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).
A relatively new service which started in October 2013, but already has over 1,000 excellent reviews on their Tripadvisor page, which is quite impressive. This the first and only Hop on Hop off system in Perú covering the Lima to Cusco route with a flexible bus pass, being the best option for backpackers and non-traditional tourists.
They tend to stick to 1 floor buses which definitely seems to be the safest option for any buses going to the south of Lima (Nazca/Arequipa/Cusco). They pick-up passengers at hotels and hostels at all their destinations which is a huge bonus here in Peru (no getting unsafe taxis or going to dangerous bus terminals). They 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 is over 50 years old and Peru´s biggest bus company. It is one of the most frequently recommended bus companies in Peru by local people looking to get from A to B. They are said to be reliable, comfortable and have excellent coverage throughout much of Peru. Not always reliable (like 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 (as do most other Peruvian companies) where hijackings and robberies are infamous.
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.
Safe, reliable and reasonably priced, Civa is also 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.
A company that could have pushed for the 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 a bit overpriced for their recent customer service standards. They cover most of South America with offices in 8 countries.
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.
A reliable company with reasonably good customer service, which also offers a variety of options regarding price. Movil is arguably the best choice if you are heading to the north of Peru, or to Peru’s biggest inland cities (Huancayo, Tarapoto, Cajamarca, etc). However they got some negative reviews so make sure to take a look at their tripadvisor page
If you are planning to travel around the South of Peru (Lima – Arequipa – Cusco) without any fixed itineraries, then Peru Hop is the only company we recommend after reading their Tripadvisor page, Facebook page and other 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 want to compare bus prices then Redbus is your best option.
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.