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Peru 2 Week Travel Itinerary

Updated: Jul 4, 2023

I traveled Peru for 6 weeks so I am really happy to present you my 2 week travel itinerary as it has been a highly requested topic!

Where to start and what to not miss out on? All that you will find in this article. I will also add some extra comments for those who have more than 2 weeks on things I highly recommend adding in.

Short on time? Here is a quick summary of 2 weeks Peru travel itinerary:

  • Lima (2 days)

  • Huacachina Desert (1 or 2 days)

  • Arequipa (2 or 3 days)

  • Puno (1 or 2 days)

  • Cusco (3 days)

  • Machu Picchu (2 to 4 days)

If you have more time (around 4 weeks) then I would highly recommend adding in the below and extending your stays like this:

  • Lima (3 days)

  • Huacachina Desert (2 days)

  • Nazca Lines (1 day)

  • Arequipa (3 days)

  • Colca Canyon (2 days)

  • Puno (2 days)

  • Cusco (5 days)

  • Machu Picchu (4 days)

  • Mancora (3 days)

  • Amazon (4 days)

Before we jump into each location I want to emphasize that this is the way I ventured and recommend but it really doesn’t matter - you can do this whole route the other way round, so start in Cusco and finish in Lima. It really depends on where you have better flights. Usually, cheaper and more flight options are to Lima from other countries. Cusco airport is much smaller. Or you fly into Lima anyway and then just make your way opposite my route.

First Stop: Lima

80% of the time you will arrive in the country via Lima which is why I recommend starting here. Also, if you decide to do a free walking tour or other tours then that will be a great place where to learn about all the important history and events that shaped Peru.

I highly recommend doing a free walking tour around the historical center. You will learn a lot of interesting things that will help you enjoy your trip even more.

I also recommend doing a bicycle tour around Barannco and Miraflores areas as they are brilliant places to explore and have a good time.

Regarding where to stay, I would highly recommend staying in Miraflores as it is one of the safest areas in the city and is also full of amazing restaurants.

More about the capital find in my Lima Travel Guide.

4 week Peru Travel Itinerary Comment
Here I would like to add that if you have more time and you want to have some proper beach time, make your way up North to Mancora. It is a great beach town that a lot of tourists and locals like and endorse. Mancora also has some amazing surfing spots!

Second Stop: Huacachina Desert

From Lima, you will need to take a bus to Ica and from there (the Ica bus station) you get a 10minute taxi ride to Huacachina Desert. By taxi I mean tuk-tuk!

I highly recommend staying in the actual desert oasis as it will be a very unique experience.

During your visit, you have to go on a crazy buggy ride and try sandboarding! More about this you can find on my Huacachina Travel Guide.

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While in Ica, if you have more time, I highly recommend going on a plane or helicopter ride over the Nasca Lines! You will need to take a 3 hour ride to the actual place and the flight is around 90 USD but it is a truly unique creation in Peru. You can learn more about it here: Why the Nasca lines are among Peru's greatest mysteries.

Third Stop: Arequipa

Then from Ica, you take a night bus to Arequipa. It is a long 13 hour bus ride so I highly advise saving travel time and doing the night bus, but there are also buses going during the day.

In Arequipa, I highly recommend doing a free walking tour to learn more about this part of the country.

Also, Arequipa is an absolute foodie paradise. The best food for me in the whole of South America was in Arequipa. Not only do you have loads of cute restaurants offering local dishes, but also a lot of vegetarian-friendly and vegan restaurants. As well as some amazing cafes with incredible desserts. If you are a vegetarian then here is a list of all the best vegetarian-friendly restaurants in Arequipa.

Another incredible thing to do while around Arequipa is to do a trekking trip through Colca Canyon! For this you need at least 2 days so might be tight with your schedule, but it is an absolutely incredible experience. Also, this might not be for everyone - this was literally the hardest hike I have ever done! So this is a great experience for nature and hiking lovers but can be quite challenging and you need to see if you can allocate 2 days for it as that is the minimum. Yes, you can do a day trip just to go and view the canyon, BUT I would highly recommend against it because I think the long 4 hour ride (at 4am in the morning) and then back is not worth it. You need to trek and stay in the oasis and experience it properly to truly enjoy it. More about the Colca Canyon find in my 2 day trekking trip blog.

So if you are not doing Colca Canyon, I definitely recommend staying in Arequipa for at least 2 days so you can try as many restaurants as possible. But if you decide to do Colca Canyon, then you probably can allocate only one day to explore the city.

Fourth Stop: Puno

Then from Arequipa, you make your way to Puno. One of the coldest parts of the country as it is very high up but also one of the most magical places in Peru. In Puno, you will find the famous floating islands that are buoyant in Titicaca Lake. On your visit to Puno, you can do it as a day trip or stay over on one of the islands.

Fifth Stop: Cusco and Machu Picchu

And the finale - Machu Picchu! That is probably the main reason you are going to Peru? It is definitely a place everyone has to visit at least once.

But I would highly recommend spending some days before in Cusco and the surrounding area. Definitely do a free walking tour around Cusco to learn more about the Inca culture. And if you truly want to learn about the Incas, then you need to do a few day trips around Cusco. Here is a list of the best day trips from Cusco.

One day trip that I want to highlight and that is not so much about learning the history but more about embracing nature and its miracles is a visit to Rainbow Mountains.

Cusco is a very touristic city so it is a bit more expensive than other cities but again, there are so many amazing restaurants offering delicious local food! Here are my favorite vegetarian-friendly and cheap restaurants in Cusco.

NOTE: Be aware, they eat guinea pigs in Peru and Cusco is a place where a lot of restaurants offer guinea pigs for dinner!

How to best visit Machu Picchu? Well yes, this is a difficult question because you can go by bus, or train or do a several-day hike there. I have prepared a very analytical guide that puts pros and cons for each choice: Different ways how to get to Machu Picchu.

I personally did the Salkantay trek and absolutely loved it!

So here you really need to plan your stay in Cusco smart. If you are very tight on days, then the most compact plan would be:

  • 1 day to explore Cusco

  • 1 day for a day trip to Rainbow Mountains

  • 2 days for Machu Picchu (and you would need to do that by using the train or a bus)

If you do have more than 4 days then:

  • 1 day to explore Cusco

  • 1 day for a day trip to Rainbow Mountains

  • 1 day to explore Sacred Valley and Inca ruins

  • 4 days to do Salkantay or Inca Trail

So you can easily spend a week just in Cusco!

From here then you take a flight back home. Or you might need to fly back home via Lima.

4 week Peru Travel Itinerary Comment
And if you have more time, please add a visit to the Amazon Rainforest. The Amazon covers a huge territory and you can visit it from several countries but Peru has tourism on spot and there are several amazing tours to do to the Amazon!

If Peru is just a stop on your South America tour, then I highly recommend checking out this video of all the best places you have to visit in South America!


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