Overnight bus to Arequipa

The distance from Lima to Arequipa is 1000km and so the wheels on our Cruz del Sur bus went round and round for 17 hours. And yet surprisingly, it didn’t feel as long or tiresome as some long distance flights tend to be.

Note: For those of you in the Bay Area who have never been on a bus before, it is quite similar to an airplane, except it does not leave the ground. (They can be spotted on El Camino with the 22 being my personal favorite.)


We had decided months in advance to take the bus rather than fly in an effort to save money (no overnight hotel required) and ‘rough it’ a little bit. Mission accomplished.

Our departure from Lima was scheduled for 5.30pm. Knowing in advance that the food served on board was mediocre at best, we stocked up on ‘road-trip’ necessities – water, bananas, pretzels and Nutella.

Note: Nutella is a substance known to calm and soothe women. It should not be given in large quantities except when symptoms of irritability and irrationality are present.


After checking-in our backpacks, we went through a simple security screening (basic enough for any 49er or Raider fan to pass) and were directed to our seats on the ground floor of the double-decker bus.

Once on the road, the stewardess informed passengers that one may only use the lavatory on-board for a ‘numero uno’ – anything more elaborate would require an unscheduled stop at a bush. Fortunately, a restaurant in Lima took that dilemma away from us. (See previous post!)


Dinner was served within 2 hours of departure. The words “ewww, gross” were heard and Alina’s vegetarian dish was quickly but subtly discarded. Yours truly managed to navigate the chicken and rice dish successfully. Shortly after we settled into movies and books before going lights out.

About an hour or so before our scheduled arrival we were treated to a simple breakfast (“ewww, gross”). Suffice to say, the pretzels and Nutella went down a treat!


Fortunately this was a most uneventful trip and we arrived at the main bus station in Arequipa well rested and ready to do some exploring. We are now less apprehensive about bus travel in general and calm about the next bus trip from Arequipa to Cusco.

Bus highlights:

  • Seat belts – considering how people drive, this is highly desired
  • 160 degree recline – not flat but good enough to sleep
  • Personal tv – some recent movies in English with Spanish subtitles and vice versa
  • Two drivers – each drives for four hours at a time

Bus lowlights:

  • Bingo – not one number in English. #gringo
  • Loud AC – what a dog must hear when head is outside the window


  • $55 USD
  • Gene

    Ahhhhh the joys of riding a coach bus. So did anyone have to do an unscheduled stop for numero dos?

    • Within 10 minutes of the announcement, we appeared to stop at a gas station. I’ve no idea if that was the last one or not!

  • Wigi

    Hahaha very amusing, Kieran

  • A&G

    Sad xa-xa-ax. But experience somewhat different… By the way, both of you are great story tellers… Looking forward for the next one! Be healthy!

  • Jose Angel

    Kieran, I thought you knew your numbers in Spanish, numero uno! #gringo