Best Peru Bus Companies – Recommended for Comfort & Safety

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 Peru Bus Companies

The following are all top-end to mid-range Peru bus companies, starting with 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 Peruvian 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 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).

Before delving into the bus companies below, it’s definitely 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.

peru bus company cruz del sur

Cruz del Sur – photo by Tony Dunnell

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 budget buses in the fleet are pretty impressive. As for their luxury buses, hardened backpackers will probably feel ashamed at such comfort.

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.

ormeno-peru-bus-service

Ormeno – Peru Bus Company (photo by smollenk)

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.

Cial – safe and reliable if not spectacular, Cial is a decent mid-range Peru bus travel option. Generally hugs the coast apart from the requisite inland voyage to Cusco.

Travel Peru by Bus – Recommended Services

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 luxury Peru tour buses that run only between selected tourist destinations.

  39 comments for “Best Peru Bus Companies – Recommended for Comfort & Safety

  1. Frances Hoy
    February 24, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    It’s a great idea talking about the bus companies but in my experience you could be on the most expensive, comfortable bus in the country and still be inexplicably stopped for ages on your journey. It’s been a few years since I went through Peru and things might have changed, but there always seemed to be workers strikes and blockades that made travel slow and once had me at a complete standstill for a day and a bit on a strip of road between two towns! The Peruanos on the bus were spitting chips. The only ones happy about it were the mercantile townsfolk who set up shops from their cars and cooked up food and sold drinks and snacks. My message is to be flexible, allow for delays for onward travel plans and pack plenty of snacks and drinks and things you might need to use for ablutions. It’s a lovely country though, and well worth the visit!

  2. February 25, 2011 at 9:49 am

    Hi Frances,

    Good point! The delays do still happen, be they strikes, landslides or eternal road works. It’s certainly a pain, especially if you are on a tight schedule. The top-end bus companies do have one distinct advantage in this situation: they might actually look after their passengers, rather than ditching them in the middle of nowhere. When the budget buses decide that waiting for a clear road isn’t worth it, they give you two options: get out and walk or go all the way back to the terminal you started from! Refunds also seem to be nonexistent…

    As for the snack sellers, those guys are amazing! They swarm the stranded vehicles faster than a Formula 1 pit crew, even if the nearest settlement is 3 hours away. Awesome.

    Cheers!

  3. Jiahong Wang
    September 17, 2011 at 2:51 am

    Dear Sirs,

    Is there any night bus from Cuzco to puno and way back?

    Can you give me the website of the bus company?

    Thanks a lot

    Yours sincerely

    Jiahong Wang

  4. September 17, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    Hi Jiahong,

    There are many buses running daily between Cusco and Puno, but I’m too sure which companies currently have night buses between the two cities. It’s only a six or seven hour journey, so it’s more common for buses to leave in the morning. A few of the bus companies listed in this article have services between Cusco and Puno – I checked the Cruz del Sur website, but they seem to leave at 8 a.m. only. You could try emailing them to confirm the departure times.

    Another option is Inka Express: http://www.inkaexpress.com/

    It’s a more expensive option, but could be worth considering.

    Feel free to email me (via the contact page) if you have more questions.

  5. Imke Friedrich
    November 1, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    Hello,

    I need to know if there are any buses from Ica to Arequipa. I know there are, but I can´t find companies.
    I only found Flores. But I´m not able to contact them. I want to know at what time the buses leave from Ica and if I am able to book or reserve them earlier.

    Thank you so much in advance,
    Imke

  6. November 4, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    Hi Imke. Cruz del Sur has a Lima / Ica / Nasca / Arequipa service. You can see the rough itinerary here (the site search doesn’t return any results for Ica to Arequipa, I don’t know why):

    http://www.cruzdelsur.com.pe/itinerario_general.php

    Oltursa also has an Ica to Arequipa service (departures at 12.15 and 19.30):

    http://www.oltursa.com.pe/index.php?id=473

    It’s a busy route, so you’ll definitely have other companies to choose from. Try emailing the bus companies (in Spanish) if you want to confirm departures or reserve a ticket. Let me know if you need more help.

    Cheers, Tony.

    • Amanda
      February 28, 2012 at 11:44 am

      Tony, you are full of info. I need help with an open ended bus ticket. We are leaving out of Lima and want to stop at all the normal stops along the way to Cusco. Can I just buy a ticket from Lima to Cusco and then hop on and off when I want or do I need to by tickets from Lima to Paracas and then Paracas to Nasca, etc? None of the web sites show rates out of the smaller terminals, only a rate from Lima to Cusco. Any help is appreciated. Thank you

      • February 29, 2012 at 5:37 pm

        Hi Amanda! You’ll need to buy a ticket for each journey — there’s no hop on and off option (you’d need a proper tour for that). If, for example, you want to go from Lima to Nazca then leave for Arequipa the next day, you’ll need separate tickets for each leg.

        If you have a definite schedule, you can try to buy your next onward ticket as soon as you arrive at your destination. Let’s say you leave Lima with Cruz del Sur and arrive at the Cruz del Sur terminal in Nazca (where you’ll stay for two days). Before you leave the Nazca terminal, you could buy your Cruz del Sur tickets for Arequipa (two days in advance). That keeps things nicely organized…

        Hope that helps, let me know if you have any more questions.

  7. Tuuli
    November 15, 2011 at 11:23 am

    Hello,

    thanks for the site, very useful!

    However, I find it hard to find a bus from Paracas to Lima in the morning. The Curz del Sur schedle works well for me from Lima to Paracas, but on the way back I need an early bus, as I have a flight out of Lima 2.50 PM so I should leave Paracas early enough. Anyone here have good tips for this?

    Cheers,
    Tuuli

    • Tuuli
      November 16, 2011 at 1:11 am

      Another option would of course take a bus from Paracas directly to Cuzco and skip the flight from Lima. Anyone have any ideas of this?

      • November 17, 2011 at 5:50 pm

        Hi Tuuli,

        What time will you be in Paracas — or are you there now? Oltursa has a 9.30 am Paracas to Lima departure, that could work:

        http://www.oltursa.com.pe/index.php?id=473

        Ormeño could be another option, but their website is awful so it’s hard to tell. You could also check departures from Pisco to Lima for some alternative options.

        If you have time, Paracas to Cusco by bus is definitely an option. You could:

        a) head down to Arequipa and then on to Cusco
        b) cut across directly east from Paracas/Pisco to Ayacucho then Abancay and on to Cusco
        c)head south to Nazca then east to Abancay

        You can see the routes here:

        http://howtoperu.com/2010/07/09/how-to-get-from-lima-to-cusco-by-bus/

        Hope that helps a little. Feel free to post another comment if you have more questions.

        Cheers, Tony.

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  9. Hazel
    November 22, 2011 at 8:37 am

    Hi,

    We are thinking of getting a night bus with Cial or Cruz del sur from Ica – arequipa. I take it Cial are not a good option! Is it too dodgy in general to take night buses? We are willing to pay the extra if it meas Cruz del sur will be a safer & more reliabel option…

    Thanks a mill!

    • November 22, 2011 at 5:25 pm

      Hi Hazel,

      Here’s my honest opinion: I would happily use Cial for a night trip from Ica to Arequipa. Not everyone would agree with me, but for a trip along the Pan-American Highway, I’d be OK with Cial.

      That said, Cruz del Sur or Ormeño would be a better option, safer and more reliable (also more comfortable), especially at night. If you have that option, then the extra money (which shouldn’t be much) is worth it.

      As for night buses in general, the level of dodginess does supposedly increase during the night. I think I’ve seen stats that support that, but those stats include all the old budget buses, many of which have no driver rotation — not good.

      I travel by bus at night all the time — sometimes it’s the only option, especially for longer trips. I’m happy to travel at night, especially with the midrange to top-end bus companies. I’d avoid night-time travel with budget operators, and along potentially dangerous routes.

      If you have any more questions, feel free to ask.

      Have a good trip!

  10. Sue
    June 20, 2012 at 3:34 am

    I can´t speak for the whole country but here in the north of Peru, in 2012, Cruz del Sur has a very poor reputation among the locals – poor security for passengers and dirty buses. Oltursa. Linea and Ittsa are all recommended lines. However no bus line covers all the trips you might want to take.

    Security is a big issue here, so check whether the company has security cameras, guards in their offices. That is an indication of the seriousness with which they take the security of their passengers. Cruz del Sur? Fails on this account.

    • June 26, 2012 at 8:55 am

      Hi Sue, and thanks for the comment. That’s interesting — I don’t think I’ve ever heard any locals complaining about Cruz del Sur, in the north or otherwise. I’ve never had a bad experience with them and security always seems tight. Then again, I often use Movil in the north, especially for the trip inland to Tarapoto etc (which Cruz doesn’t do).

  11. Pieter-Jan
    August 19, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    Hello Tony

    Nice overview! You seem like quite the expert in travelling by bus in Peru, maybe you can help me with my problem

    My girlfriend and me would like take an early bus in Lima to Paracas to visit the islas ballestas. After the tour we want to go further south to Ica. I checked the website of cruz del sur, and they have a Lima-Paracas-Ica-Nasca route.

    Can you get off the bus in Paracas and get back on the bus for the Paracas-Ica part? And what about services on Saturday -we would lik to do this on Sept 22nd?

    We really are looking forward to our 3 week trip in Peru, everyone is telling us how amazing Peru is!

    Cheers
    Pieter-Jan

  12. Maria
    October 14, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    I do not recommend Civa – recently found out that the staff works together to cheat passengers out of money.

    We took this bus from Lima to Mancora and to begin with, the service was horrible – the attendant was rude the entire ride and didnt care about his job or take it seriously.

    When we arrived in Mancora, the attendant requested all the remotes from each person`s individual TV an

    d unfortunately my remote was somehow missing. As it is an overnight bus, I had fallen asleep and woken up to a missing remote.

    The attendant then refused to let us get off the bus unless we paid him 50 soles for the remote. I said I would gladly pay if they showed me where it said the cost of the item and the terms if a passenger damages one. However, they attendant said that it is not written anywhere but that it is the way they operate. Please note that my remote had duck tape all over it and didn’t work to begin with.

    The attendant then called the manager of the bus station in Mancora who also insisted that we pay 50 soles to the attendant for the missing remote, blatantly accusing us that we stole the remote. Why of earth would I want to steal a broken remote from a bus!!??

    To make a very long story short, the police were called who said that they would let us leave if we paid 40 soles, then 30 soles…clearly they were trying to bargain with us and were all in on the same trick.

    I paid 20 soles just for them to let us go, only to find out that my friend caught the attendant counting the remotes and removing all but 19 from the box before showing us that one was missing.

    On the way back, they recognized us when we went to ask what time the bus departed for back to Lima, and they told us to be there at 6 PM. When we arrived to take the bus at the indicated time, the lady said the bus had left at 5:30 and we had missed it. Of course we were extremely upset and asked why she told us to be there at 6 pm and she outright said “I never said 6 pm”.

    I am Peruvian and speak Spanish, clearly I didnt just imagine it.

    The lady refused to give us our money back because they had given us the wrong time for the bus and then tried to upsell us on another bus which cost half of what we had paid.

    We aren`t wealthy people, just young adults who live in Peru and work really hard to earn our money. Losing 70 dollars because a woman didnt like us was not easy and since we had to work the day after, we had to catch a ride to Piura and take a 130 dollar flight home to Lima.

    Chapter two: I met someone yesterday and we were discussing or recent experiences going to Mancora and they mentioned they had also taken Civa and had a bad experience.

    You can probably guess what happened…. they fell asleep, woke up and the remote was gone. The attendant tried to charge them money for the remote, called the lady from the station over, then called the police and the rest is history.

    The buses in Civa are great, however the service and its employees obviously have their own business going screwing over the passengers – and why not, they are clearly getting away with it!

    • October 16, 2012 at 8:28 am

      Thanks Maria, that’s interesting. I’ve heard a few stories from people having problems on the Lima to Mancora route, not just with Civa. But if Civa staff are really scamming tourists, then that’s truly messed up. I’ll keep an eye (and an ear) open for more info. Thanks again.

  13. Joe
    January 22, 2013 at 12:39 am

    I’m traveling from Lima to Ayacucho and would like to go during the day. Does anyone know which companies make that trip?

    Also, those I’ve asked say there is no way to get to Cusco from Ayacucho by bus in a reasonable time without delays. Best to fly back to Lima, then to
    Cusco. Any suggestions?

  14. Geoff Lewis
    April 6, 2013 at 8:43 am

    I think the Busportal is a fantastic idea – however, I tried putting in a Lima to Nasca June2/2013 itinerary, pressed Search – and nothing. Tried MANY times, nothing.

    I am trying to book a TEPSA bus from Lima to Nasca at 21:45pm with a 4:30pm return the next day through Cruz del Sur direct. Cruz Del Sur is OK but trying to book direct with TEPSA is a terrific pain due to no translation ability and apparent non-ability to book online. i guess I can go through go2peru but the bad comments on the go2peru company is not encouraging.
    Geoff

  15. frank chien
    June 14, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    I have been looking for bus information from Arequipa to Tacna and can’t find any confirmed information about that route. One guide book says there are 4-5 times daily and even with Cruz del Sur. When I check with Cruz del Sur web site, the route is not available. Anyone with the correct information? Thanks

    • June 15, 2013 at 9:31 am

      Strange… I’d assume that Cruz del Sur does have daily departures from Arequipa to Tacna, but possibly not. Civa definitely has a daily Arequipa-Tacna bus. S/.40 for a cama seat — a decent option and about the only one I can find right now.

    • Michael
      July 16, 2013 at 8:37 pm

      Cruz del Sur USED to service Tacna–from Arequipa. I took that trip about 2 years back–to renew my VISA. The last time I tried, though, in January of this year (2013), I was directed to Flores (http://www.floreshnos.net/). I believe they have TWO terminals in Arequipa, though, soooo … if you buy a ticket, make sure you end up at the correct terminal when it’s time to depart. I can’t remember the cost, but it wasn’t much. And the trip was okay. I like Cruz del Sur, though, and I’ve taken them everywhere–up to Tumbes from Tacna, Lima to Cajamarca, and Lima to Arequipa. But I have no idea why they dropped the Arequipa to Tacna route.

  16. justin
    July 17, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    hi i need to travel from chala to arequipa and i need to be in arequipa by midnight. do you know which bus you can recommend and what time it departs from chala thanks if you can help me

  17. Sara Adams
    August 4, 2013 at 9:33 am

    Hi Tony,

    I’ll be travelling Peru for 2.5 weeks in September, getting between cities by bus. I have a few questions. The first leg of our trip is Lima -> Cusco. It looks like Cruz del Sur is the best option. I’ve been on their website, but it’s fairly hard to navigate. Would you recommend buying tickets online before the trip or buying them when I get to Lima?

    The other bus trips we’ll be doing are: Cusco -> Mollepata (for the Salkantay Trek). Cusco -> Puerto Maldonado, and Puerto Maldonado -> Lima.

    Any tips or recommendations would be extremely helpful! We’re on a pretty tight schedule.

    Thanks a ton!

    • August 13, 2013 at 9:43 am

      Hi Sara,

      The Cruz del Sur website can be a bit clunky when it comes to booking a seat. I just went to the site and it took a bit of clicking around to get to the actual booking screen, but I got there in the end. Personally, I’ve never booked a bus ticket online in Peru — I prefer to go to the terminal and buy a ticket in person.

      That said, it kind of depends how much time you have in Lima before going to Cusco. If you’ll be in Lima for a few days before Cusco, then you have time to buy a ticket in person a few days in advance. If you’ll be arriving in Lima then heading straight to Cusco, you should probably book ahead online (or accept the fact that you might have to go with another bus company because Cruz is sold out).

      Cusco to Mollepata will probably be with a slightly old-school minibus or shared taxi company. Just sort that out on arrival in Cusco (ask around). I think the Cusco to Puerto Maldonado road is better now than before (due to Interoceanica highway construction), so shouldn’t be too tricky.

      Puerto Maldonado all the way back to Lima? That’s a long one! If you have the time, you might want to break that into two journeys (stop off somewhere for a day/night). If not, it’s definitely worth spending a little bit more money for a VIP seat (normally lower deck), just for sanity’s sake.

      Alternatively, maybe it would be worth flying from Puerto Maldonado to Lima (via Cusco), which would give you at least one extra day on your trip. Just checked the price with LAN: US$173. Not cheap, but perhaps better than countless hours sat on a bus….

      Hope that helps a little. Have fun!

  18. Rachael
    July 27, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    Hello

    Does anyone have experience of travelling with Etti? I am booked on a night bus from Mancora to Casma and then want to get a bus to Huaraz but I can’t find any reviews/info on Etti.

    Thanks!

    • August 8, 2014 at 5:37 pm

      I don’t think I’ve ever travelled with them. Their buses look OK judging by their Facebook photos, but they certainly aren’t one of the more well-known companies in Peru.

  19. August 8, 2014 at 7:01 am

    Great website.

    We are actually looking for a very cheap bus out of Peru which we won’t actually use.

    We plan to book a one way flight to Lima but need proof that we will leave (we don’t want tied down to a departure date).

    I’ve looked at http://www.cruzdelsur.com.pe/ but the cheapest I can see is £92 each.

    The only thing we really need is an e ticket that we can print.

    Thanks

    • August 8, 2014 at 5:54 pm

      Hi Gemma. The whole “proof of leaving” thing is rarely necessary if you’re entering Peru using a Tarjeta Andina. I was never asked to show an onward ticket or anything like that (when I use to enter Peru as a tourist) — and I never had any proof to show.

      If you’d feel much happier having something to show just in case, I guess the best option would be to book cheap tickets from a Peruvian city close to the border with Bolivia, Chile or Ecuador (for example, Tacna to Arica in Chile, which is just a short hop). It might be tricky finding a bus company, but one of the companies listed above should do the trick. Not sure about the e-ticket, but a confirmation email might be enough.

      Let me know if you have any more questions.

  20. Susan
    September 21, 2014 at 11:14 am

    I had found a bus that leaves Puno in the afternoon, arriving in Cuzco around 11 pm, but now I can’t find it. Do you have any idea what it might be?

    • October 20, 2014 at 10:12 am

      Hi Susan. I’m honestly not too sure. I think Cruz del Sur leaves Puno for Cusco at 10 pm, so it’s probably not them. Inka Express leaves Puno in the morning, I think. You” probably need to check a few of the bus company websites (I couldn’t find anything on Bus Portal).

  21. Sophie
    October 18, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    Hi there, first of all, great website! My partner and I are planning a peru trip from Dec 2nd-5th Jan covering Lima-Paracas-Ica-Nazca-Arequipa-Cusco-Machu Picchu-Puerto Maldonado and then back to Lima. We are looking at doing a number of overnight bus trips (Nazca-Arequipa), (Arequipa-Cusco), (Cusco-Puerto Maldonado & back), (Cusco-Lima). I’ve seen in previous posts that you have said it is not necessary to pre-book bus tickets online, however, do you think it would be advisable to do so particularly the Puerto Maldonado-Cusco leg as we are planning on leaving Puerto on the 30th December? I have tried looking on busportal.pe with no success, but maybe its because its still 6 weeks before we leave? http://www.go2peru.com has timetables listed, however, not too sure as to the validity of prices-I have also read that its better to go direct to the bus companies as agents tend to mark up the prices. Thanks in advance for your help!

    • October 20, 2014 at 10:51 am

      If your schedule is relatively flexible and you don’t mind possibly staying an extra day somewhere to wait for the next bus out, then you don’t really need to book bus tickets in advance. But some of the bigger bus companies have better websites and slightly better booking systems now than they did a few years ago, so pre-booking does make sense. I’ve never liked booking ahead because I rarely know how long I’ll stay in a place, but if you’re good with trip planning then having your tickets ready and waiting should keep things rolling along smoothly.

      It probably makes sense to book ahead if you’re traveling on December 30, as buses could be pretty full. It looks like Bus Portal doesn’t work that far in advance, as you mentioned — I can get results for Puerto Maldonado-Cusco up until Dec 18. But booking that leg a month in advance should be more than enough. As for the prices of agents vs buying direct, I think there is very little difference in price — but that would depend on the agency, obviously. If there is a difference, it’s often no more than a few extra soles.

      Have you ever considered PeruHop? They have a hop-on hop-off bus system along the Lima-Paracas-Huacachina(Ica)-Nazca-Arequipa-Cusco route.

      Cheers, Tony.

  22. Patrick
    November 10, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    HI: Great info here. Is there a bus from Paita to Chiclayo. I was told there is a bus line that does that trip; however, I am unable to find one. Thanks.

    • November 23, 2014 at 5:51 pm

      Looks like ITTSA goes from Paita to Trujillo and Chimbote and vice versa. But I can’t see a stop in Chiclayo, which is odd as they’d definitely pass through Chiclayo. Might be worth checking in an ITTSA office. Otherwise just get a bus to Piura and a local bus on to Paita.

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