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VictorGoemans Nov 13th, 2014 04:15 PM

Travelling by motorcycle, driver`s license

I´m travelling in South America for an indeterminate time, probably for approximately a year. I´ve been in Cusco for ten days and right now I´m volunteering in Iquitos for two months, until the end of December. After that I´m going to travel again, and although I´m not sure yet I´ll probably go down south of Peru to see Machu Picchu, Choquequirao, Arequipa and Puno before going to Bolivia.

While in Iquitos I got the idea of traveling by motorcycle, because it just seems very cool and you don´t depend on bus tracks, fixed schedules, and you can really travel at your own pace. If you don´t like a place you can just move on without being tied to a bus ticket - that´s an idea that appeals to me.

The problem is that though I learned to drive a motorcycle here in Iquitos, I don´t have a driver´s license. Not in Belgium, and therefore not an international driver´s license either. Here in Iquitos it doesn´t seem too big a deal because they don´t really care, but I imagine when I start traveling around it may be different.

I think I have two options: 1) buy a motorcycle in Iquitos or Pucallpa (if I buy it in Iquitos I take it with me on the boat to Pucallpa or Yurimaguas), travel through the rest of the country, hope I don´t get into trouble without the proper documents, and sell it in the south before crossing any border.

2) I think I also could arrange a driver´s license, but it seems pretty complicated. I´ve done some research and it seems to me that what I have to do is first get a Peruvian license, then get an international one. For the Peruvian license I would have to do an exam in Lima, I think it costs about 50 Soles, the International one is another 200 Soles. There are some other problems though: for instance I need a ´Certificado médico de aptitud psicosomática (original)´ (don´t know how to get that), and my ´Certificado de Estudios de Secundaria completa o Superiores´ (the original if you´re a foreigner, but mine is at home). And maybe at the border some other documents are required, but it´s hard to find accurate information about that. This plan has the huge advantage that I can really travel anywhere I want (starting from Lima, where I´d buy a motorcycle). But right now it seems a little bit too complicated and expensive as well...

Please give me your thoughts about both possibilities, and share your experiences if you have some!

Thanks a lot,


Huentetu Nov 13th, 2014 11:59 PM

Although you can use a foreign license for 6 months in Peru, you don't appear to have a license of any kind, is that correct? Check if you need to be a resident in order to obtain a Peruvian license. If that is so, then it doesn't really matter about the other requirements.

crellston Nov 14th, 2014 02:33 AM

If you do not have the correct paperwork, license, international license etc. You are leaving yourself wide open to arrest / extortion by the police who will see a westerner as a pot of gold. Worse still, you may have "learnt" to ride a motorcycle in Iquitos but I seriously doubt you REALLY know how to ride one. I have been riding for 20 odd year and it too me 2-3 years before I considers myself to the truly competent.

Even with my experience, I would think twice before riding in Peru. The roads are terrible and the driving standards appaliing.

If you do decide to go ahead then, in addition to buying the bike invest in proper protectibpve gear. A GOOD helmet, boots and proper motorcycle jacket and pants. Without these, coming off a bike ( which you undoubtedly will) is a bit like sliding down a giant cheesegrater naked! I speak from personal experience!
Sorry to put a dampener on your idea but I think it is a really bad one.

james_5639 Feb 26th, 2016 04:20 PM

Don't have any advise but I wish you good luck .
I admire your thinking outside the Bus :)
I would be interested in if you are able to get it done?

Scarlett Feb 26th, 2016 04:25 PM

It is a fabulous idea ... IF you had a license.
You can be made very unhappy, very broke and possibly very stuck in jail for not doing things the correct/legal way.

Would you do this going to London or NYC ?
Why would you do it in Peru ?

Go watch some of those films where English/Americans get put in South American jails .. that might help you plan a bit better : )

Be careful, take care, have fun.

janisj Feb 26th, 2016 04:44 PM

The thread is two years old . . .

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