Going to Peru, are you? We’ve already told you where we think you should go, so all that’s left is telling you how to do it. With a lot of thought and input from our travels around Peru, we’ve created the perfect Peru itinerary: meaning, we’ve created several of them, based on the time you have and what you’re interested in.

So, no matter who you are or what you’re into, there is a Peru itinerary in this post that is perfect for you. We guarantee it. (And for those of you thinking, I can’t be hemmed in by your rules and itineraries, we’ve thought of you too, you rebels. DIY Peru itinerary at the bottom with a list of spots and the time to allow; don’t let anybody tell you what to do!).

 

10 different itineraries for every type of traveler

 


Our travel style is to move slowly and allow time for spontaneity, but we know life doesn’t always come with unlimited vacation days, so we’ve presented some comfortable itineraries that work for pretty much everyone and will let you get a real feel for each spot. Some have more spots packed in, some have fewer, so you can do you. Pace is a very personal choice.

And what are those titles of each Peru Itinerary below, you might ask? We decided to title our itineraries because, let’s be honest, blogs are the new travel agents (not sorry), and it was fun for us. Roll with it, and please let loose with a few of your own. [Punny name suggestions very welcome in the comments section.] Vamos!

 

Peru Itinerary: 1 Week

The timeframe most have to work with. In one week, you can realistically see one destination really well, get a great feel for two, and check off three if you’re determined to make the most out of it. Here’s how.

 

Peru 1 week itinerary

 

Doing Machu Picchu the Right Way

 

Less Travel Time

(Cusco + Sacred Valley + Machu Picchu)

Sure, you can zip in, get a selfie, and get out, but is that really traveling in the truest sense? This is for those of you who say nah. Spend 3 days in Cusco city (Inca culture + trekking + mountains + llamas + Machu Picchu), and with 1 day being a day trip to the Sacred Valley of the Incas (Inca ruins + tiny Andean villages + more nature + way more llamas). From Cusco, you will trek to Machu Picchu. You have 4 days to trek including 1 day on Machu Picchu, and can choose between the easy backpacker favorite, the Inca Jungle, a 4-day version of the classic Inca Trail, or one of the more intense Lares or Salkantay journeys. Your trek will include a train back to Cusco, where you can fly out. (Trek details here).

Read more about Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu here.

 

The Classixxx

Average Travel Time

(Lima + Cusco + Amazon)

This is a great way to see (what we believe to be) two of Peru’s best spots in just a week. Spend 1 day in Lima (art + seafood + museums + beach). See a few sights, eat amazing ceviche, wander Barranco, and stock up on anything you need for the trip. Next, head to Cusco for 3 days (Inca culture + trekking + mountains + llamas + Machu Picchu). That’s enough time to see the city itself and take the train for 1 day at Machu Picchu. From here, you’re going to the Amazon for 3 days (rainforest + exotic animals + indigenous tribes). Puerto Maldonado is the closest entry point to Cusco, with access to Manu National Park, or you can visit Iquitos and enter the rainforest from there. If you’re flying, it doesn’t make much of a difference logistically: choose which appeals to you more.

Read more about Lima, Cusco and the Amazon.

 

The Culture Trip

Average Travel Time

(Lima + Cusco + Lake Titicaca)

So, you want culture do you? Spend 1 day in Lima (art + seafood + museums + beach). See a few sights, eat amazing ceviche, wander Barranco, and stock up on anything you need for the trip. Next, spend 3 days in Cusco (Inca culture + trekking + mountains + llamas + Machu Picchu), which is enough time to see the city in 2 days and take the train to Machu Picchu for 1 day. Then, you can take the train or fly to Puno (huge lake + folklore + ancient cultures + handicrafts), where you will find Lake Titicaca. Allow 3 days (including travel time), and explore Taquile Floating Islands and sail in a reed boat.

Read more about Lima, and Cusco.

 

Spring Breakers: Peru Edition

Average Travel Time

(Lima + Mancora/Arequipa + Cusco)

Maybe you’re young and fun, and want to know the best way to go pretty crazy in a week and come home with some stories. There’s something for you, too. Spend 1 day in Lima (art + seafood + museums + beach) where you’ll stay at one of the major party hostels like Pariwana or Loki, then head to Cusco for 3 days (Inca culture + trekking + mountains + llamas + Machu Picchu). Take the train to Machu Picchu on one of these days, and once again stay in a hostel like Pariwana or Loki for a hot mess of a good time. Cuidado with the blood bombs.

Summer: If you’re visiting during Peru’s summer, you’ll fly up to party beach town Mancora for 3 days (surf + partying + beach + great seafood) to finish out with a bang. Loki del Mar is the only place to be here, and is practically a mini-resort for backpackers.

Winter: If you’re visiting during Peru’s winter, Mancora might be sleepier than usual. No worries. Hop on over to Arequipa for 3 days (food + volcanos + “the white city” + trekking + Colca Canyon), a huge backpacker hub known for even wilder bar crawls and party hostels than Cusco. Stay at the Flying Dog to be at the heart of it all.

Read more about Lima, Mancora, and Cusco.

 

Peru Itinerary: 2 Weeks

The difference between one week and two is monumental; and we’re in the camp that believes the longer you have, the better the experience. Two weeks is a great amount of time to really explore a few destinations and see a great variety of this country’s extremely diverse sights.

 

Peru 2 Week Itinerary

 

Treks on Treks

Average Travel Time

(Lima + Arequipa + Cusco + Huaraz)

Nepal, New Zealand, Peru: Major players in the trekking world. If you’re all about that trek life, you’ve come to the right place. We hoped you’ve trained though, because two weeks of trekking isn’t for the faint of heart. From Lima, head to Arequipa for 3 days (food + volcanos + “the white city” + trekking). Trek the Colca Canyon, twice as deep as the Grand Canyon and home to the Andean condor and impressive Inca terracing. For a lighter trip, do just 2 days trekking the canyon and 1 exploring Arequipa city. From here, fly to Cusco. Allow 7 days in Cusco city (Inca culture + trekking + mountains + llamas + Machu Picchu), which gives you 2 days to acclimate and sightsee, then 5 days to trek to Machu Picchu. The Inca Trail is medium difficulty, Lares is more advanced, and Salkantay is the most challenging (more about these treks here). If you want to do a less conventional trek, check out Ausangate. It won’t lead you to Machu Picchu, but you can always take the train for a day after the trek (and the trek itself is a pretty incredible secret as of now). From Cusco, do 3 days in Huaraz (snowy mountain peaks + glacial lakes + trekking). You can do a multi-day trek, or base yourself out of the city and visit different sights each day. Head back to Lima for 1 day, and grab some delicious seafood before heading home. (If you want to skip Huaraz and trek a destination outside Lima such as Marcahuasi (camping on ancient ritual ground + amazing rock formations + 3-hour trek), you can do so in 2 days. This trek can also be great for adjusting to the altitude at the beginning of the trip, and is great for those who want some DIY camping with their trekking. Here’s a list of our favorite treks outside Lima).

Read more about Lima, Marcahuasi and Cusco.



 

Southern Peru Sampler

More Travel Time

(Lima + Ica + Arequipa + Puno + Cusco)

A trip for those of you active folk who want to pack in a lot. Spend 1 day in Lima (art + seafood + museums + beach), then head south to Ica for 4 days (including driving time). Pick one of these as your base, and plan day trips to Huacachina (desert oasis + sand dunes + sand boarding), Paracas (marine reserve + penguins + boat tours), and the Nazca Lines (ancient drawings the size of football fields). Continue south to spend 3 days in Arequipa (food + volcanos + “the white city” + trekking + Colca Canyon), then go east for 3 days in Puno (Lake Titicaca + folklore + ancient cultures + handicrafts). From Puno, take the train or fly for 3 days in Cusco (Inca culture + trekking + mountains + llamas + Machu Picchu), which includes time for sightseeing in the city and taking the train to Machu Picchu.

Read more about Lima, Ica, and Cusco.

 

Awesome Nature

Less/Average Travel Time

(Cusco + Amazon + Huaraz )

From Lima, go to Cusco for 7 days (Inca culture + trekking + mountains + llamas + Machu Picchu). One day to explore the city, one to explore the Sacred Valley of the Incas (don’t miss Maras!), and you’ll have 5 days to trek to and visit Machu Picchu. Here’s where you choose the nature you want to see. You can trek to Machu Picchu, and have a choice of the fun and easier Inca Jungle Trek, the mid-level Inca Trail (with tons of ruins on the route), or the more advanced Lares and Salkantay which offer the most impressive nature of them all. They can all be done in 4 or 5 days including a day on Machu Picchu (more about these treks here). Or, if you’re willing to break out of the typical pattern, embark on the 5 day Ausangate trek which promises the craziest scenery of them all (including the rainbow mountains). However, this trek doesn’t go to Machu Picchu, so you will need to take the train for a day trip afterwards (which is a perfectly fine way to go). After trekking through these amazing places, head to the Amazon for 4 days (rainforest + exotic animals + indigenous tribes). You can bus to Puerto Maldonado which gives you access to Manu National Park, or fly to Iquitos and enter that portion of the Amazon (we recommend Iquitos, personally). Spend a day or even half in the city, and the rest in a lodge in the Amazon. Then, head to Huaraz for 3 days (snowy mountain peaks + glacial lakes + trekking). You can embark upon a multi-day trek, or use the city as a base and do day trips, whatever mood you’re in.

Read more about Cusco and the Amazon.

 

Peru Itinerary: 3 Weeks

Three weeks is a wonderful amount of time- you’ll have a real connection and understanding of the country by the time you leave. This gives you two options of what to do with your extra time: add in a few more sites, or do one of the two week itineraries with a 7-day bolster of free time spread throughout for whatever spontaneous adventures and downtime with new friends you want. There’s no right or wrong way, it’s all just style. Here are the three week Peru itineraries for you guys who want to use it to see more.

 

Peru 3 week itinerary

 

Awesome Nature 2.0

Average Travel Time

(Cusco + Amazon + Huaraz + Ica + Lima)

Peru is packed with wild feats of nature that will literally make your jaw drop. Scroll through these 10 photos, feel your mind blown because you haven’t heard of half of it, and come back. We’ll wait. So yea, we’re guessing you want to see some of those crazy places don’t you? Here’s how. Your first destination will be 3 days in Ica (desert + sand dunes + marine reserve). We recommend staying in Huacachina for 2 (desert oasis + sand dunes + sand boarding) and doing a day trip to Paracas for 1 (marine reserve + penguins + boat tours). From here, make your way to the Cusco region for 8 days (Inca culture + trekking + mountains + llamas + Machu Picchu). One day to explore the city, one to explore the Sacred Valley of the Incas (don’t miss Maras!), and you’ll have 6 days to trek to and visit Machu Picchu. Here’s where your personal decision-making comes in. You can trek to Machu Picchu, and have a choice of the fun and easier Inca Jungle Trek, the mid-level Inca Trail (with tons of ruins on the route), or the more advanced Lares and Salkantay which offer the most impressive nature of them all. They can all be done in 4 or 5 days including a day on Machu Picchu, which gives you a day to rest when you return to Cusco (more about getting to Machu Picchu here). Or, if you’re willing to break out of the typical pattern, embark on the 5 day Ausangate trek which promises the craziest scenery of them all (including the rainbow mountains). However, this trek doesn’t go to Machu Picchu, so you will need to take the train for a day trip afterwards (which is a perfectly fine way to go). After trekking through these amazing places, head to the Amazon for 4 days (rainforest + exotic animals + indigenous tribes). You can bus to Puerto Maldonado which gives you access to Manu National Park, or fly to Iquitos and enter that portion of the Amazon (we recommend Iquitos, personally). Spend a day or even half in the city, and the rest in a lodge in the Amazon. Then, head to Huaraz for 3 days (snowy mountain peaks + glacial lakes + trekking). You can embark upon a multi-day trek, or use the city as a base and do day trips, whatever mood you’re in.

If you’ve been busing between these places, the three remaining days will have been used to get around. Able to fly? You’ll have a few days to spare, and we recommend using them just outside of Lima so you’re close for your flight home. Adventurous souls can rent a tent and sleeping bag, and visit Marcahuasi for 2 days (camping on ancient ritual ground + amazing rock formations + 3-hour trek). It’s a journey you won’t forget, but this post will explain why we suggest it for seasoned and confident travelers only. Want something more comfortable? Check out these other spots, and allow some city-time in beautiful Lima (art + seafood + museums + beach).

Read more about Cusco, Amazon, Ica and Lima.

 

All Ancient Everything

Average Travel Time

(Lima + Caral + Puno + Cusco + Inca Trail + Choquequirao + Kuelap/Trujillo)

Love history, archaeology and ancient cultures? The Incas aren’t the only ones who left a fascinating mark on Peru, and this route will take you through some of the countries most impressive archaeological sites. Arrive in Lima for 2 days total (art + seafood + museums + beach). Spend one day at the city’s best museums, and visiting the Huaca Pucllana in Miraflores. On the second day, take a day trip to Caral (first city in Americas + archaeological site). Next, head to Puno for 3 days (Lake Titicaca + folklore + ancient cultures + handicrafts), where you can visit the floating islands and get insight into the Aymara culture. From here, go to Cusco for 8 days (Inca culture + trekking + mountains + llamas + Machu Picchu). You will spend the first one in the city acclimating and sight seeing, and the next two exploring the Sacred Valley of the Incas. From here, embark on the original Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu, which will take 5 days (shorter variations are available). Afterwards, you can visit the unique ruins of Choquequirao, reachable by 5 day trek. Lesser-visited, well-preserved yet slightly grown over, it is the wild “undiscovered” version of Machu Picchu. Finish off with a quick two day visit to one of two remarkable spots: 2 days for the Kuelap fortress of the Chachapoyas culture, or 2 days for Chan Chan outside the city of Trujillo, an entirely clay city of the pre-Inca Chimu Kingdom.

Read more about LimaCusco, and the Inca Trail.

 

Peru Itinerary: 4 Weeks

 

They said be a traveler, not a tourist, and you said, sure. Congrats. Four weeks is a beautiful amount of time. Our first recommendation: have your itinerary in mind, but plan/commit to as little as you have to. With four weeks, you’ll certainly meet people and see places you won’t expect, and there’s no greater shame than missing out because you have every day planned to a T and can’t change it. Our opinion, take it or leave it. If you prefer to plan more, then the upside is that you’ll save money on flights and know you’ll see so much of the country.

 

Peru 4 Week Itinerary

 

Many travelers who want a month-long itinerary for Peru are backpacking more of South America, and may be coming from a neighboring country and need to adapt a bit. We present to you a loop based from Lima, and the amount of time to spend in each place for the classic Peru backpacking experience. You can pick it up wherever is convenient. Or, if you’ve been around the block a bit and don’t want to go where all the other travelers are, take us up on the DIY itinerary option. We have a list of places, in order on the loop based in and out of Lima, and how long to stay. You can’t see all of them in a month, but you can pick and choose.

 

The Classic One-Month-in-Peru Backpacker Route

Average Travel Time

(Lima + Ica + Arequipa + Puno + Cusco + Iquitos + Mancora + Huaraz)

Spend 2 days in Lima (art + seafood + museums + beach), then go to Ica for 4 days (desert + sand dunes + marine reserve) where you will spend two in Huacachina (desert oasis + sand dunes + sand boarding), one in Paracas (marine reserve + penguins + boat tours), and one in Nazca (massive ancient drawings in the desert). Then go to Arequipa for 3 days (food + volcanos + “the white city” + trekking + Colca Canyon), up to Puno for 3 days (Lake Titicaca + folklore + ancient cultures + handicrafts), then to Cusco for 8 days (Inca culture + trekking + mountains + llamas + Machu Picchu) during which you’ll spend two in the city acclimating and sightseeing, two doing day trips to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, and four trekking to Machu Picchu (descriptions of different treks here). Next, fly to Iquitos for 4 days (rainforest city + exotic markets + animal conservation centers) where you will spend one day in the city and 3 at a lodge in the Amazon (rainforest + exotic animals + indigenous tribes). Then fly to Piura, where you will take a van down to Mancora to spend 3 days (surf + partying + beach + great seafood), then travel down to Huaraz for 3 days (snowy mountain peaks + glacial lakes + trekking).

Read more about Lima, IcaCusco, Iquitos, and Mancora.

 

The DIY Itinerary

Step 1: Reference our list of Where to Go in Peru to get an idea of the various spots and what they offer. Read it? Inspired? Dale.

Destinations & How Long to Stay:

Lima (art + seafood + museums + beach): 2 days for the city itself. 1 day each for day trips such as Caral, Lomos de Lucumo, Lunahuana. 2 days for Marcahuasi, 2 days for southern beaches, 2 days for Rupac. (More about Lima here).

Ica (desert + sand dunes + marine reserve): 1 day per destination within Ica, you can make one of them your base. Includes Huacachina (desert oasis + sand dunes + sand boarding), Paracas (marine reserve + penguins + boat tours), Nazca (massive ancient drawings in the desert), and Pisco (Pisco brandy-making region). (More about Ica here).

Arequipa (food + volcanos + “the white city” + trekking + Colca Canyon): 3 days.

Puno (Lake Titicaca + folklore + ancient cultures + handicrafts): 3 days.

Cusco (Inca culture + trekking + mountains + llamas + Machu Picchu): 2 days for the city, 2 days for the Sacred Valley of the Incas, 4-6 days to trek to Machu Picchu, 1.5 days to train to Machu Picchu, 5 days for Ausangate Trek, 5 days for Choquequierao Trek. (More about Cusco here).

Amazon (rainforest + exotic animals + indigenous tribes): 4 days. Visit either Puerto Maldonado or Iquitos, spend less than a day in the city itself and the rest in a lodge within the rainforest. You can also sail along the Amazon on cargo ships from one destination to another, takes anywhere from 3- 8 days depending on distance and direction. (More about the Amazon here).

North Shore Beaches (surfing + partying + great seafood): 2-3 days per beach. Punta Sal (local beach + surf spot), Mancora (popular backpacker party beach), Lobitos (surf spot), Chicama (longest left in the world), Chan Chan (an ancient clay city on the coast), Trujillo (colorful colonial city + beach + reed boats). (More about Mancora here).

Gocta Falls (amazing waterfall + green nature): 2 days.

Cajamarca (Andean culture + colonial city + farms + crazy Carnival). 3 days.

Kuelap (ancient ruins 1,000 years older than Machu Picchu): 2 days.

Huaraz (snowy mountain peaks + glacial lakes + trekking): 3 days. 7 days for Huayhuash trek.

Of course there are plenty of other tiny gems waiting for you to discover them, but you’ll be pretty covered for a few trips with these alone. If you’ll be coming from Ecuador or Bolivia, you can easily see on a map where to pick up the route and adapt it. Keep in mind that you will only have the option of land transport between many of the more remote destinations, so calculate that time into your schedule accordingly.

 

We told you: we have a Peru itinerary for everybody.

We hope you found the perfect Peru itinerary for your travel style. I would say alpaca your bags as well, but I think we’ve planned your trip enough; you can take it from here, right? (no? not ready? read more on Peru or hit us up in the comment section below). Buen viaje, muchachitos! Can’t wait to hear which itineraries you choose.