Arequipa is the vibrant, cosmopolitan metropolis of southern Peru, full of fabulous historic sights and great restaurants, and the base for visits into the famous Colca Canyon, the world's second-deepest canyon.
Arequipa can be accessed easily from either of Peru's big tourist destinations, Lima and Cusco. It is connected by road and by air from Lima and Cusco.
Duration: 1.5-17 hours
Traveling by plane from Lima to Arequipa is by far the most efficient way to go, with travel time about 1.5 hours from Lima's Jorge Chávez airport. Prices can be quite reasonable. It is, however, still generally the most expensive means of arrival (although some bus companies charge as much for their luxury seats). Airlines flying the Lima-Arequipa route include Latam (with the most daily direct departures), Peruvian, Viva Air, and Star Perú. Arequipa's Alfredo Rodríguez Ballón airport is five miles northwest of central Arequipa. From here, taxis run to the center (30 minutes).
It is also possible to travel by bus from Lima to Arequipa. Cruz del Sur offers one daily direct morning departure and multiple afternoon departures from their Javier Prado terminal in Lima. A fully reclining VIP seat on one of these buses is more comfortable than a lot of planes and can be as expensive. Another good company for this route is Civa, with a similar number of direct daily departure from the Javier Prado, La Victoria, and Atocongo terminals in Lima.
Duration: 1 hour-2.25 days
The other major destination to reach Arequipa from is Cusco. This can be done by plane, by bus or by rail.
Flying from Cusco to Arequipa is the easiest and quickest way, with flight time around one hour from Cusco's Alejandro Velasco Astete airport. Latam and Peruvian both offer two flights daily from here to Arequipa's Alfredo Rodríguez Ballón airport.
Bus travel between these destinations is probably the most popular, and certainly the cheapest means of travel. Travel time is between nine and 11 hours from Cusco's Terminal Terrestre. There are frequent buses, almost hourly, plying this route.
There is also the option to take a train from Cusco to Arequipa, from Cusco's Huanchac station. This is the most expensive way of traveling between these destinations. The train runs via Lake Titicaca. The journey departs on a Thursday morning and arrives on a Saturday afternoon, with stops, meals and accommodation en route included.