Bus from Arequipa to Cusco and Bus from Cusco to Arequipa
Arequipa and Cusco are two UNESCO World Heritage Sites that offer you a broad range of experiences, and there’s no better way than taking the bus from Arequipa to Cusco or the bus from Cusco to Arequipa to get the full benefit of both cities and seeing everything in between.
Both cities were founded by the Inca, but are immensely different. Cusco’s riches are built upon the stones of the once-capital of the Inca Empire. On the other hand, Arequipa is a stellar example of Spanish colonial architecture built of shimmering sillar stone (thus earning it the nickname, La Ciudad Blanca, tr.: the White City).
No matter if you are a history or culture buff, or you relish in climbing and trekking in the breathtaking (literally – for the altitude!) landscapes, the two cities will fulfill your appetites! There’s much more to know about these two popular Peruvian destinations. Let the experienced, well-traveled gang at AndesTransit let you in on the best Arequipa and Cusco have to offer!
https://andestransit.com/Search?q=B%2bFaKYoUyaZh%2bh%2b4xF0pzw%3d%3d https://andestransit.com/portal/en/bus-from-lima-to-arequipa-and-bus-from-arequipa-to-lima https://andestransit.com/portal/en/bus-from-lima-to-ica-and-bus-from-ica-to-lima https://andestransit.com/portal/en/bus-from-lima-to-trujillo-and-bus-from-trujillo-to-lima 10 hours 00 mins. 10 departures daily USD $32
What are the buses in Peru like?
Whew! There is a whole spectrum of buses in Peru. You can find buses that seem to be held together with baling wire, rattling down the highways and country roads, with passengers crammed on seats and standing (packed like proverbial sardines) in the aisles.
At the other end of the scale, you can experience first-class service in well-maintained buses, complete with 140º-180º reclining seats, climate control, pillows and blankets (a nice touch when traveling through the mountains at night), GPS and Wi-Fi, meals and drinks – and wait staff to make sure your trip is pleasant. And between these two extremes, you have all shades and hues of bus service.
How long is the bus ride from Arequipa to Cusco?
The journey from Arequipa to Cusco (or Cusco to Arequipa) is a bit over 500 kilometers (310 miles) and takes about 10 hours. The road, shadowed by El Misti and Chachani volcanoes, cuts across the Salinas and Aguada Blanca National Reserve and reaches an altitude of almost 4,000 meters (over 14,000 feet). It then heads north across the barren páramo (high-altitude moor) edged by snowy mountains.
A number of factors can possibly affect your trip, both natural and manmade. Natural ones can involve anything from the elements like rain or snow storms (yes, SNOW, even though you are in the "tropics") to landslides. Manmade delays can be caused by traffic in or out of the cities or random demonstration marches on the highway. Shoddily maintained buses are also a major reason for choosing to travel with a more reputable company, albeit the ticket price might be a bit more.
Here are some tips to make your bus ride as comfortable as possible.
What is the cost of traveling by bus from Cusco to Arequipa? (And vice versa)
Depending on the class of bus you decide to take, fares will range between $20 and $38 (67-128 PEN). Several factors will affect the price: when you go (usually more expensive on weekends and holidays); when you book (always a good idea to do so in advance, especially at holiday time and to ensure the service you want); and the bus company you decide to travel with.
Lower-priced buses will be basic (hard, slightly reclining seats, no onboard bathroom, old re-runs of blood-and-guts movies and often over-capacity passengers). For a ride like this, you’ll have to prepare to take a sense of adventure as your companion, and then some more practical things like warm clothing and road trip snacks, although a stop for a meal will usually be made at an overly priced roadside restaurant.
If you want to travel a bit more in class, you can. Creature comforts are available like reclining seats (up to 180º!), individualized television screens, Wi-Fi (where there is coverage), air conditioning/heating, blankets, pillows, and onboard attention. Of course, buses with such amenities cost a bit more, but are worth it when traveling long distances with possible weather “adventures.”
What are the bus schedules from Arequipa to Cusco?
Buses depart from Arequipa for Cusco either in the early morning around dawn or in the evening.
Taking a day bus allows you to enjoy the stunning Andean landscape and gives you a glimpse of locals’ lives in the settlements and towns nestled in the mountainous folds. You will get into Cusco before nightfall. But this 10-hour journey is also perfect for a night bus, thus letting you save on the cost of a hostel room. With the amenities that the higher-end line of buses provides, the trip will be much cozier.
Most buses leaving Cusco for Arequipa make the trip at night.
By consulting AndesTransit (press the Reserve Now button above), you’ll have the most up-to-date and accurate information on the schedules for bus from Arequipa to Cusco or vice versa.
Where can I book bus tickets from Arequipa to Cusco?
When traveling from Arequipa to Cusco, you have two options for booking bus tickets: buy in-person or buy online with AndesTransit.
Buying your bus ticket in-person requires going to the bus station with luggage in tow, and running from one bus company window to another to compare prices and schedules. Perhaps you’ll get lucky landing a ticket with a comfortable, reputable company. Or more likely, you’ll get the runaround as companies tend to redirect you to lower-class buses to fill quotas. If you have to wait for your journey, you’ll have the “adventures” of that scenario: keeping your eye on your valuables and wondering what to do with it all when you want to grab a snack or go to the bathroom.
By buying your ticket online with AndesTransit, you’ll just need to arrive at the station just before boarding time, check-in your luggage, board the bus, and settle in for a comfortable journey to Cusco (or to Arequipa if heading that way).
It’s easy to buy a bus ticket from Arequipa to Cusco from your laptop or mobile device. Just click the Reserve Now button at the top of this page to see your options. Choose your bus company, time of departure and seat, and then pay with a credit card or PayPal.
What is the best bus from Cusco to Arequipa?
Of the half-dozen or so companies with service between Arequipa and Cusco, the best is Oltursa. Oltursa is one of Peru’s highest-ranking bus companies, and for good reason. Its buses have a bathroom, interior environmental controls, reading light, blanket, pillow, and a choice of 140º or 160º reclining seats. For your entertainment, there is WiFi where coverage is available, movies and music, and snacks to nourish you during the journey. This company also provides security measures like GPS, a change of drivers every 4 hours, and on-board attendants.
Another good option is CIVA’s Excluciva class of buses that depart at night. These offer reclining leather seats (160º-180º), bathroom, blanket, pillow, WiFi, personal TV screens, movies, air conditioning/heating, and on-board wait staff. They also have GPS and speed-control devices.
What to see in Arequipa
Arequipa (2,350 meters / 10,595 feet) is known as La Ciudad Blanca (The White City) for its unique buildings made entirely of sillar, a white volcanic stone. You can spend many days here, strolling the narrow streets and dropping into museums and colonial mansions. The variety of cuisine will dazzle your taste buds, whether its traditional cooking like picante and cuy (guinea pig) to international fare, including Moroccan and French.
And then there are the excursions you make outside the city, and these are easy to do on your own or with a local tour company. Some examples are Colca Canyon and its small indigenous communities; Cotahuasi Canyon, more than twice as deep as Arizona's Grand Canyon; Valle de Majes, a premier wine and pisco country; and the Reserva Nacional Salinas y Aguada Blanca with the Cataratas Pillones. For outdoor enthusiasts, the canyons and national reserve provide hiking (senderismo); and many climbing (andinismo) opportunities avail themselves on Misti, Chachani and other volcanoes nearby.
But if you have only a few days to spend in Arequipa, here are a few choice sites to put on your itinerary:
#1 - Monasterio de Santa Catalina
Until 1970, when the 16th-17th century Santa Catalina Convent opened its doors to the public, life within these walls was a shrouded mystery. This is a city within the city, complete with over 100 houses, 60 streets, a plaza, church, and cemetery. An art gallery houses more than 400 paintings from the Cusqueña School.
Address: Calle Santa Catalina 301
#2 - Museo Santuarios Andinos
This museum, dedicated to high-altitude archaeology, features finds discovered on the mountains surrounding Arequipa. It has mummies – including the famous 13-year-old Juanita – and their burial goods: gold, textiles, woodcarvings, and ceramics. The entry fee includes a one-hour guided tour (English, Spanish, Portuguese French, Italian).
Address: Calle La Merced 110
#3 - Mundo Alpaca
If you’re looking for quality Alpaca and llama-wool goods, then head to Mundo Alpaca (Alameda San Lázaro 101). But this is much more than a store. The adjacent museum teaches the entire production process, from sheering to sorting, from dyeing to weaving. You can watch women working in each production step. On the grounds, you’ll also meet grazing alpaca and llamas.
#4 - Mercado San Camilo
You don’t have to travel to New York or Paris to see a bona fide work by renowned French engineer Gustave Eiffel. Just head over to Mercado San Camilo, a national landmark and one of the city’s oldest markets (Calle San Camilo). Not only will you see a fine example of Eiffel’s later works, but you can grab a meal or stock up on supplies for your hiking and climbing expeditions.
#5 - Aguas Termales de Yura
If you’re seeking to relax after canyon trekking, mountain climbing or just checking out Arequipa’s many attractions, then some aguas termales (hot springs) might be in order. Near the village of Yura (29 kilometers / 17.5 miles north of Arequipa) is a series of pools (29-34ºC / 84-93ºF) with medicinal properties. During the week it is quieter than on weekends.
Want to check out other hot springs in Latin America? AndesTransit has you covered – find the nearest Hot Springs by Bus!
What to see in Cusco
Cusco (also spelled Cuzco, Qosco) (3,399 meters / 11,152 feet a.s.l.) is one of travelers’ most sought-after Peruvian destinations. Built upon the Inca capital city, Cusco is often thought of as a gateway to Machu Picchu. The city, though, has so much to offer that it’s worth spending a week or more here.
Besides the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, the Valle Sagrado (Sacred Valley) offers many other treks that are more affordable, like the Salkantay Trail and Lares Trail, and other ruins like Pumamarca and Ollantaytambo. Day trips to Pisac and other villages for their market days are great plans.
Other sites have been more recently trending in social media feeds. The most notable ones are the Salares de Mares salt flats (one hour north of Cusco) and Winikunka, popularly known as Rainbow Mountain (100 kilometers / 61 miles from Cusco).
But back to the city of Cusco. To access many sites in Cusco and the Sacred Valley, you’ll need to pick up a Boleto Turístico del Cusco (Cusco Tourist Ticket).
#1 - Museo de Arte y Monasterio de Santa Catalina
This convent and art museum was built atop the Inca Acllahuasi House of the Virgins of the Sun in the early 17th century. It has a large collection of religious art, including many pieces from the Cusqueña School which merged European and indigenous iconography. Just like its Arequipa counterpart, the Monasterio de Santa Catalina gives insight into the life of nuns in that era.
Address: Calles Santa Catalina y Arequipa
#2 - Convento de Santo Domingo
The Santo Domingo church-convent complex is another Spanish religious institution built upon the foundations of the Inca city. In this case, it was upon the holiest of Inca sites: Qorikancha, the Temple of the Sun. Much of the original Inca masonry of massive, mortar-free stones are still visible. The museum has a large collection of 16th-18th-century religious art.
Address: Plazoleta Santo Domingo
#3 - Inca Stonework
Cusco’s lanes are lined with walls of the Inca’s distinctive stonework: multi-cornered stones so tightly fitted together and with no mortar that a knife blade cannot be placed between them! There are two that are particularly stunning. On Calle Hatun Rumiyoc (between the Plaza de Armas and San Blas neighborhood) is the Stone Puma, formed by over 20 stones that were part of the foundation of the 14th-century palace of Incan ruler Inca Roca. Another enigma is the famous 12-corner stone that was part of another palace’s construction and now is the Archbishop’s Palace (Calle Hatun Rumiyoq). Be sure to take the “obligatory” selfie with both these stones!
#4 - Sacsayhuamán
These well-preserved archaeological ruins are still a major Inca ceremonial site, hosting the former empire’s most famous Inti Raymi (June solstice) celebration. Located a few kilometers outside of Cusco, Sacsayhuamán allows you to study the mysterious stonework of the Inca, and at much less cost than Machu Picchu!
#5 - Museo Taller Hilario Mendivil
Cusco isn’t just about Inca and Spanish colonial art. At this museum-workshop, you can discover the eclectic works of regional folk artists Hilario Mendivil and his wife Georgina. Although they have passed to join the home realm of the many angels they sculpted, their children continue creating. Works are available for purchase.
Address: Plazoleta San Blas 634
Arequipa and Cusco are fantastic contrasts of historic Peruvian cities, one being the epitome of colonial architecture and the other the ancient Inca capital. Both have so many things to do and see, and a bit of something for every type of traveler. From budget to luxury, or from culture buff to adrenaline junkie, you can easily spend a week or more in either city before moving on to the other one. Doing so will let you acclimatize to higher altitudes, but do take it easy in these cities to better handle soroche (mountain sickness).