How to get to Cusco?

Cusco is one of the most famous tourist destinations on the planet. Its main attraction, without a doubt, is Machu Picchu. Only the Inca city receives more than 1.5 million visitors a year. To get there you must take a flight from the city of Lima, capital of Peru. Although there is also the possibility of taking a bus. The trip by air takes a little over 1 hour. The trip by land, approximately 20 hours. You can also start from other cities such as Arequipa, Puno, Puerto Maldonado or even La Paz (Bolivia). Learn more about this route to the ‘Navel of the world’.

Plaza de armas del Cusco
Main Square of Cusco

Location of Cusco on the map

The city of Cusco is located in the south of Peru, in the middle of the Andes Mountains. It is located more than a thousand kilometers away by road from the city of Lima, capital of the country.

How much does it cost to get to Cusco?

There are several ways to get to Cusco. Most tourists arrive by plane trip from the city of Lima. Few others prefer to take a bus to do this route. Know the average budget for this trip:

How to get to Cusco?
Approximate price
By plane from LimaStarting at 70 USD per person
By bus from LimaStarting at USD 20 per person
By bus from Arequipa (Peru)From USD 15 per person
By bus from Puno (Peru)From 10 USD per person
By bus from Puerto Maldonado (Peru)From USD 15 per person
By bus from La Paz (Bolivia)Starting at USD 20 per person

How to get to Lima from abroad?

Lima receives direct returns from the main airports in Europe, North America, Asia, Africa and Oceania. So, the first step to get to Cusco is to take a flight to the Jorge Chávez airport in the city of Lima in Peru.

If you come from South America, in addition to this option, you have the chance to cross the border and arrive by bus (the trips are long and tiring). Lima airport receives direct flights from all of South America as well as the cities of: Amsterdam, London, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, ​​Punta Cana, Havana, San José, Mexico City, New York, Los Angeles, Orlando, Houston, Miami , Atlanta, New Jersey, Montreal, Toronto, Cancun and more.

The price of the flight to Lima depends on where you are in the world. Keep in mind that some countries require a ‘Visa’ to enter Peru. The countries that do not need a ‘Visa’ (they only need your passport) are: the countries of the European Union, the United States, Canada, Mexico, Japan, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

And from Lima to Cusco?

Once in the city of Lima, you must choose whether to go to Cusco by plane or by bus. There are several airlines that in total offer an average of 40 daily departures. The trip takes approximately 1 hour 5 minutes. You can book your plane ticket online. It is best to do it in advance as this way you can get better prices.

The bus route lasts 20 hours or even more. In the city of Lima there are several land terminals where you can purchase the bus ticket: Atocongo land terminal or La Victoria land terminal. Some services include food during the trip. Others do not. Tickets can be purchased at the same land terminal.

Whether you travel by plane or bus, remember that you can stay a few days in Lima and get to know some of its most famous tourist attractions: the Miraflores neighborhood, the Barranco neighborhood, the archaeological site of Pachacamac, the archaeological site of Caral and more. The capital of Peru is close to the sea, while Cusco rises 3,400 meters above sea level.

International Airport of Cusco
Cusco international airport

How to get to Cusco from other cities in Peru?

Some tourists decide to visit other cities in Peru before going to Cusco. The main tourist destinations are: Arequipa, Puno and Puerto Maldonado. From there you can get a flight to Cusco. However, due to its proximity, most tourists prefer to go by bus.

From Arequipa – The ‘White City’ (located 508 kilometers from Cusco) has highly visited tourist attractions like the famous Colca Canyon ‘. The bus trip by road lasts 9 hours on average. At the Arequipa land terminal there are bus tickets from $ 15 per person. It can be purchased at the same terminal.

From Puno – The highland city is about 386 kilometers from the city of Cusco. Its main tourist attractions are: Taquile Island, the floating island of Uros and the different towns located on the islands and around the immense Lake Titicaca. The bus trip is approximately 6 hours 30 minutes. The cost is $ 10 per person on average. You can get tickets at the Puno land terminal.

From Puerto Maldonado – This jungle city is located about 477 kilometers from the city of Cusco. Its main tourist attractions include: Tambopata, Lake Sandoval and the Manu National Reserve. The bus trip costs approximately $ 20. The route lasts 9 hours 40 minutes, approximately. You can get bus tickets in the same city of Puerto Maldonado.

Can I get to Cusco by bus from other countries?

Peru is a border with 5 countries: Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Chile and Bolivia. From these countries you can travel by bus to the city of Lima and other regions of Peru. However, the closest city to Cusco is La Paz in Bolivia.

The distance from La Paz (capital of Bolivia) to Cusco is 651 kilometers. Many tourists choose to do this route in which they can first get to know Bolivia and its tourist attractions: Salar de Uyuni, the Colorada lagoon, Tiahuanaco, Copacabana and more. Then, travel by bus to Cusco.

Bus tickets from La Paz to Cusco have an approximate cost of 25 dollars. You can get tickets at the different land terminals in the Bolivian capital. The trip lasts approximately 9 hours 40 minutes. La Paz airport receives flights from different countries of the world.

Some tips for your trip

Cusco is located in the heart of the Andes Mountains. Due to its mountainous geography, it is common for visitors to feel at least some of the symptoms of altitude sickness: fatigue, headache, nausea, agitation when exerting physical effort and even insomnia. Whether you travel by plane or bus, we recommend using the first day in Cusco to acclimatize.

Air travel is the most comfortable, fast, but also the most expensive option. Because of this, it is advisable to book airline tickets online and in advance. If you make your purchase at the last minute, the cost of the flight will be more expensive than normal.

There are two different routes for the bus trip from Lima to Cusco. The first and fastest goes through the city of Abancay. The second, longer, crosses the city of Arequipa. You can choose to make a stop at some of these sites to learn more about Peru.


By Machupicchu Terra – Last updated, August 28, 2023

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