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Getting There

By Plane -- By far the best way to get to Ayacucho is to fly from Lima on LC Busre (tel. 01/619-1313; www.lcbusre.com.pe) or Star Perú (tel. 01/705-9000; www.starperu.com) which fly daily; the flight is 1 hour and costs about $99 one-way. The Alfredo Mendivil Duarte airport (tel. 066/812-418) is 4km (2 1/2 miles) east of downtown on Av. del Ejército 950. Taxis, which charge S/8 to downtown, await arriving flights.

By Bus -- Executive service buses from Lima via Pisco or Ica take about 9 hours on a very demanding road through the mountains; contact Ormeño (tel. 01/472-5000; www.grupo-ormeno.com.pe) or Cruz del Sur (tel. 01/311-5050; www.cruzdelsur.com.pe). Executive buses are infinitely preferable to regular service; note that they travel at night only on the direct return to Lima. There is no central bus terminal in Ayacucho; Cruz del Sur is located on Av. Mariscal Cáceres 1264 (tel. 066/812-813), and Ormeño is at Jr. Libertad 257 (tel. 066/812-495).

Highest Railroad in the World -- Lima is the starting point of the Ferrocarril Central Andino (tel. 01/226-6363; www.ferrocarrilcentral.com.pe), the highest railway in the world, which runs from Lima to Huancayo in the Central Highlands (up to 4,781m/15,686 ft.). Unfortunately, the line has a problematic history (enough to discourage most reasonable travelers from planning their trips to Peru around it): The so-called "Tren Macho" was shut down for most of the 1980s and 1990s. It is again operating after long periods of inactivity, however. The incredibly scenic, 12-hour passenger train, which crosses 58 bridges and passes through 69 tunnels, runs once a month between July and November S/165 to S/300 round-trip). Trains leave Lima from the Estación Central de Desamparados, Jr. Ancash 201, just behind the Government Palace. Check for updates before you arrive in Peru.

Visitor Information

A small iPerú tourist counter greets arriving planes at the airport every morning from 6:30 to 8:30am. The iPerú office at Portal Municipal 48 (Plaza Mayor; tel. 066/818-305) is extremely helpful and is open Monday through Saturday from 8:30am to 7:30pm, and Sunday from 8:30am to 2:30pm.

For guided tours and transportation in the area, contact Wari Tours, Portal Independencia 70 (tel. 066/311-415).

Fast Facts -- Banco de Crédito (tel. 066/522-445) Portal Unión 27 (Plaza Mayor), has a Visa-compatible ATM. You'll also find money-changers hanging around the Plaza Mayor. Several pharmacies line Jirón 28 de Julio, including Farmacia del Pino, Jr. 28 de Julio 123 (tel. 066/312-080). For emergencies, contact the National Tourism Police at Jr. 2 de Mayo 100 (at Jirón Arequipa; tel. 066/312-055). The 24-hour National Police office is at Jr. 28 de Julio 325 (tel. 066/312-332). The main hospital is Hospital Regional de Ayacucho, Av. Independencia 355 (tel. 066/312-180). The post office is at Jr. Asamblea 295 (tel. 066/312-224).

Getting Around

The best way to get around Ayacucho itself is on foot because most places of interest -- hotels, restaurants, the cathedral -- are only minutes from the Plaza Mayor. Taxis and mototaxis are readily available and cheap for any trip within the city; taxis charge S/3 to S/4, and mototaxis charge S/2. A taxi to the Barrio de Santa Ana is a good idea, but if you want the driver to wait while you explore the artesanía galleries, negotiate a price beforehand.

For transport to Quinua and other outlying attractions, colectivos depart from the paradero at the corner of Jirón Salvador Cavero and Jirón Ciro Alegría in the eastern part of Ayacucho (Urbanización Santa Bertha).

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.