How to get from Lima to Cusco?

how to get from lima to cusco

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The Inca Empire capital is recognized worldwide and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For this reason, it is not surprising that you want to visit it. As one of the most common places of origin is usually the capital of the country, today we explain how to get from Lima to Cusco

Surely during your trip to Peru you want to see Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley, both in Cusco. Another reality is that you land in Lima, so we’ll tell you how to get from the country’s capital to Cusco.

Are you ready? You’ll see it’s simpler than you think. You can also read about our Peru travel experience, feel like you’re already there and see how we moved.

Machu Picchu Ruins from afar

Traveling by bus

Taking the bus from Lima to Cusco is a direct and long journey. You’re likely to run into some locals, enjoy the scenery in a unique way and can feel the adventurous spirit in every corner. Aaah and it’s the cheapest way to get from Lima to Cusco!

Every day several buses head to the Inca Empire capital . There are many companies offering this service, such as Cruz del Sur, Tepsa and Oltursa.

There is no central bus terminal in Lima. In case you want to look on Google Maps, there is the Plaza Norte terminal and Oltursa Aramburu. If you leave Lima from the latter terminal, you’ll arrive at Oltursa Terminal Terrestre in Cusco.

But how do you book? We recommend you to buy the ticket a couple of days in advance on the website. The price of these tickets is between 24 and 60 USD, depending on the level of comfort you want.

Bus station

There are two bus routes to get to Cusco, the first lasts between 18 and 21 hours. In addition, you will pass through Nazca and Abancay to Cusco. We do not recommend it as it has a lot of curves and can be dangerous.

The second option is to go through Nazca, then Arequipa and arrive in Cusco. The journey is safer, more comfortable and takes about 23 hours. We invite you to stop in Arequipa for the Colca Canyon Tour. Seeing it from the bus window is nice but…it lacks excitement.

views of the colca canyon

Arriving by plane

The second way to get from Lima to Cusco is by plane. This is the fastest way, the journey takes 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Flights depart from Jorge Chavez airport, in Lima, and the first turn is at 5 am. You will land at the Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport, 2 mi from the center of Cusco.

On arrival at your final destination you will be eager to see Machu Picchu in one day and get to know the area, or perhaps you just want to rest. In any case, we recommend that on the first day in Cusco you take it easy, to adapt to the altitude.

You can fly with Star Peru, LAN Peru, TACA and AeroCondor, Peruvian airlines that are cheaper. Round-trip tickets can be purchased online and are between 60 and 100 USD.

You already know that if you buy them in advance the price will be cheaper. Booking 4 weeks in advance or more is ideal. Also, the cheapest month to travel to Peru is May.

Plaza de Armas in Cusco

Traveling by train

One thing is clear: there are no direct trains to get from Lima to Cusco. But, if you are a rail enthusiast, you can go by bus to Arequipa and then to Puno. From here you can take a train to Cusco. You should keep in mind that you will be 10 hours accommodated in your seat.

Arriving by car

If you are looking for a more exclusive trip, renting a car and driving 19 hours to Cusco always gives you more freedom. It is 100% up to you to decide where and when to stop.

The route of your road trip could be: drive by the Central Highlands route through the Andes. On the first leg you head to Huancayo (6 – 8 hours) and on the second to Ayacucho (6 – 8 hours). On the next leg you head to Andahuaylas (5 hours) and from there you are on your way to Cusco (7-9 hours).

During this tremendous route you get to know the most popular destinations in the Peruvian highlands. And few are those who are encouraged to drive through these corners.

salkantay mountain

What is the best way to travel from Lima to Cusco?

It all depends on your interests, the availability of time and money you have and your adventurous spirit. The cheapest option is the bus and you will be able to see the scenery from your window.

The fastest option to get from Lima to Cusco is by plane. Also, if you look ahead of time and find cheap flights it is the best option.

Finally, if you go by car you can make as many stops as you want, but 19 hours driving is a lot of hours. You will have to consider the trip as a road trip of several days, and if you are accompanied, all the better! You can take turns at the wheel 🙂

Time Cost
Bus 18h-22 hours from 17$
Plane 1 h and 10 minutes from 35$ (50$-100$)
Car 19 h 688 mi

Now you know how to get from Lima to Cusco! Which option did you like the most? Are you ready to discover the secrets of the Incas?

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