Cusco Weather

15°C

Local time Cusco

Currency

S/.

Travel to Cusco

Flying to Cusco

The national Peruvian airline is LATAM (www.latam.com) and Colombian carrier Avianca (www.avianca.com) serve Cusco’s Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport (CUZ), both providing connections with Lima, Arequipa, Juliaca and Puerto Maldonado.

There are no direct flights to Cusco from the UK. Visitors from the UK, USA and Europe need to fly to Lima and take a connecting flight from there. Air Europa, British Airways, American Airlines, Iberia, KLM, LAN Airlines and United Airlines all fly to Lima. Cusco’s peak summer season runs between December and March, so if you’re seeking cheap flights, travel during off-peak periods.

Flight times

From London - 20 hours (including stopovers); New York - 12 hours (including stopover); Los Angeles - 12 hours 30 minutes (including stopover); Toronto - 14 hours (including stopover); Sydney - 23 hours (including stopovers).

Travel by road

When driving, few Peruvians stick to the country’s speed limits, which are 100kph (62mph) on motorways and between 30kph (19mph) and 60kph (37mph) in towns. The minimum age for driving is 18 years.

To enter Peru in a private vehicle, you need an International Driving Permit, proof of customs payment (libreta de pago por la aduana) and a registration document in the name of the driver. Proof of insurance (best arranged in your home country) is also needed. A non-extendable 90-day transit permit (Formulario 015) is available at land borders and allows travellers to bring a vehicle into Peru. There is no charge.

International driving permits are technically only valid for 30 days in Peru, after which a permit from the Touring and Automobile Club of Peru is required. In practice, a UK or US photo licence is generally accepted without question.

Contact the Touring and Automobile Club of Peru (Touring y Automóvil Club del Peru) (tel: 615 9315, in Peru only; www.touringperu.com.pe), for more information.

Emergency breakdown services

Touring y Automóvil Club del Perú (tel: 611 9999, in Peru only).

Routes

The 3S is the major road which cuts through Cusco. It connects with Arequipa and Puno in the south, plus Ayacucho and Huancayo to the north, where drivers can turn off for Lima.

Coaches

Cusco has a long-distance bus terminal, Terminal Terrestre, on Micaela Bastidas, 2km (1.25 miles) southeast from Cusco. Most buses to major cities depart and arrive from this station, although smaller towns in the Cusco region are still serviced from other stops, so check carefully in advance.

Ormeño (tel: +51 1 472 1710; www.grupo-ormeno.com.pe/destinos.html), Expreso Molina (tel: +51 1 719 8740) and Tepsa (tel: +51 1 617 9000; www.tepsa.com.pe) all ply the route from Lima to Cusco. Companies with bus services to Juliaca and Puno include Ormeño, although there are plenty of others to choose from. Buses to La Paz and Copacabana in Bolivia, and Tacna on the Chilean border also leave from Terminal Terrestre.

Cruz del Sur (tel: +51 1 311 5050; www.cruzdelsur.com.pe) is by far the most reliable coach operator though, and is worth the extra money. It has its own terminal at Avenida Industrial 121.

Time to city

From Lima - 16 hours; Puno - 5 hours 30 minutes; Nazca - 10 hours; La Paz - 10 hours.

Travel by Rail

Services

Train services to Cusco are regular and reliable. The city has two railway stations: Estación San Pedro, near the central market, and Estación Huanchac, along the southern end of Avenida Sol. Trains to Machu Picchu leave from Estación Poroy, on Antonio Lorena, around 13km (8 miles) out of Cusco city centre.

Operators

Train services are run by PeruRail (tel: +51 84 581 414; www.perurail.com). Poroy station has several daily services arriving from and departing to Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu via Ollantaytambo. Estación Huanchac serves Urcos, Juliaca and Puno.

Journey times

From Machu Picchu - 3 hours; Puno - 10 hours 30 minutes.

Transfer

Estación San Pedro and Estación Huanchac are within walking distance of the city centre, but taxis do mill around the vicinity of both if required. Minibuses and taxis take around 20 minutes from Estación Poroy to Cusco. Drivers time their arrival to meet the trains and hawk for business in and around the car park.

Book Accommodation

Featured Hotels

SEE MORE

Inkaterra La Casona

Cusco's first luxury boutique hotel is located in what is probably Cusco's first Spanish construction. The colonial courtyard is surrounded by 11 sumptuous suites furnished with antiques and all mod cons imaginable. Brilliantly located for the arty San Blas district and Plaza de Armas, Inkaterra La Casona is a quiet oasis of serenity with an eco conscience.

Palacio del Inka

Just moments from the Plaza de Armas, the Palacio del Inka combines utmost luxury with an Incan and Spanish twist. Expect framed dark ochre (a nod to Andean spirits), gold and burgundy furnishings that reflect the conquistador influence and original artworks. There are 203 wonderfully fitted rooms to choose from and all boast handcrafted furniture, huge beds and historical décor, along with fast internet, LED TVs and big bathtubs. The Inti Raymi Restaurant downstairs plates up remarkable Peruvian fine dining and there is a tranquil spa onsite as well.

Hotel Monasterio

Located two blocks from the Plaza de Armas, this is the best hotel in Cusco. A sensitive conversion of the 16th-century Seminary of San Antonio Abad, this former monastery has retained its original infrastructure and colonial décor but is now a 5-star international hotel boasting a gilded chapel, superb fine dining and oxygen-enriched air in every room. The therapy suite is also ideal for those returning from a long Machu Picchu trek.

Hotel Costa del Sol Picoaga

Formerly the colonial home of the17th-century Spanish noble, the Marqués de Picoaga, this top-end hotel in Cusco close to the heart of the city makes the most of its handsome colonnaded courtyard, beautiful stone columns and elegant archways. Service is excellent and the hotel has its own bar and high-quality restaurant.

Mama Simona

Quite frankly the coolest hostel in town, Mama Simona (named after one of the mountains in the Scared Valley range) is a clean, kitschy hostel that offers private rooms and dormitories. With varnished wooden floors, comfy beds and artworks adorning the cream walls, those that stay here could quite as easily be bedding down in a New York apartment. Free Wi-Fi and a decent breakfast buffet come as standard with the odd live music night providing the ideal opportunity to make friends too.

Hostal Suecia II

This friendly, budget Cusco hotel option is set in a colonial-style building located two blocks from the Plaza de Armas. Its 16 rooms are set around an attractive interior courtyard and are basic but spacious, clean and comfortable. A safe, sociable, economical option, this hostel has a family atmosphere and is particularly popular with backpackers, especially as Wi-Fi is now available. Ask for a room away from the street. No breakfast.