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From Lima to Cusco

From Lima to Cusco

When we talked about the main attractions in Lima, we were also stating that Lima is the best starting point for your trip, as it’s very well connected to other key points of interest in the country. Particularly, Cusco is a necessary stop along the way when you travel from Lima to Machu Picchu. Here, we’re going to see how to get from Lima to Cusco.  

Cusco is a city about 1100km (685 miles) from Lima. If you want to compare, it’s about the same driving distance that you would do from Venice to Paris! Nevertheless, the complicated road conditions, plus the rent and fuel costs make the car a choice that is not necessarily the easiest. That’s why here we’re going to focus on other possibilities you can take from Lima to Cusco:

By Plane

how to get to cuscoTo get to Cusco, you’ll be flying from another Peruvian city (international connections are from neighbouring countries only). From Lima, you’re talking about a flight of about an hour and 15 minutes. The plane will have to cross over the Andes mountain range, so turbulence is part of the menu. When you see how much time a flight takes and you compare it to the bus, you probably think that the plane is the best way to save up some time…BUT
When travelling from Lima, you’re coming from 100 m. above sea level (328 feet) into an altitude of over 3400m. (11150 feet). What does this mean? Altitude Sickness The oxygen levels at that altitude are way less than what you were experiencing in Lima, and your body will make sure you know that! Dizziness, headaches, nausea, loss of appetite and fatigue are among the common symptoms. You will have to allow for a window of 24-48 hours until you get used to the sudden change, so the first couple of days you’re going to have to take it veeeeery easy.

from lima to cuscoBy Bus

Since the plane includes that inconvenience, plenty of people choose to go by bus. The journey takes between 21-28 hours, some of them with stops along the way to reduce the risk and allow your body to get used to the altitude. Does it guarantee that you’ll be 100% OK? No, you can still experience some discomfort, but the risk decreases significantly because you’re moving gradually. Some of the companies operating are Cruz del Sur, Ormeño, and Oltursa.
Buses can take different routes: one is Lima-Nazca-Cusco (passing by Amancay) which is the fastest (21-22 hours), but not recommended due to the conditions of the road and steep curves, making it very unsafe. The alternative way is to go through the route Lima-Nazca-Arequipa-Cusco. It takes longer (26-27 hours), but it’s safe and with great scenery along the way. You can also take some time in the middle to explore some more, take a look here to know what to do in Arequipa!
A special bus company to consider is Peru Hop, they offer the possibility to combine different destinations spread across the country hoping on and off the bus. This is an option for people with plenty of time in their trip, but it’s definitely one of the most popular choices to get from Lima to Cusco.

By train

how to get to cusco by trainThere’s no direct connection between Lima and Cusco by train. What you can do instead is travel from Lima to Arequipa, and from there a train connects Arequipa-Puno-Cusco. You can also board directly from Puno towards Cusco. The train route between Puno and Cusco is considered among the most beautiful in the entire world. It’s also a luxury experience: the costs are around 200USD and it takes about 10 hours. To this, you have to add the costs and time to get to Arequipa or Puno. Check out all the details here.

Anything else?

We have so many things to tell you about Cusco, that one article wasn’t enough! If you don’t know where to start, we’ve picked the best things to do in Cusco here.

Map of the road from Lima to Cusco

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