For some reason I cannot quite fathom, Martine likes to go to Sacramento via Greyhound. (Perhaps it’s because the airport is many miles north of the city.) Today I was doing some research on returning to Lima from Cusco. Originally, I planned to fly; but then I realized that I would not only have to pony up for the flight, but also I’d have to book a hotel for the night. Then I looked at Cruz Del Sur’s website, and my eyes popped out.
I had some good feelings about South American buses from my experiences in Argentina, but some of the the long-distance Peruvian lines look really good. Probably the best of the bunch are Cruz Del Sur, Ormeño (which has a 6,002 mile route—the longest in the world—between Caracas, Venezuela and Buenos Aires, Argentina), and Oltursa. Many have what are called Executivo or Cama services, which include seats that recline from 160-180º, plus a lot of other extras. The Crucero Suite service includes these, plus meals (included in the price), stewards/stewardesses, entertainment with personal headphones and screens, two restrooms per bus, air conditioning and heating, reading lamps, a kit including blanket and pillow, and bingo. Check out this Cruz Del Sur website in English and compare it to the increasingly trashy public transportation services on offer in the United States.
Of course, nothing is perfect in this world. In the summer of 2013, a Cruz Del Sur bus full of American, European, and Asian tourists was held up outside of Ayacucho by eight armed bandits in the middle of the night. They pulled the bus off the road and proceeded to rob the passengers of over $50,000 in cash and personal goods. You can read the story in Peru This Week. Ayacucho is a dangerous place that served as the center of the Sendero Luminoso (“Shining Path”) guerrilla insurgency in the 1980s and early 1990s.
Peru is a deceptively large country: From Cusco to Lima is a 21-22 hour bus ride with a single stop on the way. I kind of hope it isn’t Ayacucho.