I was snowboarding in Switzerland recently, which apart from being an excellent thing to do for a week, also involves a significant amount of travel on coaches: to and from the airport and between resorts etc..
It’s the first time I’ve done any coach travel since we were in South America a year or so ago. Amazingly there are virtually no trains anywhere on the South America continent and so any long distance (ground based) travel inevitably involves getting on a coach.
These are not coaches that UK passengers would recognise however. They are really special things, with extra wide seats that go virtually level, known as cama (or semi-cama), flat screen TV’s with choices of english and spanish films, pillows and blankets and very acceptable food, even champagne on one journey.
A journey of 18 hours is not unusual in Peru (although the longest journey’s we did were actually in Argentina, when a 24 hour drive is a fairly standard thing) and if you’re willing to pay a little bit more, the levels of comfort increase exponentially… And when I say a little bit more, I mean tops £40, for what was effectively first class travel.
We did meet travellers who always went on local buses for virtually no money as they wanted to experience the true Peru etc, and that’s totally understandable and fair enough. But to us, when “a little bit more” meant an extra £25, the extra was well worth it, especially as it was overnight, so it was your accommodation as well…..
Cruz Del Sur is a Peruvian company, who were so good, we ended up using them whenever we could… going to Nazca, Cuzco, Arequipa and Puno. They proudly boasted that they breathalised all drivers before every journey (drunk coach drivers is a problem across all of S. America), limited the distance they could travel in one go and never stopped anywhere other than designated stops (which is NOT the case in Bolivia, believe me)
So a happy reminder of our fantastic time travelling in S. America, and if you ever get the chance to go (or have already been) you will understand when I say that an 18 hour coach journey can be something that you look forward to.
As their tag line states…. “The Pleasure of Travelling by Bus”