Cusco, the former capital of Incas, nestles at 3399 metres above sea level (11152 ft.). It serves as a gateway to many attractions like Sacred Valley, renowned Inca citadel – Machu Picchu (Aguas Calientes), Rainbow Mountain and more.
Lima to Cusco – Almost every traveller who reaches Lima, the Peruvian Capital and home to the country’s major international airport are divulged by this question. How to get from Lima to Cusco? or How to get to Machu Picchu from Lima?
Cusco being the gateway to the world wonder Machu Picchu, you will need to stop by this ancient Incan capital city before heading to Machu Picchu.
You can get from Lima to Cusco by flight or by bus. There are no train services between these two cities.
Flying from Lima is the easiest and the safest way to reach Cusco. There are five major airlines in Peru offering regular scheduled flights to Cusco from Lima. LatAm, Avianca, StarPeru, SKY Airlines and Viva Air operate daily flights from Lima to Cusco and vice-versa.
Tip: Try to book a window seat as you will get captivating views of the Andes Mountains as you will descend to Cusco.
The travel time from Lima to Cusco by air is normally an hour and 20 minutes. However, this entirely depends on the weather in Cusco. Lima sits on the coast and Cusco is high up at 3,399 meters in the Andes.
Hence the weather in Cusco is unpredictable. Usually, the route is quite clear and it is very rare to have flight delays and cancellations, especially during rainy seasons.
The price of the ticket depends entirely on the airline you choose. Viva Air, LaTam and Sky Airlines tend to have much lower price ranges. At times tickets on these airlines could be as low as 17 USD per person each way.
However, low cost flight tickets also come with numerous restrictions like restriction in hand carry, additional cost for check-in bags and preferred seat selections. Infact, Viva airlines and Sky Airline also charge additional fees to print your boarding pass at the airport.
On the contrary, Avianca and Star Peru have a reputation of allowing one free check-in bag and have less restrictions than the former three airlines. Plan your trip in advance and you will get a better deal on airfares.
Cusco is served by its only airport, Alejandro Velazco Astete Airport (CUZ). The airport is located roughly 5 kilometres away from Cusco’s main square, Plaza De Armas. Getting to and from the airport is safe.
However, it is highly recommended to get a taxi from within the terminal. It would normally cost somewhere between USD 12 and USD 15 for upto three people.
We at Happy Gringo Tours can organise airport transfers upon prior notice. If you are planning on going straight to Ollantaytambo, we also operate taxi service on this route.
Bus ride from Lima to Cusco is quite long and could be physically quite challenging. However, Peru has a reputation of operating comfortable busses with good safety standards on its roads. It normally takes around 22 hours to 24 hours bus ride from Lima to Cusco.
Cruz Del Sur, CIVA and Tepsa are some of the reputed bus companies with excellent safety standards and award winning on-board service. They offer meals on board, hand over pillows and blankets and also have restrooms on-board.
The price depends on the company you choose and the class of service or cabin you opt for. However, expect to pay somewhere between 25 USD to 50 USD per person each way.
Getting from the bus terminal in Cusco to the centre of the city is quite simple and cheap. There are plenty of taxis outside the bus terminal and would charge somewhere 10 – 15 Soles. Be prepared to haggle before you board one.