Getting there & away
A new bus terminal being built 2km east of the city may be open by the time you read this. For now, buses leave from several small terminals downhill southwest of the Plaza de Armas. There you’ll also find faster, though less safe and more expensive colectivo taxis that leave when full for Tacna (US$4.50, 2½ hours) and sometimes Ilo.
Buses to Lima (US$15 to US$21, 16 to 20 hours) leave with Ormeño (46 1149; Av La Paz 524), which has two luxury-class services daily; Cruz del Sur (46 1405), which has three luxury services; and Flores (46 2647), which has two económico services. These buses often make intermediate coastal stops, for example at Nazca and Ica. Other buses to Arequipa (US$4.50, four hours) leave three times daily with Cruz del Sur, twice daily with Ormeño and every half hour or so with Flores. These same companies also have buses to Tacna (US$3, three hours) and Ilo (US$2.40, 1½ hours); Flores has the cheapest and most frequent departures.
Several smaller companies, including San Martín (46 3584), take a mostly paved route to Puno (US$6.50, eight hours) via Desaguadero on the Bolivian border (US$5, six hours), usually departing in the evening. This is a rough, cold overnight journey on económico buses that stop infrequently for bathroom breaks at the side of the road. It’s wiser to backtrack first to Arequipa, then transfer to a more comfortable bus bound for Puno, from where you can easily cross into Bolivia during daylight hours.