How to Cross the Border into Peru

First, start by having an inherent need for adventure in your life. Second, locate yourself a solo-American traveler who speaks fluent Spanish and allow her to tag along on the border jump. Those are pretty much the essentials. A good sense of humor and laid back attitude helps, but then again said sense of humor and attitude are quintessential when traveling at anytime.

Your day will commence as follows: wake up at the crack of ten. Jam-pack your backpack with several weeks worth of dirty laundry, inhale a bowl of puff wheat cereal and banana, bid farewell to your hostel-inn keeper, set off to bus station with your new translator (ie. American backpacker) in tow.

The next part may seem a bit confusing. You will be hassled by a number of excitable taxi drivers, all promising a safe voyage from your current location in Northern Chile to the Peruvian border. Give them all ominous looks and finally settle upon a pleasantly plump Peruvian man – short, stout with a healthy tan and a friendly smile.

Once you have piled into the back of his cab, allow him to whisk you through the desert, hassle the Chilean customs agents for you, hustle you into the Peruvian border crossing and then finally hand you off at your Peruvian destination, Tacna. The moment you step foot into Peru, prepare yourself for a completely different South American experience. Everything is louder, brighter, more exciting. You decide immediately that you will love this country.

Jump on your next bus – a six hour romp that twists through mountains and deserts. Your destination: Arequipa. Arrive, eat handfuls of nacho chips, which you illegally smuggled across the border. Prepare yourself for the final leg of the journey, a mere 10 hour bus ride to Cusco. Board the bus, cuddle into your first-class easy boy recliner, pull on your trusty wool socks and eye mask, lay back and pray you sleep the entire time.

Sounds tough? Don’t even stress about it. Once you arrive in Cusco, your first mission will be to adorn yourself with alpaca wool products and sip tasty fruit smoothies at the Central Market. The travel time might be painful but once you drop your bags off at the hostel and step onto Cusco’s cobblestone streets, it’s hard not to admit that life is delightful.

Cusco welcomed two weary travelers with open arms just after 6 am

Hello Peruvian market, where have you been the last three months? In Peru perhaps...

Papaya and pineapple mixed with some evaporated milk, makes Gillian one happy lady

Fresh fruit stands abound

Our own personal smoothie maker, delicious

You may be a little cooler than our previous destinations but Peru, I love you