Peru – itinerary suggestions
Peru - itinerary
We have planned to stay for 3 weeks and got ourself busy enough to enjoy 7 weeks in this beautiful part of the world. There is so much to see, try and taste beside Machu Picchu. Peru has mountains, probably the best food in the whole South America, beaches and so much history.
I would like to strongly encourage you to spend some time in the North of Peru. It is less touristy, more friendly, cheaper and has so many archeological sites and natural wonders.
Hope this Peru itinerary suggestion will help you decide how to spend your time in this wonderful country.
North to South:
Mancora 2 - 3 days (can be skipped if you came for more than just sunbathing)
Get your beach, sun and surfing going here.
Chiclayo 2 days
This is where you get your fix of pre-Inca history. It might be the least tourist friendly place in Peru, but it also means you get to enjoy all the sites without the crowds. 1 day trip suggestions include pyramids and tombs of Sipan or Lambayeque museums.
Chachapoyas 3-6 days (absolute must)
We planned to stay 3 days and stayed much longer. It’s super cheap, beautiful colonial town that can be used as a base for 1 day trips in the Amazonian jungle and especially to the many archeological and sacred places near by. The main reason many ppl come here is the so-called Machu Picchu of the north: Kuelap.
Cajamarca 1-2 days (can be skipped if short on time)
Very lively colonial town with nice historical centre, plenty of culinary options. The main attractions here are Inca Banos, Ventanillas de Otuzco and archeological site Cumbe mayo.
Trujillo & Huanchaco 1-4 days
Most of the people pass by Trujillo and head up for Huanchaco directly to get their fix of beach, ceviche and surfing. Stay at the beach and once you had enough of sunbathing go and discover the biggest adobe town in the world Chan Chan. Check out the video we've made from the ancient city above.
Huaraz 4-7 days (absolute must for avid hikers)
Hiking capital of Peru. Main stop for organising your hiking adventures in the 2nd highest mountain range of the world. Laguna 69 and Santa Cruz trek are at the top of the list of priorities for most of the visitors. If hiking is not your thing you can still enjoy nearby termales or archeological sites.
Lima 2-4 days
Lima is simply out of this world. If you are coming from the north like we did, you might be in for some cultural shock. It’s modern, clean, fancy, really expensive, has beaches, culture, you name it. 3 of the top 50 restaurants in the world are here. We could easily imagine living in one of the cool suburbs. Eat ceviche in Barranco, cycle around and make sure you visit the catacombs under San Francisco Iglesias.
Ica 2 days (can be skipped if short on time)
If wine and pisco tasting sounds like your kind of pastime activity, that you need to come to the prime wine region of Peru. If you are serious about your wines then I must warn you. Although Peruvians have been growing wines since 1850ties, it doesn't mean it's any good. Because of the super hot climate, the grapes are very sweet and mainly used to produce Pisco. Even white wine is made by mixing pisco with grape juice. I know, right? 😀
Nevertheless, you don't have to organise a tour, you can do it on a budget, majority of the tasting is for free.
Once you are in Ica, you can't miss the oasis of Huacachina.
Cusco 3 - 14 days (can not be skipped even if you try)
Did you know that all the roads in South America lead to Cusco? That's probably the reason why there are so many people, that and maybe because it's bloody beautiful. You either love it or hate it. We absolutely loved it there, the food options, the history, sacred valley, all the tourists 🙂 We have also done the most challenging hike of them all and for 9 days were punishing ourselves with daily 1500m climbs all the way to Machu Picchu. Read about it here.
Lake Titikaka 2 days (highly recommended)
We've spent time both at the Peruvian and Bolivian side of Lake Titikaka and truly loved it. Take a 2 day/1 night tour from Puno and discover the floating islands of Uros and communities from Amantani and Taquile. It’s super cheap (85soles with all meals included), very touristic but you will support the local communities who host you in their houses and learn about their traditions and way of living.
This itinerary suggestion for Peru can be amended as needed.
North of Peru 2 weeks itinerary could be: Chiclayo 2, Chachapoyas 5, Trujilo 2, Huaraz 5 days.
South of Peru 2 weeks itinerary could be: Lima 2, Ica 2, Cusco 5, Lake Titikaka 2 days.