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Getting Around

Many of Cusco's attractions are within walking distance of the central Plaza de Armas, but if you're in a hurry or your destination is a little further, there are a number of transport options; if it's late at night, it is advisable to take a taxi.

By Bus
Buses in Cusco are called combis: they are generally small buses or minibuses crammed with as many people as can possibly fit. At around $0.40 (one sol) a ride, a combi is the cheapest way to get around the city, but also the most uncomfortable and often the most confusing: there are no set timetables and though there are specific routes, they are not published anywhere and the only way to get familiar with the combi system in Cusco is through practice. Each combi has a sign on its windshield stating where it is heading, as well as an employee hanging out of the door yelling out the destination to anyone in earshot. To get onto one, simply stand on the sidewalk and wave it down; to get off, just yell "voy a bajar" and the combi will stop at the nearest corner. Combis to the airport leave from Avenida El Sol.

By Taxi
Taxis are the most straightforward form of transportation for tourists in Cusco, and are still very reasonable: any journey in the center of the city should cost no more than $1 (two to three soles); note that taxis will charge an extra $0.40 (one sol) from about 8 p.m. Taxis don't run on meters here, so make sure you negotiate the price before you set off. You can either ask the hotel or restaurant you are at to call you a cab, but if you're on the street you should have no problem hailing one. Look out for those that carry the diamond-shaped sticker of official approval on their windshields, these-according to the tourism police-are the safe taxis to take: ignore any others. A taxi to the bus station should cost no more than $1.20-$1.50 (three to four soles) and to the airport $2-4 (about five to ten soles).

By Car
Car rental is generally expensive-and also sometimes intimidating, as drivers on Peru's roads can get a little crazy-but if you want complete independence, it is an option. Note that you will need an international driver's license, passport, and credit card to hire a car, and many companies require that you are at least 25 years old. A couple of car hire companies in Cusco are:

Hertz: Rental starts at $35 a day, and there are options to return the car to Hertz offices in Lima or other Latin American cities. There are two locations in Cusco: the airport, Monday-Sunday 6 a.m.-3 p.m; and Avenida El Sol 808, Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-1 p.m. and 3.30-6.30 p.m., Saturday 8.30 a.m.-1 p.m. URL:

Eric Adventures: This tour agency rents cars and 4x4s from $75 per day. Urb. Santa Maria A1-6, San Sebastián. Tel: 272-862, URL:

By Ricardo Segreda
Growing up in New York, Rick Segreda used to cut out of high school in order to hang out at the Museum of Modern Art and catch foreign-language...
12 Mar 2012

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