Cusco to Puno Bus Tickets and Route Plan


on: 2023-06-01

by: Alice Silva

Quick Facts

  • Duration

    07 hours 30 minutes

  • Rating

  • Experience

    lake tours, cultural sites, floating islands

  • Best Price

    USD $ 19

  • Maximum comfort or class


  • Departures

    5 Departures Daily

  • Recommended by

    1219 travelers

Price may fluctuate due to seasonal demand and other market-driven and regulatory events.

Bus from Cusco to Puno

The skyline of Puno, Peru.

Getting a bus from Cusco to Puno is a great idea for an adventure and can be had at a great price. The bus is actually one of the best ways to get from one place to the other around Peru, and the more you take it, you will find the system both convenient and fun. In this guide, we want to cover all the natural questions you may have to get to Puno on time and without hassle.

What are the buses in Peru like?

One of the things to consider is that whenever you take a bus from Cusco to Puno, the quality of the buses will differ from one carrier to the next. The reason for that is because some carriers may be in the process of upgrading their fleets, which allows them to offer new onboard amenities. In other cases, a bus carrier will offer more direct service and cut any extra stops, but these usually depart only at night.

Just because you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a bus from Cusco to Puno, it doesn’t mean you will be plagued with issues. You will miss some conveniences like an onboard toilet, or seats that can be reclined. But if you can dispense with these features for the length of the trip, you will be fine with the overall experience.

How long is the bus ride from Cusco to Puno?

The distance from Cusco to Puno is around 386 km. It will take you around 6.5 hours minimum and up to 9 maximum to get from one place to the other. This is governed not only if the bus is making additional stops along the way, but if they are going on the main highway through Juliaca and Pucara, or a minor highway that goes through Lampa. Night buses always stick to the main highway and are thus stopping less and have a shorter and more predictable time schedule.

What is the cost of traveling by bus from Cusco to Puno?

That depends on which carrier you choose or which cabin, but the basic fare is around USD $20. Some carriers have more loyal followings among certain sectors of Peruvian society, but for foreign travelers, the difference is not that distinguishable. When you click the Reserve Now button above, you will see the range of prices attached to the carrier providing that rate, and then you can use other filters to find the best rate that also meets other requirements of your itinerary.

What is the best bus between Cusco and Puno?

Our preferred carrier is no longer servicing the route, but of those that are, we prefer Mer. They are more oriented to tourism than commuters, and they have good marks in terms of quality of service and the reliability of their departures and arrivals. This is not to say all passengers travel on Mer, in fact, there are other honorable competitors like TransZela that we have also used and liked.

Where can I book bus tickets from Cusco to Puno?

The Cusco to Puno bus is almost always full because both cities are popular for different reasons. So getting tickets in advance will give you peace of mind. You can book either online or in person.

Ideally, you want to book online, because booking offline means you have to go to the terminal and risk there not being any seats left. Booking online is easier, faster and the value will be a great deal considering all the time and effort saved.

Also, keep in mind that tickets around the holidays are a bit more expensive and are sold out in rushes at the terminal. The same thing happens on weekends. Weekdays are therefore most affordable, but unless you have the time to keep track of Peruvian, Bolivian, and Pan-Latin holidays, it’s easier to just use the online system by clicking Reserve Now above, as that will show you a calendar by which you navigate in and around higher-priced days and therefore get ahead of crowds and rushes.

Where can I see the Puno to Cusco bus schedule?

The latest and most up-to-date schedules are found by clicking the Reserve Now button button above. There you can browse to see the latest information. Some bus companies can and do change their schedule, but when you use the online system you are hooked into the bus company and an agent who can notify you of any changes that come up.

Things to do in Puno, Peru

Floating reed islands near Puno, Peru.

Peru’s folkloric capital is the main base for those who wish to navigate Titicaca, the world’s highest altitude lake. Traveling its streets, one catches the refreshing gusts of wind sweeping in from the lake and catching vistas that look across the water all the way to Bolivia. Puno is also the major hub for travelers crossing the border into Bolivia to nearby La Paz and Copacabana. Less seen by tourists than Cusco, the city still has plenty of things to see and do that are really unique, and it has a powerful connection to the resident Aymara culture that offers continuing insight into the narrative, symbols, and unique practices of its people.

#1 - Tour the Catedral de Puno

A beguiling mix of traditional Catholic and New World motifs, this 18th-century Andean Baroque edifice is bound to catch your eye. Made of solid granite, the Catedra Basilica de San Carlos Borromeo houses a grand altar and is often visited by farmers during dry weather to pray for rain. Unfortunately, much of its interior was damaged by a fire almost a century ago, but that shouldn’t keep you from visiting the elaborate monument. Sharing space with Catedral de Puno is the house of Conde de Lemos just a three-minute walk away. The house is famous for its ornate 17th-century balcony.

#2 -Admire the famed Puno Attraction, the Yavarí

Yavarí is a gorgeous decommissioned steamship built in 1861. For over a hundred years it served as a valiant gunship on the frigid high-altitude Lake Titicaca. Built in England, the ship was first sent to Arica in Chile, but it was then disassembled so it could be taken overland to Puno on the backs of mules. As you could have imagined, it took six long years to complete the transfer from Arica to Puno. Today, the ship serves as a quirky bed and breakfast with bunk-bed facilities in a tranquil spot behind Sonesta Posada Hotel del Inca.

#3 - Explore the Floating Islands of Uros

Touring the Uros Islands is a bucket list type of activity you can only experience on Lake Titicaca. It is on these islands that you witness the distinguished lifestyle of the native Aymara tribe. Why are the islands floating? They are not islands made of rock and soil; they are actually thatched together with totora reeds, which allows them to be floating communities. Despite the seemingly delicate construction, the Uros islands have survived over two millennia. They have outlasted not just an entire civilization but also many would-be conquerors. The highlight of Uros are its totora-made Mercedes Benz boats. You can tour the islands in one of the Benz boats while learning some interesting local folklores.

#4 - Participate in the Unique Lifestyle on Taquile Island

Serene, windswept, and beautiful, Taquile Island is simply not to be missed. Apart from the spectacular field of vision presented by the island, you will also find here an abundance of archeological sites. Meander through its rustic stone paths and watch the cattle graze the grasslands, imagining yourself there a thousand years ago seeing everything around you in pretty much the same condition as what you see today. Add to its picturesque landscapes a wealth of traditions, culture, and beauty. Taquile Island is especially famous for its male knitters who produce textiles with artistic quality. In this culture, women are forbidden to knit, but men are forbidden to weave. You will find many young boys treading the green fields with knitting needles in their hands.

#5 - Take a Trip to Chullpas of Sillustani

Found across the melancholic Altiplano, the chullpas of Sillustani are intriguing historical sites. Lined up on a highland plateau on the fringe of the lake, these ancient tomb towers create an extraordinary spectacle for visitors. They are known to have housed the remains of Qolla, a fierce warrior tribe that was defeated by the Incas in the late 15th century. Although ruined by tomb raiders and lightning, they still mesmerize visitors to Puno today for their pre-Incan mystery.


If you’re looking for a perfect bus ride in Peru, the connection between Puno and Cusco is it. Both places are treasure troves of culture, ancient history, folklore, and sheer natural beauty on both land and lake.

Help yourself to the online booking system by clicking Reserve Now at the top of the page, where you can easily and securely find a bus and departure time that suits you best. Then, relax and let the driver worry over the road while you witness the spectacle these two great and colorful cities offer and everything in between.

Route Map

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Do buses go past Puno into Bolivia?
Not as of this writing. Like in other countries, the Coronavirus pandemic has forced the governments of Peru and Bolivia to keep their land borders closed until the virus is more contained and their population has reached a high enough level of immunity.
Are bus companies still operating in Peru?
It is true that many bus companies went bankrupt as they were not able to survive the dramatic economic downturn caused by the pandemic. Nonetheless, enough survived and continue to provide service, although with fewer scheduled departures than in the past, which is why it’s all the more important to get your seat reserved online in advance.
Are there night buses from Cusco to Puno?
Yes, in fact, the majority of scheduled departures are overnight buses, as many travelers prefer this option in order to save money on lodging.
What are the ticket policies?
It depends on the carrier you choose, but their specific policies can be previewed during checkout or in the summaries printed on your ticket email. For a general overview, see the Ticket Policy page.

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