Bus or Train from Cuzco to Puno?
Replies: 12 - Last Post: Jun 6, 2012 10:37 AM Last Post By: rsibley
Jul 25, 2011 1:03 PM
Jul 26, 2011 2:13 AM
Jul 26, 2011 3:08 AM
2You have three options (I've done them all) the train, the tourist bus, the public bus.
The Public bus, as you'd expect, is the cheapest by far. The train is very expensive (about 10x or so more than the public bus).
Length of travel:
The public bus is the fastest at about 6hrs but goes direct. The train is the longest taking supposedly 10hrs but can be delayed by an hour or so. The tourist bus also takes longer than the public bus (maybe 9hrs) but stops in a number of spots along the way therefore it's not just a day travelling but sight-seeing as well. The train does make one stop at the high pass where you can buy souvenirs (the same stuff you find in Cusco...)
Style of travel:
this is, obviously, where the train comes top as you have a nice lunch, 4 o'clock tea and cake, oh and a free pisco sour at 10am. Plus let's face it, train travel is cool! The public bus has the advantage of being local. The tourist bus, once again, makes the stops.
Though the train does not follow the road the whole way it does follow the road a lot of the way (or is not far from the road at least) - the scenery if very similar on the bus or the train - spectacular in both cases. The only advantage of the train is that you can stand at the back of the dinning car and enjoy.
Overall I'd recommend the Inca Express (tourist bus) as the best option, the train is overpriced in my opinion and it the travel takes longest which means as you're getting closer to Puno you're really ready to arrive. The public bus is cheaper and faster but you miss out on some interesting sites on the way.
The only exception would be if you're a die-hard train lover and want to travel by train whenever possible in which case by all means catch the train.
Jul 26, 2011 7:47 AM
3Tourist bus was one of the best things we did in Peru. Very interesting trip.
Hint--don't eat with group--very expensive--walk to nearest Tienda for Ham & cheeses sandwiches and very friendly people at Tienda.
Jul 26, 2011 8:03 AM
4Bear in mind also that there's a huge difference in the quality of public buses. I've done that route on a very comfortable 6 hour non-stop bus trip, sat up front taking in the views on Ormeño Royal Class, and on a horrendous 14 hour overnight stop-everywhere service, with stinky locals and their goods packed into the aisles, and no toilet, heating or ventilation. The moral of that latter experience is to always be careful when booking multi-leg trips with a travel agent. Our agent basically booked us on the cheapest bus available between Puno and Cuzco. In most such cases you're better off booking each leg yourself as you go along, which gives you chance to suss out the various options.
Jul 26, 2011 12:19 PM
5My worst experience in Peru was my bus trip from Puno to Cusco with San Luis - they were a nightmare!! I wish I had shelled out the little bit extra to take the tourist bus which I heard from other travellers was great :)
Would have saved me two days of sickness and dehydration (I was afraid to drink because there were no toilets and the driver wouldn't stop - and the windows wouldn't open). It was hot, smelly, dirty and to add insult to injury we were forced to listen to some guy stand at the front of the bus for hours trying to sell us tea. haha...I can laugh about it now, but seriously, don't do it :D
Jul 27, 2011 5:57 PM
6The train is great experience, seeing the country from track on the side of a canyon , and along the river. But now it has become an expensive way to travel this leg. The tourist bus I took recently and it is also fine , much quicker and much cheaper too. Either way one gets a good understanding on how people live.
Jul 28, 2011 10:46 AM
7I love to ride the buses in Peru. Yes they do stop at interesting places, but also think of all the people you will meet and all the Peruvian adventures you could go on.
Jul 28, 2011 2:53 PM
8I did the train trip 11 years ago, at that time the train was cheaper than the bus but took much longer. I found the trainride not so spectacular in comparison to the unfortunately no longer running route from Arequipa to Cusco. Neverthless, the landscape is spectacular. I came back some years ago and planned to take the train ( I love train rides) again from Puno to Cusco. The asked for hefty 220 US-Dollars - in my mind, if your are not a railway enthusiast, simply not worth the money. So I took the public bus - and yes, the landscape is fascinating but I missed the slow and romantic way of traintravel - the bus is quite fast.
Jul 30, 2011 11:38 AM
9Buses are far more fun than a train. Buses are cheaper than the train. All the beautiful scenery you will see. I prefer the buses because they make several stops along the way and you can see more of the culture while you are in Peru.
Jul 30, 2011 5:15 PM
10However on a train one seats more confortably while looking out large windows; one can also stand up , walk around, socialize with many more people , and even have dinner in this Cuzco/Puno train , if one wishes. The train ride used to take 10-11 hours, much longer than the bus...but on vacation some travellers prefer the experience over an strict schedule. I agree, it is unfortunate that the price has gone up so much on the last 11 years......a fact that can turn off from this Peruvian rain , it does me, now, w/o being on a budget! Swiss trains in general will continue to be the best.
Oct 13, 2011 9:18 PM
11I took the train in 1984 it was great!! I am in Peru and I plan on taking the train again. Trains are 100 times better than buses for all the reason cited by Roberto1938. Plus they are far safer than buses. in 6 months the 220.00 will not be missed. But the memory will still be there. I have never regretted springing for something while traveling only regret NOT doing it.by the I just took the Lima-Huancayo train. It was sooooo great. I highly recommend it.
Jun 6, 2012 10:37 AM
(0 star Hotel)
From US$6.00 per night
Machu PicchuBook now
(4 star Hotel)
From US$974.97 per night
(0 star Hotel)
From US$8.19 per night