Often times while waiting to pick guests up at the Cusco airport, I notice people exiting and looking confused as to where to go, we always try to send arrival information to our guests, but for those that might not be staying here at GringoWasi, here is some information to help you navigate the Cusco or Alejandro Velasco Astete Airport.
When people arrive, I believe they are doing one of three things, either transferring to another flight, looking for someone that is picking them up, or they are going to get their own transportation, so the following is information grouped by each activity.
You Have a Ride
If you are expecting someone to pick you up upon arrival, then first thing to do is to collect your bags and then exit the building, once you exit the building turn to your left, here you will see many people standing around, some with signs and some without. Look for your name on one of the signs, now if you don’t see a sign with your name, it is best to stay inside the arrival (roped and railed) area and not exit through the crowed, keep in mind that the driver will be looking for you inside the arrival area and not outside in the crowd.
NOTE: While waiting for your luggage you may hear a porter calling your name, while some drivers give names to the porters, the porters also just read names off of the signs outside. In most cases the porter will be expecting a tip, so if one is calling your name ask them how much (quanto?) for the assistance, if they say tip or propina, then you will know that they expect a tip and can decide if you want their assistance, if they just say free or gratis then the driver is likely going to pay them. For reference there are luggage carts that are free to use, if you do not see any inside, look along the wall just outside the building.
You Need a Ride
If you have not arranged transportation in advance then you will have a few options when you arrive at the airport. Again collect your bags and exit the building, once you exit you will likely encounter the “official” airport taxis. These taxis are the only ones allowed inside the railed arrival area, and are going to be one of the more expensive options. These taxis are regulated a bit in what they can charge and how they are supposed to conduct themselves, as they are controlled a bit more I do not know if you can negotiate price.
A cheaper option would be to turn left and head towards the large crowed, this is a mix of drivers picking up people, as well as regular taxi drivers, these taxi’s will be cheaper than the “official” taxis and you can negotiate with them. Additionally you can just pass through the large crowed and go to the curb where departing passengers are being dropped off, here you can also get a taxi and they tend to be even slightly cheaper as they have already been paid to get there, and will not have to pay for parking.
The third option is to exit the building and turn right, follow the sidewalk that will curve around to the left and then exit the airport. Turn right and you will find taxis as well, and if there are none along the curb, then you can just flag one down. These tend to be the cheapest option, and one many locals will use, but there are those that also believe this to be the least safe option as well. As we either have a driver arranged or get one that had dropped off a passenger, I can not say how safe I feel this option is, but with all of your luggage you may want to stick with the taxis inside the airport.
Making a Connection
If you are making a connection, you will likely have to collect your bags (check with the airline), after this exit the building and turn to the left where you will have to go through the crowd of drivers and then re-enter the building, now you should be on the departures side and can either go the the check in counter (if needed) or just proceeded upstairs through security to the gates.
While inside the arrival area you will see many booths for hotels and other services, keep in mind that these companies are paying a premium to be there and are not likely to be the cheapest options. If you need tours or tickets, look around the main plaza or ask your accommodation to assist you. If you need an accommodation, you will likely do much better with asking your taxi to recommend one, but even here, the driver will be receiving a commission, so having accommodation booked before you arrive is really the best option. If you would like some tips on getting the best price on your accommodation, check out my blog on “Getting the Best Hotel Rate”.
Well I hope you found this information useful and that I won’t see you outside the building scratching your head, and if you are still in the research phase of planning, I invite you to consider GringoWasi as a possible accommodation. Thank you for reading and I hope that you enjoy your trip.