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THE GREAT DEBATE: - Lima to Cuzco - Bus or Fly????

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean THE GREAT DEBATE: - Lima to Cuzco - Bus or Fly????

1. Posted by drewspring (Budding Member, 5 posts) 22 Feb '08 09:09

What do you guys think? Time is not much of a concern. Money is not much of a concern either.

I know that the bus can take 17-24 hours, but I heard that it is a beautiful experience and shouldn't be missed.

On the other hand, others have said that one should fly - no questions asked.

So....the ball is your court...what should one do - fly or bus from Lima to Cuzco?

2. Posted by Degolasse (Travel Guru, 810 posts) 23 Feb '08 16:00

Depends on how much you like buses.
I took the bus from Huachachina (a couple hours South of Lima) and didn't mind the 20ish hour bus ride to Cusco. It was an overnight bus on a very very comfortable bus and I just slept most of the way. However, if you are prone to altitude sickness then it may not be the most enjoyable ride of your life. The route crosses some pretty high passes and there were a lot of sick people on our bus.
An alternative if time is not an issue is to take the long route to Cusco along the coast, stopping at all the major tourist stops - Huachachina, Nazca etc...and coming up via Arequipa. That way you can also stop in Arequipa for a few days and adjust to the altitude a bit, making your arrival in Cusco a little easier.
That is unless there is a reason you need to be in Cusco at a certain date or are set on seeing it first.

3. Posted by bentivogli (Travel Guru, 2398 posts) 25 Feb '08 02:05

Yeah, what degolasse says. But the 'short' route is definitely worth it; the views are stunning, plus you'll need less time acclimatising in comparison with flying in.

4. Posted by anniewho (Budding Member, 4 posts) 19 Mar '08 20:49

The flight in is a bit scary. Cuzco is in a small valley. So, the planes have to dip down rather suddenly to land. I was warned of this and knew to anticipate it, but I was still very scared. Also, the planes were old. Going back to Lima there is regularly terrible turbulence. Neither flight was fun, but I don't like to fly. I was told by Peruvians the best pilots in South America fly these routes.

5. Posted by CurraMan (Budding Member, 12 posts) 21 Mar '08 08:01

The bus route can be spectacular in parts, but just as scary as the flight. The bus really hugs the cliffs.
I probably agree with above, visit arequipa..i found it much nicer than cusco (over touristy).

Rich

6. Posted by adv3nture (Budding Member, 49 posts) 21 Mar '08 14:37

Quoting anniewho

The flight in is a bit scary. Cuzco is in a small valley. So, the planes have to dip down rather suddenly to land. I was warned of this and knew to anticipate it, but I was still very scared. Also, the planes were old. Going back to Lima there is regularly terrible turbulence. Neither flight was fun, but I don't like to fly. I was told by Peruvians the best pilots in South America fly these routes.

Really? I didn't think the flight into Cusco was very bad at all. We were coming by way of Puerto Moldonado on a LAN Peru flight. The plane was pretty new, complete with plenty of tv monitors for entertainment... although the scenery out the window was much more entertaining.

The only part of flying I disliked in Peru was the Lima airport. Depending on when you go they have problems with fog and it can delay flights, especially if you have a flight that leaves in the morning. We arrived in late May on a Friday and were due to fly to Puerto Moldonado on Saturday morning and didn't end up making it out until Sunday morning due to fog as well as an untimely bomb threat. The fog has another side effect, extremely bad smell. It smelled like rotten fish.

I had no problems flying in or out of Cusco. It was certainly better than Puerto Moldonado which consisted of an open air building and a landing strip! It was quite possibly the smallest airport I have seen an Airbus jet flown into.

If I were in your shoes I would take the plane, fly in early and spend the rest of the day getting used to the altitude. It's a beautiful city, i'd rather be out exploring the area instead of stuck on a bus for 20+ hours.

[ Edit: Edited on Mar 21, 2008, at 1:38 PM by adv3nture ]

7. Posted by CurraMan (Budding Member, 12 posts) 21 Mar '08 20:01

Degolasse your right, i had a much worse time flying into Buenos Aires from El Calafate, we had to acclerate through the landing, and my flight from Lima to Iquitos was cancelled twice because of fog.

Still agree with taking the bus ;)
Rich

8. Posted by SooMagoo (Budding Member, 19 posts) 22 Mar '08 09:00

Hi all,

I don't want to hijack this thread but Rich - would you say 4 days is enough time to bus from Lima to Cusco via Areqipa? Where would you suggest staying along the way (hoping to avoid any reaaaaaaally long bus journies!)

Thanks!
Soomagoo x

9. Posted by CurraMan (Budding Member, 12 posts) 22 Mar '08 10:15

I dont see why not, i mean taking the bus Lima to Arequipa will take roughly 14 hours, these buses go frequently in the afternoon, so your looking at overnight, which means 14 hours isnt too bad. Taking this directly will allow possibly 2 nights in Arequipa plenty enough to see the sights.
Dont miss the convent and Juanito, the Incan mummy. Theres plenty of cheap guesthouses, providing breakfast and a safe sleep all within walking distance of the town so accomodation wont be a problem.
From there the bus to Cusco will take 10 hours, once again this is overnight and will fly by.

Its possible to stop in Nazca, Ica or Paracas national park (visiting the Ballestos islands) on the way down, but with only 4 days, this will limit you to a very short time in Arequipa. Which needs time to be enjoyed, the White city is my favourite in Peru, not a big fan of Cusco.
Where else are you taking in SooMagoo

Rich

10. Posted by SooMagoo (Budding Member, 19 posts) 22 Mar '08 17:42

After Cusco and the Inca trail, our plan is to head south probably to Puno then across the border to La Paz, take in the salt flats before heading across to Arica and then down to Santiago. We haven't sorted out the finer details of all this yet, but have just over three weeks between leaving Cusco and flying out of Santiago...any other must sees I haven't thought of?!

Soomagoo x