Peru travel has been made as quick and easy as possible by the many airlines offering competitive fares, simple booking, flexible tickets at no additional cost, and increasingly wonderful service. Travel in Peru has become easier than ever before; but there are still some thing you need to know before booking! To break down your options for travel within Peru, here are some facts about the different airlines as well as the local secrets most travelers don’t know about!
Airlines in Peru: The Break Down
A long-running airline, this is how many people travel Peru. The airline in based in Chile, but operates flights in and out of the country, as well as between destinations within Peru. They have a good safety record, serve snacks on every flight, rarely delay, and can be easy if you want to plan connecting flights throughout the rest of South America. They are generally on the higher end price-wise. Be warned: They apply the fabled “gringo tax” for foreigners (read below).
A newcomer, this is the new budget airline in the country that often touts the lowest fares (and no foreigner tax!). Their flights tend to be cancelled or delayed more than other airlines, but have a good safety record so far and for the low price, you can’t complain. They do not charge a foreigner tax, but do offer special deals advertised online that are only available to Peruvians.
This airlines operates within Peru between all main cities, with average prices and some delays. The benefit of Star Peru’s booking process is that you can make a reservation online, but do not have to pay for 24 hours- so you can save a seat while you finalize plans! Very convenient while you’re traveling. They do not charge a foreigner tax.
Avianca Peru / TACA
(Formerly TACA, now called Avianca Peru after the two companies merged).
Offering flights into Lima from abroad, as well as domestic flights within Peru, Avianca Peru can be a hit or miss. They have a good safety record and offer convenient timetables, but sneak in the foreigner tax on some flights (Lima to Cusco and Lima to Puerto Maldonado).
LC Peru operates propeller planes that travel between smaller destinations off the beaten path. For some of these less-frequented destinations, they are the only airline that travels. However, they often experience weather delays due to the small planes (they have no history of accidents!) Despite being frequented mainly by locals, they do not charge a ‘gringo tax’!
Higher Prices for Foreigners & The ‘Gringo Tax’
Rumored by some, unnoticed and paid by many, some airlines in Peru apply a tax for foreigners- and it usually costs about $180 USD (no, it’s not just “gringos”, it’s any non-Peruvian, but you’ll often hear it called the ‘gringo tax’ rather than ‘foreigner tax’). LAN Airlines applies it to all of its flights, and Avianca Peru/TACA applies it to flights from Lima-Cusco & Lima-Puerto Maldonado. Sometimes this can be avoided by booking through a travel agent, but most of the time there is nothing you can do besides swallow the fee or choose another airline.
You may also notice that those airlines (as well as others on occasion), offer different prices when you search their sites in English versus Spanish (LAN does this as an automatic filter for who will face the tax). Sometimes the difference is miniscule; sometimes it’s significant. You may also notice differences if your browser takes you to the US or UK version of a site.
Flight compare websites often miss the tax, so it really is best to go directly to each airline’s website and try playing with it (with our descriptions above, you can see which airline is the best for you to get started with!). Also, keep in mind that policies and taxes can change at any time- make sure you read your receipt on any of them before buying to see if you’re getting hit with that ‘gringo tax’!
If you plan to fly between several destinations in Peru (and are a foreigner), then your best bet is to work through a local travel agent who can usually get deals on any airline and often avoid these increased fares and fees for foreigners.
Ready to book? If you up for doing it yourself, head straight to any of the airline’s websites directly and start searching! Want to avoid the headache? Contact our travel specialists here or at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can get started booking them for you!