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Peru is home to several wondrous sights that are the top of many travelers’ bucket lists. This complex and stunning country is home to colonial-heritage cities, dense Amazon rainforest, and a wealth of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and cultural attractions. Things to do here range from exploring the dense jungle and deep canyons of the north to city-hopping and admiring pre-Columbian artwork on the coast so you will need a Peru travel itinerary that focuses on your tastes. Whether you’ve got just a few days spare to focus on one area of Peru, or you’re lucky enough to have a few weeks set aside for traveling, there’s plenty of Peru itineraries to choose from. Peru itineraries will have you hiking through Manu National Park, one of the most bio-diverse areas on the planet, sampling ceviche, the country’s national dish and finding your way to the ancient Incan city of Machu Picchu on an adventure of a lifetime!
We recommend spending ten days to two weeks in Peru, as this allows visitors to visit plenty of the country’s major highlights along with some off-the-beaten-path destinations. If you’re strapped for time, a seven-day Peru trip itinerary will also work if you focus on one destination and include the odd day trip to explore further afield. Those with three weeks or more to spend in Peru can enjoy the luxury of a relaxed Peru vacation itinerary without rushing or worrying about losing days to the road.
One of the most popular 7-day Peru itineraries takes you on the famous Inca Trail, high in the Andes mountains. Beginning and ending in the colonial city of Cusco, the Inca Trail express route is perfect for experienced and novice trekkers alike and offers the chance to visit the mighty Machu Picchu. You’ll hike through the Sacred Valley, travel through Ollantaytambo, and retrace the steps of the Inca people. After multiple days of hiking you’ll be rewarded with one of the Seven Wonders of the World; Machu Picchu! This Incan citadel sits high in the mountains and dates back to the 15th century. At the end of your trip, spend a day exploring Cusco, South America’s oldest continuously inhabited city.
Alternatively, spend seven days exploring Northern Peru. Starting and ending in the capital of Lima you’ll unlock the secrets of the Andes as you visit the majestic Gocta Falls, Quiocta Caves, and the ruined fortress of Kuelap. You’ll have time to explore Lima on day one and day seven of this trip.
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The best Peru itineraries are usually around 10 days in length and offer the chance to explore the majority of the country’s highlights. For the ultimate 10-day adventure, begin your trip in Cusco before heading to Rainbow Mountain, the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Moray, Chinchero, Puno, the Floating Islands, and Lake Titicaca before ending in Lima. On this route, you’ll marvel at ancient ruins, explore the salt mines of Moray, and meet the Uru people on the Floating Islands. There’s also time to explore the very best of Cusco including San Pedro Market, and the Plaza de Armas along with Lima’s highlights which include the Larco Museum (home to pre-Columbian artifacts) and Huaca Pucllana (the ruins of an ancient Inca pyramid).
If you’re a seasoned hiker, or interested in exploring the great outdoors on foot, another way to spend your ten days is by exploring the Inca trails of the Sacred Valley and the Andes Mountains on an epic walking holiday to Machu Picchu. You’ll travel through Aguas Calientes, Cusco, and Lima as you visit local markets, charming villages and ancient ruins.
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Peru itineraries two weeks in length can range from floating down the Amazon on a riverboat to a 14-day grueling but rewarding trek through the Andres. If you’d like the perfect blend of both relaxing water-based excursions and exciting land activities then consider spending two weeks tackling all of the above! Your route will start and end in Lima before visiting Cusco, Ollantaytambo, Aguas Calientes, Iquitos (a gateway to Peruvian jungle), and the jungle town of Lagunas. You’ll venture to Machu Picchu by train, cruise along the Amazon learning about Peruvian wildlife as you go, and dine on fresh Ceviche in the city of Lima.
If you consider yourself a ‘foodie’, why not join a Peruvian food tour and taste your way around the country over 14 days? Learn the secrets of ceviche, Peru’s national dish, as you explore Lima, Cusco, Aguas Calientes, and Puerto Maldonado. You’ll also learn Andean cooking tips, dine on empanadas, and try your hand at making your own pisco sour, a popular Peruvian drink. You’ll be exposed to the traditions of small-town cooking and big city street food as you eat your way from one destination to the next!
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Peru itineraries that are three weeks in length allow you to really peel back the layers of a destination and cover quite a lot of ground. You can take any of the above-mentioned itineraries and extend your time in each city and town, or add extra destinations to widen your travels.
For the ultimate 3-week itinerary that takes in the highlights of Peru, you’ll want to start in Lima. From here, head down the coast to Pisco and Nazca, before heading slightly inland to the towns of Arequipa and Puno. Next, you’ll head north to Cusco and the neighboring town of Aguas Calientes before heading east to Puerto Maldonado and finally west to Lima. This route allows you to discover the mysterious Nazca Lines and walk the volcanic terrain of Arequipa, hike the Andes and visit Machu Picchu, and marvel at the archeological wonders of the Sacred Valley and the beautiful waters of Lake Titicaca. From floating down the Amazon river on a jungle adventure amidst nature to dining at a Michelin starred restaurant in Lima, this 3-week tour has it all.
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If you like any of these itineraries or would like to create your own, connect with our local Travel Expert in Peru and plan the best Peru itinerary for your upcoming vacation in Peru. If you’d like to make new friends while exploring Peru , you can also check out our Peru tours page for group tours.
Travelling to Peru? Chat with a local travel specialist in Peru who can help organize your trip.
Lisa Artal Travel Expert in Bolivia & Peru
Brian Rosengren Travel Expert in Peru
James Mackender Travel Expert in Peru