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I want to go to Peru next year. Air fare is mighty expensive, then it struck me, it might be possible to go by ship. And it would be fun, I'd actually see ocean journey and see the geography which I would be crossing to reach Peru. Also there might be port stops which way I would get to see more of the world. It might even be possible that I can secure a job on a ship on its way to Peru, that way I might even make money out of the travel. So how do I do it?

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    It's a difficult flight to make. Fun fact: Lima and Bengaluru are both 12°N latitude and 77° longitude. The problem is that one is 77°East and the other one is 77° West :-). It's a long trip. Nothing from Lima flies to the west. The western most city you can get from Lima is Los Angeles which unfortunately has no flights to India. So you need to take the long way round: either over the pole or through Europe.
    – Hilmar
    Oct 10, 2023 at 20:28
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    @Hilmar the latitude as well is in different hemispheres.
    – jcaron
    Oct 10, 2023 at 22:00
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    @Hilmar: The great-circle route between Lima and India goes east anyhow. From 77°W to 77°E is a span of 154° going east and a span of 206° going west. Going through Europe only adds about 70 miles to the total flight distance. Oct 10, 2023 at 22:59
  • @MichaelSeifert not if you're going directly to Bengaluru, in which case going through Amsterdam adds about 550 miles.
    – phoog
    Oct 11, 2023 at 6:59
  • @phoog: Fair enough, but the great circle route still goes east, not west. :-) Oct 11, 2023 at 10:48

2 Answers 2

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Traveling by cargo ship is possible, but will not be cheaper than flying, and requires flexibility in time and destination on your end. You can search your way through this, but this page lists a few options for booking. As it stands, the going rate for passage on cargo ships is 100 to 125 USD per day, and you can forget about lowering the cost by doing chores.

On the other hand, you could become a sailor, but that's an other story.

A quick search for flights shows a minimum cost of about 1500 euros for a round trip from Delhi to Lima. If you spend time on finding just the right dates and connections, you would be able to lower this by a few hundred euros, to around 1000. At the moment, there's this connection at under 900 GBP. It won't get much cheaper than that.

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    Can you please convert (or do an estimation) in one currency? Some of us are familiar enough with US dollar, British pound and euro to understand, I do not expect someone from India to be that experienced.
    – Willeke
    Oct 10, 2023 at 18:42
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    Thank you, I converted that all to INR. Wow, I would never have imagined flight would be cheapest by far. I can't believe cargo ships cost as much as 125 dollars A DAY? Considering a around 40 day journey to Peru, that's one way to empty the bank before even reaching Peru.
    – John Snow
    Oct 11, 2023 at 4:04
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    @JohnSnow imagine a 40-day journey on foot, so without transportation cost. You will need 120 meals and 39 hotel rooms. Even at $15 a night for accommodation and $5 a meal, which is an order of magnitude too small for much of the world, you're looking at $1185.
    – phoog
    Oct 11, 2023 at 7:19
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    @JohnSnow $125/day includes all meals and accommodation. I too have been wanting to travel by cargo ship, but it's certainly not a way to save money. From what I've read, finding short-term jobs on ships has become very difficult these days. In some cases, sailors working on ships may not even be allowed to leave the ship, or if they are, only in a very limited area of the harbour.
    – gerrit
    Oct 11, 2023 at 7:27
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    @JohnSnow: "I would never have imagined flight would be cheapest by far." It's been a sad truth for many years now. E.g. in Europe, trains are typically 3 or 5 times more expensive than the corresponding flights. Oct 11, 2023 at 10:48
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I visited Peru in 2018 from India. The route I took was New Delhi -> Moscow -> New York -> Miami -> Quito, Ecuador. I took Aeroflot from New Delhi to Moscow. I took Jet Blue from Miami to Quito.

Then I went to Peru by crossing the Ecuador-Peru border by a boat on a tributary of the amazon river at Nuevo Rocafuerte. This was because Ecuador was in my itinerary too. At that time, this was the cheapest route I had found.

There are plenty of flights from Miami to Lima if you want to go to Peru directly by skipping Ecuador.

Expanding this answer upon OPs request though it doesn't directly relate to the question:

  1. Yes, you would have to apply for the Visa for each country. If you have a visiting Visa for US, then you get a Peruvian Visa at the border. Ecuador was visa-free entry when I traveled but they have changed their conditions and now a visa is needed to enter Ecuador. You probably have to get it before hand.
  2. I don't remember the exact cost but it cost me around Rs.13,00,000 (INR) for 6 months of backpacking through Ecuador -> Peru -> Chile -> Bolivia -> Peru. Then back to India via US and Japan.

I would highly recommend Bolivia as its cheap. But be careful with the Visa. Legally, it's (was?) visa free entry. But the border crossing official between San Pedro and Uyuni refused to let me in until I paid him around 100USD. Perhaps, my not so sober face made me an easy victim. So better get a Visa before hand.

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  • Hey I'd love to do that. Can you please expand your answer? How does one hop through several countries? Does one need to apply for each country visa? Please give the numbers too, what did it cost you each step?
    – John Snow
    Dec 14, 2023 at 10:01

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