How to Get from Lima to Cusco

How to Get From Lima to Cusco

Welcome to the enchanting journey from Lima to Cusco! Whether you’re an adventurer, a culture seeker, or just craving a change of scenery, this guide will help you navigate the various options for traveling between these two vibrant cities. From buses to planes, and even a glimpse at organized tours, we’ve got you covered with all the essential details to make your journey as smooth as Machu Picchu’s stone-carved paths.

Nestled in the heart of the Andes, Cusco stands as a living testament to Peru’s rich history and diverse culture. As you leave the bustling streets of Lima behind, a world of ancient ruins, stunning landscapes, and warm Peruvian hospitality awaits.

Getting from Lima to Cusco

Getting from Lima to Cusco
Travel OptionDescriptionEstimated Travel Time
By PlaneFastest option. You’ll fly on an airplane from Lima’s airport to Cusco’s airport.Around 1.5 to 2 hours
By BusRoad journey on a bus. You’ll travel on highways and see the landscapes along the way.Approximately 20 to 24 hours (can vary)
By TrainNo train options

Please note that these travel times are approximate and can vary based on factors like weather, road conditions, or specific flight/train schedules. It’s important to check with the respective transportation providers for the most up-to-date information and accurate travel times.

Getting by Bus

Via Nazca – Arequipa – Cusco

For the adventurous souls who appreciate scenic routes, this option treats you to breathtaking views of the Nazca Lines and the majestic landscapes of Arequipa. The journey is around 24 hours, offering a chance to witness Peru’s changing terrain from desert to mountains.

Via Nazca – Abancay – Cusco

This route takes you through the ancient Inca trail to Cusco. The journey, though longer, around 30 hours, is a true visual delight, showcasing the Andean charm and natural wonders.

Via Huancayo – Abancay – Cusco

Experience the highlands of Peru on this road less traveled. The route combines the tranquility of Huancayo with the grandeur of Cusco. Although approximately 32 hours, this journey rewards with unique sights.

Pros and Cons traveling by bus

While bus travel offers a chance to soak in Peru’s diverse landscapes, it can be time-consuming and tiring. However, it’s an excellent option for budget travelers and those seeking an authentic experience.

Pros of Traveling by BusCons of Traveling by Bus
1. Scenic Views: You can enjoy the beautiful landscapes and scenery along the way.1. Longer Travel Time: Buses take more time than planes or trains to reach Cusco.
2. Affordable: Bus tickets are usually cheaper than plane tickets.2. Less Comfort: Buses might not be as comfortable as planes or trains, especially on long journeys.
3. Flexibility: There are various bus companies and schedules to choose from, providing some flexibility in travel times.3. Restroom Facilities: Restrooms on buses might not be as clean or convenient as those in other modes of transportation.
4. Local Experience: You get to interact with local people and experience the culture during stops.4. Motion Sickness: Some people might feel motion sickness on buses, especially on winding roads.
5. Opportunity to Stretch: Buses usually make stops where you can stretch your legs and grab a bite to eat.5. Limited Luggage Space: Bus luggage storage might be limited, so you need to pack efficiently.
6. Less Security Checks: Bus travel typically involves fewer security checks compared to air travel.6. Unpredictable Delays: Buses can be affected by traffic or road conditions, causing delays.
7. No Baggage Fees: Most buses allow you to bring luggage without additional fees.7. Language Barrier: Communication might be a bit challenging if you don’t speak the local language.

Getting by Plane

Flight Schedules

If time is of the essence, flying is the way to go. Flights from Lima to Cusco are frequent, allowing you to reach your destination in around 1.5 hours.

Prices and Airline Companies

Multiple airlines operate this route, such as LATAM, Avianca, and Sky Airlines. Prices vary based on factors like booking time and class, generally ranging from $100 to $300 USD.

  1. LATAM Airlines: LATAM is one of the major airlines in South America and offers frequent flights between Lima and Cusco. They provide various fare options, including economy and business class. Visit the LATAM Airlines website for information on schedules and prices.
  2. Avianca: Avianca is another prominent airline that operates flights between Lima and Cusco. They offer different fare classes to suit various budgets. You can find details on schedules and prices on the Avianca website.
  3. Sky Airline: Sky Airline is a low-cost carrier that provides nonstop flights between Lima and Cusco. They might offer competitive prices for budget-conscious travelers. Visit the Sky Airline website for more information.
  4. Jetsmart: Jetsmart is a low-cost airline that often provides affordable options for travelers. They might have budget-friendly fares for flights between Lima and Cusco. Check the Jetsmart website for more information.

Flight Connection from Lima

Lots of people who come from other countries want to go from Lima to Machu Picchu right away. But it’s not possible to go directly because there’s no direct way between these places. So, people have to take another flight from Lima to Cusco. This is usually what happens when people have a busy plan and just a few days in the country.

When this happens, remember that you have to go through a special check before your next flight. Also, it’s a good idea to get your tickets for Machu Picchu and the train early. You can do this through a travel office, online, or on the airline’s website.

Emigration Control

Remember to carry your passport and fill out the necessary immigration forms before landing in Cusco. The altitude might take your breath away, but don’t let it take away your documents!

Lima’s Jorge Chavez International Airport is like a busy meeting place for planes from faraway lands like North America, Europe, and Asia. Many of these planes stop here before going to other places. That’s why the part of the airport where they check who’s coming in (migration zone) is very careful and strict.

If you want to go from Lima to Cusco smoothly, remember two important things:

  1. Custom Declaration: This is a special paper where you tell how much money your things are worth, like what’s in your bags and backpack. If the airport checker looks and finds things you didn’t mention, and these things are worth more than $1,000 in money, you might need to pay a fee to enter Peru.
  2. Andean Card (Tarjeta Andina) TAM: This card is like a special note where you give more information about your trip. You write things like where you’re going, why you’re traveling, and where you’ll stay. The airport person keeps part of the card, and you keep the other part. It’s really important not to lose your part of the card because you’ll need it when you leave Peru.

Tips for getting by plane

If you’re planning to fly to Cusco, there are some helpful tips we’d like to share. These tips can also be useful if you’re traveling to other places in Peru. Check out these suggestions to make your plane journey more enjoyable:

  1. Early Booking for Savings: If you want a flight that’s budget-friendly, consider booking your tickets about 6 months ahead of time. This way, you can usually find flights with prices lower than the usual. Keep in mind that flights might cost more if you travel during the busy season (June, July, and August). On the other hand, May tends to be the least expensive month for flying.
  2. Timing Matters: Flights during the early morning and late night are often cheaper compared to those that leave during the day. If you’re looking to save money, try to choose flight times that fall within these periods.
  3. Consider Low-Cost Airlines: If you’re looking for ways to save money, consider flying with airlines like Jet Smart Peru or Sky Airline. These airlines are known as low-cost carriers and they provide nonstop flights from Lima to Cusco airport.

By keeping these tips in mind, your plane journey, whether to Cusco or any other place in Peru, can be more cost-effective and enjoyable.

Getting by Private Car

Traveling from Lima to Cusco by private car is a unique way to explore Peru’s landscapes. There are a couple of routes you can take, each offering different experiences. Here’s a simple explanation of these routes:

Route 1: The Central Route

This route takes you through the center of Peru, passing through the highlands and valleys. It’s a longer journey but offers picturesque views and a chance to see some smaller towns along the way.

  1. Lima to Huancayo: You’ll start in Lima and head east through the Central Andes. The road takes you through valleys and along the Mantaro River. Huancayo is a city you’ll pass through, and it’s known for its Andean culture.
  2. Huancayo to Ayacucho: From Huancayo, you’ll continue south through the mountains, eventually reaching Ayacucho. This city has a rich history and is famous for its colonial architecture.
  3. Ayacucho to Cusco: Finally, you’ll head southeast from Ayacucho to reach Cusco. This part of the journey takes you through more mountainous terrain, and you’ll get closer to the Andes.

Route 2: The Coastal Route

This route takes you along the coast of Peru, offering a different set of sights. It’s generally faster than the central route but might have fewer mountain views.

  1. Lima to Ica: Starting from Lima, you’ll head south along the coast to Ica. This region is known for its sand dunes and wineries.
  2. Ica to Nazca: From Ica, you can continue south to Nazca, famous for its Nazca Lines—large ancient geoglyphs in the desert.
  3. Nazca to Abancay: Traveling southeast, you’ll reach Abancay. This part of the journey starts to lead you into the mountains.
  4. Abancay to Cusco: Finally, you’ll head east from Abancay to reach Cusco. This leg of the journey takes you through some winding mountain roads.

Keep in mind that these routes can have varying road conditions, and it’s important to plan for stops, fuel, and accommodations along the way. Also, remember to have your vehicle properly maintained and equipped for the journey. It’s a great way to see more of Peru’s diverse landscapes, but it’s essential to be well-prepared.

Getting by Train

Unfortunately, there are no train routes between Lima and Cusco. But fear not, as other exciting options await!

Traveling with Organized Tours

For a hassle-free experience, consider joining an organized tour. These tours often combine transportation, accommodation, and guided excursions, providing a curated adventure without the stress of planning.

Contact us if you need plan your trip.

What is the Best Way to Get from Lima to Cusco?

The best way to get from Lima to Cusco is typically by plane. Taking a flight is the fastest and most convenient option. It helps you save a lot of time compared to traveling by bus or train. The flight takes about 1.5 to 2 hours, while other options can take much longer.

Flying also gives you the chance to rest and enjoy the stunning aerial views as you travel between these two cities. Since Cusco is a popular tourist destination, there are frequent flights available, making it easy to find one that fits your schedule.

While other modes of transportation like buses or trains can offer unique experiences and sights, the plane is the top choice for travelers who want to reach Cusco quickly and efficiently. It’s a practical option, especially if you have limited time to explore and want to make the most of your stay in Cusco.


What’s the distance between Lima and Cusco?

The distance between Lima and Cusco is approximately 1,100 kilometers (about 680 miles) by air.

Are there night flights from Lima to Cusco?

Yes, there are night flights available from Lima to Cusco. Flying during the night can sometimes offer cost savings, but it’s essential to check the flight schedules.

Can I drive from Lima to Cusco on my own?

Yes, you can drive from Lima to Cusco, but it’s a long journey that takes about 20 to 24 hours by car. It’s important to be well-prepared, have a reliable vehicle, and understand the route and road conditions.

Are there any direct buses from Lima to Cusco?

Yes, there are long-distance buses that operate between Lima and Cusco. These buses usually take a considerable amount of time, often around 20 to 24 hours.

Is it safe to travel by bus in Peru?

Traveling by bus in Peru is generally safe, but it’s important to choose reputable bus companies and check the condition of the vehicles. Also, consider taking daytime buses for better visibility and safety.

When is the best time to travel from Lima to Cusco?

The best time to travel depends on your preferences. May is often considered the cheapest month to fly, while flights during the high season (September, October, and November) might be more expensive.

Do I need to go through customs when connecting flights in Lima?

Yes, if you’re coming from abroad and connecting flights in Lima, you’ll need to go through customs and immigration before catching your connecting flight to Cusco.

What’s the altitude difference between Lima and Cusco?

Lima is at a lower altitude near sea level, while Cusco is at a much higher altitude of about 3,400 meters (11,200 feet). Be prepared for altitude-related adjustments when traveling to Cusco.

Is it recommended to book Machu Picchu and train tickets in advance?

Yes, it’s highly recommended to book your Machu Picchu entry tickets and train reservations in advance. This helps secure your spot and ensures a smoother visit to the iconic site.

Is there a direct train from Lima to Cusco?

No, there is no direct train connection between Lima and Cusco. The train journey between these two cities is not possible.


Embarking on the journey from Lima to Cusco is an adventure in itself. Whether you opt for a scenic bus ride, a quick flight, or a leisurely drive, each option has its unique charm. Consider your priorities, whether it’s time, budget, or experience, and choose the mode of travel that suits you best. As you journey from Peru’s coastal capital to its Andean gem, get ready to uncover the wonders that lie in between. Safe travels!

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