The time you spend in the air during your trip to Peru does not end with an international flight. Most travelers touchdown at the country’s Jorge Chavez International Airport in Lima and then take a connecting flight in Peru to their final destination. With all the intricacies of organizing a trip, it’s nice to have all the information you need to plan your domestic travel to have one less thing to worry about.
Domestic flights in Peru under a microscope
Flying is the easiest and fastest way to get between Lima and other cities throughout Peru. While it is possible to travel by land, many people opt to fly over taking a long-distance bus ride. A one-way bus trip from Lima to Cusco, for example, takes 21-hours or more! So unless your time in Peru is without restriction, flying is the best option.
The question then becomes: What airline is the best option for booking a domestic flight in Peru?
LAN, Star Peru, and TACA are three airlines that operate domestic flights in Peru. After deciding what cities you want to visit, it’s best to check what destination each airlines serves.
From Lima, these airlines offer flights to:
From Lima, LATAM (previously known as LAN) serves the following (13) destinations: Arequipa, Cajamarca, Chiclayo, Cusco, Iquitos, Juliaca, Piura, Pucallpa, Puerto Maldonado, Tacna, Tarapoto, Trujillo and Tumbes.
From Lima, Star Peru serves the following (7) destinations: Ayacucho, Cusco, Huanuco, Iquitos, Pucallpa, Puerto Maldonado and Tarapoto.
From Lima, TACA serves the following (8) destinations: Arequipa, Chiclayo, Cusco, Juliaca, Piura, Puerto Maldonado, Tarapoto and Trujillo.
In 2012, LAN merged with the Brazilian airline TAM to create the world’s largest airline – the LATAM Group. As a bigger carrier LATAM is able to serve a higher number of daily flights to major destinations within Peru compared to Star Peru and TACA.
Travelers going to Machu Picchu need to book domestic flights from Lima to Cusco. LATAM operates between 12 to 15 daily flights from Lima to Cusco and generally has the same number of return options. As smaller carriers, Star Peru and TACA have less traffic between Lima to Cusco, providing between 3 to 6 flights each way.
LATAM ticket prices, however, tend to be more expensive than those of Star Peru and TACA. For instance, the price of a multi-destination flight (Lima – Cusco – Puerto Maldonado – Lima) may be about $80 more than its competitor.
As with any international adventure, sometimes travel plans don’t always go as planned. Being prepared with travel insurance is important, but the airline carrier you choose may also help you overcome any travel plan hiccups.
LATAM has the best track record for on-time flights throughout the year and offers the highest level of flexibility with last minute changes and cancellation. This is particularly important information to consider when visiting Peru during its rainy season and the chances of flight changes increase due to weather conditions.
Matt Greenberg is the the sales manager for Latin America For Less and has lived in Peru for more than 5 years. “Star Peru and TACA are good airlines, but they have a higher percentage of delays and cancellations than LATAM,” says Matt. “I recommend buying LATAM flights, however we are happy to arrange a travel itinerary based on your preference.”
It’s best to start planning your trip to Peru sooner than later because domestic flights can fill up fast during certain seasons and holiday weekends. Supply and demand often dictates ticket prices, so booking your flight early will ensure that you get the best deal. While discounts are sometimes available, they are offered sporadically and cannot be guaranteed for the specific dates that you plan to travel.
Check online for more detailed information about flight plans and destination options:
Contact us to start planning your trip to Peru and discuss the best flight options for you.
Britt is a California native with a passion for globe-trotting. She left home for South America in 2013 and now has a family and permanent address in Peru.