Are you planning a trip to Peru? Great choice! I will present some of the amazing places to visit in Peru and how to spend the perfect 10 days in Peru with a detailed itinerary.
Peru is a country that stands out from the crowd. It has many natural, historical and cultural treasures that have been fascinating people for hundreds of years, and this is the reason why it has become the most coveted destination in the whole of South America.
Being the 20th largest country in the world, and located near the Pacific Ocean, you can be sure that there’s more than one reason to visit this great country.
Now, it is divided into three main regions, the Andean Mountain range, the Coastal Region, and the Amazonian Jungle. Please note, however, for you to visit the Amazonian region, you must have had your Yellow fever vaccine in advance.
Each region has its own food, religious activities, and weather. There are however a few destinations that must be visited such as the capital city Lima, the Inca trail that will lead you to Machu Picchu, the Huacachina and of course the Rainbow Mountain.
One thing is for sure, you can’t go to Peru for a few days; you need at least 10 days in Peru to be able to experience the magic of South America, and hence this Peru 10-day Itinerary. It will blow your mind just how much you will get to see and enjoy.
To start things off, you need to know that Peru is safe, well developed and has every type of terrain there is. You should be ready to soak up the Peruvian culture, enjoy the delicious cuisine and meet some of the friendliest people on Earth. While planning your trip, check out some of these amazing things to do in Peru beyond Machu Picchu.
Interested in Hiking? Check out hiking till Laguna 69.
10 Days in Peru with Itinerary
Day 1: Lima
This will be your first destination – the Capital City – on your long tour of 10 days in Peru. Spending your first night in Miraflores is a great idea as this is a tourist-friendly neighborhood. There are food markets, bars, shops, and clothing stores right at your doorstep.
At the Lacomer, you will find restaurants, upmarket stores, a bowling alley, and a cinema. These will keep you entertained for a while and help you settle into Latin America, plus the sunset here is magical. If you are on your honeymoon this is sure to get your mood just right for a romantic night.
If you are looking for something classier and trendier, go to Barranco straight from the airport, and begin your holiday right away, with microbreweries, cute colored buildings, and exciting art.
This city will certainly make your first day memorable. The scenery is great, and there are beaches lining the coastline, surfers at the Cabo Blanco, cocktails at Los Positas, and sunbathers can be found at Vichayito.
Lima will kick-start your holiday on high gear.
Suggested Read – Awesome things to do in Medellin.
Day 2 in Lima
The truth is, one day in Lima is not enough. You need to rest after your flight and wake up refreshed the following day, ready to do some serious exploring of the city. You can be sure that you will not run out of great things to do. Here are a few ideas.
A visit to the cat park:
If you are a cat lover, this is a great place to start your touring. It comes with a sad story, as this great park, known as the Kennedy Park, has many abandoned cats, and that’s why it is affectionately known as the cat park.
The figure furry kitties, are dumped here by their owners who cannot take care of them. You can make donations to the park while feeding the beautiful little animals, and who knows, you may even take one back home.
This is a great spot for a couple on their honeymoon. Picture it; a place where you are allowed to smooch in broad daylight, and that is not all, there are other couples as well who have been carried away by affection.
In the middle of the park is a huge sculpture of a famous artist and his wife kissing. Apparently, there was a kissing competition of some sort. Take incredible photos near the sculpture with your beloved and make your day as memorable as ever.
There are many other things you can do in Lima such as a lovely bike tour, soak in the atmosphere at the Plaza de Armas or a stroll on the Malecon seafront. Lima is a fun place to be.
Where to stay and eat in Lima:
There are at least 250 hotels and 70 hostels in Lima, ranging from £5 to £500 per night. You will not miss a place that will suit your budget with those rates.
In Miraflores, you will find Peruvian restaurants, international cuisines, and the familiar fast food chains. You can get to sample some Peruvian delicacies such as Ceviché which is basically raw fish with lemon acid that is served with corn, coriander, and sweet potato.
The hostels come in different sizes and class. You can stay at hostel Kokopelli, they have dorm rooms that promise maximum privacy as they come with curtains, or you can take a private room with a balcony.
Also try Pool Paradise, B&B Tradiciones, etc. All of them will give you a great experience while in Peru, and first-class services.
The hotels in Lima are very economical. You will have Wi-Fi free of charge and breakfast is also included in the cost.
A great place to try while here is the Apart Hotel Petit Palace Suites this is one of the best, with professional continental services, very fast Wi-Fi, comfortable rooms, flat screen TV, and excellent staff.
You can also try the Ife Boutique Hotel, The Luxury Inkari Hotel, The Hilton Lima Miraflores, etc.
When in Peru, try to squeeze stunning Arequipa in your itinerary, check out these best things to do in Arequipa
Out of your 10 days in Peru, keep some days for trekking in the famous Machu Picchu so I’d say 3-4 days are good enough for Cusco and Machu Picchu.
Day 3 to 7 – Cusco and Machu Picchu
After your magical and relaxing time in Lima, it is time to do some trekking. Cusco will suck you in with its beauty and simplicity. Most people visiting Peru normally end up in Cusco at one point or another.
Take a waterproof jacket with you just in case it rains. From Cusco, you can either take a train ride to Machu Pichu or do a multi-day trek. Spend some time acclimatizing and stock up on Diamox or coca leaves, so you don’t suffer from altitude sickness.
Also, it is advised that you get travel insurance which will allow you to do high altitude treks as stipulated in your trekking guidelines.
Now, with Machu Pichu being one of the world’s seven wonders, it is an absolute archaeologists dream, and no matter how hard it may be to get there, for a backpacker, this is a must.
Must Read: Best Time to visit Machu Pichu.
Here’s how to get to Machu Pichu;
Using the Inca Trail
You have to book your trek to Machu Pichu well in advance. The government issues 180-200 passes/permits per day. Every new year, the permits are sold out for the whole year, so we are talking about planning for this trip early in the year, possibly 6 months in advance.
Hiking the Inca Trail is one of the most exhilarating, exciting and exhausting experiences of your lifetime. There are long hikes, very cold temperatures at night, rain in the daytime and you will have your meals in the kitchen tent.
We shall not even mention the toilets in the base camp, but all you need to know is that if you are an adventurer, this is the ultimate adventure. It is one of the world’s most iconic and classic treks – truly a trip you shall live to tell.
Now, be ready to not shower for four good days, the entire duration of the hike, and to add the cherry on the cake, you will be waking up at 3 am every morning. The plan is to start your trek in the dark so you can be able to reach the Inti Punku by sunrise.
No matter what you go through, and the excitement you shall experience on your trek, nothing compares to the feeling you shall get when you see the Machu Pichu. It is a glorious sight to behold and you shall be glad you came.
A few statistics about this trail:
- Number of days: 3 nights/ 4 days
- Cost: It will cost you approximately $650+ / £523+. this is per person
- Trekking Distance: 26 miles or 43 km.
- Downside: Pre-book 6 months in advance
- Tip: The Inca Trail is unavailable in February.
- Alternatively, you can do the Salkantay trek which brings you to pass snow-capped mountains and stunning glacier lakes. You need not book in advance.
Read more – The trek from Salkantay to Machu Picchu.
If you prefer not to trek, you should set aside at least 2 days to visit Machu Picchu. From Cusco, you can take a scenic train ride to Aguas Calientes a.k.a Machu Picchu town. Spend some time exploring the town and rest well for your morning visit to Machu Picchu the next day.
If you choose this option, you have two more days to spend in Cusco. I suggest visiting the Sacred Valley where you can visit some photogenic terraces, ancient agricultural labs and salt mines.
Check this guide for more tourist sites in Cusco.
Accommodation in Cusco
You will need a great place to stay, before and after your trek. Remember that after the four days you shall be very tired and will be in need of some time to recuperate. We recommend choosing a great hotel based on this alone.
Cusco has some of the loveliest hotels in Peru, and prices start as low as £23 and can go up to £450. The Belmond Hotel Monasterio is very luxurious and it’s also close to the action and set in the serene gardens.
The rooms are fully equipped and come with dining options as well.
Others include; JW Marriott El Convento Cusco, B&B-Hotel Pension Alemana, Hotel Rumi Punku, Tierra Viva Cusco Centro, etc. Each of these is affordable as per your budget and it’s sure to get you as relaxed as you wish to be.
Day 8: The Rainbow Mountain
Even though the Rainbow Mountain is near Cusco, it deserves a day on its own on your 10 days in Peru.
The Rainbow Mountain, also known as Vinicunca, is a place where you need to see it to believe it. There is virtually no way you can describe it and give it justice, but, here’s a try: It is a seven-colored mountain.
Sounds too good to be true? Well, take a trip to Peru and see it for yourself. This was a place that was once well-protected by Peruvians and hidden off the map. It only started receiving tourists in 2016.
When you see photos of the mountain, you will definitely want to go there. So, your visit to Peru must include the Rainbow mountain.
Now, it is important to note that, the hike is no joke. It has proven challenging even to experienced hikers, but if you have the right guides and you do it well, it is quite manageable and well worth your trouble.
Let’s dive in and discover the Rainbow Mountain.
To get there, you will need to sign up for a day tour with one of the many tour agencies in Cusco.
There will be a constant change in the weather conditions, plus a very high altitude, which is what makes it a difficult trek, but just hang in there.
Hiking through the fields, you will see llamas, alpacas, the red mountains, plus snowy lakes and peaks. These are great views.
The mountain itself is considered a holy mountain by the Peruvians, and if you visit near the end of May, you may find the Qoyllur Rit’I Festival being celebrated, and this draws over 10,000 pilgrims, so be prepared for that.
A few tips
It is very important to dress appropriately for the hike. You will be picked up for your hike around 3 am, right in the middle of the night, and will start your hike around 7 am. The weather in the Andean region of Peru is unpredictable; one moment it is freezing, the other it is hot.
Because of the changes in the weather, be sure to come with the following;
- A small backpack to carry your things.
- Very comfortable shoes for the hike.
- Warm clothes for sunny intervals.
- A rain jacket or poncho, because of the unpredictable weather, plus there may be some snowstorms, so just be prepared.
- A hat and sunglasses – again for the sunny periods.
- Some sunscreen.
- Lip balm with sunscreen as you may burn your lips.
- Water to drink; this is very important as there are no places to buy water during the hike.
There’s much to be said about the hike at the Rainbow mountain, but the best thing is to experience it for yourself. It will be unforgettable.
Day 9 and 10: Huacachina
After your magical trek, it’s time to get down to business and party like there’s no tomorrow. After all, you are on holiday, so no holding back. So keep the last leg out of your 10 days in Peru for Huacachina.
Huacachina is one of those places that Peru boasts about. A small party town that is surrounded by large sand dunes. There are numerous companies you can hire to take you to the dunes, choose one that will also allow you to sandboard while there.
It is a great place to spend your final two days, relaxing by the pool and having a few drinks. The mode of transport is Buggies, and in Huacachina, the party never ends, so be sure to carry some hydration tablets as you may experience a few headaches.
Be sure not to get too hungover for your flight home!
Accommodation in Huacachina
There are hotels as well as Hostels here. Of course, everything is affordable, ranging from £20-$229.
La Hosteria and Katari Hotel come highly recommended and will give you world-class service while making your stay with them unforgettable. Their rooms are elegant, with friendly yet professional staff, and the room fee is inclusive of a continental breakfast.
The Flying Dog and Wild Rover hostels are also great places to stay while there.
More tips for amazing 10 days in Peru –
The best time to visit Peru is between May and October as these are known as the dry months, hence ideal for tourists. The rest of the months are wet, and you may not enjoy the city as much if you are going to be fighting with the rain.
The Inca Trail as mentioned above is not available in February, so do not book that time for your holiday if you were looking to partake in the trek. Also, this is the time they take to do their annual clean up.
The currency in Peru is Peruvian Nuevo Sol or soles, and the ATM’s have a withdrawal limit. This can prove problematic if you are purchasing products above the limit. Your visa will be charged at the rate of 5.5% and you can bargain in the markets. So, it is wise to exchange your money in advance, preferably at the airport or in a bank.
Food in Peru
It is important to know what you shall expect to eat while in Peru. Breakfast typically consists of a white bread roll with butter and jam, which you can take with some hot delicious drinks.
Their famous cuisine as mentioned above is the Ceviche which is raw fish with some lemon acid. There are however many restaurants for you to try out and give your taste buds a treat.
If you are going to drink water, do not drink the tap water in Peru. You shall get some clean bottled water almost everywhere, and they do stock the good brands, so do now worry about that. Beer is available almost everywhere, and it’s cheap too.
Finally, Peru is one of those places that you shall remember for the rest of your life. If you are visiting for your honeymoon, family vacay, on a friend’s trip, you are assured of nothing but fun and a great holiday.
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Owen Ter is a guest writer for The Wandering Core. He is a travel blogger from Singapore. After graduating from university, he bought a one-way ticket to South America, backpacked for one year and visited all the countries on the continent. His favorite city is Cusco. He writes at My Turn to Travel. You can also follow him on Facebook or Instagram.