Huancayo is slowly organizing its bus terminals, with Terminal Los Andes handling most bus departures north to Tarma and the central jungle.
From Terminal Los Andes, an S4 taxi ride from central Huancayo, there are departures at least hourly for Satipo (S20 to S25, six to seven hours) via Tarma (S10, two hours), San Ramón (S15 to S20, 4¼ hours) and La Merced (S15 to S20, 4½ hours). Many services continue as far as Mazamari (S25 to S27, 7½ hours).
For Lima (west) and destinations in the southern valleys, such as Huancavelica and Ayacucho, bus companies still have their own offices and departure points scattered around the city center.
As it is the most-traveled route, ticket prices to Lima vary wildly. Buses are mainly at night. One-way tickets range from S60 up to about S90. Higher prices will get you a bed seat on a bus-cama (bed bus); bottom-priced seats usually recline a little. Travel time is seven hours.
All companies below are worth noting for the routes they offer – due to the enormous amount of competition, it is worth taking your time deciding if you value the money you shell out or the comfort you travel in.
Cruz del Sur The most luxurious Lima-bound buses. Eight to ten daily services – mainly night-time bus-cama services from S65 to S90.
Expreso Molina The recommended service for Ayacucho (on a still rather bumpy road). Morning departure (S25) and night departures (S30) for the seven-hour journey. There’s also a service that takes the longer but safer route via Rumichaca (S40, 10 hours).
Los Canarios Serves Tarma almost hourly (S10, three hours), where better connections into the central jungle await, and will stop at Jauja (S7) and Concepción.
Selva Tours A surefire bet for services to Satipo via La Merced and on to Mazamari in the central Amazon jungle.
Transportes Ticllas Frequently serves Huancavelica (S15, three to four hours).
Turismo Central Buses north to Huánuco (S40 to S50, six hours), Tingo María (S60, eight hours) and Pucallpa (S70, 16 hours).
Colectivos for Andean destinations to the north including Tarma (S20) and La Oroya (S18) now leave from a convenient location outside Terminal Los Andes. Colectivos for Jauja (S7, 50 minutes) via San Jerónimo and Concepción (S3, 30 minutes) leave from here too.
Huancayo has two unconnected train stations in different parts of town.
A special tourist train, the Ferrocarril Central Andino (www.ferrocarrilcentral.com.pe), runs once or twice per month from Lima's Estación Desamparados between mid-April and October. In Huancayo, it arrives into (and departs from) the central train station.
The 12-hour trip leaves Lima at 7am Friday and departs Huancayo for the return trip at the rather inconvenient time of 6pm Sunday. For this return night leg bring along warm clothes and perhaps a blanket.
It’s a fabulous run, reaching 4829m and passing La Galera which clocks in as one of the world’s highest passenger railway stations (the Tibetans are the record holders, followed by the Bolivians). It operates on a single-gauge track and is popular with train enthusiasts the world over. Either contact Incas del Perú for help with booking or book through the Ferrocarril Centro Andino website. Fares start at S700 for the gorgeous, but overpriced journey.
The Chilca train station for Huancavelica is at the southern end of town. The train leaves Huancayo at 6:30am on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, returning at the same time from Huancavelica on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Buffet class is comfortable, with padded seats and guaranteed seating; 1st class has reserved seats with less padding. The real draw of this train is that it is one used by locals (as opposed to just tourists) and so has plenty of color: umpteen food vendors and a blind violinist who plays for tips. Updates on the service can be obtained from Lucho Hurtado of Incas del Perú.
The ticket office is open from 6am until noon: the station is a fair hike from town so take a taxi.