The Tico is a small car that was produced by Daewoo. In the 1990s, thousands were imported to Peru, mostly for use as taxis. I don’t think Ticos would be street legal in the US or Western Europe (although I have seen some in Poland), but here in Cusco the fact that they are so small and maneuverable actually made them quite handy.
When I first visited Peru in 2005, it seemed like 80% of the taxis in Cusco were Ticos. You see many of them in other parts of Peru as well, but I think Cusco was like the Mecca of Ticos, because the narrow city streets were perfect for the Tico. In Lima you see some Ticos, but when you’re on a major highway like the Via Expressa, riding in a Tico is pretty scary.
Considering that most Ticos are used as taxis and circle the potholed streets of Cusco 12 or 14 hours a day, it’s quite surprising that they have lasted this long. However, the Ticos are really showing their age now.
Most Ticos are not quite in as bad a shape this one that I saw parked along the Panamericana highway, but when I’m hailing a taxi I now often pass up a Tico to wait for a better car…
In the years since I’ve been visiting Peru, Ticos are noticeably becoming a smaller part of the taxi fleet, with more and more new cars taking their place – mostly Toyota, Suzuki, some European brands as well as the Chinese brands such as Chery and Jac.