BsAs to Peru by bus -- Good idea?

katiedid31

Registered
I'm heading from Buenos Aires to Lima within the next couple of days to meet a friend. Last-minute plane tickets are a tad pricey and to be honest, I'd rather throw myself into the adventure of a 3-day bus ride anyway. But I'm suddenly hesitating because I'm getting some really mixed advice on the trip, though it may be from people who don't know what they're talking about. I'm a 20-something woman, very clearly not South American, and my Spanish is okay to good. I'm not really concerned about comfort issues -- what I want to know is whether this a notoriously dangerous bus ride (as someone told me), and whether it would just be silly for me to chance it alone. (Others have told me I got weirdly negative advice and the trip is no big deal at all.) Also, any tips would be appreciated, including bus lines you recommend or advise against, or any other tidbits you might want to share. Thanks so much.
 

EliA

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The reason you're getting mixed advice is because everyone has his or her own experience. Sometimes bus trips are totally fine and others are, well, not.

Having bused through Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia, and Peru, I can say hands down that Peru was the absolute worst. (It was also my least favorite country by far; the two probably correlate.)

That said, nothing particularly 'bad' happened: the buses were at least 2 hours late as a rule; they were in a general state of disrepair; the drivers actively drank and smoked; locals peed in bottles instead of using the provided bathrooms. But no one hassled me or tried to steal from me and I was a Spanish-speaking Yanqui woman traveling alone.

However, you do hear about people, especially in Peru, who have horrid experiences. I have a good friend whose bag was stolen from under her feet and another whose backpack was taken from the baggage storage under the bus. Then you hear about roadblocks and foreign (especially English-speaking) people getting kidnapped for ransom, but I blessedly have never know anyone to whom that happened.

A quick search on Plataforma10 shows no buses from BsAs to Lima this Wednesday, but 1 by El Rapido Internacional that leaves Thursday at 18:00 and arrives Sunday at 17:26 - semicama (aka uncomfortable for a trip longer than 4 hours), sin servicio - i.e. no food or drink. Yikes! But, only 380 pesos, almost exactly $100 one way. (The same bus leaves Friday too, but not Saturday.)

Meanwhile, Aerolinas Argentinas roundtrip is $580, Taca air is $540 and LAN goes as low as $500 (for US citizens). If I were you I'd pay the extra 1) to save time and 2) to save hassle. But those are my goals.

If your goals are 1) to save money and 2) to have an uncomfortable but fascinating experience, it's more likely that your bus trip will be fine than it is you'll get kidnapped. Just don't take anything very valuable with you and I second the earplugs recommendation. Also bring a blanket; it can get really, really cold on those damn buses.
 

rca

Registered
Peru is an amazing country and you should definitely FLY there...the idea of spending three solid days on a bus is insane. AA has cheaper flights as long as you have a DNI.
 

limaperu

Registered
The buses in Peru are notoriously bad because they pick up passengers on the side of the road, don't maintain their buses, overwork their drivers, drive like maniacs, and have constant wrecks. That being said there is one company that actually has clean buses, bathrooms, two drivers that take 4 hour shifts, and wifi. If you can book it on Cruz del Sur you should be ok. Any others inside Peru and you may experience what others have documented.

Anyways I'm an expat in Peru right now (keeping options open which is why I joined the forum) and would of course fly if at all possible.
 

Kapagna

Registered
My girlfriend and I just went on a trip through Peru, and we took Cruz del Sur specifically to avoid all the problems with Peruvian buses. It's a little more expensive, but I think worth it. I don't know if they travel straight from BsAs to Lima, but I would look into it.
 

SaraSara

Registered
katiedid31 said:
I'm heading from Buenos Aires to Lima within the next couple of days to meet a friend. Last-minute plane tickets are a tad pricey and to be honest, I'd rather throw myself into the adventure of a 3-day bus ride anyway. But I'm suddenly hesitating because I'm getting some really mixed advice on the trip, though it may be from people who don't know what they're talking about. I'm a 20-something woman, very clearly not South American, and my Spanish is okay to good. I'm not really concerned about comfort issues -- what I want to know is whether this a notoriously dangerous bus ride (as someone told me), and whether it would just be silly for me to chance it alone. (Others have told me I got weirdly negative advice and the trip is no big deal at all.) Also, any tips would be appreciated, including bus lines you recommend or advise against, or any other tidbits you might want to share. Thanks so much.
Someone I know makes that trip twice a year. It is very long and also uncomfortable, but not at all dangerous. When you are thinking about prices, factor in the cost of food, which is not included in the ticket price.

Take a straight Buenos Aires-Lima bus - making bus connections is not a good idea.
 

mister_arthur

Registered
Great idea. I'm planning a bus trip to Bolivia in a few weeks. Although the buses in Peru can be uncomfortable, smelly and the seats a little small (at least this was the situation last time I was there, about 8 years ago), it will be a great trip. I have rarely had great adventures taking the most comfortable option ;)

I spent several months travelling alone in Peru as a 19-year-old boy (in 2002), and didnt have any trouble at all, though I guess everyone hears occasional horror stories.

Go for it. Take some books, earplugs and a blanket. You'll cut down on air miles too...
 

bairestraveler

Registered
Hi,
It is not such a bad idea, but it is soooo long, it's going to be difficult!
But anyway, it can be a good experience!
So do it! And have a good time!
 
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