Wednesday, 23 December 2009

BACKPACKING - Peru using public transport

Having made our way down through Ecuador our first stop in Peru was on the coast at Mancura. Full travel log has all the information of this journey including accommodation.

In Peru each bus company has its own office and place of departure so gathering information is difficult, this should change in the future once they have built the new bus terminals.

MANCORA TO CHICLAYO We took the 9.30am bus El Dorado bus for PS25 (£5) arriving at 4pm
The coaches in Peru seem more comfortable and have retarders to keep the speed below 80kph which makes for a very smooth journey.  We went to Chiclayo so that we could look at the Lambayeque museums but would have been better off getting off the bus in Lambayeque before it went on to Chiclayo.

In Mancora you will find lots of "cyclos" motorcylcles with twin seated carriages on the back and space for luggage behind. Local rides about town should cost PS2 (40p).

CHICLAYO TO LAMBAYEQUE Local taxi, PS10 (£2.20) there and collectivo back PS2.20 (49p) per person.  Collectivo's follow roughly the same route as the buses but are small mini buses.  They are very entertaining as the conductor hangs out of the door or window touting for business whilst they try to maintain their schedule.  They have to clock in at certain places in order to keep them flowing.

CHICLAYO TO HUANCHACO 11am Linea coach to Trujillo, PS14 (£3.10) pp arriving at 2.45pm then a taxi PS10 (£2.20) to take us out to Huanchaco beach.  We should have just walked across the road from the bus station and waited for the Huanchaco bus (H) to come along as it would have been much cheaper.

DAY TRIP TO THE RUINS AROUND TRUJILLO A colectivo (micro bus) from Huanchaco to Trujilo PS1.5 (33p) and drops you on the edge of the city centre.  At Hostal Colonial we book the 11am start combined morning and afternoon tours of the ruins PS25 (£5.50) per person.  The last stop on the tour is Huanchaco so we hopped off there. 

HUANCHACO TO LA PAZ (MIRAFLORES)  From Huanchaco the "H" bus takes you right to the Linea bus station, PS1.20 (27p), in Trujillo.  The 8.30am direct bus cost PS35 (£7.70). They have buses leaving almost every ½ hour in various categories from the economy right up to VIP cama cama which has beds. We have opted for the cheapest comfortable one and the one the salesperson recommends for tourists.  It is a fancy bus station with free Wi-Fi, and as you board the bus there is a security camera check and finger printing. You have to put your right “peter pointer” finger into the ink then print it on a plan of the bus seats to show which seat you are in. The “directo” is a very comfortable bus, fewer seats than normal so more legroom. Set off at 8.45am. There is a 40 minute stop for lunch at a restaurant with reasonably priced meals.  Arrive at the bus depot in La Paz at 6.45pm.  A total journey time of 10 hours instead of the 8 ½ quoted. A taxi to Miraflores suburb cost PS10 (£2.20)

LIMA TO NAZCA Cruz Del Sur is known to have one of the best bus companies, and the most expensive, but their depot is easy to get to. We take their 7am coach to Nazca, PS66 (£15).   This time we get a hand baggage security check boarding the bus then someone comes round with a video camera! We can see what we are paying extra for, leg rests, blankets, pillow, meals and internet. Well the Internet doesn’t work and the leg rests are not so comfortable in the long term and the breakfast of an olive sandwich, a cheese roll and a tart was no great shakes so maybe the cheaper buses are good enough for us. Arrive in Nazca at 2pm.  The bus station is full of touts trying to sell their rooms and you get lots of hassle.  It is a short, flat easy walk to the centre of town.  Many travellers break this journey in Paracas and Ica and all who did said they enjoyed it.

NAZCA TO CUSCO For this journey there is no choice but a night bus.  We book the 8pmCial bus PS100 (£22) rather than the Cruz del Sur at PS140 (£32).   Our 8pm coach leaves at 9.15pm but at least it is a nice coach much the same as the ones used by Cruz del Sur.  The evening meal is cold rice and chicken and coke, we are dubious of the chicken so get an alternative jam sandwich.  Breakfast is a jam roll and coke.  It has been foggy in the night which has made the journey even longer so we don't arrive in Cusco until 1.15pm so a 15-hour journey.

CUSCO TO MACHU PICCHU You can take a "Sacred Valley" tour from Cusco for PS30 (£6.60) and the leave the tour at Ollantaytambo.  The cheapest trains to Machu Picchu are the backpackers ones which need to be booked ahead of time with Peru Rail or at the station in Cusco (take care the booking station for this train is not the station which is leaves from).  Taking the journey from Ollantaytambo is much quicker and cheaper than from Cusco, $31 (£20) pp each way for the 1-1/2hour journey from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes.  The left hand side going in and right side coming out will give you the best views.  If you are doing the journey for the scenery then consider the hours of daylight.  In Agas Calientes you need to buy your ticket for Machu Picchu entry and a bus ticket if you opt not to hike up.  If you want to climb Huayna Picchu then get to the bus station by 4.30am for the first, 5.30am, bus as only 400 people a day are allowed to do the climb.

MACHU PICCHU TO CUSCO At the time of our visit Ollyantaytambo was having major roadwork so the train back from Aguas Calientes stops about 15km beyond the town in the middle of nowhere.  Taxi and mini buses are there to take you back to Cusco but are expensive.  We flagged down a bus on the main road at got back to Cusco for PS5 (£1.10) pp.

CUSCO TO PUNO  There is an 8am “San Luis” bus to Puno, PS20 (£4.40).  Other tourist buses are more expensive but stop to do sightseeing things en route.  We arrive at 4pm.  In Puno the bus station is down by the waterfront a good distance from the city centre.  We had a tout board our bus and his hotel deal was good and included a bus ride there.

PUNO TO COPACABANA IN BOLIVIA 7.30am Pan American bus to Copacabana, PS15 (£3.30). You follow the shore of Lake Titicaca and after about 2-hours reach the last Peruvian town where the bus stops for 10 minutes for people to change money. At the border you complete exit formalities then walk a short distance to gain entry into BOLIVIA, where the coach picks us up. It is then just a short drive to Copacabana and we arrived around noon.


Take care with your Spanish if booking a bus for tomorrow.  Mañana alone is tomorrow whilst mañana por la mañana is tomorrow morning.  We found out the hard way when we turned up for a 9am bus to find we were booked on the 9pm one and worse still there wasn't a morning one.

In Trujillo shop around for tours, they all seem to follow the same schedule but there is a lot of competition on price.  If you do the tour on a Monday you will miss the Chan Chan museum as it is closed but you could return to it the next day as your tickets are valid for 2 days.


No comments: