Next we will give you the steps to follow to get to Cusco from abroad. The first step is to get to Peru. International flights that arrive in Peru arrive in the city of Lima (the only international airport in the Inca country). From there you can board a plane to get to Cusco (approximately 1 hour of travel). The other option is to take a bus (approximately 20 hours of travel).
How to get to Peru?
Peru is the third largest country in South America with a total area of ??1,285,220 square kilometers.
It has a modern international airport in Lima, the capital of the country. Jorge Chávez International Airport is the only one that receives flights from abroad.
Direct flights arrive at Lima airport from: Amsterdam, London, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, ??Punta Cana, Havana, San José, Mexico City, New York, Los Angeles, Orlando, Los Angeles, all the countries of South America and more.
Currently, the only international airport in Peru is the Jorge Chávez airport in Lima.
And while the capital city has a lot to offer, most travelers are eager to head south to explore the famous Inca citadel of Machu Picchu. So if you are wondering how to get to Cusco from Lima, here are some options.
How to get from Lima to Cusco?
There are only two ways to get from Lima to Cusco: by bus or by plane. There is no direct train to Cusco from Lima but there is from Arequipa, Juliaca, Puno and Machu Picchu.
Without a doubt, the fastest option to get from Lima to Cusco is by plane. Several airlines offer daily flights to Cusco from Lima with a flight time of just over an hour. With most flights departing before 11 a.m. (and the earliest taking off at 5 a.m.), travelers have the option of planning a full day of adventure upon arrival. However, it is advisable to take the day of arrival calmly to acclimate to the altitude.
Many international travelers choose to take a connecting flight from Lima to Cusco directly after arriving in Peru. If this is the case with your itinerary, keep in mind that you will have to go through customs before taking the connecting flight.
If the time and sacrifice of an extremely long route is not something that worries you and what you want is to appreciate the magnetic landscapes that you will see on the route, then a bus trip could be the ideal option to get from Lima to Cusco. Undoubtedly the wonderful thing about this experience is the possibility of knowing the country from a unique perspective where the Pacific coast, the desert regions and the wonder of the Andes, mark the way.
Companies like Cruz del Sur and Ormeño offer two different routes with varying travel times. The fastest option (18-21 hours) takes passengers to Cusco from Lima via Nazca and Abancay. The longest option (24-27 hours) goes from Lima to Nazca – however, this alternative passes through Arequipa before arriving in Cusco. Although this journey takes longer, the latter is more picturesque and can be done in different stages so that passengers can live a tourism experience.
Instead of wondering how to get from Lima to Cusco, intrepid travelers will ask how to make the most of the route south. To experience the best of the Pacific coast, you can take advantage of and spend a night in Nazca before turning east on the highway of the Liberators that connects you with the Andean mountain range.
If you prefer the option of going to Arequipa and making an extensive stop to get to know the White City, then the route that passes through the city of Puno is the alternative. However, the most direct way is to take a bus to Arequipa, stay a few days to explore the wonderful landscapes as well as its churches, convents and palaces and then head towards your final destination – the capital of the Inca Empire, located 3,399 meters high. .
Attractions within the city of Cusco
Cusco Main Square
Before traveling to Machu Picchu, first you have to take a walk through the city and the most important and closest thing is to know its main square.
Before called Haucaypata, which in Quechua means «place of the warrior», it was an important ceremonial place where the Inti Raymi or Sun Festival was celebrated every year.
Cathedral of Cusco
The building had two stages: first, the Chapel of Triumph was built on what was the old temple of SunturWasi (House of God); later the cathedral was built over the palace of the Inca Wiracocha. The façade and interior are in the Renaissance style, with an interior rich in cedar and alder carvings. The choir and the pulpit stand out for their beauty. It preserves an important collection of paintings from the Cusco school and embossed silver objects.
Temple of the Company of Jesus
The original temple was built in 1571 on the grounds of the old Amarucancha, palace of the Inca Huayna Capac. After the 1650 earthquake it had to be rebuilt in 1688. The original layout and the façade are examples of the Andean Baroque. The altarpiece-type portal is decorated with medium-height towers and its stone walls have been carefully worked. When entering the temple, the main altar with three bodies and Solomonic columns, the wooden pulpit and numerous baroque, plateresque and churrigueresque altarpieces stand out.
San Blas Neighborhood
Called “T’oqokachi or Hueco de Sal”. With narrow and steep streets. Beautiful colonial-style houses. It is known as the Barrio de los Artesanos. Many families offer accommodation.
If you want to buy souvenirs or crafts from Cusco or Machu Picchu, you can buy them here.
Temple of San Blas
Built in 1560, it preserves a baroque pulpit that is a masterpiece of woodwork and carving, attributed to the artist Diego Quispe Tito.
With visiting hours from Monday to Sunday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, one can end up walking through the streets of San Blas in the afternoon returning from the visit to Machu Picchu.
Larco Museum of Pre-Columbian Art
Kancha Inca house (1450). It was the home of the conqueror Alonso Díaz in 1580 and of Count Cabrera in 1850. It was completely restored to be the Museum of Pre-Columbian Art since June 2003. It gathers in its 11 rooms, 450 works dating from 1250 BC. until AD 1532 They were selected from a universe of 45 thousand objects belonging to the collection of the Larco Archaeological Museum in Lima.
With an opening hours from 9:00 am to 10:00 pm, you can be part of the tour in the city before visiting Machu Picchu.
House of Inca Garcilaso de la Vega
It is currently the headquarters of the Regional Historical Museum. It gathers a collection of canvases from the Cusco school. The Inca Garcilaso de la Vega was born on April 12, 1539, he was the son of the Spanish captain Garcilaso de la Vega y Vargas and of the Cusco princess Chimpu Ocllo. Author of Real Comments and La florida del Inca, both driven by the need to rescue the history of the Inca Empire.
His most representative work «Royal Comments of the Incas» was written in 1609. Here he talks about the Inca Pachacutec, the ninth and most revolutionary Inca, whose statue you can see in the plaza of Machu Picchu.
Palace of the Admiral
Old house and current headquarters of the Inca Museum. It houses an important archaeological collection that includes pieces of ceramics, goldsmiths, textiles and mummies.
Archbishop’s Palace and Stone of the Twelve Angles
The building is a viceregal construction of Arab influence. It was built on the bases of the Inca Roca palace. It is currently the headquarters of the Museum of Religious Art. In Hatunrumiyoc Street you can see an old Inca wall that was part of the Inca Roca palace and that is an admirable example of the work of the ancient Peruvians in polishing and placing each stone. In this structure, the so-called “Twelve Angle Stone” stands out, famous for the perfect work and assembly of its corners.
Temple and Convent Of San Francisco
Its two unique stonework facades in the old Spanish style were built in 1645. Inside the convent, a monumental canvas by Juan Espinoza de los Monteros stands out. It measures 12 x 9 m and portrays the genealogy of the Franciscan family.
How to get from Cusco to Machu Picchu?
Once in Cusco, the real journey to the Inca Citadel begins, which you can take advantage of according to the time you have.
If you have more than 3 days, the ideal is to enjoy each destination in the Sacred Valley (Pisac, Chinchero, Moray, Mara, among others) before arriving in Ollantaytambo, the city where one of the Inca train stations is located. Rail. This journey through the Sacred Valley can be done by taxi or with a tour operator that you hire from the Plaza de Armas in Cusco.
Once in the city of Cusco, the tourist is more than 100 kilometers from the Inca City of Machu Picchu.
To get from Cusco to Machu Picchu you must follow the following steps:
- Board a bus that will take you to the town of Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley of the Incas (trip of 2 hours, approximately).
- Board the train that will transport you from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes, a place known as Machu Picchu town (trip of 2 hours, approximately).
- Board one of the buses that will take you from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu (30 minutes of travel). The other option is to walk up to Machu Picchu (2 hours of walking, approximately).
How to get to from Cusco to Machu Picchu?
If you prefer to start this journey from Cusco to Machu Picchu, we have two alternatives to take you to your destination. The first one is starting from the San Pedro Station, this is located a few blocks from the Plaza de Armas of the City of Cusco. From here you can have a single journey to Machu Picchu Pueblo (Aguas Calientes), approximately 4 hours, in which you can enjoy beautiful landscapes. This Cusco to Machu Picchu route is available only from May to December.
The second alternative is our Bimodal service. Composed of a trip in a private van to Ollantaytambo and then board the train in this city to Machu Picchu Pueblo. Know all the information about the route Cusco – Machu Picchu.
How to get to from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu?
From Ollantaytambo you will travel in one of our exclusive wagons for approximately one hour and forty minutes to Machu Picchu Pueblo (or Aguas Calientes), the town that is at the foot of the Machu Picchu mountain and that forms the penultimate step before entering citadel. Learn more about the train schedules and itinerary of the Ollantaytambo – Machu Picchu route.
If, on the other hand, you go for less time and you only have 1 or 2 days to get to know Machu Picchu, you have 2 more options: The route from Poroy and from Cusco.
How to get to from Poroy to Machu Picchu?
The first is to take the Inca rail train from Poroy station, which is much closer to the city of Cusco (30 minutes by car from the Plaza de Armas), and which will take you to Machu Picchu Pueblo in a period of three hours. This train operates from May to December, since the rest of the months (January to April) are the rainy season and it is closed as a precaution. Know all the information about the Poroy – Machu Picchu route.
Tours in Cusco:
Visiting Cusco is a real adventure whose protagonist will be yourself, instead of a memorable experience, that is why Cusco is definitely one of the most incredible cities with a great variety of archaeological centers and tours such as Sacred Valley, Camino Inca or Machu Picchu. To enjoy an unforgettable experience, contact Inka Trail Backpacker, a company that will better assist you during your visit, of course it is always with the necessary advice for you and yours as well as the guarantee, responsibility and security that characterizes us. If you visit the city of Cusco another impressive destinations that you can visit are the tour to rainbow mountain peru or the humantay lake tour from cusco, which only takes one day. But if you are gonna to stay more days in Cusco, other archaeological places you can know will be the choquequirao trek peru, the salkantay trek to machu picchu, and the classic inca trail 4 days 3 nights.