One of the things that makes Peru a fascinating, diverse country is its geography. However, this fantastic geography is what gives us some headaches when traveling and choosing the best way to get around Peru. Some of the most common ways to get around Peru are by bus and train, but definitely, the most popular and easiest one is by plane.
We receive lots of questions regarding domestic flights in Peru. Since we know it is a critical aspect of any trip to Peru, here’s an insiders’ guide on all that you need to know about domestic flights in Peru. We’ll share with you our tips, recommendations, and all the info for making the right decisions when booking your next flight within Peru.
Getting around Peru by plane, the main destinations
The main destinations in Peru can be easily reached by plane in around 1 to 2 hours from Lima, the capital city. Some of those cities in southern Peru are Cusco, Arequipa, Juliaca (Puno), Puerto Maldonado (Tambopata) and Ayacucho. In the north: Trujillo (La Libertad), Chiclayo (Lambayeque), Piura (Mancora), Tumbes, Jaen, and Iquitos.
Flights to cities like Cusco and Arequipa have many departures during the day. Yet, some others only have one or two daily frequencies (or even every 2 days). To make sure you find a good flight schedule, we recommend checking your dates on the airline web page in advance to plan your trip according to it.
Which airline is the best for booking my domestic flights within Peru?
At this point, you should be wondering what is then the airline you should book your domestic flights with? There are not many options to choose from, but at least a pair of them are punctual, reliable, and have many departures. We use and recommend Latam Airlines, Sky Airlines (low cost), and Avianca (only for Lima to Cusco or vise-versa flights). There are other airlines, such as Star Peru or Viva Air, that also offer departures to the major destinations. But have lesser frequencies and not a very good reputation in punctuality and service.
Flying to 15 different destinations within Peru, LATAM has made a name for itself as the biggest airline in the country, with the highest frequency of domestic flights in Peru. It is probably the airline with the biggest and most modern plane fleet in the country.
Destinations: Arequipa, Ayacucho, Cajamarca, Jaen, Chiclayo, Cusco, Iquitos, Lima, Piura, Puerto Maldonado, Pucallpa, Juliaca (Puno), Tacna, Tarapoto, Trujillo, and Tumbes.
Pros: Great variety of flight frequencies, big aircraft, inflight service, good reputation on safety onboard, sustainability programs, and variety of rates depending on your preferences on board.
Cons: Some of the highest rates on domestic flights.
The big Chilean low-cost airline that has recently started operations in Peru the last year (2019). Sky has quickly consolidated their position in the Peruvian airline market with their low rates, punctual flight departures, and many frequencies.
Destinations: Puerto Maldonado (Tambopata), Juliaca (Puno), Cusco, Arequipa, Piura, Trujillo, Tarapoto, Pucallpa, Iquitos, Ayacucho and Tumbes.
Pros: Flights to the most important and popular cities within Peru, many frequencies, good aircraft conditions, reliable reputation, and some of the cheapest rates for flights in Peru.
Cons: As a low-cost airline, it doesn’t include service on board or snacks. The base price for a flight doesn’t include carry-on or checked bags, it only consists of an 8-kg personal item (but you can add more bags for an additional fee).
Although Avianca was the second leading airline in Peru, they went bankrupt last year. Then, they decided to stop their domestic flight operations within the country (except for Cusco) and only offer flights and other countries outside Peru. A member of Star Alliance, Avianca also complies with the highest standards in terms of safety, innovation, and customer service.
Pros: Modern plane fleet, overall excellent passenger experience, both airport and flight services run very smoothly, great frequent flyer program, snack onboard.
Cons: Only operates flights from Lima to Cusco and vise-versa. Not many daily departures.
Considered as a sister airline with Viva Colombia, Viva Air was the first low-cost airline established in Peru. Its prices are low, competitive and it targets travelers looking for quick breaks within Peru or those who would like to visit their family and friends.
Destinations: Cusco, Arequipa, Piura, Iquitos, Tarapoto, Jaen, Chiclayo, Cajamarca, Tacna, and Juliaca (Puno).
Pros: Low and standardized prices according to each destination. Flights to the most important and popular cities within Peru.
Cons: Any service is included onboard as a low-cost airline. Not a very good reputation due to delays in transited destinations.
Star Peru is one of the smallest airlines in Peru. Although it’s an ok airline with much cheaper rates than Latam, friendly staff, and proper flight schedules, it doesn’t have a good reputation for punctuality and has reported many flight cancellations.
Destinations: Ayacucho, Cusco, Huanuco, Iquitos, Lima, Pucallpa, Puerto Maldonado, and Tarapoto.
Pros: Good fares, small waiting lines, good flight schedules, small but comfortable planes, friendly crew.
Cons: Difficult to book tickets online, old airline fleet, canceled flight departures, and bad reputation in punctuality.
Recommendations when booking domestic flights in Peru
Now that you know which airlines take into consideration when booking a domestic flight in Peru. We’ll give you some insights and recommendations on how to choose and book your next flight within Peru.
1. Choose your flight schedule according to the season.
Even the most reliable airlines can have delays in their departure or arrival time during the rainy season. We recommend booking flights departing or arriving during the morning to avoid suspensions for weather conditions. Late afternoon and night flights have high chances of cancellation from December to March.
2. Check the fares and conditions carefully
When booking your flight, check the terms of the ticket you are choosing. Not all rates include checked baggage or carry-on, and trying to add any of those at the airport can cost you a fortune!
3. Consider enough spare time between connecting flights
If you are ending your trip in Cusco and need to fly to Lima to take your international flight back home, keep in mind that you should be at the airport at least 3 hours before your flight departs. In other words, if you have an international flight leaving at 15:00 hrs from Lima airport, your flight from your connecting destination should be arriving before 12:00 hrs.
Pro tip: If you are flying from Lima to southern Peru (Cusco, Arequipa, Puno, etc.) when choosing your seats, take the ones on the left. Sitting on the left side of the aircraft will let you enjoy the best view of the Andes as you approach your destination!
If you are still confused about how to choose the right domestic flights in Peru for your trip, reach us out!
See you in Peru!