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Air

Getting around by air

Domestic-flight schedules and prices change frequently. New airlines open every year, as those with poor safety records close. Most big cities are served by modern jets, while smaller towns are served by propeller aircraft.

Airlines in Peru

Most domestic airlines have offices in Lima. Smaller carriers and charters are also an option. The most remote towns may require connecting flights, and smaller towns are not served every day. Many airports for these places are no more than a dirt strip.

Be at the airport two hours before your flight departs. Flights may be overbooked, baggage handling and check-in procedures tend to be chaotic, and flights may even leave before their official departure time because bad weather is predicted.

Most airlines fly from Lima to regional capitals, but service between provincial cities is limited.

LATAM Reliable service to Arequipa, Chiclayo, Cuzco, Iquitos, Juliaca, Piura, Puerto Maldonado, Tacna, Tarapoto and Trujillo. Additionally it offers link services between Arequipa and Cuzco, Arequipa and Juliaca, Arequipa and Tacna, Cuzco and Juliaca, and Cuzco and Puerto Maldonado. With international services as well.

LC Perú Flies from Lima to Andahuaylas, Arequipa, Ayacucho, Chachapoyas, Chiclayo, Cajamarca, Huánuco, Huaraz, Iquitos, Trujillo and Huancayo (Jauja) on smaller turbo-prop aircraft. Gets low marks for frequent cancellations and the difficulty in obtaining a refund.

Peruvian Airlines Flies to Arequipa, Cuzco, Piura, Iquitos, Jauja, Pucallpa, Tarapoto, Tacna and internationally to La Paz, Bolivia.

Star Perú Domestic carrier, flying to Ayacucho, Cuzco, Huanuco, Iquitos, Pucallpa, Puerto Maldonado and Tarapoto.

Viva Air Budget flights to Arequipa, Piura, Cuzco, Iquitos and Tarapato.

Tickets

Most travelers travel in one direction overland and save time returning by air. You can sometimes buy tickets at the airport on a space-available basis, but don’t count on it.

Peak season The peak season for air travel within Peru is late May to early September, as well as around major holidays. Buy tickets for less popular destinations as far in advance as possible, as these infrequent flights book up quickly. It’s almost impossible to buy tickets just before major holidays, notably Semana Santa (the week leading up to Easter) and Fiestas Patrias (the last week in July). Overbooking is the norm.

Discounts Domestic flights are usually cheaper when advertised on the Peruvian website (versus its international version), so if you can wait until you arrive to Peru to buy regional tickets, you may save money.

Reconfirming flights In remote areas, buying tickets and reconfirming flights is best done at airline offices; otherwise, you can do so online or via a recommended travel agent. Ensure all flight reservations are confirmed and reconfirmed 72 and 24 hours in advance; airlines are notorious for overbooking and flights are changed or canceled with surprising frequency, so it’s even worth calling the airport or the airline just before leaving for the airport. Confirmation is especially essential during the peak travel season.