Andean Cusco is a city much more associated with mountain attractions like Machu Picchu than it is with access to the Amazon. But you can enjoy a stay in the mountains here and still be well placed for a trip to the jungle.
Travel to the Amazon from Cusco is either by flight, by bus or by private transfer. Three different regions of the Peruvian Amazon are accessible from Cusco: Northern Amazon, Central Amazon, and Southern Amazon.
See this article for some of the many highlights of the Peruvian Amazon to plan which parts you would like to visit.
Northern Amazon by Plane
Duration: 2.5 hours - 5 hours
Cusco is connected by one daily direct high season flight to Iquitos, the main transport hub in the Northern Amazon. These flights usually operate from June to September, and flight time is around 2.25 hours. At other times of the year, you first need to fly to Lima to get a connecting flight to Iquitos, with the quickest arrival time in Iquitos therefore about five hours.
Central Amazon by Private Transfer
Duration: 3 - 7 days
Cusco is best placed for visiting the Central Amazon, and it is the Central Amazon that most people come to Cusco specifically to visit. The part of the Central Amazon of most relevance to travelers that can be visited from Cusco is Parque Nacional Manu, or Manu National Park. Manu National Park is one of the most biodiverse parts of the world, and as such tourism here is restricted to going with a guided tour, which all responsible tourism to the park does.
For these reasons, and because of the remoteness of the park, trips here can only be of the multiday variety, with a three-day trip from Cusco the bare minimum and four to seven day trips the standard. Trips are arranged through agencies in Cusco, who include all transport to the park and within it in their tours.
Southern Amazon by Plane or Bus
Duration: 1-11 hours
There is only one key access point in the Southern Amazon: Puerto Maldonado.
Puerto Maldonado can be accessed by plane from Cusco in one hour. Latam is the best airline choice. From Cusco, there are one or two direct flights daily. Puerto Maldonado can also be accessed by road from Cusco in 9-11 hours on the Carretera Interocéanica via Quince Mil.
In Cusco, you can also sign up to a tour of the Southern Amazon, normally on the Tambopata or Madre de Dios rivers which can be accessed from and run close to Puerto Maldonado. Travel will be via plane, bus or tour bus as described above, whereupon, at Puerto Maldonado, a tour by 4x4 and riverboat will commence. These tours can also be purchased in Puerto Maldonado, and often at a lower cost than in Cusco.