Cusco to Iquitos luxury amazon river cruises Aria Amazon Machu Picchu

Cusco to Iquitos: Direct flights to the Peruvian Amazon in 2019

5 years ago Amazon

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).

Aria Amazon Rainforest Excursions

The Amazon rainforest is more easily accessed from Peru.

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.

Luxury Amazon river cruise Aria

Sail aboard the Aria Amazon by flying into Iquitos direct from Cusco.

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.


Via Lima, the shortest Cusco to 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

  • Aqua Expeditions does not recommend overnight land accommodation in Iquitos (especially since there’s nothing to see and do once it gets dark in the town!)

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 direct flight*

  • Operates from July to November
    • Cusco (CUZ) to Iquitos (IQT)
      • Flight Number: LA2228
      • Frequency: Monday and Friday
      • Departs Cusco: 0810hrs
      • Arrives Iquitos: 1020hrs (2 hr 10min)
        • Flight timings sync up with Aria Amazon embarkation timings; Aqua Expeditions provides complementary airport-to-cruise transfer for these flights
    • Iquitos (IQT) to Cusco (CUZ)
      • Flight Number: LA2229
      • Frequency: Monday and Friday
      • Departs Iquitos: 1111hrs
      • Arrives Cusco: 1304hrs (1 hr 53 min)
        • Flight timings sync up with Aria Amazon disembarkation timings; Aqua Expeditions provides complementary cruise-to-airport transfer for these flights

*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 an Amazon cruise with Machu Picchu easy and seamless.

Cusco to Iquitos direct flight Peru infographic

Just two hours will take travelers from Cusco to Iquitos on LATAM’s direct flight.

Fly less, cruise more aboard the Aria Amazon

Upon their arrival at Iquitos airport, guests of the 16-suite Aria Amazon are warmly greeted by our staff and begin their Aqua Expeditions experience with a complementary airport transfer. Aria Amazon’s 3, 4 and 7-night itineraries see our guests well taken care of from the moment they land in Iquitos.

Aria Amazon luxury river cruise design suite

Guests can indulge in a moving rainforest panorama on board the Aria Amazon.

On board, the luxuries of the Aria Amazon unveil. Be it gazing upon a 55-million-year-old rainforest through panoramic windows in every suite, receiving heartfelt personal service enabled by a 1:1 crew-to-guest ratio, or tasting one of the best menus ever served on a luxury Amazon river cruise, guests get to experience the highest standards of hospitality on one of greatest rivers in the world.

In between, guests can follow our expert guides in small-group excursions aboard ergonomic launch boats and immerse in every intriguing detail of the Amazon ecosystem. Fish for piranhas sustainably and spot wild pink dolphins and caiman (native crocodiles), then go on a jungle trek and be welcomed by toucans, howler monkeys and the laguid three-toed sloth . These trips go hand-in-hand with Aqua Expeditions’ efforts to champion and preserve the Amazon ecosystem.

Peruvian Amazon howler monkey

Fifth hand: the tails of howler monkeys can support their full body weight.

Across Peru, the Hiram Bingham train in Machu Picchu and the Aria Amazon luxury river cruise are prime examples of stylish and exclusive voyages on an epic scale. Now, coupled with direct flights from Cusco to Iquitos, travelers can now better immerse in these luxury experiences with less time spent in the air. Take advantage of the July-November direct flights and begin your journey by finding out more about the Aria Amazon here.

EXCLUSIVE OFFER: Book now and travel by 30 April 2019 and save up to USD $2,450 per person (or USD $4,900 per couple) on the luxury Amazon river cruise aboard the Aria Amazon! More details in this link.