles your rides. You can also hitchhike on big Peruvian highways, but it’s best to use your Spanish to talk with drivers at gas stations.
To say “I’m hitchhiking” in Spanish, say “estoy tirando dedo”. If you don’t have much Spanish skill, go ahead and depend on gests and smiles. Always smile. Never travel at night. Before the sun goes down you should be thinking about hostels, hotels or camping.
Read more: Best tips on How to Stay Safe in Peru
Big cities are few and far between, but they are big enough to warrant wariness. Never arrive in the evening, try to arrive in the morning to big cities in order to have the time to wander around looking for a good place to stay. Take buses to get to city outskirts.
Hitchhiking can be as safe as you make it. Never be afraid to decline rides if you get a bad vibe. Sometimes you might be asked for money; and that’s up to you. Enjoy the waits, and you’ll enjoy the road!