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Machu Picchu & Cusco Peru Airport

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Machu Picchu & Cusco Peru Airport

The Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport is the only airport in Cusco. The airport has been constantly named the second most important air terminal in Peru; after the Lima airport (Jorge Chavez International Airport), annually having around 2,500,00 national and international passengers. The airport is located 5.5 km (3.4 miles) from Main Square in the historic center of Cusco. The taxi ride is approximately 20 minutes.

 

Driving to and from the airport:

 

Bus:

Unlike the Lima airport, which has the luxury buses of Airport Express Lima, the Cusco airport does not have such a service. There is no bus service that takes you directly to or from the Cusco airport and downtown Cusco. However, Cusco has a network of privately owned mini buses known as "combis". Every combi company has a specific route that runs all day. They do not have a fixed schedule, but they pass frequently. The price is 0.80 (PEN). The buses stop full and the seats are very limited, there is no luggage storage.

 

Taxis

Taxis by themselves the most popular means of transportation to or from the Cusco airport. Upon arrival at the Cusco airport you will meet many taxi drivers offering their services. In the luggage pick-up area, inside the terminal, there are 2 small tables offering transportation from the airport. "Llama Taxis"  are one of them, their taxis are Black Toyotas Saloons that are modern and safe. The price from Cusco airport to Plaza de Armas or any of the tourist hotels in Cusco (within the city) is 45/55 soles ($ 15 USD). Beyond this just outside the doors on your left, after picking up your luggage, there will be a lot of taxi drivers (you will not lose them). In the typical style of Peruvian taxi drivers, they can be burdensome and persistent, but do not let this discourage you. No taxi has a fixed charge for the sections so they will have to be at a price before entering. The price of a taxi from the Cusco airport to the historic center of Cusco is around S / .10-15 soles ($ 3.50-5.00 USD) for a 20-minute trip. Keep in mind that taxi drivers will start offering you prices of S/.25-30 soles ($ 7.50-10.00 USD) or even more. You must have the patience and ability to negotiate a price. Taxi drivers are required to pay S / .2 soles for parking when leaving the airport. Usually they ask the passengers for an additional price they had left, be firm and inform them that this was not part of what was agreed.

 

Private minivan transportation service:

Cusco Airport: There are several companies offering private transportation from the Cusco airport to the historic center through the internet. Cusco Transport Tours, Cusco Airport Shuttle and Cusco Transfers (to name a few).Prices start at $ 20 USD and increase for each additional passenger.

 

General Points:

Landing and taking off in Cusco is chilling. This airport has visibility restrictions and only operates during the day, due to the visual requirement that pilots need to land. Flights to and from Cusco are constantly delayed by cloud cover or bad weather making it almost impossible to land on the runway. The airport in Cusco is basically an airport that operates only when there is good weather. If the cloud cover is less than 3,800 feet above the airport, the planes can not land. Compared to Lima, planes can not land alone if there is cloud cover less than 200 feet above the airport. This is because the Cusco airport is at the height of the Andes at more than 11,100 feet and surrounded on all sides by larger mountains. The airport of Cusco is limited in other aspects as well, the arrivals are only a part. For example, in windy weather, flights may be delayed because in Cusco planes can only land from the west and take off from the east. But be secure that all precautions are for your security and problems are unual so you can take an unforggetable trip without a problem.

 

What you can find at the Cusco airport ?

Cusco airport is an international airport with a small terminal with some services, which is now operating at full capacity.

  • NOTE: The airport is open from 05:00 am to 10:00 pm. It is not possible to stay overnight at the airport.

Tips for the Cusco airport:

 

In the small parking lot of the airport there are some shops and kiosks. They are directly in front of the main door of the terminal on the other side of the parking lot. They sell a variety of sweets, biscuits, drinks and even sandwiches at reasonable prices and much cheaper than what they sell inside the airport.

  • Wi-Fi: There is no Wi-fi in the airport and access to Wi-Fi in restaurants is only available after making any consumption.
  • Storage cabinets: There are no storage lockers for passengers at the Cusco airport.
  • Showers: There are no showers at the Cusco airport.

Public Area:

First floor:

On the first floor there are 20 check-in tables with limited space.

  • Change of money: On the first floor there is a change house. Here you can change euros, pound sterling and US dollars. The exchange rate is not as good as those you will find in the center of Cusco, but keep in mind that it is an airport. Keep in mind that broken or even slightly damaged foreign bills will not be accepted.
  • Club Lounge: On the left hand side of the check-in table there is a club lounge. The room offers comfortable seating, free Wi-Fi connection, flight information monitor, complimentary beverages and a small range of snacks. This room does not have a sleeping area. Since the room is in the public area, and if you are in the boarding area you would have to leave to enter the room. It is accessible with a wheelchair. The room is free for members of Diners Club International and Lounge Club members, or there is an entrance fee of $ 30 USD per person. The room is open from 06:00 am - 16:00 pm.
  • Cashiers: All major banks in Peru have ATMs at the airport and accept Visa, MasterCard, Amex and all other major credit / debit cards.
  • Information for tourists: In the back of the airport there is a small information module for tourists. Operated by PromPeru, the official tourism board in Peru, the staff can offer information about not only Cusco but all other destinations in Peru.

Second floor:

The seats are comfortable but extremely limited, often not enough for the number of passengers waiting at the airport.

  • Restaurant: There is a medium-sized restaurant that offers everything from tea to coffee, hamburgers to completely Peruvian dishes such as Ají de Gallina. The prices are fair and the food is reasonably good.
  • Snack Stalls: Two small snacks stalls can be found on the second floor of the airport. They have a limited variety of snacks and drinks, and the prices are relatively high.
  • Souvenir Stores: There are two very small souvenir shops selling and a small amount of local products from chocolates, cups for Pisco and puzzles of Machu Picchu. Obviously it will be cheaper to buy souvenirs in the city instead of the airport.
  • Masseur: There is a small massage area with two chairs that offers massages for the neck and shoulders from 10mins to 30 mins.
  • Coffe and Internet: A small coffe offers Internet access, Skype, access to print and scan, and international and local calls. The internet is S /. 5 soles ($ 1.75 USD) per hour and the cafeteria is open 7 days a week from 07:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
  • Bookshop: Located to the left of the security reviews there is a small library that offers editions of Lonely Planet and literature of Machu Picchu.
  • Boarding area: The seats are comfortable and, again, limited. At rush hour there are not enough seats for all passengers waiting at the airport.
  • Snacks stand: A small snack stand offers everything from empanadas to cakes and sandwiches and the usual variety of beverages such as coffee, tea, water and soft drinks. Food plates are not sold here, prices are higher than in the public area of the airport, but are still reasonable compared to other airports in the world.
  • Shopping: The small waiting room has 4 high-end stores located near the doors including Ilaria jewelry and Kuna (the manufacturer of alpaca products).

Future plans - Cusco Airport:

Since there is no way to increase capacity at the current location, a new airport is being built in Chinchero, just outside of Cusco. Peru would be starting with the construction of the airport even with the controversy about the potential risks to the ecological elements of Chinchero. Chinchero International Airport - Cusco will be located more than 30km from Cusco and this new airport will have more than double the capacity of the Cusco airport.. It is scheduled to open in February 2021

 

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