Why: Peru is the iconic country of South America. Machu Picchu is the symbol of the continent. The Sacred Valley, Cuzco, Lake Titica and high Andes are a traveler’s dream spot. Lima is a happening city and the country is set up for tourism, yet retains many of its indigenous feel to it.
Flights and Transport: Lima is one of the easiest airports in South America to get to and there are loads of flights to here on Skyscanner.com. We got a flight from Lima to Cusco on Star Peru. VivaAir and Peruvian Air also have reasonable flights that will save you the long bus ride down towards Machu Picchu.
Day 1: Fly into Lima. Stay at Tierras Viajeras Hostel in Lima. Walk around the cool dowtown area and try some of the local ceviche or tasty Peruvian food.
Day 2: Head back out to the airport and fly down Cuzco. In Cuzco stay at Pariwana Hostel. Walk around in downtown Cuzco and check out this epic Andean town. Try some of the local food and hit up the local markets. Walk up above Cuzco to get a view of the city from Sacsayhuaman Ruins.
Day 3: Take a shared van up to the town of Ollantaytambo. Get off here and take a couple of hours to explore these fabulous ruins which are a great warm-up for the next day in Machu Picchu. From here you will probably take the Machu Picchu Express Train up to the town of Aguascalientes, which is a few miles from Machu Picchu. For details on how to do Machu Picchu check out my entire post on Machu Picchu here! Stay at Ecopackers Hostel in Aguascalientes (Machu Picchu town).
Day 4: Get up early to get the first buses up to the entrance of Machu Picchu so that you get in right when it opens. Spend the day exploring the postcard place of South America. Get a ticket for Machu Picchu Mountain if you can to make your day in the ruins even better. Come back and chill out in the town in the afternoon, trying some tasty local food.
Day 5: Take the train back down to Ollantaytambo and then a van to Cuzco. Stay in Pariwana Hostel again. In Cuzco ask your hostel to set up the Rainbow Mountain trek for you the next day. To read all about Rainbow Mountain check out my full post on Rainbow Mountain. Enjoy walking the streets of Cusco and get to bed a early if you can for an early day the next day.
Day 6: This will be a big day as we headed out before 5. The hike up Rainbow Mountain can be challenging and it can rain causing muddy trails, however I found the views in the region to be really worth it. You will get back late in the afternoon after this full day.
Day 7: Get a bus out of Cusco to go explore the various ruins of the Sacred Valley. This makes for a nice easy day trip not too far outside of Cusco. Since you already went to Ollantaytambo, you don’t need to go too far. Make sure you get to the Pisac Ruins, because the market in the nearby town is a treat to visit! We hoped on an overnight bus to Puno to be able to check out Lago Titicaca on the following day!
Day 8: You will arrive at Puno early in the morning. Getting a taxi down to the port area there will be all kinds of guys offering you day outings to check out the floating reed islands and the island of Tequile. For a full run down check out my post on Lake Titicaca. Stay in Suites Antonio’s after your full day on the Lake.
Day 9: Take a morning bus back to Cusco in time for your afternoon flight from Cusco back to Lima. This will be a big travel day. In Lima stay in Tierra Viajeras Hostel again. Walk around the old town and get some more tasty Peruvian food.
Day 10: Enjoy walking the streets of Lima and checking out the architecture before your flight home or on to you next South American country!