Despite the bad reputation that bus travel often gets from travelers in Peru, it can be a great way to get around Peru for two important reasons: it is cheaper than flying, and it gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself into the landscapes. If you have the patience, traveling by bus is a great way to get to the jungles of Peru. Here are some tips for you if you want to jump on a bus.
Getting to the jungle from Terminal Norte
This terminal services most cities that are north of Lima. If you are arriving in Lima from the airport, this terminal makes more sense to leave from, because it is close by. The terminals and bus companies located further south in the neighborhood of La Victoria, by contrast, require an hour-long trip from the airport.
From central Lima
There are almost a dozen companies that have routes between Tarapoto and Pucallpa, and they’re all located within a few blocks of each-other: near the cross-streets of 28 de Julio and Manco Capac, a few blocks away from the national stadium.
Going to Tarapoto
The highest quality services going to Tarapoto are with Movil tours and Civa. though their prices are higher, you can count on the fact that these companies have better safety records, their buses are cleaner and more comfortable, and the services are more dependable. It is also a plus that you can buy bus tickets online. Expect your trip to Tarapoto to take between 25 and 30 hours, depending on the quality of the roads, and with which level of service you choose.
Going to Pucallpa
The company with the most dependable service and with the most daily departures is Transmar. If you go to their office, located in downtown Lima, you can make bookings for a variety of different services. Another good company to consider is Tepsa. Though their services cost much more than others, they are dependable and have a better safety record than other companies. A trip from Lima to Pucallpa should take you between 18 and 22 hours.
If you get the chance, make sure to book a ‘Cama’ seat
Most companies offer you the chance to choose what level of service you would like. Since the higher quality “bus cama” service does not usually cost much more than economy services, it seems to be a no-brainer that “cama” is the way to go. One thing to be aware of when booking your ticket, though, is that sales agents will often try to mislead you when you are booking your ticket, telling you that you are booking a “cama” when it is actually an economy seat. In order to make sure that you are booking a higher quality seat, make sure that you ask the agent if these seats have three seats per row, or four. If there are four seats in a row, then it is not a “cama.”
If you can, book early for better prices
The earlier that you book, the better chance you have of getting better prices for your bus ticket. Most companies have a telephone number that you can call in order to book your tickets.
For a good view, reserve a seat on the second level of the bus, and in the front
If you are lucky enough to get these prime seats, you’ll be treating yourself to a panoramic view. Since you are bound to pass by spectacular sights along your way to or from the jungle, getting one of these seats will be priceless.