Cuzco, Peru is where many travelers to Peru fly to so they can see the famed ruins of Machu Picchu. No direct flights fly to Cuzco from international destinations, therefore all travelers flying into Peru have to go through Lima where they can catch any number of cheap daily flights to the Andean capital.
Cuzco flights are often canceled due to strong winds that make the aircrafts difficult to take off. Sometimes they are delayed and delayed all day long and finally canceled when night falls. Some airlines will put you up in a hotel, others will just tell you to come back the next day. Airlines that fly to Cuzco from Lima and a brief description of each:
LAN – LAN airlines has the most daily flights to Cuzco from Lima by far.During the peak season of May to September LAN has as many as ten daily flights to Cuzco and to Lima. Prices are generally higher, however, if a flight is canceled LAN will put you up in a hotel or put you on another flight with ease. Many travelers prefer to pay a bit more for that security. LAN also has flights from Cuzco to Puerto Maldonado, Puno (Juliaca), and Arequipa.
TACA – Taca has one daily flight that arrives from Lima and departs Cusco in the early morning. If leaving from Lima you will have to wake up at two or three in the morning to get to the airport early enough to make your 5am flight. Taca is known for overbooking their seats to Cuzco, so it is best to arrive at the airport as early as you can. If they do overbook you, they will put you up in a hotel in Lima.
Star Peru – Star Peru has two daily flights to Cuzco from Lima at 5:50am and 9:15am.
Peruvian Airlines – Flights from Cuzco to Arequipa, Juliaca, Puerto Maldonado, and Lima.
TACA: Several daily flights between Cuzco and Lima.
Bus Travel to Cuzco, Peru Many do arrive to Cuzco by bus and many companies operate out of the city. From Lima, a bus ride cost roughly the same price as a one way flight and takes about 24-30 hours. However, if traveling from Arequipa, Puno, Ayacucho, or the Nazca area, the travel times are quite quicker and it may be your best option of getting to Cuzco. Companies such as Ormeno or Cruz del Sur are your best option with the best buses.
Writer and photographer Nicholas Gill is the editor/publisher of New World Review. He lives in Lima, Peru and Brooklyn, New York. His work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CondeNast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Afar, and Penthouse. Visit his personal website (nicholas-gill.com) for more information.