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Long Distance Buses in Lima and Peru
Distances in Peru are vast, so for getting outside Lima to other treasure Peru has to offer, you either have to fly or take a bus. Buses are the normal mean of transport for most Peruvians and a growing number of travelers. They are relatively cheap, although a journey can be quite long and tiring. Additionally it can be difficult to find the right bus company for your destination and from where they are leaving. No company covers the entire country. In 2010 a new bus terminal was inaugurated in the north of Lima on the area of the Commercial Center Plaza Norte which is designed to cater for up to 100 bus companies, connecting Lima with the Peruvian provinces. But still most companies have their own office and bus terminal somewhere in town (recommended better bus companies mostly in the La Victoria area) and leave from there.
Bus Connections from Lima
Lima is connected to all major cities by numerous long distance buses of varying quality, but services are frequent. Regional buses to nearer destinations like Chincha Alta, Paracas and Ica in the south or Huacho and Barranca in the north leave daily roughly every hour. No reservation is needed, just buy your ticket and hop onto the next bus. National buses to destinations further from Lima (for example Arequipa, Puno, Cusco, Trujillo, Piura and Tumbes) only leave two or three times per day.
It's advisable to book your seat at least a day or two in advance. Buses to major cities in other Latin American countries leave more or less on a weekly basis. Here you should plan and book ahead as well.
Departure Times and Fares
As departure times and fares change frequently and vary from company to company, check out details on the webpage of the bus company you choose. Delays aren't unusual, so plan accordingly. Note: in the low season companies often offer discount prices, while around Peruvian holidays prices can double or even triple, tickets are sold out days in advance and buses are filled to capacity.
Which Bus Company in Lima/Peru?
Choosing the right bus company is vital. Extremely cheap fares mostly go hand in hand with old and badly maintained buses and overtired drivers. As fatal accidents aren't unusual in Peru and muggings and assaults occur regularly, we highly advise using only the more expensive, but still affordable better bus companies. Generally speaking their buses are on an international level and they have better safety and security standards.
Some Safety Recommendations for Peruvian Buses
- Prefer "better" bus companies and Royal Class / VIP / Exclusive services
- Although convenient, try to avoid overnight buses, as they are more likely to be held up
- Watch your luggage carefully when waiting at the bus terminal
- Keep the baggage tag you get in exchange for your luggage when it's loaded into the luggage department, safe
- Check that your luggage gets onto the bus
- Travel only with as little money as possible and hide all valuables
- Don't place your hand luggage into the unsecured overhead luggage racks
- Don't accept drinks or food offered by other travelers
Travel Times by Bus from Lima to other Cities in Peru
- Lima > Arequipa 15h
- Lima > Cajamarca 15h
- Lima > Chiclayo 13h
- Lima > Chimbote 8h
- Lima > Cusco 21h
- Lima > Huaraz 8h
- Lima > Ica 4h
- Lima > Mancora 19h
- Lima > Nazca 7h
- Lima > Piura 15h
- Lima > Tacna 19h
- Lima > Tarapoto 28h
- Lima > Trujillo 9h
Finding the right bus company for your destination in Peru and comparing prices always included lots of searching on consumer unfriendly websites of the different bus companies or running around from one travel agency or bus terminal to another. Since August 2012 Busportal.pe offers the solution making your travel coordination in Peru much easier.