Long distance Peruvian bus companies range from the luxurious to the downright dangerous. You’ll probably be hopping on a few buses during your travels in Peru, so it’s handy to know which companies you can trust (or, if you prefer flying, read about the major Peruvian airlines).
Recommended Bus Companies in Peru for Safety and Comfort
The following are all top-end to mid-range Peruvian bus companies, starting with some of the best and working down towards the generally acceptable. The order is by no means scientifically proven, but it will give you an idea of the bus companies you can rely on to get you from A to B with minimal fuss and hassle (most of the time, anyway).
Quality costs, so expect to pay more (but not too much) for the upper end of the scale. Click on the company name to go directly to its website (English version where available, all links open in a new window and some of the websites have really annoying music).
Cruz del Sur – big company, big reputation. Cruz del Sur is one of the most frequently recommended bus companies in Peru, and rightly so. Reliable, comfortable and with excellent coverage throughout much of Peru, even the most basic buses in the fleet are pretty impressive. As for their luxury buses, hardened backpackers will probably feel ashamed at such comfort. Read more about Cruz del Sur.
Oltursa – a Peruvian bus company that seems to divide opinion. When it’s good, it’s good; when it’s bad, it’s a big waste of money. The Oltursa fleet runs from Tumbes in the north to Arequipa in the south, rarely straying from the Panamericana highway. As with most Peruvian bus companies, the general consensus is that Cruz del Sur is better (perhaps because it’s slightly cheaper), but Oltursa still has a lot of loyal supporters.
Civa – safe, reliable and reasonably priced, Civa is a good option. The company has excellent coverage along the coast, all the way from the Ecuadorian border in the north to Chile in the south. Also runs to places further inland such as Tarapoto and Puerto Maldonado.
Ormeño – could have pushed for top-spot in this list a few years ago, but Ormeño has received a bit of criticism recently. It’s still billed as a top-end company, but perhaps overpriced. The original website was always a bit of a mess – it is currently being reconstructed.
TEPSA – one of the oldest existing Peruvian bus companies, TEPSA has been going up and down the coast of Peru since 1953. It’s a solid option for coastal destinations and trips further inland to Cusco.
Ittsa – a top-end company that prides itself on security, punctuality and comfort. Ittsa’s reputation may be slightly lacking due to the company’s limited coverage: Lima, Chimbote, Trujillo, Chiclayo, Piura, Sullana, Paita and Talara. If you are cruising up the north coast, however, Ittsa sounds like a safe bet (I have no experience with them myself).
Movil Tours – lacks the more luxurious aspects of Cruz del Sur and co, but a reliable and reasonably priced option. Movil is arguably the best choice if you are heading north and cutting inland from Chiclayo. The route runs through Chachapoyas, Moyabamba, Tarapoto and all the way to Yurimaguas (on a personal note, I’ve spent a lot of time on this route, and Movil has never let me down in any major way, despite a few hiccups after the 2010 Bagua earthquake).
Flores – the Flores fleet ranges from decent economy class buses to the modern “Súper Dorado” class (all the trimmings). Another coast-hugger, Flores runs from Tumbes in the north to Tacna and Desaguadero in the south (and Cusco, of course).
Línea – a good value option for destinations north of Lima. The top-end buses of the Línea fleet are quite impressive, while the economy class buses are fairly standard fair. Destinations include Huaraz, Trujillo and Piura.
Other Bus Services in Peru
The information above is based either on personal experience, research or, more frequently, a bit of both. Please feel free to recommend any of the Peru bus companies listed above or any others that have not been included. Similarly, post a comment if you have had a terrible experience with any particularly bus service in Peru.
Travel companies that serve a limited region have not been included (Soyuz/Peru Bus, for example), nor have tourist bus companies like 4M Express (Arequipa, Puno, Colca, Cusco) and luxury Peru tour buses that run only between selected tourist destinations.
It’s also worth mentioning Peru Hop, a hop-on hop-off bus services operating along the route from Lima to Cusco via Arequipa. The service offers a great deal of flexibility and safety, providing an interesting alternative to the other bus companies listed here.