Getting from Lima to Paracas: A traveler review

Lima has its charm, but it doesn’t take long before most people are ready to escape its cloudy weather for sunnier “oceans.” Since Paracas is less than a four-hour drive from Lima and averages three hours of sunshine per day even during overcast months, it’s a fantastic option.

The best way to get from Lima to Paracas is by driving or taking a bus. If you’re like me and the thought of driving in Peru feels like an accident waiting to happen, going by bus is the obvious choice. I took the Cruz del Sur bus to Paracas and will share my experience and tips with you.

Juggling bus company options

One of the wonderful things about taking the bus to Paracas from Lima is that you have several bus companies to choose from. Below is a rundown of three popular options.

Cruz del Sur: They offer the most departures per day, with the bulk of the options being in the morning. Most of their buses offer 130-degree and 160-degree reclining seats. There’s only a $3 difference between them, but I’ll tell you why I think the 130-degree seats are better shortly.

Oltursa Paracas: They’re at a similar price point as Cruz del Sur and have nearly identical amenities. They also offer two ticket classes on their buses—160 and 140-degree reclining seats.

Peru Bus Lima: If money’s tight, Peru Bus is a great option since their prices start at $14. All their seats are on the first floor and recline 135-degrees. They only have two departures per day—03:30 and 12:45 pm, so plan accordingly if you decide to go with them. 

An insider tip on choosing your seat

I don’t know about you, but I always want to investigate what side of the bus offers the best view before traveling. With Cruz del Sur and Oltursa, you can have a double whammy sightseeing opportunity—if you manage to snag a seat in the front row of the second floor, you’ll have a front and side window. Here’s what it looked like from my Cruz del Sur seat:

As with so many good things, there’s a catch. The seats on the second floor don’t recline as much (130 or 140-degree versus 160-degree). Personally, I find these seats more than comfortable for the approximately four-hour journey. 

However, if you prefer the seats that recline more, which are all located on the first floor, or the front seats on the second floor are taken, I recommend booking a seat on the passenger side of the bus. That way, you’ll get to enjoy ocean views on your way to Paracas.

What to expect at the Cruz del Sur bus station

The Cruz del Sur bus station in Lima is small and organized. There’s a ticket counter with English-speaking staff if you have questions and an area to charge your electronics before you catch your ride.

They started boarding my bus 15 minutes before departure. Make sure to bring your passport—it’s required to get on the bus. They’ll also do a quick security screen with a handheld metal detector.

If you’re traveling with checked luggage, there’s a luggage drop-off area at the back of the bus station. They’ll attach a ticket to your bag and give you the corresponding stub so you can pick it up upon your arrival in Paracas.

Cruz del Sur bus schedule 

Below is the bus schedule for Cruz del Sur from Lima to Paracas. The bus times range from 3 hours, 15 minutes to 3 hours, 50 minutes. However, I recommend taking the total travel time with a grain of salt; it depends on how much traffic you encounter getting out of Lima. 

Departure from LimaArrival in Paracas
04:0007:15
06:5510:15
07:0010:30
07:1510:45
07:3011:00
11:1515:05
13:3017:00
14:0017:30

Once you’re on the Panamericana Sur Highway, you shouldn’t have to worry about traffic unless you run into construction work. My 3.5-hour bus arrived 15 minutes late into Paracas, which I thought was pretty good considering how long it took us to leave Lima.

Amenities on the Cruz del Sur bus

Cruz del Sur is one of the most respected bus companies in Peru. Part of that has to do with their commitment to strict maintenance and safety regulations. The other part is because of the comfortable experience they create for their customers.

You’ll get to enjoy the following amenities on the Cruz del Sur bus from Lima to Paracas:

  • Personal television
  • USB charging port
  • Onboard bathroom
  • Plush seat and leg rest
  • WiFi

That said, the WiFi is hit or miss—it’s best to expect not to have it so that you’re pleasantly surprised if you do.

Preparing for your arrival in Paracas

The Cruz del Sur Paracas bus station is a small facility that sits a few streets back from downtown Paracas. So, if you’ll be staying downtown and aren’t traveling with a lot of luggage, there’s no need to take a taxi—it’ll take you five minutes to reach the oceanfront promenade on foot.

However, Paracas is known for its resorts, and these require a taxi to get to. Doing so is easy since many taxi drivers will be offering their services upon your arrival at the bus station.

What about traveling from the Lima airport to Paracas?

There aren’t any domestic flights from Lima to Paracas. So, if you’re wondering how to get from the Lima airport to Paracas, the most direct way is by having a private driver take you. Alternatively, you can catch an Uber and head to the bus station.

Regardless of how you choose to travel from Lima to Paracas, it’s worth the effort. Paracas is a relaxing resort beach town with a beautiful desert backdrop. Go hungry for seafood and leave with your camera full of wildlife scenery. If you get lucky, you might even spot a few penguins!

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