Cusco to Iquitos 2019 : Direct flights to the Peruvian Amazon
This post is also available in: Spanish
A new direct flight brings travelers from Machu Picchu to the heart of the Amazon in less than half the time.
Travelling between Peru’s two most stunning sights—the Amazonian rainforest and the Inca ruins in and around Machu Picchu—used to be a hassle. Visitors flying from Cusco (the base city for The Sacred Valley of the Incas and Machu Picchu) to Iquitos (the base city for Peruvian Amazon river cruises including the Aria Amazon) needed to transit in the Peruvian capital of Lima. LATAM Airlines, however, changed things when it began running direct flights from Cusco to Iquitos (and vice versa) in 2018.
Why Iquitos and the Peruvian Amazon?
Accessible only by air travel, Iquitos is proving to be an increasingly popular base to explore the Amazon by cruise. Savvy travelers are increasingly choosing Peru and Iquitos for their Amazon river and rainforest experience for three key reasons.
Firstly, Lima is the international air hub that is nearest and most accessible to the world’s most extensive rainforest system (as opposed to flying into Brazil).
Secondly, the Peru sections of the Amazon offer encounters with nature that are more intimate. Being the upper, narrower section of the Amazon, cruise ships sail much closer to the lush jungle at any time, making the spotting of wildlife easier and far more rewarding.
Thirdly, it is from Peru’s Iquitos that luxury Amazon river cruises set sail. For the discerning traveler, cruising in comfort and style aboard a best-of-class riverboat, such as the Aria Amazon, is the most fitting way to explore the most spectacular rainforest in the world.
Note that Iquitos is only accessible by air travel.
From one wonder to another, in just over two hours
Not only does LATAM’s Cusco-Iquitos direct flights spare travelers the unnecessary expense of flying back to Lima, they also simplify domestic travel within Peru. With a schedule that’s far less hectic, travelers can arrive in Iquitos refreshed, relaxed and fully ready to embrace the sights and sounds of the Amazon river and rainforest.
ROUTES VIA LIMA
Via Lima, the shortest Cusco-Iquitos flight (LATAM) is a 4h 30min late afternoon/evening flight that does not sync up with Machu Picchu train timings nor Iquitos Amazon cruise embarkation timings
Taking the morning flight (LATAM) out of Cusco via Lima gets travelers to Iquitos in time for cruise embarkation and takes anywhere from 4h 31min to 4h 53min, depending on the time of year.
An example schedule:
Cusco-Lima: 0650hrs to 0822hrs (1hr 32min)
Transit: 1hr 23min
Lima-Iquitos: 0944hrs to 1143hrs (1hr 59min)
LATAM’s Cusco-Iquitos- Cusco direct flight* Operates from April to November
*Timings, schedules and frequencies are subject to change
Take note that LATAM’s Cusco-Iquitos direct flights only operate from July and September every year. In these months, flying direct from Cusco to Iquitos makes combining the Amazon River with Machu Picchu easy and seamless.