Do you think it makes sense to fly rather than travel by bus in terms of time/money? Or perhaps traveling by bus is not that bad?

Also, I've been told that landing in Cusco is quite spectacular and I was thinking to save some time.

Could someone please clarify the pros/cons of travelling there by road vs by air?

  • Note that due to the altitude difference, travelling to Cusco in one journey may be dangerous or at least uncomfortable. During our visit they took the time to get there, visiting other sites, in order to get used to the height. And because it is a beautiful country with lots to see it is not a burden at all.
    – cootje
    Aug 27, 2014 at 9:01

3 Answers 3


Bus ride from Lima to Cuzco is 20 to 21 hours depending on the company, costing from $65 for one-way ticket. And it's also mainly less-than-safe mountain road.

Flight from Lima to Cuzco is 1h10m to 1h25m and you can get ticket as cheap as $175 for round-trip.

  • 1
    IMHO the choice is quite obvious. Not really.
    – Karlson
    Jan 23, 2013 at 14:20
  • 3
    @Karlson: Isn't it? Why would you spend 42 hours on the road? Especially given that these are one of most dangerous roads of the world.
    – vartec
    Jan 23, 2013 at 14:31
  • Because I might want to, since it's one of the most dangerous roads in the world. Because I don't trust the airlines I have to fly to get there. And the last but not least Why Not? OP gives no indication of personal preferences just asking for opinion. And while I would fly instead of taking a bus I am not going to presume that someone else would prefer the same.
    – Karlson
    Jan 23, 2013 at 14:37
  • 1
    @vartec For the same reason a lot of travellers take the bus (or terrestrial transportation): to see what is around. Maybe you just want to visit Cusco, some would want to visit Peru.
    – Vince
    Jan 23, 2013 at 14:38
  • 2
    @Vince: I wouldn't call spending 42 hours in a bus more "visting Peru" than spending these two days somewhere else, like let's say Salinas and Lake Titicaca. But you're right, that's just my opinion.
    – vartec
    Jan 23, 2013 at 14:45

As someone who's done it, I like the bus. Of course, there are pros and cons of each.


Pros: A bus is cheaper, you get to see more of the countryside, interact with more people. You get breaks, get good seats (they have business class buses!), and you can stop off at places on the way. We stopped in Arequipa to go to the Colca Canyon, and in Nazca for a few hours to see the Nazca Lines.

Cons: It takes a long time. Some legs in the desert can be dull. Some people argue that it's a dangerous road, but I'd say that's maybe only in the mountains - the coastal road from Nazca to Lima is modern and high quality.


Pros: You get there faster. You get an aerial view. Save time.

Cons: It's more expensive. You will not have a gradual introduction to the altitude, and may as a result get a bit of a shock when you step off the plane - it can be quite hard the first few days. You're stuck in a cramped economy class seat. You don't get to interact with many people.

Hopefully that helps. Personally, even though I bused last time, if I had the time, I'd bus again. I disagree with @vartec - the choice is not obvious, and I loved the bus trip. But you must make that decision yourself, of course :)

  • 2
    I agree with Mark. If you want to visit and experience Peru, take the bus. If you just want to visit Machu Picchu, then fly. I met several people in Cusco that flew in and had problem with the altitude. Taking the bus does not mean you wont have any problems with it but its a bit less likely. If you are short on time, I think it's better to spend a day on a bus and be okay than flying and may be sick for days. Jan 23, 2013 at 18:27
  • The bus is rather dangerous because of the accidents, however if you travel with a good company it is a great trip, you will get to visit Arequipa and Ica, and some of the tours do a stop to check the town.
    – Washu
    Feb 23, 2013 at 18:07

Best way to see country is via bus and the first class buses have bed like seats and you can see Nazca lines along the way and fly back via TACA Airlines to Lima. That does lessen chance of altitude sickness. And you will see spectacular scenery via air on way back. So romantic - the snow tipped Andes piercing the clouds.

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