Lima is the starting point for many vacations to the incredible Machu Picchu which is reached via the town of Cusco.

Travelling from Lima to Cusco by bus is the most popular way to make the journey which takes about 21 hours.

We did the reverse as we had travelled from Bolivia (La Paz to Cusco via Copacabana). So we can show you how to travel from Cusco to Lima by bus too.

Direct Bus from Lima to Cusco | Cusco to Lima

We recommend taking an overnight bus from Lima to Cusco as this will allow you to maximise your time, you can save money on accommodation and hopefully you’ll sleep through most of the boring bits of the journey.

The distance from Lima to Cusco is 1,100km (683 miles) by highway which is always paved but sometimes windy, narrow roads.

We felt the journey was safe. However, we slept through most of it!

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SuperCiva Bus in Cusco Terrestre for journey from Cusco to Lima

What to Expect

If the bus from Lima to Cusco will be your first overnight bus in South America, we’ll explain some basics so you know what to expect.

Firstly, bus travel in South America is surprisingly luxurious. There are three seat options: Cama (meaning bed), semi-cama and a regular seat.

Think of a “cama” seat like a business-class seat on an airline. Your seat will recline to almost a flat bed, your seat will have an individual TV system + power plug and you will be served meals and alcohol along the way. The usual seat configuration for cama seats is 2 – 1 meaning in each row there are two seats together and one single seat on the other side of the aisle.

Semi-cama seats recline 140 – 160 degrees but don’t expect a personal TV or spacious seat. The seating confirmation is usually 2 – 2 with a double seat on each side of the aisle. This means the seats are far less spacious than the cama option. Often meals are served but not always.

A regular seat is still padded (it’s not like a park bench), but don’t expect a good sleep as you’ll be upright the whole way. Think of it like a seat on a budget airline like WizzAir, Ryainair or South America’s equivalent – SkyAirlines. All overnight buses in Colombia have A/C. Wifi – even were offered – almost never worked.

During our trip from Brazil to Colombia we travelled by overnight bus in cama seats wherever we could. Not only do they save you a night’s accommodation, they are relatively comfortable and you can wake up in a new city or town ready to explore the next day.

Ordering a ticket is simple and can be done at most Bus terminals with no extra fees (or online for a few dollars more). Consider learning some simple Spanish phrases to help you get around Peru and South America.

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Meal on our bus from Lima to Cusco

Lima to Cusco Direct Bus departure times

The timetable for the Lima to Cusco bus is as follows:

  • 12:45 – 12:15pm (next day) Oltursa
  • 13:00 – 12:15pm (next day) Tepsa
  • 13:55 – 11:15am (next day) SuperCiva
  • 14:00 – 11:30am (next day) Cruz del Sur *semi-cama*
  • 14:20 – 12:15pm (next day) Tepsa
  • 14:30 – 12:15pm (next day) Oltursa
  • 14:50 – 12:15pm (next day) Tepsa
  • 15:00 – 12:15pm (next day) Oltursa
  • 16:05 – 14:05 (next day) EconoCiva
  • 16:30 – 14:30 (next day) ExcluCiva *Cama Seat*
  • 16:45 – 14:05 (next day) EconoCiva
  • 17:30 – 15:00 (next day) Cruz del Sur *semi-cama*

Most buses from Lima to Cusco depart from Lima Terminal Terrestre. Click here for the map or use this below.

In Cusco, most buses arrive at the Cusco Terminal Terrestre which is about 10 minutes taxi ride from Cusco central. Use the map here to find directions to your hotel from Cusco bus terminal.

We travelled with the bus company SuperCiva in a cama bed. The journey was windy at times but we managed to sleep through most of it and for the rest of the time we spent eating breakfast & dinner or watching latest release movies on the entertainment system.

Even though the direct bus from Lima to Cusco is the most popular option, we recommend breaking up the journey by stopping in Ica Peru.

Cusco to Lima Direct Bus departure times

The timetable for the Cusco to Lima bus is as follows:

  • 1:30 – 10:30am (next day) – EconoCiva
  • 2:00 – 10:30am (next day) – Cruz del Sur
  • 4:00 – 12:45pm (next day) – Tepsa
  • 4:00pm – 1:15pm (next day) – Oltursa
  • 4:05pm – 1:05pm (next day) – SuperCiva
  • 5:10pm – 2:10pm (next day) – ExcluCiva
  • 6:00pm – 3:00pm (next day) – Cruz del Sur
  • 6:05 – 3:05pm (next day) – SuperCiva

Most buses from Cusco to Lima depart from Cusco Terminal Terrestre. Click here for the map or use this below.

The majority of buses terminate in the Lima Terminal Terrestre which you can find here.

Indirect Bus from Lima to Cusco via Huacachina | Lima to Cusco via Huacachina

We recommend the bus from Lima to Cusco via Ica, Peru which is the gateway to the incredible Huacachina desert oasis.

From Ica we enjoyed some of our most adrenaline-filled activities on our South America itinerary including sandboarding and riding in a dune buggy up crazy steep sand dunes.

This itinerary is the best if you have an extra day or two to spend exploring some more popular tourist attractions in Peru:

Lima to Ica | Ica daytrip to Huacachina | Ica to Cusco

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Bus tip: chose a cama seat on your Lima to Cusco bus journey

Lima to Ica Bus Departure times

Buses from Lima to Ica take around 4 hours and up to 5:30 hours. Buses depart as early as 2:00am, then from 3:30am buses depart every 15 – 30 minutes from Lima to Cusco.

Most buses from Lima to Cusco depart from Lima Terminal Terrestre. Click here for the map.

Ica to Cusco Bus Departure times

Buses from Ica to Cusco run overnight and take around 17 hours.

The buses to from Ica to Cusco start in Cusco and arrive to collect passengers in Ica in the afternoon.

  • 17:45 – 11:15am (next day) SuperCiva
  • 18:10 – 11:30am (next day) Cruz del Sur *semi-cama*
  • 19:00 – 12:15pm (next day) Tepsa
  • 19:00 – 12:15pm (next day) Oltursa
  • 19:00 – 12:15pm (next day) Tepsa
  • 20:35 – 14:05 (next day) EconoCiva
  • 21:50 – 15:00 (next day) Cruz del Sur *semi-cama*

There is no main terminal in Ica, however, all the buses to Cusco leave from the bus company’s depots along Avenue Jose Matias Manzanilla. Look for Soyuz, Flores VIP, Civa, Tepsa, Oltursa on the map here.

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You’re far less likely to see a woman wearing traditional Peruvian dress on a Lima to Cusco flight

Cusco to Ica Bus Departure times

Buses from Cusco to Ica all operate overnight and take around 17 hours. Here is the schedule for buses from Cusco to Ica:

  • 1:30 – 10:30am (next day) – EconoCiva
  • 2:00 – 6:30am (next day) – Cruz del Sur
  • 4:00 – 8:15am (next day) – Tepsa
  • 4:00pm – 8:15am (next day) – Oltursa
  • 4:05pm – 1:05pm (next day) – SuperCiva
  • 5:10pm – 2:10pm (next day) – ExcluCiva
  • 6:00pm – 10:00am (next day) – Cruz del Sur

Most buses from Lima to Cusco depart from Lima Terminal Terrestre. Click here for the map.

There is no main terminal in Ica, however, all the buses to Cusco leave from the bus company’s depots along Avenue Jose Matias Manzanilla. Look for Soyuz, Flores VIP, Civa, Tepsa, Oltursa on the map here.

Flights from Lima to Cusco

Lima to Cusco direct flights start from $100 which can be appealing. Check out skyscanner using the calendar function to check out the cheapest flights around your travel time as prices can fluctuate wildly from a Monday to Tuesday.

The main disadvantage to flying from Lima to Cusco is that you will miss out on some incredible places like Huacachina in Ica Peru.

In Ica you can easily visit the incredible desert oasis of Huacachina where you can swim or paddle board the

Most people, however, visit Huacachina to take a dune buggy and sandboarding adventure.

We did this tour ourselves and it is out of this world. For more information about sandboarding in Huacachina – check out our travel guide to Ica, Peru (Huacachina).

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Bus tip: On your way from Lima to Cusco stop in Ica near the Huacachina desert oasis

Where to Stay?

In Lima we recommend staying in the Miraflores area: an affluent area with lots of interesting restaurants where you can try  famous Pisco sour shots. Search for hotels in Miraflores here.

In Cusco stay near the Cusco Cathedral. You will be in the heart of town, near the main square where you will find street vendors and tour operators during the day and plenty of yummy restaurants and bars at night. Search for hotels near Cusco Cathedral here.

In Ica we recommend staying near Plaza del Armas due to its location near the bus terminals. Find lots more information about Ica, Peru + Huacachina in our guide below. Search for accommodation near Plaza del Armas here.

More Essential Peru Travel Blog Posts

Why not save these posts on your phone for your Lima to Cusco bus trip? We’re sure you’ll find lots of useful, practical tips in our Peru guides. But hey, even if you hate them – at least it might put you to sleep. It’s a win-win. Check them out!

Cusco to Machu Picchu – almost everyone travelling from Lima to Cusco has plans to visit Machu Picchu. Getting there involves a 2 hour walk through rainforest following a railroad track. It’s a pretty cool way to reach one of the biggest bucket list destinations in the world

Cusco to La Paz bus – how to get there and why we recommend breaking up the journey with a stop in Copacabana

Copacabana Travel Guide – No, this is not the famous beach in Rio de Janeiro but rather the popular lake-side getaway from where you can catch a ferry to Isle de Sol which is full of Inca ruins. You’ll feel like you’ve been transported back 50 years living on this carefree island where you can camp for free (although we stayed in one of the basic hotels on the island)

Festival de Virgin de la Candelaria – the famous festival where you can see Bolivian men and women dressed up in bowler hats and hoop-skirts, dancing in choreographed unison (except for the guy who has drunk waaaaaay too much)

 

Make your Peru Pinterest board complete with these practical guides!

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