Cruz del Sur Sucks

cruz sucks

Cruz del Sur aka Curz del Sur Not Recommended!

I want to start off with saying I am completely disgusted with my entire experience with Cruz del Sur. Unless trouble is what you want on your journey I suggest that you try another bus line. While traveling through Peru with my Peruvian wife and our 3 kids we have taken many bus trips. Normally we try to get the best deal for the best service.

After a fun filled week in Vichayito Beac, Mancora, Peru we had to get home. We were unable to get seats on Civa Exclusiva and decided to try Cruz del Sur for the first and last time.

I have always compared the rates for Cruz del Sur and until now always chosen to take a more affordable bus line. They charge 12 soles that most of the other bus lines, and from the english website you get a feeling that it is a decent company. However, please do not be fooled with their advertising or shiney black buses.

Upon purchasing our tickets we were given a discount of 5 soles per ticket which was kind of strange. We chose 160 degree seating as they assured us that it was the best seating for the price. I am 6 feet tall and 220 lbs. Not chubby but athletic and the lady at the counter smiled and assured me that I would be happy with the accomidations.

The first problem we encountered was that the lady at the counter in Mancora said she did not have change. As we sat and waited for the bus to arrive several other would be passengers paid and we returned to the counter twice and were told that she still did not have change. I got the feeling that she was trying to steal 5 soles. As 2 other Cruz del Sur employees showed up for work I double checked my ticket which said 105 soles and then made certain the lady hear me tell my wife that if she didnt want to give us our change that I would be calling their corporate offices and filing a formal complaint.

Not the way you want to start a journey to say the least. The Cruz del Sur bus arrived 25 minutes late and we were rushed onto the bus. Once on the second floor I was utterly appalled to find that we were going to spend the next 23 hours smashed into tiny seats with little to no leg room. The Civa bus had already gone by 30 minutes before or I would have demanded a refund.

We had to get back to Lima for work and decided I would try to make the best of the ride as I spend 8 weeks living in the back of my compact Jeep Wrangler car camping in the Rocky Mountains and figured I could deal with not having ample room.

The 3rd problem we encountered was when the bus departed from the station and then we knew we were in for a long bumpy and very uncomfortable ride home. The bus looked brand new on the outside but had to be over 10 years old judging from the seat padding and overall condition of the inside. The ride was rough and so bumpy that 2 of our children and my Wife vomited from the constant shaking from side to side. I liked the experience to being lashed to the main sail of a small sail boat during a category 5 hurricane.

We kindly asked the attendant for some rubbing alcohol and motion sickness pills at the first stop to which he laughed and said there was no pharmacy. Then he moved on down the cabin to chat with the gringas onboard. A little while later we were served and the jerk attendant laughed and asked if I wanted all 5 of our meals as our kids were too sick to eat. The food was cold and mine looked like someone had chewed up some chicken and spit it out right on my plate. I did not eat this as I brought plenty of snacks on board.

Following a few old movies in english with spanish subtitles we tried to go to sleep. The seats are not full 160 degree seats and there is no foot room. The seats themselves are also a little smaller than most coach airline seats and very uncomfortable. I was very tired and fell asleap for 51 minutes until I was awakend by the bus swaying from side to side. For the next 4 hours I sat there with my eyes closed and half awake. I got up and went to the bathroom and it smelled like a chicken farm and there was urine all over the place.

We were served a muffin and a small sandwich for breakfast. We neared Lima and were stuck behind an traffic accident for about 45 minutes in the steep hills of Pasamayo where a truck had overturned. We got back on our way and passed the mega plaza in Comas before we hit grid locked traffic on the expressway. For the next 3 hours the driver sat in traffic moving less than 3 km. I undrestand traffic jams as I have encountered gridlock in NYC and LA but have no explanation for why the driver did not exit the expressway and get us moving. Instead he got into the far left hand land and just sat there.

We arrived 4 hours late and encountered another lazy employee at the baggage claim. One of my bags was the last one off the bus and I stood patiently awaiting the bag handler who was too busy staring at the wall to get my bag for me. I asked for it 8 times in spanish before another employee handed it to me. On the way out a Cruz del Sur employee bumped into my oldest step daughter knocking her to the ground and did not appologize or offer her a hand getting to her feet.

I have never before experiences such horror as this bus journey and I will never take Curz del Sur anywhere ever again. I plan to make it a point to inform all tourists visiting Peru about my terrible experience so that they will not make the same choose. Stay away from Cruz del Sur as you will regret it! I give them a rating of 0 Stars.

If you wish to debate my ratings I welcome you to post in comments.

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Mochileros Lorr Mancora Restaurant Review (***) stars

The Mochileros Lorr is located on the boardwalk linking the Panamerican highway to Mancora Beach. They serve Menu daily with a wide selection to chose from. Prices for Menu are s./7 soles and include a fruit juice drink.

The food in this open air eatery was decent but the best thing about this place was the 3 cold beers for 12 soles special that they run daily. I was even offered my beer for 4 soles as well. The Menu special for the day consisted of a choice of cebiche or chicharon de pescado with a maracuy passion fruit juice and your choice of entree ranging from fish to shrimp with different preparations. I chose the cebiche and chaufa con langostinos. The food was served prompty and the beer was ice cold, probably the coldest I encountered on the entire trip up north.

The Cebiche was fresh and the Chaufa con langostinos was pretty good. They also serve parilla de tuna which smelled fantastic. I recommend the Mochileros Lorr for a decently priced place to eat close to the main drag in Mancora, Peru. I give it a rating of 3 stars.

Mancora Peru Where to eat

Mancora is a tourist destination and there are tons of choices when it comes to dining be it a light lunch to a feast for dinner. The Panamerican Highway runs right the main strip of Mancora, where you will find a plethora of tourist shops, banks, atm’s, boticas / pharmacies, and plenty of restaurants to choose from.

Along the Panamerican Highway you will find that most of the restaurants are a little pricey, but Menu can still be found for as little as 5 Soles. For those who are not familiar with the Peruvian version of “Menu” it means that you are given a choice of starters, usually cebiche or papa huancaina or maybe chicarron de pescado, followed by you main dish of choice and a drink, normally a fruit extract or personal gaseosa ie soda like Inca Kola.

Among the Restaurants along the Panamerican Highway that I would recommend are the Mare e Monte Restaurant and Polleria. The chicken is good and the locals love the place. We went on for Father’s Day at dinner time and the place was packed. Prices are decent and the food is good.

I recommend staying away from the Espada Restaurant as well as the one just to the North of it as well as we had a quite nasty lunch at this place. The Espada we did not try due to reading numerous poor reviews prior to our trip. Prices here were also really high.

My best deals on fresh fish and seafood were found on the pedestrian street that leads to the main part of Mancora Beach. I ate at 3 different open air restaurants along this street and enjoyed Menu at all 3. The fish is fresh and the price is great for travelers on a budget. Menu here ranges from $7 to $10. Cerveza and cold beer is S./4 soles for a 660 ml bottle on this street as opposed to right on the beach where S./6 beers are the norm.

Restaurants that I recommend here are the Restaurant Tumi and the Mochileros Larr. The Mochileros larr had great cebiche and super cold beer as well as friendly staff.

Be sure to check out the hand made jewlery shop across from the Restaurant Tumi where you can find custom made jewelry ranging from alpaca with authentic mexican torquoise to sterling silver.

Night time I suggest trying a sit down dinner at one of the eateries to the south end of the Panamerican Highway. The Beef House in Mancora has a nice selection of steaks and american style baked potatoe to boot. There are a few pizza places and other assorted places for dinner too.

Cristo Rey Cebicheria Review ***1/2 Stars

Located in the Collectivo de Chira across from the Mercado de Limoncillo on the prolongacion Tacna just over the bridge in Rimac you will find a fantastic locals restaurant. I first ate here last year on the way to take my step daughters to school for a quick lunch, since then I have been back numerous times.

The Cristo Rey a small open air cebicheria inside the Chira Market with some fantastic food. They serve a different Menu special daily along with fresh cebiche and chicharon de calamar. Everything here is made fresh that day and I have not had a bad meal here. Price for Menu is S./5 soles or about $1.75 USD and changes daily.

Last week I tried their Menu special of Chupe de langostinos which was fantastic! It came with chicharon de calamari and cebiche for S./7 other choices for starters are papa huancaina. The chicharon is great and the cebiche is spiced perfectly.

They open around 11 AM and close late in the afternoon. The Cristo Rey is a great place to eat a tasty meal on a buget and the service is friendly and fast. Enjoy and maybe I’ll see you there!

Costa Blanca Hotel Mancora Peru (****) 4 Stars

Upon arriving at the Vichayito Costa Blanca Hotel located just south of Mancora, Peru we were greeted and shown around the property. They have 33 rooms including Matrimonial, Doubles and Triples. The rooms are larger than most that I saw while visiting Mancora. The bathrooms were very clean aswell. Ammenites include WIFI, tv with free dvd library, hot water 24 hours a day, and a patio overlooking the beach with table chairs and hammock. Vichayito Beach is fantastic! It is very clean and the water was very calm and serene. The pool is very clean and surrounded by a very nice deck with recliner beach chairs overlooking the ocean. The have a very nice restaurant which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. We were quoted for the triple with 2 adults and our 3 kids at a rate of $60 per night with a 3 night minimum stay which included continental breakfast for all of us.

Our stay at the Costa Blanca Hotel ended up being 6 days and 4 nights and we were allowed to check in upon arrival at 11 AM. We headed straight to the beach and then to the pool. It was the middle of June and the water temperatures were perfect. The sun here is very bright as Mancora, Peru is located in the Tropics, so do not forget your sunscreen. There are beach cabanas with chairs for guests. The beach is very clean and there is great snorkeling here just 200 meters to the north. We found around 10 sea horses washed up on the beach along with lots of sea shells.

Other activities include horseback rides right on the beach for 15 soles for 30 minutes per person to fooseball for the kids.

The pool at the Vichayito Costa Blanca Hotel is very warm and very clean. There is plenty of seating around the pool which is located just below the covered open air restaurant which houses a complete bar. Boat drinks such as Pina coladas and frozen daquaris are 15 soles along with spirits, wine and ice cold Pilsen beer in a bottle can be had for 6 soles. The restaurant serves food from 8AM until around 9PM. The menu ranges from large delicious chicken sandwiches for 10 soles to Langosta or Lobster a lo macho for 100 soles. Other items include fresh fish, shrimp, as well as lomo saltado and steaks. The food is first rate and the price is right on. We charged all of our meals to our room and paid the night before we checked out.

The nights are quiet and very peaceful with the rolling sound of the breaking waves heard from the balconies. Transportation to and from Vichayito Beach to Mancora is best done by mototaxi, which can be found in front of the hotel at the moto stand from 7AM-8PM or later. To get to the hotel as you are coming into Mancora heading north you take a left turn before the main bridge on the Panamerican Highway and head down the dirt road 2.5 Km. The do have parking and at night there are 2 security checkpoints to pass through when coming back from Mancora. A wide range of guests from Gringos to vacationing Peruvians, couples and families. We enjoyed our stay very much and plan to return. I rate the Costa Blanca Hotel at Vichayito Beach Mancora Peru 4 Stars for travel on a budget! (****)

Thank you for a wonderful stay and we’ll see you next time!

video credited to http://www.costablancademancora.com

Hotels Mancora, Peru

Our Bus from Lima to Mancora, Peru arrived in the morning about 30 minutes early.  As usual we chose to travel with no reservations, so that we could seek out the best accomidations for the cheapest price.

Upon exiting the Civa Exclusiva Bus we were instantly mobbed by the local mototaxi drivers turned travel agents.  Around 15 different mototaxi drivers surrounded us and started shoving hotel brochures in our faces saying they had the best rates.  We had a list made out ahead of time which I attained off www.vivamancora.com and jumped in one of the mototaxi´s and headed to the nearest hotel on the list.

Our first stop was Sahara Mancora located on the north end of Mancora Beach.  They showed me around the pool which was clean and the dinning area.  Continental breakfast was included in the price of $50 usd for a double beach front room.  The rooms were basic and lacking in Television.  I did not inquire if they had internet as we did not stay long.  They also had quadruple suite consiting of a bunk bed in one room with a queen size bed in the other with a bathroom in the middle of both rooms.  The beach at the Sahara on the north side of Mancora was really clean and seemed nice.  The rate on the quadruple was 80 sole a night, but did not have a view of the ocean so we moved on.

Next stop was the Mancora Beach Bungalows located in Las Pocitas Beach, also referred to as Mancora Chico just south of the pier.  The rooms were the same as the Sahara, small no TV but they said that they had WIFI internet.  The rate was quoted at $100 usd per night and the room had a view of one of their pools.  I did not see the beach at this place as the price was very steep.  No other guests were present.

We stopped at 2 more places which were fairly empty and continued heading south to see what Vichayito Beach had to offer.

More to come…..

Peru Top Rated Bus Tour – Civa Exclusiva 5 stars

Traveling cheap in Peru is easy and Civa bus lines is awarded my 5 star imperial ranking following my recent trip from Lima to Mancora Peru.  I set out to find the best deal on the best bus and took Civa Exclusiva line to Mancora because they had the best price and the newest buses.  I compared prices and accomidation for Civa, Cial, Flores and Cruz del Sur.

Civa Exclusiva’s rates are probably the best deal on the planet for the service provided.  The Price 150 soles about $52 USD for 180 degree realmente is more than 180 it should have said Luxury Rockstar Motor Coach.  Upon entering the brand new bus I was utterly amazed!  Brand new and you would not believe how much space you get!  Each 180 seat was in its own suite complete with personal 16″ LCD TV display, Plush super pluffy leather seat that reclined back way further than any other I have experienced and First Class service. .

Civa’s rate was 12 soles cheaper than all of the other bus lines 180 degree service.  They also have 1st piso 160 degree which was also very nice, just not as much room.  The 180 2nd piso is like none other that I have experienced.  You get 3 times the room and dont feel cramped at all.  I likend it to a private Leir Jet with atleast twice as much room as any other 180 cama bus line available.

The bus left on time and departed promptly heading north we enjoyed the typical bus food although it was a little better quality.  The ride was like being in the clouds with a super soft experience the entire way.  The Movies shown were currently in the movie theaters and dubbed in spanish with english sound.  The bathrooms were clean.  Even though we were on the second level the bus did not shake from side to side at all.  We arrived a little ahead of schedule the following morning.

After trying countless bus services throughout Peru I will only travel long distances on Civa Exclusiva from now on.  The price is better than the rest and the service in unmatched.  (*****) 5 Star Rating!

Thank you Civa for an amazing journey.