Main Points of Entry
National flights arrive at Cuzco’s Aeropuerto Internacional Alejandro Velazco Astete but plans are pending to build an airport in the Sacred Valley near Chinchero. Buses (including international routes) go to the Terminal Terrestre in Cuzco.
Cuzco’s Aeropuerto Internacional Alejandro Velasco Astete receives national and international flights. Most arrivals come in the morning since afternoon conditions make landings and takeoffs more difficult. If you have a tight connection, it’s best to reserve the earliest flight available, as later ones are more likely to be delayed or canceled.
There are daily flights to Lima, Juliaca, Puerto Maldonado and Arequipa. Check in at least two hours ahead as overbooking errors are commonplace. During rainy season, flights to Puerto Maldonado are often seriously delayed. Departure taxes are included in ticket prices.
Official taxis from the airport to addresses near the city center cost S20 to S25.
Avianca Service to/from Lima Monday to Saturday.
LAN Direct flights to Lima, Arequipa, Juliaca and Puerto Maldonado.
Bus & Taxi
Travel times are approximate and apply only if road conditions are good. Long delays are likely during the rainy season, particularly to Puerto Maldonado or Lima via Abancay. This road is now paved, but landslides can block the road in the rainy season.
All international services depart from the terminal terrestre, about 2km out of town towards the airport. Take a taxi (S14) or walk via Av El Sol. After it turns into Alameda Pachacutec, pedestrians can walk on the median. Straight after the tower and statue of Pachacutec, turn right, following the railway lines into a side street, which reaches the terminal in five minutes.
To Bolivia, Transportes Internacional Litoral, Tour Peru, Transzela offer daily services to Copacabana (10 hours, S60 to S80) and, along with Transporte Salvador, La Paz via Desaguadero (12 hours, S80 to S120). This is the quickest way to get to La Paz.
Ormeño travels to most South American capitals.
Buses to major cities leave from the terminal terrestre. Buses for more unusual destinations leave from elsewhere, so check carefully in advance.
There are departures to Juliaca and Puno every hour from 4am to 11pm, and at random hours through the day. Cheap, slow options like Libertad stop to let passengers on and off along the way, so you can use them to access towns along the route. Mid-priced Transportes Internacional Litoral and CIAL are faster and more comfortable.
The most enjoyable way to get to Puno is via Inka Express or Turismo Mer, which run luxury buses every morning. The service includes lunch and an English-speaking tour guide, who talks about the four sites that are briefly visited along the way: Andahuaylillas, Raqchi, Abra la Raya and Pucará. The trip takes about eight hours and costs around S150.
Departures to Arequipa cluster around 6am to 7am and 7pm to 9:30pm. Ormeño offers a deluxe service at 9am.
Cruz del Sur and CIVA offer relatively painless services to Lima. Wari is the best of the cheaper options. Most buses to Lima stop in Nazca (13 hours) and Ica (16 hours). These buses go via Abancay and can suffer holdups in rainy season. Between January and April, it may be worth going via Arequipa (25 to 27 hours) instead.
Wari Palomino and Expreso Los Chankas depart every couple of hours through the day for Abancay and Andahuaylas (S45, nine hours). Change at Andahuaylas to get to Ayacucho via rough roads that get very cold at night. If you’re going to Ayacucho by bus, wear all of your warm clothes and if you have a sleeping bag, bring it on board the bus.
Various companies depart for Puerto Maldonado between 3pm and 4:30pm; CIVA is probably the best option.
Buses to Quillabamba via Santa María (4½ hrs) leave from the Santiago terminal, a brisk 20-minute walk from the center. Around the corner in Calle Antonio Lorena, many more companies offer air-conditioned, speedy comfort in the form of modern minivans that cost twice as much and cut a couple of hours off the trip. There are departures of both types of service at 8am, 10am, 1pm and 8pm. Change at Santa María to get to Santa Teresa. From Cuzco, only Turismo Cusco Imperial goes to Santa Teresa (S25, six hours), three times daily.
Transportes Siwar and other companies have buses to Ocongate and Tinqui (S10, three hours), the start of the Ausangante trek, leaving from behind the Coliseo Cerrado every half hour.
Several buses and minivans depart daily to Paucartambo (S9 to S12, three hours) from Paradero Control in distrito de San Jerónimo – a taxi will know where to drop you off.
The government may soon restrict the use of old colectivos; note that some of these services may be cut or reduced in the future. Most services run from at least 5am until 7pm. Early and late services may charge more.
- Minibuses to Calca (S6, 1½ hours) via Pisac (S4, one hour) leave frequently from the terminal at Tullumayo 207.
- Minibuses to Urubamba (S8, 1½ hours) via Pisac leave frequently from the terminal in Puputi 208, just north of Av de la Cultura.
- Minibuses to Urubamba (S6, 1½ hrs) and Ollantaytambo (S12, two hours) via Chinchero (S4, one hour) leave from near the Puente Grau. Just around the corner on Pavitos, faster colectivos leave when full for Urubamba (S7, one hour) and Ollantaytambo (S10 to S15, 1½ hours) via Chinchero.
- Colectivos to Urcos (S5, one hour) via Tipón (S1, 40 minutes), Piquillacta (S5) and Andahuaylillas (S5) leave from the middle of the street outside Tullumayo 207. For S80 they’ll drive you into the ruins at Tipón and Piquillacta, wait and bring you back.
- You can also get to the these destinations, and Saylla, by catching a minibus headed for Urcos (S5) from a terminal just off Av de la Cultura opposite the regional hospital. Shared taxis to Lucre (S3, one hour) depart from Huascar, between Av Garcilaso and Manco Capac, between 7am and 7pm.
- Minibuses for Limatambo (S12, two hours) and Curahuasi (S15, 3 hours) leave Arcopata when full, a couple of blocks west of Meloc, until about 3pm.
|Destination||Cost* (soles)||Duration (hrs)|
|La Paz (Bolivia)||80/120||12|
*Prices are general estimates for normal/luxury buses
Car & Motorcycle
Given all the headaches and potential hazards of driving yourself around, consider hiring a taxi for the day – it’s cheaper than renting a car. If you must, you’ll find a couple of car-rental agencies in the bottom block of Av El Sol.
Motorcycle rentals are offered by a couple of agencies in the first block of Saphi heading away from the Plaza de Armas.
Cuzco has two train stations. Estación Huanchac, near the end of Av El Sol, serves Juliaca and Puno on Lake Titicaca. Estación Poroy, east of town, serves Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu. The two stations are unconnected, so it’s impossible to travel directly from Puno to Machu Picchu. (Downtown Estación San Pedro is used only for local trains, which foreigners cannot board.)
You can take a taxi to Poroy (S30) or the station in Ollantaytambo (S80) from Cuzco. Return trips are slightly more expensive.
You can buy tickets at Huanchac station, and there are ATMs in the station, but the easiest way is directly through the train companies.
From January through March there is no train service between Cuzco and Aguas Calientes (for Machu Picchu) because of frequent landslides on the route. Instead, there's a bus from Estacion Huanchac to Ollantaytambo where you can board a train there for the remainder of the trip.
To Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu
The only way to reach Aguas Calientes (and access Machu Picchu) is via train (three hours).
Fares vary according to departure hours: more desirable times are usually more expensive. It is common for trains to sell out, especially at peak hours, so buy your ticket as far ahead of time as possible.
The quickest ‘cheaper’ way to get from Cuzco to Aguas Calientes is to take a combi to Ollantaytambo and catch the train from there. In low season (between December and March), service from the Cuzco terminal is discontinued and replaced with a bus from Cuzco to Ollantaytambo from where you continue by train.
Peru Rail The flagship service to Aguas Calientes, with multiple departures daily from Estación Poroy, 20 minutes outside of Cuzco. There are three service categories: Expedition (from S223 one way), Vistadome (from S261 one way) and the luxurious Hiriam Bingham (from S1153 one way). The Hiram Bingham includes brunch, afternoon tea, entrance to Machu Picchu and a guided tour. It runs daily except Sunday.
Inca Rail Has three departures daily from Ollantaytambo and four levels of service. Children get a significant discount. Environmentally sustainable business practice.
Peru Rail Andean Explorer, a luxury train with a glass-walled observation car, goes to Puno. Trains depart from Estación Huanchac at 8am, arriving at Puno around 6pm, on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday from November to March, with an extra departure on Friday from April to October. Lunch is included.