The center of Cusco is small enough to walk around, although you will probably need to catch a bus or taxi to the bus station, Sacsayhuamán or airport. Beware about walking around at night alone and/or drunk, robberies have often been reported.
Taxis are very common in Cusco. Officially they cost 2-4 soles depending on distance. Often many drivers are not locals. Beware when using taxis at night; robberies have been reported in collusion with taxi cab drivers, at certain times radio taxis may be the safest option. The driver might also try to extort a hefty sum of money (15 soles) for a short ride if you don't haggle before - which is likely if you're just arriving at night at the bus terminal and want to avoid the hordes of touts. Just pay 5 soles and leave it at that. You can also hire a driver for the day for around 150 soles. This is a great option for a small group and you can tell the driver to stop wherever. This makes a great option if you want to explore the Sacred Valley on your own terms.
If you are staying in Cusco for a long time, the Combis are a cheap and reliable form of transportation. These are the Volkswagen vans and small buses with names like Imperial, Batman, or Zorro. It costs about 60 centimos to ride them. If you are unsure if a certain combi will take you where you want to go, just ask. They will call out the stops as they go and if you want to get off, you just yell "Baja!", as in, "I want to get off!" They run until 10PM. But if you are a fan of lots of personal space, this may not be the best option for you, as they tend to be quite full. Carry your backpack in front of you.
For large groups, a tourist bus can be very convenient to get to places like Pisac and Ollantaytambo. Check with one of the many local travel agencies.
The airport is at the edge of the city (taxi ride). There are daily internal flights to and from Lima, Arequipaand small jungle airstrips in the Amazon basin. The following airlines offer flights to/from Cusco:
Amaszonas (La Paz, Bolivia)
LAN Perú (Arequipa, Juliaca, Lima, & Puerto Maldonado)
Peruvian Airlines (Lima)
Star Peru (Juliaca, Lima, & Puerto Maldonado)
Avianca Peru (formerly Taca) (Arequipa, Lima, & Puerto Maldonado)
Lan Peru has the most flights between Cusco and Lima, followed by Star Peru, Peruvian Airlines and Taca. It is best to book the earlier flights to avoid weather delays and overbooking.
The closest major international airport is Lima. The cheapest one-way flights to Lima cost around US$110 (2012), while a short notice flight on either LAN or Taca will cost around $300. StarPeru and Peruvian Airlines generally have the cheapest flights. Frequently, bad weather conditions can cause flights to be canceled, often up to two days on end. If you are flying straight into Cusco, beware of altitude sickness for the first couple of days.
With only 5 gates and a few off the main terminal this airport is fairly small but because it sees thousands of tourists a day, it has a good amount of facilities. There are a few restaurants before and after security and some shops too. Massage facilities and communication services are also available. There are a few ATMs in the check-in Area. If you have time, look across the parking lot for last-minute shopping.
Airport taxes as of June 2011 have been included in all national tickets.
Note that the market rate for a taxi from the airport to the Plaza de Armas is around 10 soles, not 30 or more as the 'official' airport taxis may try to charge you. Only used marked taxi cabs and agree on the price to your destination before getting into the vehicle. Using unmarked taxis is not recommended.
There is no single "official" taxi company. Instead, ppl rent booths at the airport and put up an "official taxi" sign and you book with them. Then, they talk to one of the taxis out front on and have them take you.
The Terminal Terrestre is about 2.4km SW of the Centro Historico, a 20 minute walk down along Av. Sol to Micaeda Bastidas, which is also 3-4km west of the airport terminal. You can also take a taxi for a few soles (paid 8 S./ April 2014).
Buses are plentiful to and from other Peruvian and Bolivian cities like Lima (about 24 hr), Puno (6-8 hr, 25 soles), Arequipa (10 hr, 50 soles), Nazca (14-16 hr), Copacabana (9-12hr, 60 soles) and La Paz (12-15hr, 90 soles) but are quite long and slow, although the views can compensate. The main roads are mostly quite good, but some can be bad, making trips take longer than expected.
There are several smaller bus terminals in Cusco that travel to other destinations around the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
- Av. Grau 525, Cusco—Chinchero - Urubamba.
- Calle Puputi 208, Cusco—Pisac - Yucay - Urubamba.
- Av. Tullumayo 207, Cusco—Pisac - Calca.
- Av. De La Cultura 1320, Cusco—Urcos (Tipon - Piquillacta - Andahuaylilas).
Also, make sure your bus has a bathroom or that it stops for bathroom breaks every couple of hours before you buy tickets. There are Puno-Cusco buses that have/do neither, and that can mean a VERY long 6-8 hours.
Expreso Los Chankas, Pje Cáceres 150. One of the only companies to offer direct service from Ayacucho to Cusco. 55 soles for a 22 hr ride on a semi-cama bus. Buses at 6:30AM and 7PM.
Cruz del Sur offers a very comfortable "cruzero suite" service direct to/from Lima, with multiple departures daily. Tickets can be booked online as well as in agencies and hotels. Standard fares are around $60 USD, with promotional fares available if you book in advance. The service is comparable to flying on board a good airline with films, hot food, drinks, good toilets and even a bingo game. Note that Cruz del Sur buses arrive at the company's own terminal, which is about 700 meters (10 minutes walk) from Terminal Terrestre. Taxis to the Plaza de Armas are around S/ 10 from the Cruz del Sur terminal.
An option to go from Lima, Paracas, Ica, Puno, Nazca or Huacachina is to take one of the Peru Hop buses. This service has brand new cama buses with movies in English and Spanish their passes allow you to hop on or hop off at any of these places. Peru Hop includes hotel/hostel pick-ups and drop-offs which is pretty neat from a safety/no taxi fare viewpoint.
Cusco is connected to Machu Picchu and Puno by rail. Rail service was recently discontinued to Arequipa. This service is operated by PeruRail