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 ones that are probably best avoided. 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 more importantly safely.
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).
Peru Hop – A relatively new service (started in October 2013) but with over 1,000 excellent reviews on their Tripadvisor page which is quite impressive. They tend to stick to 1 floor buses which definitely seem to be the safest option for any buses south of Lima (to Nazca/Arequipa/Cusco). They pickup at hotels and hostels at all their destinations which is a huge bonus here in Peru (no taxi drivers or bus terminals). Do not cover the North of Peru yet, but definitely a service that is recommended for people wanting to travel safely and see more places.
Cruz del Sur – Peru´s biggest bus company and over 50 years old. Cruz del Sur is one of the most frequently recommended bus companies in Peru by local people looking to get from A to B. Reliable, comfortable and with excellent coverage throughout much of Peru. As for their luxury buses, hardened backpackers will probably feel ashamed at such comfort. Not always reliable (as are most local companies) and delays are frequent. Check their Tripadvisor page for more independent reviews about them or Read more about Cruz del Sur. If traveling North they are recommended…however if going South to Cusco be careful as they cross the Andes (like most other companies).
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.
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).
If planning to travel around the South of Peru (Lima – Arequipa – Cusco etc) then Peru Hop is strongly recommended after reading both their Tripadvisor page and Facebook page and online reviews. Their extra stops allows tourists to see more of Peru rather than public buses who just bring you from A to B. The hotel and hostel pickups are a nice bonus to avoid waiting in bus terminals and trying to haggle prices with taxi drivers.
If you are an expat living in Peru, and simply want to get from A to B, then Cruz del Sur is probably the best option followed by Oltursa.
Whatever bus company you choose in Peru, bus travel has improved greatly in the last few years so you should have a safe and comfortable journey around this beautiful country.