Peru: Long distance buses in Peru

By Cubie - February 16, 2019

Buses are the way to go, unless you opt to fly. I flew to Cusco and made my way back to Lima by bus. I still don't like bus rides because I get motion sickness from the rides. Stuck in a bus for long hours but couldn't read, watch movie or fall asleep. Since it is unavoidable, I make sure I brought along some avomine tablets. They work wonders.

I took 2 long distance buses plus one shorter one, and I mean the more luxury type, not the local smallish type of buses. These were the routes I took, along with the bus company that I went with.

  1. Cusco to Arequipa. Civa, 20:45 - 07:45 (+1), S/110 (~USD 33 / ~AUD 46 / ~RM 135)
  2. Arequipa to Ica. Cruz del Sur, 19:00 - 06:00 (+1), S/120 (~USD 36/ AUD 51/ RM 147)
  3. Paracas to Lima, Cruz del Sur, 16:10 - 20:10, S/58 (~USD 18/ ~AUD 25 / ~RM 71)

Cruz del Sur is probably the most famous bus company and once you start reading about bus companies in Peru, this is probably the one that you would come across most frequently. The bus terminal in Cusco was about 10 minutes away from Plaza de Armas. Taxi to the outside of the bus terminal costs about S/5 (~USD 1.50 / ~AUD 2.20 / ~RM 6.10).

Taxis could go inside to the front door of the bus terminal but it is not worth it given the traffic and having to pay the entrance fee. Just take a taxi till the outside and walk in. Tell the taxi driver, "Terminal terrestre por afuera. Cuanto es?" (translated to outside of terminal terrester. How much is it?)

Terminal terrestre is the bus station. I wasn't in a rush so I told Ludwig that I would hail a taxi myself from the plaza. The first taxi wanted S/10 and refused to go any lesser, so I said "no, thank you." The second cab agreed to S/5.

Ok back to the buses. As I have no other reason to make a trip to the bus station except to buy a ticket, I opted to get the ticket from one of the many travel agencies around the city. There isn't a recommended one, I usually go into one that I feel comfortable when I looked in. Very unscientific approach. The agencies usually charge a small handling fee. I paid S/110 including a S/5 or S/10 handling fee (from memory). If I were to take a taxi to the bus terminal to buy the bus ticket, I would need to pay at least S/10 for a taxi return trip.

I can't remember the name of the shop I went in Arequipa though but I wasn't charge a service charge.

At a quick glance, it is obvious that Cruz del Sur is more expensive. When I bought my first bus ticket with Civa, I asked the staff in the travel agency what's the difference between the bus companies. Her replied was the service.

I went ahead and bought the ticket with Civa, the bus I took was an Excluciva range of bus. It came with a 180° seat and was really comfortable. I slept within the hour I boarded the bus till next morning, just before the bus was pulling into Arequipa city. I didn't even watch any movies.

Bus ticket also included a snack, the first photo at the top, and a hot beverage. I found the air con on the bus a little cold even under the blanket that they provided. There was also a staff working on board the bus, a bus attendant, just like the flight attendant.

I thought this is quite nifty, the design is a bit like milk carton
I was such a noob and didn't realise that I need to check in my luggage just like taking a flight. In Malaysia (at least when at the time when I used to take buses), you would just drop your bag in the storage area under the bus before board the bus. The luggage check for these buses work just like a flight, just at a different counter. Locate the bus company you hold the ticket, tell them you want to drop your bag, they would register it on their computer, tag your bag and give you a receipt for safe keeping.

Another thing to note about taking these buses are departure tax. There will be this booth in the middle of the bus station for you to pay the tax. I paid S/1.40 in Cusco and S/3 in Arequipa. I hope I had them recorded down correctly as the difference between the 2 cities is big.

Hot meal was served on Cruz del Sur, and you can choose beef, chicken or vegetarian. As it was a night bus, I opted for vegetarian. I was on Cruzero Suite with reclined up to 160°. Opposed to Excluciva bus, I find the aircon in both the Cruz del Sur buses I took a bit too warm. Haha.

Also came with a hot beverage
The one from Paracas to Lima isn't really long distance despite it took 3 hours. It was a normal sitting bus but also came with individual entertainment unit and snacks.

Meet Peru's national non alcoholic drink, Inca Kola. Actually both Inca Kola and Coca Cola were served on the bus. In fact when the bus attendant came around he asked, "Inca or Coca?" I was curious about Inca Kola but didn't really want to buy a whole bottle of Inca Cola to try. So I gladly asked for Inca Cola. It looks as yellow as in the photo but doesn't taste as terrible as one would imagine. Maybe a crossover flavour of ice cream soda and coke but if I'm to vote, I'll go for Coca.

Side note: What is this... I barely done anything and it is almost 5pm...

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