We travelled through the north of Peru in April 2015 and once we figured out that centralized bus stations don’t exist in this country and all information you find on the internet is wrong we had a much easier go of travelling around. Each bus company in Peru (and there are a lot) have their own depot that they arrive and depart from so you really have to know which bus service to travel with and where their depots are. Like in Ecuador some bus companies didn’t have web sites and those that did didn’t have accurate schedules or destinations in our experience so we resorted to asking hotel receptionists or tourist information people for help or just wandering around town looking for bus stations which depending on the town worked just fine.
My buses in Peru experiences include:
Huaquillas (Ecuador) to Piura and Chiclayo
Approx. 10.5 hours (including border crossing) and $14 USD. See separate post Border Crossing – Cuenca, Ecuador to Chiclayo, Peru.
Chiclayo to Trujillo
America Express S.A. S/. 15.00 ($5 USD) and 3-4 hours duration. Much like in Ecuador you cannot find accurate or reliable information on line so we went exploring to find Cruz del Sur and Linameas bus companies to buy a ticket. Despite what we had read they actually didn’t offer services to Trujillo and definitely not at the times we wanted once we started asking at their respective terminals. By accident we walked past the America bus terminal nearby and wandered in on a whim – turns out that despite having never seen one of their buses or found anything about them online they offer several services a day to Trujillo. We couldn’t pre buy tickets for some reason so turned up at the terminal the next day one hour before departure and bought tickets then. It was an economical bus and not one of the luxury ones but it got us there without incident and played movies on board so we can’t complain. Once in Trujillo it again drops you at the America terminal which was on the opposite side of town to what we wanted but there are plenty of taxis waiting outside.
Trujillo – Huaraz
Movil Tours. Approx. 7 hours and S/. 65.00 ($21 USD) got us the last 2 tickets on the VIP service which meant flash seats which fully recline, blankets, pillows plus on board service which included a drink and snack box. This service left at 10.30pm and arrived on time in Huaraz at 5.30am. We got tickets by going to a tourist information stand near our accommodation in Huanchaco Beach.
With everything in Peru so decentralised it was a surprise to find our departure terminal from Trujillo was a very flash and unheard of bus terminal on the outskirts of town that looked like an airport. We had driven past it on the way to Huaca de Luna (Temple of the Moon) but didn’t recognise it for what it was and thought we were being driven to our deaths when the taxi driver took us here (it was night and he used a lot of back roads). Given no-one seemed to know it existed this terminal was very modern, new and empty and near as I could tell people only left from here and never arrived as the arrivals section looked unused.
When we arrived at the terminal we had to go to the Movil counter, show our proof of purchase from the tourist information stand and actually receive our tickets. Here they also collect your checked luggage as this gets preloaded for you so you don’t have to lug it around and they give you a ticket stub in return. Once finished that process go to the counters in the middle of the terminal and show your ticket, pay the S/. 1.20 ($0.40 USD) exit tax which gives you a stamp on your ticket, a bar code to scan so you can get to the departure gates and access to toilets, wifi etc.
Huaraz to Lima
Movil Tours. S/. 40.00 ($13 USD). We had tried to buy tickets a few days in advance and were turned away saying you could only buy them the day before which makes no sense to me. Since we couldn’t buy tickets the day before thanks to being out on tour we turned up at the bus station at 9am to try buy tickets for the 9.30am service. This was fully booked and we got the last 2 tickets for the 11am bus. While standing in line we got talking to some American girls who buy their tickets online from the Movil website and just turn up at the terminal to show their passports and get their tickets printed. Again they pre-load the bus with luggage for you so drop your bags at the luggage service counter (the back of where you buy your tickets) and keep the luggage tag number you get given safe as you’ll need to show this at the other end to retrieve your bag.
The bus was full of locals so not an executive service but it was a nice bus ride passing through some magic scenery. Being full of locals meant there were lots of stops and starts to collect people and let them off but it was uneventful and painless otherwise. A half hour stop at around 2.45pm at a service station with restaurant for lunch then back on board and we finally arrived in Lima around 6.30pm. The bus stops at its own Movil tours terminal which looks dodgy and is apparently in one of the roughest sections of town. We stayed seated at the advice of a local on board who then proceeded to tell us to avoid all street food, go nowhere and do nothing as Lima was dangerous and to only get in taxi’s which had ‘355…’ written on the side and being driven by an old guy. We saw a lot of taxi’s in Lima and never did I see one with 355 on the side being driven by an old guy. Thanks to his advice we also had to sit in traffic for another hour before finally arriving at Movil Tours downtown terminal where we finally got off.
While trying to flag down a taxi on the street outside we were approached by the terminal security guards who offered to phone a ‘safe’ taxi for us. After a bit of miscommunication given their lack of English and our lack of Spanish and after several attempts of showing taxi drivers our hostel address and trying to get a price for the drive to which they refused and drove off we finally got a ride. One of the Movil security guards had kindly gone and spoken to a guy who speaks passable English from Flores which is another bus company and for S/. 50 ($16 USD) drove us in the direction of our hostel out near the airport. On the way he gave us a brochure of a different hotel and tried to change our minds which given our state of mind we accepted.
- Physically go to the bus terminal and buy your ticket, don’t rely on information on the internet.
- If you’re organized enough, save time by buying tickets when you arrive at the terminal for your onwards travel to save a second or third visit.
- Unless you book executive services there is no food or services provided on these buses so be prepared with your own food and water. If you book this service and have dietary requirements you will need to bring your own food also.
- We never had issues with our luggage in the undercarriage being stolen but did hear of day packs at peoples feet or in the overhead lockers being stolen. More locals use the buses in Peru so there are a lot of unscheduled stops for this reason. If you have a daypack hook your legs through the straps to prevent it from being pulled under your seat and stolen while you sleep.