Traveling from Lima to Arequipa by bus can be extremely easy if you choose a reliable company. Unfortunately, there are many public bus companies with poor reputations in regards to safety and reliability. When researching bus companies to travel with, you will be faced with two options: public buses (Cruz del Sur and most other buses) or hop-on hop-off buses (Peru Hop). Hop-on hop-off buses offer a door-to-door pickup and drop-off service, adding to the security and safety of this type of travel immensely. The journey by bus usually takes between 16-18 hours, which is best to divide with a hop-on, hop-off bus.
As you probably already know, there are various public buses in Peru with different levels of quality. Although not a bad option, it can be stressful for some and the long non-stop journey can be exhausting. Since there’s no central bus terminal, you’ll have to organize a taxi from the companies stop (usually far from tourist hotspots) to your accommodation which adds up the cost of travel. The little to no assistance from some companies and the language barrier can make things more difficult.
If choosing a public bus, it’s important to determine the safety of a company. Google “hijacking” or “accident” along with the name of the bus company. The results should give a clear indication as to the safety precautions taken by the company.
If traveling on a public bus, it’s recommended to keep an eye of your personal possessions and to be aware of the stops. The best options are Cruz del Sur and Civa. Both have years of service, and although on the pricier side, offer a bit more reliability.
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This method is preferred by locals as it’s a direct route much cheaper than flights, don’t expect to meet many traveler this way.
Our recommendation (and other travelers as well) while traveling by bus is to opt for the hop-on hop-off option offered by Peru Hop. They’ve been ranked as one of the best ways to travel Peru for years now and offer a variety of passes to Arequipa with stops in some of the main destinations along the way. At these stops, you’ll be able to “hop-off” and enjoy the place as long as you want or just take a quick look around before continuing on your way. A local, bilingual guide is always present onboard helping passengers with tips and assistance on each place. It’s a great way to also meet other travelers from all over the world while sharing experiences along the way. To learn more about how their bus system works, check out their How it works page for more info!
Another reason why it’s so recommended is due to their impressive +6,000 reviews with a near perfect score. These reviews tend to highlight customer service, bus safety, comfort and overall experience. Adding it all up, Peru Hop is definitely your best option.
We only recommend this option for those short on time. Flights from Lima to Arequipa last 1 hour 30 minutes and depart daily. The best and most reliable airline is LATAM Airlines. The downside to flying is missing the amazing destinations that can be visited along the way when traveling by bus.