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How to travel from Lima to Cusco by bus [+ train and flight tips]

How to travel from Lima to Cusco by bus [+ train and flight tips]

How to travel from Lima to Cusco by bus [+ train and flight tips]

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The cities of Lima and Cusco are filled with stunning architectural sites to discover. Traveling between these Peruvian cities on a bus is one of the best ways to see the country. If you already have your bucket list ready with things to do in Cusco, all you need now is to find the perfect Lima to Cusco bus ride. 

Aerial photo of Lima, the capital of Peru. The city where you can get a bus, train or flight to Cusco and then visit Machu Picchu.
Welcome to Lima, probably your first stop in Peru.

In this guide, I will take you through all the information you need about traveling by bus from Lima to Cusco. If you prefer a train ride or a flight, I have some tips for you about those transport options too.

Traveling to Peru for the first time? Discover here all the unmissable things to do and see.

How far is Cusco from Lima?

Lima is the capital city of Peru and sits on the country’s south coast overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The city of Cusco lies inland to the east of Lima, and it’s the gateway to incredible Machu Picchu. These two cities are 573 km apart on a map. However, they are separated by the formidable Andes Mountains. 

You should take the winding road to the south to travel between the two cities. This puts the road distance from Lima to Cusco at about 1,100 km. This journey takes around 22 hours by bus, but it is much safer than traveling over the mountains. Many buses also include scenic stops along the way. 

How to get from Lima to Cusco?

There is more than one way of getting from Lima to Cusco. You can travel between the two cities by airplane, bus, or train. All of these transport options have their advantages and disadvantages. The best way to travel from Lima to Cusco simply depends on your available time and budget. 

A bus ride is the most common way to travel from Lima to Cusco. Although the journey takes almost a full day, it is comfortable, affordable, and safe. If you want to fly from Lima to Cusco, your trip will only take about 1 hour and 30 minutes, definitely the quickest route, but it will cost you more than double the price of a bus ticket. 

A train ride is another viable transport option. However, there is no direct train from Lima to Cusco, so you must combine a bus and train trip.

Discover what to do and where to stay in Cusco here!

Highway cut through the famous large ancient geoglyphs Nazca lines as seen from the observation tower, Nazca desert of Peru
Lima to Cusco by bus is a lifetime experience, an opportunity to get close to some of Peru’s famous attractions.

Why travel from Lima to Cusco by bus?

Among all these transportation options, I still believe that Lima to Cusco bus service is the best way to travel. Not only do you get to experience the countryside up close, but there are also practical benefits to bus travel. 

This option provides the best value for money. Established bus companies provide you with a comfortable ride during long trips for an affordable price. 

Bus travel is also the main form of long-distance transport in Peru, making it easy to find a company that suits your budget and needs. Keep in mind that traveling by bus is very common in Peru and South America.

When you choose a reputable bus company, bus rides are also a very safe mode of transport. The buses from high-end companies are well-serviced, drivers rotate regularly, and passengers are picked up from designated safe areas. 

Taking a bus from Lima to Cusco: what to expect 

If this is your first time taking a bus in Peru, there may be some things you’re uncertain about. Here’s my guide on what you can expect from your bus ride from Lima to Cusco. 

> Types of buses in Peru

There are many public buses that drive from Lima to Cusco. The lower-end companies mainly focus on locals and don’t offer services in English. 

However, there are good public bus companies that are accessible to tourists and offer more comforts. Cruz del Sur, Oltursa, and Civa are some of the most reliable higher-end public transportation companies in Peru. All of them offer at least one daily departure.

> Amenities on the Lima – Cusco buses 

The quality of the bus really is a matter of getting what you pay for, so stick to the mid and high-end companies for this long bus trip. A 22-hour ride can be tiring for your body, so rather spend that little extra to ensure you travel in comfort. 

These buses include reclining seats, toilets, television, and air-conditioning. The companies advertising as a ‘Reclining Seats Bus’ usually includes a blanket and a meal on the trip. 

Bus traveling through Peru's countryside. One of the most famous routes is from Lima to Cusco bus journey.
The Lima Cusco bus ride takes almost one day, but the views are amazing.

> Bus Routes and terminals

If you choose a reputable company, your bus ride should follow the longer but safer route around the south of Peru. Most public buses make as few stops as possible and complete the drive between 21 and 23 hours. 

A downside of taking the public buses is that there is no central Lima bus station. Instead, each company operates from its own bus terminal that might be far from the city center. You need to plan transport to the terminal and make sure you arrive at the correct place and time.

When buying your bus ticket (more on that below), make sure to check all the information about the pick-up and drop-off points. If you still have doubt or can’t find the location on Google Maps, ask at your hotel or hostel reception, and I’m sure they will give you the right direction or even organize a transfer.  

How to buy bus tickets in Peru?

Public buses travel from Lima to Cusco daily. Depending on the company, you can usually find rides in the morning and afternoon. The bus ticket prices range from PEN 100 to PEN 350 (around $25 to $80). 

The most convenient way to buy your tickets is through a reputable website. We recommend using Bookaway. Instead of going to each bus company’s websites or even local offices, you can compare prices, departure times, and amenities across bus companies on this one website. 

We like the Bookaway platform because you can compare the transportation options, read users’ reviews, book your ticket, and pay for it easily and in only one place. This means that you only need to show up in time on the day of your travel and enjoy the ride.

When buying your Lima Cusco bus ticket (click here), you will see all the information about bus schedules, luggage, meals, and amenities that are included on the bus journey, travel time, and location of departure and arrival. 

After buying your ticket, it can take up to 24 hours to get the confirmation. This happens because many operators don’t work with immediate booking. So If you want to ensure you get a ticket for a specific date, it is a good idea to book well in advance. You can search for the best bus ride for your Lima to Cusco trip by clicking on the banner below.

If you have any doubt about how Bookaway works and how you can pay for your tickets, check out the FAQ page

Other transportation from Lima to Cusco

If you prefer a faster trip, you can take a direct flight from Lima to Cusco. Multiple airlines offer daily flights between these cities, usually in the early morning. The average flight time is about 1 hour and 30 minutes. You will be flying from Lima Airport – Jorge Chavez International Airport to Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport in Cusco.

Traveling from Lima to Cusco by train is another popular option, but it takes longer than a bus ride and is more expensive as well. However, it can be a lovely journey if you’re looking for a scenic ride through the Andes. It’s an excellent opportunity to see some of Peru’s famous attractions from your window.

PeruRail train traveling from Puno to Machu Picchu. One of the many ways to get from Lima to Cusco in Peru.
The scenic PeruRail train journey from Puno to Cusco.

Just be aware that there is no direct route from Lima and Cusco by train. You can travel from Lima to Puno by bus, and the journey will take 21 to 22 hours. Then you can take a scenic luxurious PeruRail train to Cusco. The train ride to Cusco takes 11 hours, and it goes through the Peruvian Andes, passing by Lake Titicaca while you can enjoy the services and amenities on the train.  

For sure, this is a longer and more expensive option to travel from Lima to Cusco, but it is more of a Lifetime experience than a mode of transportation. You can also easily book the ticket from Lima to Puno, and Puno – Cusco on Bookaway’s site. There, you will find the train routes, ticket prices, and details about this scenic train travel journey.

Final thoughts on taking a bus from Lima to Cusco

Now that you’re armed with all the details of how to book a bus ticket and what the ride entails, what are you waiting for? The beautiful cities of Lima and Cusco are ready for you to start exploring. 

If you need more info about planning a trip, go and read our Travel Planning Page. For tips on booking the perfect accommodation, visit our Accommodation Guide.

Drop us a message if you still have doubts about how to get from Lima to Cusco. Or, if you have made this journey, feel free to share your Peru travel experience with us.

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A practical guide to travel from Lima to Cusco by bus, train, and flights. How to buy the bus tickets, what is included in the price, how to plan your bus trip, and what to expect from the long bus ride. Plus tips on how to get from Lima to Cusco by train (there is no direct train, btw) and how you can plan the ultimate scenic ride from Lima to Cusco in Peru.

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