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The Southern Andes and Lake Titicaca Travel Guide

Taxi Travel

Ask any Arequipeño and they'll tell you Arequipa has three major concerns: earthquakes, the looming threat of volcanoes, and taxis.

Arequipa has the most taxis per capita of any city in Peru. Pint-size yellow cars, namely miniature Daewoo Ticos, clog the streets. Pollution is high, accidents aplenty, and rush-hour traffic rivals that of Los Angeles.

About 40 years ago driving taxis became the hot job to have, especially for young people looking to make a quick sole. As the industry grew, immigrants from Bolivia, Chile, and elsewhere came swarming in, creating stiff competition. Soon paying off government agents for valid taxi licenses became commonplace. Officially, this practice no longer occurs, but there remains an overload of little yellow hotwheels. A 2006 United Nations study on air pollution in Arequipa said that on average 50 cars per minute cross the Plaza de Armas. The study also said that since 1992 the number of taxis in Arequipa has increased by more than 250%.

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