Arequipa to Huacachina by Bus

Arequipa to Huacachina by Bus: 2019 updated information about Bus Schedules, Bus Safety, and the Best Bus Companies to take!

A bus from Arequipa to Huacachina takes around 11 hours. Huacachina is the only oasis in South America known for being one of the best spots for sandboarding and dune buggy in Peru. There are no public buses going from Arequipa to Huacachina, they usually finish their trips in Ica as all the public terminals are there. However, private buses (Hop-on, hop-off buses) do go directly to the Oasis which turns out to work better especially if you don’t know your way around. There are no flights between Arequipa to Huacachina so bus travel is the only option. Below is some information you should consider when trying to choose the best bus company for this route. Below we have detailed information about bus safety, the best bus companies and what other benefits you should look out for when choosing the best bus from Arequipa to Huacachina.

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We strongly suggest traveling with Peru Hop through Peru. Their unique hop on hop off service is one of a kind in South America and allows you to always travel like a local.

To take a bus from Arequipa to Huacachina you have 2 main options:

1 – Hop-on, hop-off bus (Peru Hop)

Pros:

  • Only bus with direct access to Huacachina
  • Daily departures
  • Hotel/hostel pick up & drop off
  • Safe and comfortable luxury buses
  • Rated the #1 way to travel through Peru
  • Onboard, bilingual guides assisting you throughout your trip
  • Exclusive discounts on accommodation and restaraunts
  • Free, exclusive tours and stops along the way
  • Suitable for all types of travellers

Cons:

  • No Wi-Fi (no bus traveling through Peru will have Wi-Fi, even if falsely advertised)

A relatively new and refreshing bus service in Peru which started in October 2013, but already has over 2,700 excellent reviews on their Tripadvisor page, which is quite impressive. Being the first and only hop-on, hop-off bus system in Peru, the company covers the Arequipa to Huacachina route, while going further on into Paracas and Lima. It offers a flexible bus pass (50+ options from long distance to short day trips), in which you can stay however long you want in any of the destinations, letting you enjoy travel at your own pace. Apart from this, there’s onboard bilingual assistance on all their busses, as well as discounts on accommodation and restaurants in all the destinations.

They pick-up passengers at hotels and hostels in all destinations which is a huge bonus here in Peru (no getting unsafe taxis or going to dangerous bus terminals) and from there take the safer route through the south of Peru. Definitely a service that is recommended for people wanting to travel safely and discover Peru!

2 – Public Bus (e.g. Cruz del Sur, Civa , Oltursa)

Pros:

  • Daily departures
  • Comfortable buses (depending on the company)
  • Loyalty programs
  • Direct buses from Point A to Point B (having to take the more dangerous route, over the speed limit, no stops along the way)

Cons:

  • Often unsafe and wreckless
  • No direct access to Huacachina
  • Pick-ups and drop-offs in terminals, far from hostels and hotels
  • No bilingual, onboard assistance
  • Low Tripadvisor rating

These companies are aimed mostly towards locals, with customer service only offered in Spanish and terminals located far from hotels & hostels. Quality of bus and service varies widely from local bus companies and it’s one of the instances where you truly get what you pay for. None of the local companies offer direct travel to Huacachina, they have terminals in Ica. Once drop-offed you would have to take a 15 minute street taxi (often unsafe) from Ica to Huacachina. Their overall rating on Tripadvisor, Facebook, and other review sites aren’t usually the best and some are known for having frequent accidents. This option would mostly be recommended for locals or those who are perfectly fluent in Spanish.

The schedule and departure times of buses from Arequipa to Huacachina are as follows:

COMPANIES
SCHEDULEDEPARTURE TIMEDEPARTURE LOCATIONENGLISH SPEAKING ASSITANCETRIPADVISOR RATING
CRUZ DEL SUR DAILY19:00 and 21:30Public Bus Terminal NO82%
PERU HOP
DAILY05:45Hotel Pick-up and Drop-off
YES98%
OLTURSA
DAILY 07:30 and 18:30Public Bus Terminal NO66%
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Additional Information To Help Choose What Bus Company To Take:

Do they collect you at your hotel or hostel?

Some bus companies, and all hop on hop off companies, do actually pick you up at your hotel, thus offering a much safer and secure service rather than taking local taxis.

How is their safety record?

Simply put the name of the bus company, and the word “accident” or “hijacking” into google and see which companies are the best.

What onboard facilities do they have?

Tv’s, toilets (clean!!), semi-cama or cama seats…all of these things will help decide which is the best company

What is hop on hop off?

A ticket for a hop on hop off bus covers all journeys that the bus company takes. Rather than paying for all bus journeys separately, hop on hop off tickets allow passengers to board as many buses as they want and stay in destinations for as long as they please. They have been described worldwide as the best way to experience all that a country has to offer, and such has been the feedback from those who boarded the Peruvian hop on hop off buses. For more information click here.

Other benefits?

Some bus companies have loyalty points schemes (e.g. Cruz del Sur) and others have accommodation and other discounts (e.g. Peru Hop) so shop around and see what other benefits you get with each company

Summary:

Arequipa to Huacachina by bus is usually a pleasant journey and most of the road is in good condition. Just choose the best bus company and enjoy the journey! If you are looking for more information about Huacachina, then make sure to check out this guide, complete with what to do, where to go and everything you need to know before you travel

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