Los Organos to El Alto - Peru Bus Trip

by David Schneider
(Los Organos, Peru)

Looking north from curves to El Nuro

Looking north from curves to El Nuro

Looking north from curves to El Nuro
Pier at Cabo Blanco
EPPO station

What to expect when traveling from Los Organos to El Alto Peru or vice versa.


This is written heading south. If you are heading north, turn your laptop upside down.

Duration of bus ride: 22 minutes

Cost: Your ticket at the EPPO station in Los Organos (map) will cost you 2 soles at the time of writing.


General:
From Mancora and Los Organos, the standard bus company to El Alto is Eppo. In fact, it's the only one.

Option: Hire a colectivo.

Sit on the right side next to the window (seats #3, 7, 11, 15, 19, etc). EPPO leaves exactly on time, so don't expect to get on if you are 30 seconds late, seriously.

What you'll see:

  • Desert

  • Glimpses of the ocean

  • Algarrobo trees (carob)

  • Oil drilling and pumps

  • The person next to you

  • Probably rocks and other stuff

Timeline: Leaving Los Organos, the road cuts behind the bluffs and comes out in a wide flood plain. To the right is the ocean a ways off and the road off to El Nuro.

Just past that, you start to climb up from the coastal shelf. There are 23 tight, stomach-twisting switchbacks until you top out on the desert plateau of the El Alto oil field.

If you are quick and don't get car sick, find the perfectly round rocks about 20 inches in size exposed in the cuts made in grading the road. There is at least one on the left side that I have spotted.

These round rocks were apparently formed by boulders washing and rolling down from the Andes during an era of heavy rains. There are many in the area and the local folks like to use them to adorn their front porch posts, etc.

I don't know about round rocks on the right side of the road. If you get queasy, just hang on and don't look. Remember, the curves are over in 10 minutes or less.

A short way up the incline if your are inclined to look, you will catch a glimpse of a long pier wayyyy down at the ocean. It is a petroleum loading point I guess.

There are also beautiful beaches hidden down there with nice point breaks and little bays. For you surfers.

About 15 minutes from Los Organos, the road tops out on the much higher desert plateau. The EPPO bus turns off to the right to El Alto.

El Alto sits on the edge of the drop-off to the ocean about 1,000 feet below.

But you will not see that from the town. Unless you get off in El Alto for some reason.

There are several good reasons to get off in El Alto.

Reasons for quick stops:

  1. You are sick and need to heave

  2. You need to use the bathroom

  3. You want to buy a snack or drink

You might be able to do one of the above before the bus pulls out again. EPPO stops for 8-10 minutes in El Alto to discharge and recharge passengers. If you need to quick-stop, be sure to let the driver know you're coming back. Also let the senorita who collects tickets and checks the buses know you've got a ticket on down the road.

Reasons for long stops:

  1. You know someone in El Alto (highly unlikely, ever, unless your papa's in oil).

  2. You are a surfer.

  3. You are seriously into big-game fish fishing.

Surfing? Fishing? Yep. To get there, cross the street from EPPO. Next to the snack store walk down the culvert to the park. You'll see it easily, 2 minute walk.

There will be one or two combis (vans) there looking like they are loafing. They are waiting for you to take you to the famed Cabo Blanco, perfect barreling waves coming off the Pacific. World class when it's going off. For you surfers.

Or fishing. The world record marlin was caught off Cabo Blanco. CB was also frequented by Ernest Hemingway and possibly the setting for his classic, "The Old Man and the Sea."

El Alto itself boomed with the oil rush in late 50s through 1980s. It is still an oil town, shanty town, with the big bucks not stopping there.

If you are heading to Cabo Blanco (15 minutes by combi), ask the driver (chofer) to point out the site of the Clubhouse, Casino, and Swimming Pool that were busy back in the heydays.

That's it. Get back on the bus quick. If someone is in your seat, show him/her your ticket with the seat number on it. They will eventually give the seat up to you.

Note: EPPO is a great bus line, on schedule, comfortable, fairly clean.

Now, you're on your way north or south depending on if your laptop is a northy or southy.

Sit back, enjoy...drink plenty of water. Air temps are usually around 80+ F on this trip.



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