Don’t Have A Rental Car, Bunkie?

Then take the bus, it’s not so bad. You’ll be riding with very few chickens
BY: DAVID ZIVIC

“The Eagle has Landed”. The Spanish word for eagle is aguila and that’s the name of the bus line that’s running all these new bright blue buses you’re seeing on the highway.

Some are milk runs through the towns, stopping pretty willy nilly wherever someone along the road flags them down, or if someone inside the bus jumps up and stands by the door. The bus will pull over and the door will open for us. How did we bus riders learn that trick, from our dogs and cats? Well, it works for the critters, and on the bus, it works for us: The driver pulls over and opens the door for us if we stand there and stare at it. Some buses are express travelers, and no matter how intently you stare at that door, the driver’s not going to open it for you. You’re just going to have to hold it.

Let’s talk about getting from Cabo to La Paz. Águila has terminals in Cabo, Todos Santos, and La Paz. There are usually taxis hanging out at the terminals to push you further along on your journey.

Inside the bus, the next destination is announced with a modern lighted sign telling you what’s coming up. No need for the Door Stare, if the stop is on the sign, the bus will pull over and the magic door will whoosh open.

Pushed by powerful Volvo diesels, these babies are clan and quiet and smooth.

The 39 seats are first come first served and are plush and comfortable, upholstered recliners like your Lazy Boy at home.  The cabin is air conditioned and the large tinted windows have black out curtains. Presumably in case you’re on the lam or are a day sleeper. Of course there is a bathroom onboard.

You can pay cash or credit card for your ticket, which is available at the terminal. There seems to be a reliable system to call ahead for reservations, so then you just show up. (Don’t you know, as soon as I say that, you will try this so called reliable system and it will fall apart and your Lazy Boy won’t be there for you when you show up and you will blame me.)

The cost for the one hour trip from Cabo to Todos Santos is just over $8, and it’s another eight bucks to La Paz from there.

The buses zip up and down the highway frequently, and the terminals offer beverages or snacks and all offer food either at the terminal or there will be an adjoining restaurant, eager to cash in on the hungry passengers. This is not chef prepared, we’re talking tacos and tortas so if you need Gringo food, or you’re a picky eater, pack a lunch.

The Cabo San Lucas north bound has a versatile schedule starting to 6:30 AM Again 7:30, 9:00, 11:30, 12:00, 1:30, 2:30, 3:00 4:00, 6:00, 7:00, 8:00, 9:00, 10:00, and finally 11:00 PM. But we didn’t just tell you that, cause just as soon as god made little green apples, they’re going to screw it up and my credibility, which is golden, will be like mud. Call ahead. Then go early. And have a plan B.

Interestingly, the buses occasionally stop along the way to pick up and drop off people who live out on the ranchos. Usually they get off in what looks like downtown Bumfuck Egypt, just a cross road, really, and they have a long walk up into the hills to their home. These folks seem to be decked out in their Sunday best and often have items of produce. Nope, no chickens. Those colorful creatures seem to be a part of busing past.

The terminal in Cabo San Lucas is right across from the Pemex where you leave for the highway to head to Todos Santos. Next to the big U shaped gold four or five story plaza.

 The Todos Santos station is at the Parque de Pinos, again about 1 block from the Pemex. The La Paz bus station is right on the waterfront, one block from the cross street that actually has a name: 16th de Septembre. This one is bright, modern, and even has wifi computers to rent.

If you’re on a north bound and fall asleep, (remember the black out curtains, they can be treachous), Tijuana is $150 north. It leaves Cabo at 11:00 am and arrives in TJ the next morning at 6:00 am. They must drive slowly, because they drive straight through, no stops of more than 10 or 15 minutes. However, the buses that pass us on the highway, are going like a bat outta hell, so who knows? Along the way you can get off and order a quick to-go meal or stay on the bus, Gus, and reach out and grab the food the local women hand up at the end of a stick. Toss your money down to them very gently. Not at them. That’s rude. These ladies are just trying to make a living in a very harsh enviornemnt.

There is another way to get city to city, somewhat less comfy, and you will be riding in a van. Air conditioned, but still just a van.  Cost is $11, so you’re only saving about $5 and they depart Cabo about five times a day. Hey, for that five buck savings, take the bus with the Lazy Boys and the bathroom. Unless you’re carrying chickens with you. Then take the van.