How to get from Cusco to Arequipa in 4 convenient and safe ways

Navigate your way safely from Cusco to Arequipa with our expert travel advice. Discover the optimal routes, fares, and essential tips to enrich your travel experience.

Cusco and Arequipa are two destinations in Peru that come hand-in-hand: you really have to see both! I have traveled this route many times in different modes of transportation and as a solo female traveler, I guarantee you that it’s safe!

Traveling from Cusco to Arequipa (or vice-versa) is not a short journey. However, Peru’s efficient transportation system makes it all easier for any type of traveler.

In this guide, you will learn how to travel from Cusco to Arequipa in 4 different ways, with prices, routes, and safety tips for each mode of transport.

See also:

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🗺️ Map of Cusco to Arequipa Journey

cusco to arequipa

Use this map of Cusco to Arequipa and save it on your phone for reference. You can open it on Google Maps for a full view of this route.

✈️ Flights from Cusco to Arequipa

cusco to arequipa
Flying from Cusco to Arequipa? You might catch a glimpse of the majestic Misti volcano as you land!

The easiest way to get from Cusco to Arequipa is by plane. The airport in Arequipa is called Alfredo Rodríguez Ballón International Airport (AQP).

It is the second largest airport in Peru, after Lima’s Jorge Chávez International Airport. The airport is located about 8 miles from the center of Arequipa.

Arequipa Airport is served by a number of domestic and international airlines, including LATAM Perú, Peruvian Airlines, JetSMART Perú, and Sky Airline.

It also has flights to Lima, Cusco, Juliaca, and other major cities in Peru.

There are also a number of international flights available, including flights to Santiago (Chile), La Paz, (Bolivia) and Buenos Aires (Argentina).

The airport has a number of amenities, including a food court, shops, and a currency exchange bureau. There is also a taxi stand outside, and several bus companies offer service to the city center.

🚌 Bus from Cusco to Arequipa

cusco to arequipa
While traveling from Cusco to Arequipa, you might experience varying altitudes. Arequipa sits at 2,335 meters above sea level, lower than Cusco’s 3,399 meters!

Now for budget travelers and backpackers, the bus from Cusco to Arequipa is convenient but long. It takes about 10-12 hours, depending on the route and traffic conditions.

Bus fare prices from Cusco to Arequipa vary depending on the bus company, the type of bus, and the time of year. Expect to pay between $17 and $43 USD for a one-way ticket.

To take the bus to Arequipa from Cusco, you can book your tickets in advance (online). Here are the bus stations in Cusco that offer bus service to Arequipa:

  • Terminal Terrestre de Arequipa – Arturo Ibañez 130, Arequipa 04011, Peru
  • Andoriña Bus – Arequipa Agency – Terminal Terrestre Counter B-13, Óvalo, Arequipa 04011, Peru
  • Terminal Empresa Etrabus – Línea “A” Jerusalen – Cusco 610, Mariano Melgar 04006, Peru
  • Exclusiva Bus Cama 180° – Terrapuerto, Piso 1, Arturo Ibañez S/N, Cercado De Arequipa 04011, Peru
  • Terminal Cruz Del Sur – Av. Javier Pérez de Cuéllar 223, Jacobo Hunter 04011, Peru

The bus trip from Cusco to Arequipa is safe. However, there have been some reports of theft and robberies on buses in Peru, so it is important to be aware of your surroundings and take precautions to protect yourself and your belongings.

Choose a reputable bus company and travel on a direct bus. If you plan to sleep during the trip (it’s long!), do not fall asleep with your valuables on display.

If you are traveling with a lot of luggage, store it in the luggage compartment under the bus. However, be sure to keep your valuables with you, such as your passport, money, and credit cards.

🚘 Drive from Cusco to Arequipa

cusco to arequipa
Cusco to Arequipa by road offers a chance to see vicuñas, native Andean animals, in their natural habitat!

Driving from Cusco to Arequipa is generally safe, but there are a few things you should be aware of before you make the trip.

The roads in Peru can be narrow and winding, and there are often steep drop-offs. Traffic can also be heavy, especially in the cities.

There is a risk of landslides and other road hazards, especially during the rainy season so make sure you know the weather conditions. The weather in Cusco is not the same as in Arequipa.

It is important to be aware of the altitude, as the drive takes you over the Andes Mountains. You will experience multi-climates during the drive.

While this is not the best way to get from Cusco to Arequipa, I understand that some of you might be feeling extra adventurous so go for it if you are comfortable in driving in another country.

Car rental prices from Cusco to Arequipa vary depending on the type of car you rent, the length of your rental, and the time of year. Expect to pay between $20 and $50 USD per day for a one-way rental.

🚆 Train from Cusco to Arequipa

cusco to arequipa
The route from Cusco to Arequipa is dotted with captivating landscapes ranging from snow-capped peaks to rugged highland plains.

Lastly, you can get from Cusco to Arequipa by train. PeruRail offers a luxury train service called the Andean Explorer.

The train travels from Cusco to Puno, where you can spend a night exploring Lake Titicaca, before continuing on to Arequipa. The journey takes two days and one night.

The Andean Explorer is a great way to experience the Peruvian Andes in style. The train features comfortable cabins, fine dining, and panoramic windows so you can enjoy the stunning scenery.

The train also makes several stops along the way, including at the Raqch’i archaeological site and the Colca Canyon lookout point.

Tickets for the Andean Explorer start at around $450 per person. You can book tickets through the PeruRail website or through a travel agent.

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Pros of traveling from Cusco to Arequipa by train:

  • Luxurious and comfortable journey
  • Panoramic views of the Peruvian Andes
  • Stops at archaeological sites and other interesting places

Cons of traveling from Cusco to Arequipa by train:

  • Expensive
  • Long journey (two days and one night)

Overall, the Andean Explorer is a great option for travelers who are looking for a unique and luxurious way to travel from Cusco to Arequipa. However, it is important to note that it is also the most expensive option.

⁉️ FAQ: How to get from Cusco to Arequipa

Traveling from Cusco to Arequipa can vary based on the mode of transportation. By air, it’s the quickest, taking about 1 hour and 10 minutes.

However, if you choose to go by bus, the journey could last approximately 10 to 16 hours, depending on traffic and the service chosen. The train will take 2 days.

The most budget-friendly way to travel from Cusco to Arequipa is by bus. Several companies operate services between these cities, with varying prices and levels of comfort.

Generally, the bus fare is lower compared to the cost of a flight, making it a preferred option for budget travelers. Prices can vary, so it’s advisable to check and compare before booking.

Flying is the fastest way to travel from Cusco to Arequipa. Several airlines operate daily flights between the two cities, taking approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes.

It’s advisable to book in advance and check the schedules to secure a convenient flight. However, remember to account for the time spent in pre-flight procedures.

Traveling between Cusco and Arequipa is generally safe. However, like any journey, it comes with its risks. If traveling by road, choose reputable bus companies to mitigate risks associated with accidents.

When flying, the standard aviation risks apply, but they are minimal. Always stay updated with travel advisories, and maintain standard safety precautions such as securing your belongings.

Trisha Velarmino (43)

Trisha Velarmino is the Global Editor-in-Chief of the Insider Media Group operating in Europe, Asia, and North America. She lived in Peru for 1.5 years and has helped thousands of expats, digital nomads, and solo travelers easily visit Peru. Trisha has traveled Peru extensively from North to South.

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