2022 Updated Info: Travelling by bus in Peru can sometimes be a little unsafe. Peru Hop, Cruz del Sur and similar companies offer a great and safe way to travel around Peru by bus, and these companies really focus on the safety aspect.
Of course here at Peru Hop we are a little biased. We think that the best way to get from Lima to Cusco by bus, or Cusco to Lima by bus, is with Peru Hop. However we also respect companies like Cruz del Sur as they have invested a lot of money in their safety issues and offer travellers a safe way to travel around Peru. So what are the positives and negatives of travelling to Machu Picchu by bus instead of taking a flight to Cusco?
- Cheap – Travelling by bus in Peru can be significantly cheaper than by plane. Some flight companies in Peru charge a higher price for foreigners than for local people, so buses to Cusco can cost less than half the price of some flights.
- Scenery – Peru is an incredibly beautiful country, and sometimes the best way to take in this scenery is on the open road. From the incredible beaches and desert of southern Lima to the beautiful green valleys between Arequipa and Cusco, you will often be awestruck and find yourself reaching for your camera to take in these amazing sights. Flying by plane will mean you miss all of this.
- Discover more places – Not everywhere in Peru is served well by airports. For example, there is no major airports between Lima and Arequipa. This means that if you take a flight from Lima to Arequipa, you will miss out on Paracas, Huacachina, Nazca and many other smaller places. The only way to discover these places is by travelling by bus.
Related: Budget Backpacking Peru
- Safety – Although companies like Cruz del Sur have invested heavily in safety, there are still major issues. Bus hijackings have occurred on the Lima-Cusco bus route as most companies take the most direct but more dangerous route through the Andes. In the Andes there are places without GPS signal, and so Cruz Del Sur or their counterparts sometimes cannot monitor the movements of the bus. That´s why we at Peru Hop take the longer but safer route through Arequipa.
- Bus Terminals and Taxi Drivers – Many taxi drivers know that tourists are a little bit worried when they arrive at a new destination and they know that many don´t know the real price of the taxi and can therefore sometimes charge double the price to a foreigner that they would normally charge to a local person. Bus Terminals are also an issue, and in Lima for example, Cruz del Sur has their own bus terminal, Civa has their own bus terminal etc meaning there is no 1 central bus station, and this can make getting around a bit stressful. That is why Peru Hop picks passengers up at their hotels and hostels so no more taxis are ever needed.
- Direct Journeys – Most public buses in Peru have a transport license that only allows them to go directly from 1 city to another without stopping. This means that you will miss all the cool small places in between the cities, or that when you are seeing incredible scenery out of the window, you can´t stop to take photos. With Peru Hop, we have a touristic license meaning we can stop between stops and get off the bus to take those great photos!
Overall, travelling by bus in Peru is definitely the best way to discover this country. Make sure you are always careful about what bus company you use and do your research with regards prices and taxi fees.
For more information about Peru Hop and public buses in Peru such as Cruz del Sur, check out our Peru Hop vs Public Buses in Peru page.