We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Recommended route: Lima Peru to Vilcabamba Ecuador?

Lima, Peru
Level Contributor
16 posts
1 review
Save Topic
Recommended route: Lima Peru to Vilcabamba Ecuador?

I'm on a tight budget and am willing to go by plane if it means i'l be safe but really for me it just depends on the history of long distance public transportation accidents in Ecuador, here in Peru people die in buses en route quite frequently but most often in the andes, this poses a concern for me and so I'm curious whether Ecuador has a better reputation? I want to arrive in Vilcabamba Ecuador from Lima Peru in one piece, but also on a budget, any good recommendations?

7 replies to this topic
Tucson, Arizona
Destination Expert
for Quito, Ecuador
Level Contributor
10,615 posts
96 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Recommended route: Lima Peru to Vilcabamba Ecuador?

Avoid the night buses if at all possible; that's when the most accidents happen. Not doing the overnights is going to make this a long trip.

Quito, Ecuador
Level Contributor
38 posts
Save Reply
2. Re: Recommended route: Lima Peru to Vilcabamba Ecuador?

It is a long trip... You should try and book with Cruz del Sur or Ormeno these are the companies that have a safer record and do quite good maintainance to there vehicles.

You should try to book it in legs if you can, visit Senor del Sipan, Trujillo and Chiclayo and if you have the time you would benefit from a visit to Kuelap. There is also nice places to stay by the beach in Mancora.

Enjoy your Voyage

Level Contributor
3,000 posts
284 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Recommended route: Lima Peru to Vilcabamba Ecuador?

I agree with the previous posters suggestion re taking it in stages. Cruz and Ormeno are good bus companies. We did the trip in reverse by a circuitous route which, via San Ignacio , Jaen, chachapoyas Trujillo etc. which took a lot of time and the border crossing was a bit iffy (try to get there with plenty of daylight to spare!).

The main rows on for taking this particular route was to see Chachapoyas and Kuelap which is one of the best places I have visited in South America. Some more info, detail and photos on our blog


Entries #12 onwards cover this section of our trip.

Mi Wuk Village...
Level Contributor
1,600 posts
Save Reply
4. Re: Recommended route: Lima Peru to Vilcabamba Ecuador?

Are you really Peruvian? if so you should realize that while there are bus accidents in terms of the number of buses on the road every day the risk is quite acceptable. There is a thread about this on the Peru forum posted by someone intent on chasing people away from the country. I've lived and worked in Peru...including during one of its most dangerous periods..the Senderos. You are welcome. Road conditions and overall transport is far better today than in the past. Sure a bus can go off a cliff. Just count to 7. I've been to Vilcabamba going from Lima. Nice drive. Vilcabamba is one of those towns that if you spend more than three days you may never leave. Look at the number of gringos that happened to. I've met folks from stock brokers to a member of the Merry Pranksters. They got there, fell in love and stayed. I assume you know the legend about all the people who supposedly lived to 120?

Level Contributor
11,773 posts
169 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Recommended route: Lima Peru to Vilcabamba Ecuador?

One possibility to cut some time off of your bus trip is to fly to Tarapoto and take the bus from there to Chachapoyas/Pedro Ruiz. Peruvian Airlines and Star Peru both fly to Tarapoto, so it is not as expensive flying one way to Chiclayo.

Gocta Lodge has some info on their website about transport. They are recommending Movil or GH Bus.

GH Bus does not have a fully functional website but it does look as if they serve the route. You could try emailing Gocta or GH.

I may research this a bit more and if I find out anything I will post back.

And yes it is worthwhile spending at least a night or two in Chachapoyas to see Keulap. And it's a lovely little town, unspoiled by aging hippies.

GH bus link


Gocta Lodge


Edited: 9:24 pm, August 14, 2013
London, United...
Level Contributor
1 post
68 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Recommended route: Lima Peru to Vilcabamba Ecuador?

At the beginning of August I took the journey from Chachapoyas to Vilcabamba.

Tourist Info Chachapoyas has a summary of the trip broadly accurate for timings and prices;

Left Chachapoyas in a minivan at 8AM. Two hours to Bagua Grande and a short walk to the next shared taxi.

One hour to Jaen and then transport across town to the San Ignacio collectivo.

I had originally planned to overnight in San Ignacio but as I arrived there by 1.30 took further local transport to the collectivo station that serves La Balsa.

The journey La Balsa to the border took less than an hour. Once there all was straightforward (the hut on the Peru side has migracion on it if you look close enough) and by approx 4PM I was in Bolivia.

Here things became less straightforward. I was going to get a taxi to Zumba but none were waiting at the border although I was told by the police I could call for one. Without a phone, local sim or number this did not seem such a good ides so I watied for the bus due at 5.30 (on reflection there were locals there who I could have approached for use of a phone but I had nothing betting to do so waited). At 5.15 a small pick up, not the expected rancher,a tuned up and everyone waiting got in. It left immediately i.e before the scheduled time.

It drove for half an hour before we were told to get off and walk down a muddy slope aka road to where the ranchera for Zumba was. Unfortunately it had slipped on the muddy surface and we had to wait for it to be dug out. Eventually it got moving and arrived Zumba approx 8PM. I was offered the bus terminal as a place to stop, so I assumed buses were still leaving for the north, but settled for a hotel in town. I never did get its name but it was OK for a night's sleep

The next day arrived at the bus terminal by 8AM to find the first, allegedly frequent, bus did not leave until 10AM.. It left the terminal with many seats spare but as most people just wait for it to go through town and hale it, by the time we had left Zumba it was full to capacity and more.

For the first two hours of the trip to Vilcabamba the road is still unpaved but it starts to improve at this point. We arrived in under six hours.

Could the journey be done in under a day? Probably if it was possible to either/or a)leave earlier b) sort out border transfer c) keep lucky

Brussels, Belgium
Level Contributor
6,710 posts
358 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Recommended route: Lima Peru to Vilcabamba Ecuador?

The fastest way is to use the Piura Loja bus.

Reply to: Recommended route: Lima Peru to Vilcabamba Ecuador?
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted
Get answers to your questions about Vilcabamba