Jaza's World Trip

Ayacucho to Cusco bus ride

This was the longest bus journey that I've undertaken so far on my trip. It was about 24 hours in total: I left Ayacucho at about 7pm last night; we stopped and changed buses this morning at Andahuaylas; and I finally arrived in Cusco at about 7pm this evening. The ride was tedious through the night, and not overly comfortable the whole way; but the Andean highland scenery during the day was spectacular and intriguing, and it made the whole trip worthwhile.

Ayacucho to Cusco is not a main route, and as such, the big bus companies such as Ormeño don't cover it. The company that I went with — Expreso Los Chankas — is one of a few local ones that do cover it. Chankas offer a good, popular, and regular service (thrice daily), but they're also a bit cramped and chaotic.

The road is unsealed from Ayacucho to Abancay (i.e. about ¾ of the way), and it also winds — often treacherously — through the massive peaks of the Andes. Most of the way, it isn't wide enough for two vehicles to pass each other: we had a tricky situation at one point, where we passed a huge lumber truck. There are also animals on the road to watch out for, as most of the surrounding farmland is unfenced.

Heavenly view on the road.

I awoke from a bumpy sleep this morning, to have this view staring back at me out of my window. Absolutely dazzling. Colossal cliffs and mountaintops all around, and serene wisps of cloud hugging them tenderly, and floating in a mesmerising sea below me. It was certainly a sight to make me wake up fast, and to hurriedly look for my camera.

Our road was often so high up, that clouds were anywhere and everywhere. Floating above us, below us, around us, and in the valleys to the side. The scenery would have been beautiful enough without them, but they certainly added an extra something.

The landscape was wilderness some of the way, but most of the time — no matter how seemingly remote and inaccessible our surroundings were — farms and villages peppered the way, and there were people and animals everywhere. It's the exact opposite of Australia, where most of the country is totally desolate, and where there truly is nothing and no-one from one town to the next. Here, there are Quechuas (Andean natives) farming every hillside — no matter how high up, how steep, or how faraway it might be — as they have done for thousands of years.

That's another thing that struck me as amazing about this countryside: I imagine that apart from a few things — such as telephone lines, and the odd ute or truck — the people, the buildings, and the farms look just as they have for centuries.

Every now and then, a local would hail the bus from the side of the road, and would hitch a ride with us for half an hour or an hour. Not sure whether or not they had to pay for this; but anyway, this is certainly different to how coaches work in many other parts of the world. Everyone is friends out here.

Filed in: AndahuaylasBus tripsStunningLocals