How To Get From Lima To Cusco Peru

{The Certified Guide}

How To Get From Lima To Cusco | cusco city

How To Get From Lima To Cusco Peru

{The Certified Guide}

Although getting from Lima to Cusco Peru might at first seem like a daunting task, it is actually quite a simple one.

There are two main options when it comes to traveling from Lima to Cusco.

You can take the quicker option and fly to Cusco from Lima or you can opt to take the more scenic route and catch the bus to Cusco instead.

In this blog, I have taken the liberty of listing the pros and cons of how to get from Lima to Cusco by bus and plane in order to help you decide.


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Traveling From Lima To Cusco By Bus

Taking the bus is always one of the most affordable methods of traveling to Cusco from Lima.

For any traveler who is on a tight budget and on a more relaxed schedule, the bus is an excellent option.

How To Get From Lima To Cusco Peru

The bus to Cusco is always extremely affordable, no matter when you finally decide to book, with prices typically as low as $19 USD (when you opt to travel with companies other than Cruz Del Sur).

Although taking the bus is always one of the most popular options because of its particularly affordable prices, keep in mind that it takes a whopping 24 hours to arrive in Cusco.

I know the screenshot from says it takes around 21-22 hours to arrive, however, these estimates are often inaccurate by 1 – 2 hours.

lima to cusco bus schedule

Cusco is separated from Lima by the massive Andes Mountain range which is the reason for the extremely long travel times. However, despite the long travel times, the bus to Cusco is actually quite comfortable.

I traveled on the bus company Cruz Del Sur, which is one of the highest-rated sleeper buses in Peru and typically one of the first to sell out.

Some of the seats on these buses recline to a max of 180 degrees making it the perfect way to catch up on some sleep during the long journey.

ica bus station

And in case you are wondering, there is a bathroom on the bus along with WiFi, though I wouldn’t exactly count on it.

I recommend grabbing your tickets from which offers excellent rates for an assortment of bus companies throughout Peru.   

lima to cusco busbud screenshot

Traveling From Lima To Cusco By Plane

The fastest and easiest way to travel from Lima to Cusco is by plane.

For any traveler who is on a strict time frame or just doesn’t feel like dealing with the hassles of taking the bus to Cusco, the plane is a great option.

How To Get From Lima To Cusco Peru

The flight is extremely affordable and only takes around 1 hour and 25 minutes to reach Cusco.

Which compared to the alternative 24-hour bus ride is quite awesome.

Additionally, flights from Lima begin at around 5 a.m, giving you the possibility to arrive in Cusco with the full day ahead of you. 

If booked ahead of time, flight prices can be as low as $45 USD, which is probably one of the cheapest flight routes you will find in Peru. 

From Lima To Cusco Peru _ flight from lima to cusco

There are an assortment of airlines offering direct flights to Cusco from Lima, departing many times throughout the day.

Vivaair, Sky, and Latam are the most popular airlines with direct flights between Lima and Cusco.  

I personally recommend booking your flights through the Skyscanner website which offers some of the cheapest rates to fly in Peru.

Although taking a flight from Lima is the quickest and easiest travel option for getting to Cusco, there are a few things to keep in mind.


Things To Consider When Flying To Cusco From Lima


Altitude Sickness

For those that are not aware, the city of Cusco sits at around 11,200 feet above sea level. On the other hand, Lima is 505 feet above sea level.  This dramatic shift in elevation can easily induce altitude sickness for some people.

Which is why a majority of travelers report feeling sick for the next two days after the flight from Lima to Cusco.

Although the alternative option of taking the bus doesn’t completely eliminate the chances that you will come down with altitude sickness after your trip to Cusco, it does at least give you 24 hours to get acclimated to the drastic change in elevation. 

humantay lake tour


Book Your Cusco Flights Early

The second thing to keep in mind when planning to travel from Lima to Cusco is to book your tickets ahead of time.

If you wait until the last minute to book flights, you will notice a dramatic increase in ticket prices when compared to if you had booked several weeks in advance.

I made the same mistake of waiting until the last minute to book my tickets and ended up taking the bus instead because ticket prices had increased to well over $150 USD. 


Frequently Asked Questions

Can you take a train from Lima to Cusco?

Unfortunately, there are no trains from Lima to Cusco so your only two options are to either fly or take the bus.


How Long Is The Bus From Lima To Cusco… Like Actually?

The bus takes 24-25 hours to arrive in Cusco departing from Lima, despite what the websites may show.

Buses must first travel to the city of Ica (where the Huacachina Desert Oasis is located) before they continue on the route to Cusco.

During my Peru trip, I took the bus from Huacachina to Cusco instead which was approximately 20-21 hours travel time, however, the bus from Lima to Huacachina takes about 4 hours in itself.

Therefore, expect total travel time to be at most 25 hours. 


Should I Travel To Cusco From Lima?

 Although this is one of the most popular routes to take for anyone backpacking Peru, I actually advise against it. 

Not because there is anything wrong with this route, but because there is a better way to get to Cusco that would allow you to see the Huacachina Desert Oasis along the way.

Keep in mind, the bus from Lima must pass through the town of Ica in order to reach Cusco. Ica is where Huacachina is located, so it only makes sense to stop here before continuing onward towards Cusco.

There are plenty of awesome things to do in Huacachina and it is, in fact, one of my favorite destinations in all of Peru. 

Not to mention that by traveling to Huacachina from Lima first helps to break up the exceptionally long trip to Cusco from Lima.

I don’t know about you, but it sounds like a no brainer to me. 

best things to do in huacachina 

Should I Fly Or Take The Bus From Lima To Cusco?

There is no right or wrong answer here because it is all based on your individual budget and travel time.

If you are on a stricter schedule and don’t mind spending a little extra money for the flight to Cusco then this is your best option.

Just be sure to keep in mind the increased possibility that you will feel the effects of altitude sickness because of the drastic change in elevation in such a short amount of time.  

On the other hand, if your schedule is more relaxed and you are planning your trip as you go, taking a bus to Cusco allows you to be more flexible with your schedule.

In addition to the flexibility, it also allows you to stay within budget and avoid paying those increased flight rates for booking last minute.

Finally, one of the biggest benefits of taking the bus from Lima to Cusco is the opportunity to stop and stay a few days in the magical Huacachina Desert Oasis along the way. Some of the most popular things you can see while you are in Huacachina are the Nazca lines, Paracas, The Lost Canyon, and Ballestas Islands.

For more on these attractions and others, be sure to check out our top 11 things to do in the Huacachina Desert Oasis blog.

Therefore, to me, this opportunity alone makes spending the extra time on the bus worth it.

huacachina desert oasis peru


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