Getting from Lima to Cusco
Lima is the capital of Peru and also the largest city in the country. It mixes the modern metropolis look with the old colonial architecture in the center and the unavoidable slum areas in the outskirts. It’s the best city to indulge in the local foods, especially the fish and seafood. Summers are usually nice with warm temperatures but winters are rainy and overcast.
Cusco , located in the Southern Sierras , was once the capital of the Inca Empire. Added to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list, Cusco is the base for those planning to explore Machu Picchu and other Inca sights in the region. But the city itself shouldn’t be missed either, with its superb colonial architecture and the near-by ruins.
With no rail between Lima and Cusco, if you plan to travel by land , the cheapest option will be the bus (but the bus ride is quite long). For about the double the bus fare you can fly between the two cities.
Flights from Lima (airport code: LIM) to Cusco*
Jorge Chavez International Airport (LIM) serves the capital of Lima and is the most important international gateway into the country. It’s also an important domestic hub. It is located about 11 km from the historical center and is hub for the following airlines: LAN Peru, TACA Peru, Peruvian Airlines, Star Peru and LC Busre.
Cusco is served by Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport (CUZ) , which is located right at the edge of the city. It is not hub for any airline and only handles domestic flights.
Flights between Lima and Cusco are operated by: LAN Peru, Peruvian Airlines , Star Peru and TACA Peru. The travel time is 1h 25 min and the single fare in 2012 is 473.30 Peruvian Nuevo sols (PEN) / US$176 on TACA Intl Air.
However, some airlines are not listed in the major flight search engines (such as Kayak) so booking directly from the Peruvian Airlines website means you’ll only pay US$118.50 one way (including the taxes).
Buses from Lima to Cusco
There are direct buses between Lima and Cusco and you can even book the ticket and reserve the seat on line.
Cruz del Sur offers three departures per day from Lima (2 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m). The travel time is 21 h and the single fare is US$68.38. On the way back, the buses leave Cusco at 2 p.m. , 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. The single fare is US64.66. You can buy the tickets online and even choose your seat in the bus.
Ormeno is another company which operates between the two cities . At the time the article was written we couldn’t find any buses between the two cities, although they list the route on the website (20 h trip).
>>read more about Bus Travel in Peru
Driving between Lima and Cusco
The shortest route (according to Google Maps) between Lima and Cusco is 925 km via the Panamericana Sur and Route 3S. But it’s not the shortest in terms of time needed to drive between the two cities (about 14 ½ h). If you stay on Panamericana Sur , you’ll be able to drive the distance in about 13 h and 15 min. Do plan for several stops along the way. The scenery is magnificent along the way. So, you can consider renting a car for this route (especially if there are more than one drivers traveling together).
Note:* when you look for the Cusco on the airlines websites or bus companies websites make sure to look for CUZCO, as that’s how the name of the city is spelled in Peru.