Ten years ago, Cruz del Sur was top dog when it came to bus companies in Peru. Formed back in 1960, the company gradually developed into one of the most reliable and most frequently recommended of all Peru’s bus companies. But is it still the best bus company out there, or are some competitors edging ahead? Let’s find out!

Cruz Del Sur’s domestic coverage

Cruz del Sur 3
Photo: cruzdelsur.com.pe

Since 1992 and the relocation of its headquarters to Lima, Cruz del Sur has expanded from a regional operator to a truly nationwide company serving almost all of the major cities in Peru. It goes all the way along the coast, serving cities like Chiclayo, Trujillo, Mancora, Piura and Tumbes to the north of Lima, and Ica, Nazca and Tacna to the south. Cruz del Sur also heads inland along the classic Gringo Trail route, to Arequipa, Puno and, of course, Cusco.

It serves smaller cities, too, like Abancay, Ayacucho, Huaraz and Cajamarca, places that many other major bus companies don’t go. One of the notable routes that Cruz del Sur doesn’t run along – for now, at least – is the highway leading inland from the north coast to cities like Moyobamba and Tarapoto (for that route, try TEPSA or Movil Tours).

Overall, therefore, you can rely on Cruz del Sur to get you to most large cities in Peru, with only some exceptions. The company definitely scores points for its domestic coverage.

What about international destinations?

Unlike most of its competitors, Cruz del Sur has a handful of international destination. You can travel north of Peru and head to Guayaquil and Quito in Ecuador, and further still to Cali and Bogota in Colombia.

Cruz del Sur also goes south to Santiago, Chile, and to Cordoba, Jujuy, Mendoza and Buenos Aires in Argentina.

You can expect a long, long journey if you want to travel by bus to any of these destinations. But if you don’t want to fly, going with Cruz del Sur is a great overland option. More points scored for Cruz.

How good are the buses?

Cruz del Sur operates a modern fleet of buses across six different levels of service, ranging from luxury to standard to international. All of them are good, with comfortable seats, air conditioning and onboard entertainment.

At the most luxurious end is the Confort Suite class of bus. These are one-floor buses with only 18 seats, and every seat is fully reclining (180 degrees) with its own 15-inch TV screen for watching movies.

Cruz del Sur 2
Photo: cruzdelsur.com.pe

The more standard service is the Cruzero Suite. This is the most typical class of Cruz del Sur bus running between Lima and Cusco. These buses have two floors with a total of 39 seats. The seats recline to 160 degrees, which is still enough to get a decent night’s sleep.

Overall, you’ll probably be happy with the level of comfort on all of Cruz del Sur’s buses. That said, it is worth paying extra for one of Cruz del Sur’s more luxurious services if you’re doing a long journey (say, 15 hours or more), if the option to upgrade is available along your route.

Is Cruz del Sur safe?

Compared to the hundreds of other bus companies in Peru, Cruz del Sur is certainly a safe option. There’s always some risk traveling overland in Peru, a country with high accident rates and road fatalities, but you’ll significantly reduce the risk by traveling with a top-end company like Cruz del Sur.

Cruz del Sur 4
Photo: elcomercio.pe

Cruz del Sur has a number of important security features in place to help keep passengers safe. Drivers are limited to four- or five-hour shifts to prevent fatigue. They also receive regular medical examinations and checks for alcohol and drug consumption.

Passenger control systems are also in place to prevent or at least deter criminals from getting onto a bus. All passengers must show valid identification before boarding, and all passengers are filmed once seated as an extra security measure (this may seem strange and a little intrusive, but it does help deter potential criminals from boarding).

So, is Cruz del Sur the best bus company in Peru?

Ten or so years ago, the answer to this was probably “yes.” Today, however, it’s not so clear-cut. Other companies like Oltursa, TEPSA, Excluciva and Movil Tours have really upped their games in recent years, and have closed the gap with Cruz del Sur.

It’s certainly safe to say that Cruz del Sur is one of the top-five bus companies in Peru. It is perhaps top-three, but not so easy to say it is the best option out there. Still, Cruz del Sur is, most of the time at least, a safe and comfortable experience.