There are three main options for travel between Cusco, ancient Inca capital and gateway to the Sacred Valley, and Southern Peru's cosmopolitan colonial city, Arequipa. These are to take a plane, to take road transport (bus or private transfer) or to take a once-weekly train.
Duration: 1 hour
Flying from Cusco to Arequipa is the easiest and quickest way to travel between these two wonderful cities. Flight time around one hour Cusco's Alejandro Velasco Astete airport to Arequipa's Alfredo Rodríguez Ballón airport. Latam and Peruvian both offer two flights daily. From the airport in Arequipa, about five miles northwest of the center, take a taxi to your final destination in Arequipa.
By Bus or Private Transfer
Duration: 9-11 hours
There is also the option of traveling by road between Cusco and Arequipa. Many travelers choose the bus, because of the frequency and cheapness of journeys, although it is also possible to arrange a private transfer via Hwys 3S and 34A (note there are no sights of real significance along the way, although there is some beautiful scenery).
From Cusco's Terminal Terrestre there are frequent buses, almost hourly, plying this route to Arequipa's Terrapuerto, the main bus station in Arequipa. From their own terminal nearby, Cruz del Sur, one of the most luxury operators on this route, have two daily departures, both running overnight.
This is the cheapest and most popular form of travel.
Duration: 2.25 days
The third option for travel between Cusco and Arequipa is to take the train. Trains run from Cusco's Huanchac station. This is the most expensive way of traveling between these destinations. The train runs via Puno and Lake Titicaca. The journey departs on a Thursday morning and arrives on a Saturday afternoon, with stops, meals and accommodation en route included.
This is the longest and by far the most expensive mode of transport, but also the most atmospheric.