Nazca to Arequipa–What Bus Should I Take?

I just got to Arequipa last night from Nazca. I had a big decision to make regarding the bus. There’s this big company here called Cruz del Sur. It’s the largest bus company and probably the very nicest. But it’s double the price–sometimes quadruple the price–depending on the route you take.

Here’s another thing. Everybody here is trained to tell you that Cruz del Sur is the safest. The story goes… they scan each passenger’s face for security. And they have GPS! So if the bus makes an unexpected stop, the police are sent immediately. Every other company is just plane dangerous.

Well, I’ll tell you the only that happened immediately. Jordan’s “bullshit detector” went off! It just didn’t sound right to me. They’ll send the cops? I know when the alarm at my business back in Orlando goes off, they call the cops right away too. And I beat the fucking cops there every single time 🙂

So I research things a bit. I had three options to go from Nazca to Arequipa. Cruz del Sur, Oltursa and Cialis or something like that. But not Cialis 🙂

Cruz del Sur was about 150 soles or 180 soles, depending on the class you picked. Cialis was the cheapest at 70 soles and 100 soles, depending on what class you picked, but they only had a night bus. I wanted to go during the day.

That left me with Oltursa, 2nd class, 75 soles. That’s about 25-28 dollars. Here’s the thing. All 3 companies have really nice double decker buses, with food service, and tv’s and bathrooms and all that jazz. In fact, I couldn’t discern even one difference (from the pictures).

Here’s the funny part: When I boarded the bus, you know what they did? Scanned my face! Just like Cruz del Sur. I mean, I still think it does nothing, but that totally gets rid of that as a “pro” for Cruz del Sur. Also, Oltursa features GPS guidance too. And most importantly: Oltursa has WIFI. Now, the WIFI didn’t work very well. Only sporadically. But it’s better than nothing.

Oltursa also provided a good blanket and pillow. Obviously I never have taken a Cruz del Sur bus so I can’t personally compare. I have heard they are super super nice buses. But the Oltursa bus was as good or better than any bus I’ve been on…so I really don’t give a shit. 10 hours might be long here in Peru, but after coming from Argentina, 10 hours ain’t nothing.

So, my lesson from this: Don’t believe the Cruz del Sur propaganda. They are more expensive and they probably have a higher commission to everybody. They probably also push their commission system better. And my fellow traveler just buy it up.

Don’t believe the hype. You are just as safe with Oltursa as you are with Cruz del Sur.

Arequipa is wonderful! More on that another time…

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One Response to Nazca to Arequipa–What Bus Should I Take?

  1. Hughes April 4, 2011 at 11:04 am #

    Cialis is Cial but they have had a couple of accidents. Cruz del Sur has had its share of fatal accidents as well making Oltursa one of the safest companies in Peru.
    I always travel with them when going to cities along the northern coast and to Arequipa as well, where they are from. Their on board food is better (still not great), they have a TV in the dashboard on second floor for the passengers sitting behind the front window which Cruz del Sur doesn’t and I believe their drivers are better. The last two times I went to Piura with Cruz del Sur there was music all night from the drivers compartment keeping half of the bus awake.

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