The Ultimate 10 Day Peru Itinerary

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Who says travel to amazing places, such as Peru, is only for the people that are willing to quit their jobs just to get the time?

Contrary to what you might think, you don’t need to quit your 9 to 5 to see Peru, and it’s possible to see the highlights in just 10 days.

We understand the challenge of only having a few vacation days in a year, and we’re here to help you find a way to make it work.

In this guide, we have shared the ultimate 10 day Peru itinerary for those who only have a short vacation time and want to get the most out of their trip.

At A Glance: Our Peru Itinerary For 10 Days

woman posing with arms outstretched in front of Machu Picchu
All Smiles At Machu Picchu

For those who are short on time, here is a rough overview of our 10-day Peru itinerary. This should give you an idea of what to see and expect.

  • Day 1 – Arrive in Lima. This day will be about recovering from the flight and relaxing.
  • Day 2 – Explore Lima, including open top bus tour of the city sights.
  • Day 3 – Catch an early flight to Puerto Maldonado. This is the first day of a 4 day adventure with Wasai. Spend the evening walking the streets and relaxing by the Madre de Dios River.
  • Day 4 – Wake up at 4am to see a Parrot clay lick, then late morning take a 4 hour boat ride to the Wasai Tambopata Eco lodge where you will journey deep in the Amazon Rainforest.
  • Day 5 – Spend in the Amazon. See the Macaw clay lick, hiking and kayaking.
  • Day 6 – Spend in the Amazon. Go zip lining, tree climbing and hiking.
  • Day 7 – Catch an early boat ride back to Puerto Maldonado and catch an afternoon flight to Cusco. Spent the rest of the day exploring Cusco and adjusting to the altitude.
  • Day 8 – Tour of the Sacred Valley including the Pisaq Market, hiking the Sacred Valley and Ollantaytambo. Catch a late afternoon train ride from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes.
  • Day 9 – Visit Machu Picchu! Late evening, return to Cusco.
  • Day 10 – Catch a morning flight to Lima, spent the day at one of the parks, and depart home in the evening.

10 Day Peru Itinerary

Now let’s dive into the 10-day itinerary in full detail.

Day 1 & 2: Lima

an old building
Stunning Lima Architecture

When searching for flights to Peru, you will likely fly into the capital city of Lima arriving late at night.

This city is a vibrant, busy and crowded capital and I wouldn’t plan on too many days here.

If you plan your very first day in Lima, you will have plenty of time to catch up on some sleep from your late arrival the night before and hit the highlights of the city.

From Lima, you can reach the Nazca Lines, Ballestas Islands and Huacachina Sand Dunes by bus.

sandboarding huacachina
Huacachina Sand Dunes
  • Nazca Lines: These are intriguing ancient geoglyphs etched into the desert floor of southern Peru, depicting various animals, plants, and geometric shapes, believed to have been created between 500 BCE and 500 CE.
  • Ballestas Islands: Also known as the “Poor Man’s Galapagos,” these islands off the coast of Peru are a haven for diverse marine wildlife, including sea lions, penguins, and numerous bird species, offering fantastic opportunities for wildlife observation and photography.
  • Huacachina Sand Dunes: A stunning desert oasis near the city of Ica in Peru, surrounded by towering sand dunes that attract thrill-seekers for adrenaline-pumping activities such as dune buggying and sandboarding.

To visit these areas you need to plan a minimum of 2 days with an overnight, which would mean skipping Lima off your itinerary, but it really depends on what you prefer to do.

nazca lines peru
Nazca Lines, Peru

A day trip to the Nazca lines can be done if you are really short on time and can’t live without them. It will be a long day.

It isn’t feasible to combine Ballestas Islands and Huacachina with the Nazca Lines on a day trip, so you will need to choose which of these day trips sound more enticing to you.

Day 3: Puerto Maldonado

a woman laying on a bed
Relaxing in Our Bungalow in Puerto Maldonado

After your time in Lima, you’ll want to head to the next destination. For us, it was Puerto Maldonado to spend 4 days in the Amazon Rainforest.

The flight time from Lima to Puerto Maldonado is only 1 hour and 40 minutes, so if you catch an early flight you have plenty of time to explore Puerto Maldonado in the afternoon.

We wanted to visit the Amazon Rainforest for four days, but you can opt for three days and two night options, which give you an extra day in your itinerary.

If you decide to spend less time in the Amazon, you could head to either Lake Titicaca, one of the largest lakes in South America and the highest navigable body of water, or Colca Canyon, the deepest canyon in the world known for its trekking.

It really depends on what you want to see and do.

Day 4-6: Amazon Rainforest

macaws on tree in a forest
Witnessing the Macaws Descend On A Clay Lick in the Amazon Rainforest

We chose to take a transformative four-day Amazon adventure with the Wasai Tambopata Lodge in Peru, which takes you into the heart of the world’s largest rainforest, The Amazon.

This immersive experience offers a harmonious blend of eco-tourism, wildlife observation, and cultural exploration.

The itinerary included trekking through the lush jungle trails, visiting the largest Macaw’s clay lick, camping in the Bahuaja Sonene National Park, and embarking on a motorboat trip up the Tambopata River, as well as sitting around Lake Sandoval.

Amazon Basin Jungle, Suspended bridge between two big trees,
Amazon Basin Jungle | Yay Images

Throughout the experience we were surrounded by the diverse flora and fauna of the Amazon while also enjoying the comfort and hospitality of the beautiful Wasai Amazon Lodges, which were little eco-friendly treehouses.

Of course, there are many Amazon tours from Puerto Maldonado, but we recommend you book one in advance to avoid disappointment as they are quite popular.

Day 7: Puerto Maldonado to Cusco

Aerial view of streets and houses in Cusco city, Peru.
Cusco city, Peru | Yay Images

After spending time in the Amazon, head back to Puerto Maldonado and catch a flight to Cusco. The flight time is less than one hour, but do try to catch an early flight so you can spend time relaxing in Cusco and adjusting to the altitude.

If you normally live at sea level, you’re going to need to take it easy. Cusco sits at 3,399 meters above sea level, and altitude sickness is not uncommon here.

Day 8: Sacred Valley, Pisac, and Ollantaytambo

Hiking Sacred Valley
Hiking in the Sacred Valley

Spend the day exploring Peru’s Sacred Valley of the Incas, where ancient history and beautiful landscapes converge. The ride out to the Sacred Valley is roughly around 1.5 hours from Cusco, so you can easily fit all these attractions into one day.

We started our day by exploring the Pisaq Market, a bustling hub of local crafts, textiles, and produce, where we picked up some souvenirs and learned about the traditions of the Andean people.

pisac in peru
Pisac Ruins

While in Pisac, wander through the intricate Pisaq ruins, an archeological site that once belonged to the Inca community and was built in 1440. The Inca ruins are accessible by a steep hike from town, but it only takes around 90 minutes.

Afterwards, head to the awe-inspiring Ollantaytambo, another ancient village in the Sacred Valley, where imposing terraces and stone structures stand as a testament to the ingenuity of Incan engineering.

After all that exploring, take some time to soak in the breathtaking vistas of the Sacred Valley, where emerald fields and jagged peaks create a beautiful backdrop.

Day 9: Machu Picchu

looking over Machu Picchu, Perú

Perhaps the most important site to see on any trip to Peru is Machu Picchu, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

Most people opt to visit Machu Picchu by one of the treks, most famously the Inca Trail or the Salkantay Trail. Both of these treks take between 5 and 10 days, so you don’t have time to do these famous treks, but you can opt for a 2 day, 1 night hike if you’re timing allows.

Alternatively, take a full-day tour from Cusco. You used to be only able to visit with a guide, but they changed the law and you can go without a guide and just buy the entrance ticket.

However, we highly recommend you get a guide so you have someone there to tell you what you’re looking at.

Day 10: Lima and Home

sculpture on water at lima park

On the final day, fly back to Lima before catching your flight home. If you have time between flights, you can leave your luggage at a locker at the airport and explore more of Lima before you leave.

Or you could simply sit in a bar at the airport and enjoy some last Pisco Sours before your long journey home.

Tips for Planning A Peru 10 Day Itinerary

overlooking miacchu picchu

The best way to plan Peru travel is to create a list of attractions, or bucket list items, that you want to see, and plan outwards from there.

Your items represent the things you are not willing to miss on during your Peru trip. It’s not possible to see everything in 10 days in Peru, so identifying your Peru must-sees is very important in the planning process.

Some attractions that people often put on their bucket list are:

  • Lima
  • Nazca Lines
  • Lake Titicaca and the Floating Islands
  • Machu Picchu
  • Sacred Valley
  • Cusco
  • Amazon Rainforest
  • Colca Canyon
  • Ballestas Islands
  • Rainbow Mountains
  • Arequipa
  • Chinchero, Moray, and Maras Salt Mines
  • Uros Islands
  • Urubamba River
  • and Huacachina Sand Dunes.
The Sacred Valley and the Inca ruins of Pisac
The Sacred Valley and the Inca ruins of Pisac

My biggest piece of advice is to accept that you can’t see it all and trying to WILL lead to a rushed, unpleasant travel to Peru.

Some other things to keep in mind while planning:

  • What time of year are you going? Remember that Peru is the Southern Hemisphere, and the best time to visit is during the winter (May – September) which is the dry season in Peru.
  • What will the weather be like? The rainy season in Peru is December until March, and when it rains, it rains.
  • Should you plan for altitude adjustment? If you haven’t been over 2,500 meters before, prepare for altitude sickness and bring appropriate meds, just in case.

Getting Around Peru

a boat in a river
Amazon Transportation

Due to your limited number of days, flying becomes your most logical option. The only exception is taking the bus to visit to the Nazca lines, Ballestas Islands and Huacachina Sand Dunes.

Bus rides are available throughout Peru that will get you to and from Cuzco, Lake Titicaca and Colca Canyon but they take many hours, think 30+, due to the terrain. Those beautiful mountains you came to see make cross country travel difficult and slow.

With only 10 days in Peru, that leaves flying as your best option.

Luckily, Peru operates a few different airlines within the country that you can pick up for cheap prices if you plan ahead. The three airlines to search are:

  • Star Peru
  • TACA
  • LAN

We used Star Peru for all of our inter-country flights which included: Lima-Puerto Maldonado, Puerto Maldonado-Cuzco and Cuzco-Lima.

When we arrived in each new place we utilized the local transportation. Taxis in Lima and Cuzco, Tuk Tuk’s in Puerto Maldonado and put many miles on our feet.

Local prices are pretty reasonable and easy to find while you are out and about. If we needed to get from a major place like the airport to the city center, we hailed a taxi but if we wanted to see another site nearby, we walked.

HOT TIP: Do not try to book tickets that are designated for Peruvians only – it will be tempting as they are significantly cheaper – but they will not honor your ticket at the airport during check in.

Guided Tour of Peru

If you don’t want to travel Peru independently, there are group tour companies that offer great deals and itineraries on Peru escorted tours.

See avalaible Peru tours on Globus, and Cosmos and use our special discount below.


We’ve secured an exclusive yTravel discount: Save $100 per person on select 2024 Globus and Avalon Waterway Vacations. Use the code: YTRAVEL when booking online at the Globus, Cosmos, and Avalon Waterways websites, by calling Globus and Avalon Waterways directly, or booking with a preferred Travel Advisor. Terms & Conditions.

Where to Stay in Peru

small village of Aguas calientese on river in jungle

With only 10 days in Peru, choosing your accommodation’s location is really important.

You want to make sure you are in the thick of things and close to the main attractions to maximize your days.

This alone will help you to not feel rushed and despite what you may hear from people, it is possible to find reasonably priced accommodation in the main areas of each city in Peru.

Speaking from our experience, I would recommend the following places to stay in Peru (all private rooms with bath):

Lima: Miraflores is a clean area with many attractions. You can get a room at a guesthouse or hostel for around $20 per night.

Puerto Maldonado: We stayed at a property near the Madre de Dios as part of the adventure package we booked for the Amazon. However, we researched many independent hostels that were in good locations, near the river for around $10-$25 per night.

Cusco: We stayed at the Hostal Inti Wasi and the location was amazing. We were right next to the Plaza de Armas. You will be in the heart of Cusco if you stay here, within easy walking distance to many shops, food and sights. They also stored our excess stuff when we went to Machu Picchu. Cost was $35 per night.

Aguas Calientes: This little town is loaded with places to stay on any budget. You are at the foot of Machu Picchu and that comes with a price. We ended up at a small hotel near the train station for $50 per night. Your other option is hiking the Inca Trail. You would have time to do the 2 day / 1 night hiking tour, which includes lodging when you book.

What Does it Cost to Travel in Peru?

Turquoise Llanganuco lake in Cordillera Blanca at sunny day, snowcapped Andes, Ancash, Peru
Llanganuco lake in Cordillera Blanca | Credit Yay Images

How much you spend on your 10-day trip to Peru will largely depend on how much you are willing to skimp on luxuries. Everyone has different tastes, but you can save drastically by foregoing nice hotels and choosing a hostel bed instead.

Our budget was $4,000 USD total for 2 people over 10 days. You could easily do it in $1,000 USD per person, if you book cheaper accommodation and choose buses over flights – though you won’t be able to fit in as much into your itinerary this way.

To help you estimate your costs, we spent:

  • $1,020 getting to Peru
  • $700 on inter-country flights
  • $115 on 4 nights of accommodation
  • $1,279 on tours that included 4 nights of accommodation
  • We spent our last night in the airport and when it was all said and done, we came home with $500
  • Our total spent was $3500, $1750 per person.

Final Thoughts

Cute and chic alpacas close up, Ancash peruvian Andes
Ancash Peruvian Andes, | Credit Yay Images

So there you have it, this is how you can spend 10 days in Peru. As you can see, you can still tick off a lot of bucket list items on this itinerary, even if you do need to make some sacrifices.

Of course, you can change things out to how you see fit. We love nature and wildlife, so we opted to spend more time in the Amazon, but you may decide to spend less time in the Amazon to visit more places.

We hope this guide helped you plan your itinerary and gave you some inspiration for why you should visit Peru for 10 days.

Bio: Lina from Divergent Travelers has been traveling for 12+ years, solo and with her partner David, while working full time. They have visited 31 countries and are hoping their stories will not only inspire those of you that are thinking about the jump, but also become a place you can visit for support and information in planning and realizing your dreams! You can follow their adventures on their blog and on social media with Facebook and Twitter.

More South America Travel Tips

Need more inspiration for other things to do in South America? Then these other guides may be helpful to you…

Unmissable things to do in Rio De Janeiro
The best places to visit in South America
Would you visit South America with a baby?
Awesome experiences in South America to rave about
Places to Visit in Bolivia, South America
Sandboarding in Peru
Things you need to know before visiting Colombia

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Things to do in Peru itinerary 10 days
Image: Slack12

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129 thoughts on “The Ultimate 10 Day Peru Itinerary”

  1. What an amazingly detailed overview! I loved Peru so much and stayed there about 5 weeks. One place you didn’t mention that is well worth visiting is Huaraz. The hiking around there is incredible. It’s far better than the Inca Trail landscape in my opinion. If you have limited time, I’d recommend seeing Machu Picchu in a day but trying to incorporate the Santa Cruz trek from Huaraz. Other highlights for me were Colca Canyon/Condor Cross and Lake Titicaca (floating islands and overnight on Amantani). I didn’t like Nazca except for the lines themselves – and the plane was pretty scary! Huacachina was great fun. I had 7 months in South America and I still didn’t bother with Lima…

    1. Hi Arianwen! Thanks for the additional suggestions! Peru is such an amazing country with so much to do and see. I know we didn’t even scratch the surface and we are really looking forward to our return visit to hit up some of the places we missed on our first 10 day trip there. I’ll definitely look into Huaraz! We love to hike, so it sounds perfect.

  2. That sounds great!! You certainly used your time well. I think I just spent a week and a half in Peru too – plenty of time to see Lima, acclimatise and check out Cusco and then do the Inca Trail. It is certainly possible to have an amazing time in a short time period!!

    1. Hi Sharon! Yes, you can certainly have an enjoyable time in Peru with only 10 days. We were happy we didn’t plan in too many days in Lima tough. Our time was better spent in the Amazon. We didn’t plan early enough, so we weren’t able to get passes to hike the inca trail, but it is certainly on our list for our next visit!

  3. Thanks for the information especially the detailed itinerary. I will look into it again when I plan a trip. Machu picchu is my dream destination. I have one question. Can I reach there by bus? Or only by foot.

    1. Hi Wannee! Machu Pichu is breathtaking! Getting to Machu Pichu, you start by taking a train or taxi from Cusco to Ollantaytambo. From there, you have to take a train or hike to the town of Aguas Calientes. Once there, you have the option of hiking or taking a bus to the entrance of Machu Pichu.

  4. we are 70 and 73 ….planning on going to machu pitcchu and other destinations while we are still fit and heathy and can walk well ( 2014)
    one of our worry’s is the altitude and how that will affect us
    Any suggestions please
    thank you for this ….it has truly been fantastic
    Liz Arthur

    1. Hi Liz! Your plans sound awesome! Yes, you definitely should be fit and stable on your feet to make a visit here. You have to walk and climb to access much of the area and the paths are narrow with no hand rails. The altitude at Machu Picchu isn’t bad at all. It is quite a bit lower than, say, Cuzco. The ideal plan of action is to fly into Cuzco and then immediately descend into the Sacred Valley, visit Machu Picchu, THEN visit Cuzco. You will be making a gradual climb into the higher altitudes. We didn’t do it that way and my husband was affected by the high altitude in Cuzco. Bringing altitude meds from your travel doc is a good idea if you don’t have the days to acclimate slowly.

    2. Hi there! I live in Peru for more than a year and travelled frequently from sea level to cusco—my suggestion is to start drinking coca tea as soon as you land and keep drinking it–I never got altitude sickness thanks to that!

  5. You can certainly spend 1/2 of what you spent & see the same sights, less the tours & with cheaper hotels. As for the flights, we booked the “Peruvian only” flights on TACA to Cusco from Lima & back. 5 of us had no issues & were not turned away of charged more. We asked around in Lima (we were there for a week before transiting to Cusco) beforehand & no one had heard of that happening.

    1. You’re right you could spend less in that amount of time if you wanted to. Something to note though, is that total price also included our air to and from Peru. That was 1/3 of the total we spent. Budget really is subjective. It depends on the wants/needs of each traveler. We prefer to have a private room and if possible, a private bath. So we spend a little bit more on lodging. For this particular trip, we felt our time was pretty limited, so we opted for some tours to get a deeper experience, since we didn’t have more time to explore on our own. We had to take the tour for the Amazon, you aren’t allowed into the Amazon (at least in that part of it) on your own. The price included lodging, transport, all activities and food so it was well worth the price we paid. Again, it comes down to each travelers preference. It certainly can be done more than one way! Regarding the Peruvian prices, we watched several people get turned away that were not able to provide a Peruvian ID when they checked in with those tickets both in Lima and Cuzco. They were denied boarding and had to repurchase tickets. All the sites specifically state (if you read the fine print) that they are under no obligation to honor those tickets if you buy one and are unable to provide a Peruvian ID. They also do not refund you the price you paid if you are denied boarding. If you get lucky, you score an awesome deal but for us, the chance of being denied boarding, having to buy another ticket and possibly missing our flight wasn’t worth the difference in price. 🙂

  6. Great post and gorgeous shots captured by you ! I also had the same misconception regarding exploring Peru, but after reading your blog, it has been sorted out. I have included Peru in my bucket list.

    1. Hi Mellisa! Thank you! That is great to hear that you have added t back to your bucket list! We hesitated initially too, because the logistics in the country can be intimidating when you start planning. But don’t let that deter you. Using the budget airlines gets you around efficiently, easy and makes it possible to see some of the best places in Peru with a short period of time.

  7. Glad Peru can be done in a shorter amount of time than most people argue! I’m looking into heading there myself, but I’d only have around 10-14 days as well.

    Great tips guys! 🙂

  8. Natalia (Tripventurist)

    It is so tempting! I think I wanna go to Peru 😉 And I agree with you, 10 days may be enough to visit a country! I recently visited Colombia (in 9 days) and it was just amazing! Great country, lovely people, amazing views!

    1. Peru is amazing and you should definitely add it to your travel list! Having more time will always give you a more in depth experience, but when you have limited days to work with, it is possible to put together an itinerary that fits in the highlights and isn’t too rushed. I celebrated my golden, 28th, birthday in Colombia! Loved that country as well. 🙂

  9. Hello! This was forwarded to me from a friend. I have been saying for years that i want to go to Perú. It was my dream, now is my goal. This help that you just wrote is excellent. Thank you so much. I didn’t even knew where to start. I’m still planning tough, because I have been told that there are some months of the year that is not good to go because of the rain season. I was wondering what dates did you go? And also do you have any recommendations of what months to go. I usually only have also 10- 12 days of vacation at work.
    Thanx for the help!

    1. Hi Christie! We visited at the end of March. That time is not considered ‘ideal’ time to visit by many but we had an absolute lovely trip. We did get rain the day we went to Machu Picchu, but it rained in the morning and then cleared off in the afternoon. As a result, we got the most amazing photos of the clouds covering the ruins. So I can say I don’t regret the rain at all! Most sites will tell you that June- August is the ideal time to visit, as there will be little to no rain during the those winter months. Some other travelers we know just visited in October and they had some rain also, but nothing that lasted. It all comes down to what the ideal trip is for your travel style. 🙂 Good luck in your travels and planning!

  10. Just a note, you can save a lot of money by taking an overnight bus instead of flying. I took a bus from Arequipa to cusco and back. I paid around $20 each way to get a VIP seat. I slept perfectly and when I woke up I was at my destination! Machu Picchu montaña was fabulous (but a rough hike). I went without a tour guide and it was great, and even better that I was able to save that money. Hiking through the colca valley was also increadible (but if you have any asthmatic tendencies you should not do it).
    One more thing: I found a company where I could actually climb up one of the mountains in the sacred valley via staples (like on a telephone pole), it was beautiful! And then I zip lined back down.
    At the time I was only 18 (and female) and traveling by myself felt so safe the entire time. Those Peruvians take good care of you 🙂

    1. Hi Rachel! We didn’t visit Arequipa or Colca, so thanks for adding the information for people that want to do that! That overnight bus route doesn’t sound so bad. We looked into buses between Lima and Cusco and they were at a minimum of 30 hours. We just didn’t have the extra days for that kind of travel. We plan to use the bus though on our return visit!

  11. Hi Lina! I was wondering which companies you went with for your excursions? I’m trying to plan a trip for next year, but am having a hard time finding ‘recommended’ excursion companies, hotels, ect. It looks like you did a lot and had an amazing time, I’m hoping to do a few of the same things on my trip. Thank you!

    1. Hi Denica! We used Wasai Lodge and Expeditions to visit the Amazon from Puerto Maldonado. They have a number of different packages based on what you want to do. Highly recommend this company for a trip into the Rainforest. In Cusco, we used a company called South Adventure Peru Tours. Ruben Coronado and his team are fantastic and really hospitable- we did the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu with them. Have fun in Peru, it is an amazing country!

    2. Hi Lina, actually I have a travel agency in Peru, right now we trying to expand at USA, currently we have 20 years in the tourism industry and I saw your trip in just 10 days, which was amazing and good experience as well, however it’s no enough time to visit other places like Puno, Arequipa, Trujillo and Piura which basically u can find really nice beaches and the weather is warm the whole year.
      I’m so glad that you and other travelers gave a feedback, opinions and suggestions because for us like travel agency is extremely important all the feedback, so on. So according to that we travel agencies can improve the services, budgets, and how treat our costumer. Thank you for this blog. I hope you can come back to Peru when you have a chance and try to do the route Of adventure or mystics. Thank you.

      1. Hi Nadia,
        Yea, you won’t be able to see all of Peru in just 10 days. But I wanted to convey to people that it is still possible to have only 10 vacation days and make a nice trip to Peru. This is just what we decided to do, others may choose to mix and match the cities to their tastes with their allotted number of days. Thanks for stopping in and you input!

  12. Hi this post is wonderful and really helpful as I plan a trip with my boyfriend for the middle of March 🙂 Thank you!I have a few questions I was wondering if you could shed some light on…Did you have difficulty with the language barrier during your stay in Peru? I plan to mainly use the bus to travel and I am wondering if the language barrier will become an issue as I try to navigate my way from one destination to the other. Also, the INCA trail is my number one pillar and am hoping to travel with a local guide for a 4-5 day trek to cover the entire trail. What advice could you give to find reputable local guides once I arrive in Peru? I have done research online for guide companies, many of them are very expensive and I am uncomfortable with booking and payment through the internet. Also water! I am assuming that you bought bottled water during your stay. Did you ever think of bringing water sanitizing tablets (these are often used when camping). My thoughts for this come from my plan to trek the INCA trail. I will prepare and pack myself with bottled water but I can only carry so much weight in my pack. Do you know how guide companies provide thier travellers with water? Do you think/trust that the water tablets be useful?

    1. Hi Alicia! I didn’t have too many troubles with the language barrier- but I speak an intermediate level of Spanish. You will be able to get by using the buses even if you don’t speak Spanish. Just know where you are going ahead of time in case you can’t find anyone that speaks English. I will tell you that English is not widely spoken in many countries in South America. Yes, you can find people that speak English, but not as easy to find as say, Mexico. We didn’t get a chance to hike the Inca trail because we waiting too long and we weren’t able to get passes! They literally sell out months in advance. So if you don’t have them yet… you might be out of luck. Sometimes you can find an outfitter that has some set aside, but this is rare. As far as I know, you can’t hike the trail alone, you have to go with an outfitter/guide of some sort. Unfortunately they are all expensive, but I have heard really good things about Llama Path.

      Regarding water, we bought bottled water everywhere. You could probably use the chlorine tabs on tap water if you wanted to. Best of luck in your planning!

  13. Really good. I’m from Peru and definitely I have to know all those places 🙂 thanks for share all that information, you are from a different country and you know every detail of every place ……

  14. We were initially looking at some of the Gate 1 vacation packages, but none of them quite fit what we wanted. If we don’t know any Spanish, how reasonable is it to do on your own?

  15. Hi Shay,
    You will save a ton of money if you make all the arrangements yourself. I would suggest buying a basic translation book, learning a few basic phrases on the plane ride down and you will be fine. English speakers may not be as prevalent, but if you have some basic phrases, someone can point you in the direction of someone that does speak English. As long as you know where you are going, you can read signs and find your way. Part of the fun is the exploration. 🙂

  16. Hello! Loved your insights and full itnerary. I was wondering if you used a specific travel book to help you choose your destinations and the possible ways to get there?

    1. Hi Hannah, Thanks for stopping by to read the post! No nothing specific. Mostly internet research via Google and TripAdvisor. I did have an eyewitness book that I was reading- that is how I found out about the macaw clay links in the Amazon, but the rest was internet research.

  17. Very detailed and helpful review of your trip to Peru! Enjoyed reading without getting bored in a bit. Simple, straight and full of useful info. Great job guys! Carry on travelling and sharing!

    1. Hi there! Thank you for your kind words. The common misconception is that you need more time to visit places like Peru. Yes, there were things that we missed, but when you only have a minimum amount of days, you make what you have work the best you can. Glad you found it useful! 🙂

  18. Hi, i am planning on going to Peru for 10 to 12 days with my family this Christmas and I really like the itinerary you chose. Your 4 day trip in the amazon looks awesome but i can’t find a similar package which would include kayaking, zip lining, tree climbing hiking etc. With which company/website did you book your tour ?
    Thanks you

    1. Hi! We booked our stuff with Wasai Adventures. Click on the Wasai link in the article and it will take you to the website. 🙂 It is a really awesome tour and a great way to see the Amazon. Enjoy Peru, it is beautiful.

  19. I’m traveling to Peru at the end of May with 2 friends and we’ve booked our trip through a great travel agency. We are also planning to do the trip carry-on only, do you have any suggestions on what to bring/wear? Thanks and happy travels.

    1. Hi Suzanne! You should check the weather forecast for your travel dates. We were there in late March, early April and we experienced both cold and hot climates. It will depend on where you are going…. Lima was very hot, while Cuzco was colder and wet. We wore rain jackets and sweaters while we were there. Make sure you bring a good pair of walking shoes. Have fun, it’s a great place to visit!

  20. Hi Lina! Thank you so much for the amazing detailed post. Six of us will be traveling to Peru this upcoming August. We will be in Cuzco for 5 days and one of the days we are visiting Macchu Picchu. We booked a package that includes hotel, breakfast, transportation from and to the airport, private tour of Macchu Picchu, tour of Cuzco and a dinner and show… I know, it sounds like a lot! We are extremely excited for our trip. Nonetheless, I have a concern… the altitude! I am from California and I’m a bit worried about acclimating in order to truly enjoy Cuzco. What recommendations do you have? Also, many have stated to be cautious while in Peru due to the high volume of thieves… did you have any negative experiences while there? Lastly, any other recommendations you may have while in Cuzco and Lima?… Thank you for taking the time to read and reply to my post.


    1. Hi Vanessa, Just saw your comment and I am guessing you are already in Peru! Sorry for the delay. Regarding the altitude, the biggest thing is to take it easy and drink loads of water. Altitude effects everyone differently, when we flew into Cuzco I was fine but my husband got sick. We had altitude medication from our travel doctor that he was able to take and then he slept it off and was fine by dinner. So it all depends. Cuzco will be the highest place you visit on your itinerary, MP is quite lower so you should have no issues there other than shortness of breath if you do any type of hiking or lots of walking. We didn’t have any issues with theft in Cuzco or Lima, but we were vigilant. That’s the best you can do, don’t dress flashy, don’t have a fancy purse, make sure you keep stuff secured well to your body (cross body straps, etc) and that will deter thieves. Make sure you walk the markets in Cuzco, they are so charming and the locals are lovely with smiles. Enjoy Peru and let me know how it went when you got back- you can contact me directly via our website. 🙂 Cheers!

  21. I totally agree with you that Peru is worth visiting also in only 10 days! My boyfriend and I were there in April for 3 weeks but already in the 1st week we’ve seen so many beautiful places. We could go home after the first week and we would be satisfied!
    Actually I came to a conclusion – if you like a destination which is a bit more far away and you don’t have that much time, don’t think, just go there. You’ll see it is worth it! You experience 1000-times more as you would probably in 1 month back home working.
    I wrote about our unforgettable journey to Peru and Bolivia here:

    1. You are so right!! Even just a few days in an amazing place makes it totally worth while. We just visited Tibet while in China and we were only able to stay a week because of the travel restrictions and permits but it was SO worth it! One of the best places we have been to date. Great comment, travel on!

  22. I have reviewed Peru for its cultural, historical value wise how to get there and how to live their for months. Necessary information I got from your blog and helpfull a lot in the terms of where to stay and eat. Thank You Lina.

  23. I’m heading out to Peru in a few weeks. I’m going alone do you have any suggestions and I should be safe traveling alone?

    1. Hi Kaira, While I certainly felt the altitude, I didn’t have any issues with it. However, my husband had a slow time adjusting and needed to take Diamox on the first day we arrived in Cusco. He seems to have troubles with altitude as we just went to Everest Base Camp and I again had very limited issues and he needed Diamox. It’s good to have your travel doc prescribe that if you are worried about it and don’t forget sunscreen, you’ll need it even when its not warm out.

  24. Oh Wow! I cannot wait to be spending an entire year in such a wonderful place, will definitely have to do more travel on my weeks off from working in the orphanage!

    Did you know how influential Peru is within the art and design industry? Neither did I until I decided to look further into it! (done a little post about it here: )

    This has gotten me so excited now!!

  25. I loved your blog regarding 10 days in Peru. It has been very helpful in planning our 10 day vacation to Peru this April.

    Just wondering if you could send more information regarding the “Adventure Package in Amazon Rainforest.” What company did you book through?


  26. Thank you for your blog post, it’s inspired us to pursue a travel to Peru and has been quite valuable in our planning! I do have one question: Is there a place where you stored your belongings while you hiked around the Sacred Valley and Ollantaytambo? We are thinking of going the same route but didn’t know how to hike while safely storring our luggage for the hike. Thank you!

    1. We stored our bags at the hostel we stayed at in Cuzco. We had a booking for after we returned from the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu, so they held our bags at no cost and we packed into smaller bags for our time away. Worked out well.

  27. Hi Lina!

    I love your suggestions, and will probably follow a similar itinerary when we go in September. One question I have is about the “$1,279 on tours that included 4 nights of accommodation.” Was this at the Wasai Tambopata Lodge? If so, which package did you do? I can’t find anything even close to $1279, especially including lodging!

    Not sure if the numbers are right:

    $1,020 getting to Peru (this is each, correct?)
    $700 on inter-country flights
    $115 on 4 nights of accommodation
    $1,279 on tours that included 4 nights of accommodation (each?)

    That would be like $3200 each, not for both. I’m just trying to figure out what I’m missing, because I’d love to mimic this trip! Thanks, any advice you have would be awesome.


    1. Hi Erin, Yes, those numbers are total, for both of us. We did a 4 day adventure package that included lodging with the Wasai Tambopata lodge. We booked directly with them through their website. I don’t think you can book on the website, but you have to inquire directly and then secure a booking with them that way. We actually didn’t spend the whole $1279 on the amazon portion either, we spent around $100 on a private Sacred Valley hike too. It is possible that the prices have changed as they have become more popular, that often happens. It is worth it though as you will have an amazing experience. Hope this helps, feel free to email me directly if you have further questions. [email protected]

  28. Hi Lina,
    Your review is so user-friendly and gave an overall picture of Peru. I am an avid traveler and like to explore new places. I live in the US. I am planning a trip to Peru in the last week of March for 8-9 days. I have 2 kids (8 and 4). What’s your thoughts of Peru travel with kids. I definitely want to go see Macchu Pichu and will land first in Lima. What do you recommend? Amazon Rain forest of Lake Titicaca.

    1. Hi Andy, Well, we didn’t do Lake Titicaca simply because we didn’t have enough time to do it all and had our hearts set on the Amazon, which is an amazing experience. So it will depend on your desires, but something to take into consideration during your planning is the altitude at Lake Titicaca and how you and your children might adjust. It is much higher than Cuzco and many people find they need several days of acclimation to visit there. Just something to consider. The Amazon experience we had with Wasai would be suited to your children if you went that route.

  29. Dorian Objectif Voyage

    Awesome, I’m going there in a couple months or so, this will be very handy 🙂
    Thanks for this post!

  30. Thank you so much for such a good guide! Trying to plan a trip now and I’m not sure what I want to see in Peru or South America in general and you really helped. Thanks again!

  31. Hi my name is ANTONY VARGAS I’M a Tour guide
    in Machu Picchu and CUSCO and i would say this
    is a exellent blog about things in my town
    if is posible for new visitor i recommend also
    go to San pedro MARKET , it is just few block from
    main plaza de armas , there are lots of things you
    can lear and buy for a good price and people are very nice.

    if you want to contact someone to help you make a good plan in
    cusco my small company we will be happy to help.


  32. Hello! I am planning a trip to Peru this summer. How much did you spend on your tour of Macchu PIcchu? I would only like to do the one day trip and I would be located in Cuzco. So how would I go from there to Macchu PIcchu?

  33. This is just what I was looking for! Holy cow, this is so detailed. Thank you for showing what the trip cost you, as well. For 10 days in Peru, 1750 per person doesn’t sound terrible. My husband and I are planning to travel there so I’ll show him this article. Thank you again.

  34. Wonderful insights into Peru ! I hope to follow in some of your footsteps for my 70th Birthday in 2017.

  35. planning a girls trip for may 2016 to do machu picchu. we are wanting to do a multi-sport option and are leaning towards loki travel for this. we only have 1 week. do you have any recommendations on day trip from lima or cusco? thank you!!

  36. Very interesting. In Peru, there are many sites to visit and know I can help with that, I’m a Tour Guide on Cusco – Peru and I have a lot of experiences with people that visit us. I design packages around Peru, in Cusco, i organized trekking to Machupicchu, adventure to Machupicchu. You can find all sorts of information at and contact me. I can also design packages according to their requests . I hope I can help people who want to know Peru and Machu Picchu !!

  37. Do you think that it would be better to go Lima-Ballestos Islands-Nazca -Arequipa/Colca Canyon-Puno-Cuzco-Puerto Maldonado-Lima or to fly to Puerto Maldonado from Lima and then Cuzco and try and do this route in reverse?

  38. I love this blog there are some places I could not see because I had no time, the main thing for me was Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca and the Nazca Lines. At first I felt a little frustrated because I had no clear idea how to make this trip, finally looking a bit able to find an agency with very good recommendations online, so I encourage to seek their assistance. They were great and arranged everything ,the team very professional and totally commendable Trippers Peru was incredible. The guides are passionals, they love their work. There are a few dostic flight airlines Like or and the train I used was I don’t remmenber ver well the name of the Buses to Nazca but it was also good enough… Next time I will go to Galapagos Islands and I Hope to Uyuni in Bolivia…

  39. I’m planning a spring break trip to Peru with my friend and this was EXTREMELY helpful! Thank you so much for posting this!

  40. Now that was a well written overview.

    Peru is fantastic. I love Haunchaco. There’s a little hostel there called Casa Amillia that is run by some of the coolest people you’ll meet anywhere.

    It’s about 15 min by bus to Trujillo which has everything you want. No, it’s not Lima and so the nighlife will be good but not over the top like Lima’s is.

    If you like small, sleepy little surfing towns then It’s great.

  41. A few years ago my daughter and I were lucky enough to spend 4 weeks in Ecuador and Peru. We had a broad plan but most of the time were making it up as we went along, sometimes using overnight buses to save on time and hotel bills. That way we could alter plans if we found somewhere we particularly liked or disliked. For instance we got off one bus and straight on to the next in Lima as it was cold, damp and not inviting whilst we spent an extra two days in Arequipa, relaxing and re-charging our batteries. A beautiful place with views of El Misti volcano. We ran out of time to do the jungle trek but saw so many other wonders it did not really matter. When each day you have laughed, cried and gasped in amazement you know you’ve had a good trip.

  42. If you come back someday, you must visit the lake Titikaka and the Colca canyon, both are amazing places and you will have really good homestay experience.
    You can take a flight from Lima to Juliaca if you don’t want to spent long time traveling by bus.

  43. What an amazing post. Just to let you know I can help you with your trip to Peru for a small fee. :). I am trying to get extra money for my wedding so…just drop me an email if you think this could work for you. My english is good enough since I studied in the US.

  44. Hi! I’m going to Peru for 10 days for a school trip. We are going with EF tours. How much money do you recommend us to bring?

  45. Thank you for the detailed information.! I’m planning a trip to Peru in the near future. So,could you tell me what I should be careful about?

  46. I wanted to mention that to reach Machu Picchu on a journey of adventure is not only the Classic Inca Trail that their spaces sell out in advance, but there are other alternative Inca trails to reach like Inca Jungle trail biking and hiking, Salkantay trek, lares trek.

  47. Wow! You guys had such a great time without spending a lot of money. I love to do budget travel. It helps one to completely enjoy the trip without being stressed out about all the money being spent. So, do you think 6 days would be enough for traveling Peru?

  48. Wow, what a nice trip. But personnally I believe that 10 days for Peru is just not enough !! You only saw a part of it ! Do you know that in the northern regions there is so much more to see ?

    On the coasts you have the archaeological sites of pre-inca civilisations, like the adobe city of Chan Chan, UNESCO world heritage site, or the Museum of Tumbas Reales, one of the best museums in South America. In the Andes in North Peru, you have the civilisation of the Chachapoya with the fortress of Kuelap (also called the Machu Picchu of the North 😉 ) of the Sarcophagi of Karajia, absolutely stunning.

  49. How do you reckon that would work in America if we charged more for Peruvians then Americans to take a Regional flight?

  50. That is a very nice itinerary. I was working as s tour guide around Peru for over 25 years. There is the option to see a little more from Peru in 10 days. Peru’s infrastructure continue improving, there are better roads, more flight companies with connection to almost every part of the Andes and the Amazon Jungle. You can find unnumbered trails hiking, mountain biking and other adventure activities. With the suggestion below, you will be able to explore part of the coast, the Andes, the Altiplano and of course Machu Picchu and the rain forest.
    Day 1: Flight to Lima at any time during the day.
    Day 2: Flight to Arequipa
    Day 3: Colca Cayon
    Day 4: Colca Canyon – Puno
    Day 5: Lake Titicaca
    Day 6: Bus to Cusco with guided tours.
    Day 7: Cusco day off
    Day 8: Sacred Valley – Agua Calientes
    Day 9: Machu Picchu
    Day 10: Flight to Lima and home

    You can add 4 more days and visit the Amazon jungle Nazca Lines and Huacachina. One very important tip is food in Lima, there are plenty of restaurants that are ranked between the best restaurants in the world with exquisite dishes and the best cheap prices.

  51. Hi world.

    Something You should considerate to visit now a days is the new 1 day trek to RAINBOW MOUNTAIN, It is 3hr. far from cusco . there are different travel companies you can travel with and a exellent one is INKA ALTITUDE, I hight recommend have a day trip to this area , YOU WILL LOVE IT.

  52. Hey dear, an amazing blog with outstanding pictures. I have learn some amazing tips from your blog. Keep it up and thanks for sharing with us.

  53. This was so incredibly helpful! I’m trying to help plan a trip for a couple with 10 days as well and this has answered so many questions. The tips about the rainforest was great too, didn’t even think of it! 🙂

  54. Hello! I know this is a long time since your post was published but it just came up as I was searching for example itineraries. Have one question — where did you leave your luggage as you traveled by train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes to stay there for the night? The weight limit on the train is 15 lbs. How do people end up taking any of their luggage?

    1. Hi Alison, We left our luggage in Cuzco when we traveled into the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. Just packed into small bags. It was much easier and the hostal we stayed at stored our bags for free and saved us a room for the night when we returned. Worked great. Lina

  55. I love how you’ve broken down how much everything costs! That’s trip planning gold. 🙂 I’m really interested in going to Peru once our children are a bit older, and this shows me that it can definitely be done without breaking the bank! Thanks.

  56. Wow, nice thing to visit Peru. It will be a long day and it is not feasible to combine Ballista’s Islands .I also plan to go for next month to Peru with my family and already contracted a travel agency “Green Peru Adventures”. I hope my trip will memorable forever.

  57. Hi! Did you get a tour package for Machu Picchu? If yes, which tour company and if no, how did you do it? Thank you ????

  58. Ellie Richardson

    For your budget, you didn’t have a category for food. Is that already factored into your total amount or is that needed to be added? This website got me very excited and encouraged that I can make it to Peru!

  59. Peru is amazing… I just created a video of the trip I recently had. The overview above is really good and I can validate the content. We did most of the items listed above and this was one of the sites we looked at prior to our trip.

  60. Caz & Craig, incredibly helpful and inspirational guys! 10 days are absolutely okay to discover this country, even if it could be more!

  61. Loved my trip to Peru, just got back last week! Also loved your post (read-and used it while planning my trip so I thought I’d thank you guys now)! I would like to add one must do activity in Cusco: the alternative tour to the rainbow mountains. This tour was (after Machu Picchu) my favorite! Compared to the famous vinicunca trek that everybody is doing, the other route is a lot better for 3 reasons in my eyes.
    1. You leave Cusco at 5:00 am instead of 2:30/3:00 am.
    2. You only hike for about 45 min instead of 3 hours.
    3. You can see various rainbow mountains and you hike through the red valley.
    I did the tour with a Peruvian travel company called exploorperu, they were great 🙂 Just got their blog post the other week about the alternative rainbow mountain tour, I’ll just leave it here for everyone that’s interested. Keep it up guys!

    1. Thank you so much John. We appreciate you coming back here after your trip to leave a helpful tip! We’re so happy this post could help you with your travels to Peru! Where to next?

  62. Excellent article! It is true that if you really want to explore all the wonders of Peru you need more than 10 days, but still in this amount of days you can see a great part of the country. The tip is that you plan carefully your itinerary so you don´t waste time. First you can visit Lima and Inca, and then Cusco and Arequipa. I share with you an article that shows all about the oasis of Huacachina in Ica:

  63. “The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is one of the most famous treks in Peru. There are several tours from 1 to 5 days, however the most requested trek is the traditional 4-day trek. Each year the government of Peru has 500 spaces that normally run out for May, June and July. If you want to do the Inca Trail for those dates you must anticipate the reservation at least 6 months in advance.
    The tour of 2 or one day is also almost always available.
    Greetings from Peru


  64. I have been traveling around Perú for 6 months, and some tips to save money during your visit to Machu Picchu and the magical city of Cusco can involve: Reserve a room in a hostel, there are a lot of them near the main square that offer you a share room with breakfast included: another tip is to eat in the San Pedro´s market, located three blocks from the main square; and finally you can save a lot of money if you walk instead of taking a taxi, the city is very small and you can visit a lot of beautiful places while you´re walking around. Also I can recommend you to travel with Tierras Vivas agency, they organize all my tour very well, and for a low price Tierras Vivas

  65. This place is very beautiful and such a great piece of art. Machu picchu can amaze every traveler. This place is look like a puzzle game where one can enjoy hide and seek game like I did .:)

  66. Very detailed and helpful review of your trip to Peru! Enjoyed reading without getting bored in a bit. Simple, straight and full of useful info. Great job guys! Carry on travelling and sharing! ????

  67. Hi Lina, this post is so informative! I am so impressed by everything you achieved in 10 days, it just proves that no matter how long you have it’s definitely worth a visit. I was wondering whether you have had a chance to return since this last post? If you are intending to return, I would 100% recommend the Colca Canyon. It can be tough, but the views are astounding, and it’s one of the few places in the world you are virtually guaranteed to see the wild Andean Condor. We have a lot of information about some of our favourite places to visit in Peru on our website: please check it out! Thanks again for a great read.

  68. Hi, I’ll be traveling to Peru and Ecuador in 2 months and plan on visiting the Amazon. Did you take malaria pills prior to or during your time in the amazon? Wondering if we need to get those! Thanks!

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