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Peru itinerary

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Peru is legendary among world travelers looking for new experiences. A stuningly endowed country, explore Peru is much more than most short trips can hope to take in: charming Andean highlands towns with colonial architecture, remote jungle lodges in the Peruvian jungle; soaring snowcapped mountains and volcanoes; a 3,220 km (2,000-mile) Pacific coastline, and, of course, the legacies of the Incas and other sophisticated pre-Columbian civilizations. The following Peru itinerary are some of my favorite places and activities, from hotels and restaurants to outdoor experiences and festivals. But the fun of traveling to a fascinating country like Peru is compling your own list. 

With each region offering so many different attractions, it´s hard to generalise about which places are best to visit first. Below we present you several options of Peru itinerary, so you can fully enjoy your holidays in Peru without missing any attraction. 

 

Peru itinerary

Classic Andes & The Amazon 

Day 1: Lima 

On your first full morning, take a three-hour tour to see the downtown historic center, the Museo de Oro, and (by taxi) the modern suburbs of San Isidro and Miraflores. In the afternoon visit the Museo Nacional de Antropología y Arqueología and the Museo Rafael Larco Herrera - both are in the Pueblo Libre district. Since you´re in the neighborhood, finish the day by browsing through the feria Artesanal, an artisans´market. 

Day 2 & 3: Puno

From Lima take an early-morning flight to Juliaca, a commercial center with an airport that serves Puno and the Lake Titicaca region. Puno's 3,830-meter (12,500 feet) altitude can take your breath away. Check in your hotel and depart for a tour of the pre-Inca burial ground and stone chullpas at Sillustani. The next day take a boat tour of the lake, stopping at the Uros Islands and Isla Taquile. 

Days 4 & 5: Cusco 

From Puno make arrangements with Peru Rail to take the train to Inca capital of Cusco, at 330 meter (1,083-foot) drop in altitude. Spend the first day of your Cusco travel visiting Qorikancha, the MAP museum, the Museo Inka, and other architectural gems. At night indulge in new Andean cuisine at the Map Café or Inka Grill. The following the Sacred Valley day tour, stopping for the stone fort of Sacsayhuaman, the handicraft market and fantastic ruins at Pisac, a buffet Andean lunch in Urubamba, and finally at Ollantaytambo for the Inca fortress ruins. Or spend the day white-water rafting on the Urubamba or Apurímac river. If you´re hiking the four-day Inca trail route, begin here. 

Days 6 & 7: Machu Picchu

Early the next morning, catch the train getting to Machu Picchu from Cusco. Take the bus up the mountain to visit Peru Machu Picchu, the majestic ancient citadel. For bragging rights climb Huayna Picchu, the backdrop mountain for incredible views of the ruins below. The next morning explores the handicraft markets around town and a take a dip in the city´s namesake thermal baths before returning to Cusco. 

Days 8-11: Tambopata National Reserve

Fly out of Cusco to Puerto Maldonado where someone from your eco-lodge will meet you. You´ll take a boat down the Madre de Dios river to your lodge and check in your bungalow. Your days will be filled with hikes into the Tambopata National Reserve or visits to the renowed Guacamayo clary lick, while at night you´ll take a short hike on trails near your lodge to look for monkeys or take a skiff to look for caiman and other nocturnal creatures. 

 

The South Coast & Central Highlands 

Day 1: Lima 

On your first morning, tour the Plaza de Armas. In the afternoon, see the Museo Nacional de Antropología y Arqueología and the Museo Rafael Larco Herrera and shop at the outdoor Feria Artesanal.

Days 2 & 3: Ica 

Leave Lima early by bus or car and head south on the Pan-American highway to Ica, Perú´s wine-growing area. Check into the Las Dunas Resort and arrange for an afternoon tour of one of the wineries and Ica´s Museo Histórico Regional. The next day jump in a 4WD and drive through the desert and then test your skills at sand boarding down the dunes surrounding the Huacachina oasis. 

Day 4: Nazca 

In the morning take a five person plane to survey the Peruvian Nazca lines from the air before leaving by bus or car for Paracas. On an afternoon boat trip to the Balestas Islands you´ll see sea lions, birds, and tiny Humboldt penguins, passing by the large candelabra etched on a cliff. Catch an afternoon bus back to Ica, and overnight there. 

Day 5: Lima 

From Ica catch an early bus back to Lima and check back in your hotel. Take an afternoon trip to the pre-Inca pyramids at Pachacamac 30 minutes to the south or a culinary tour around the city and learn to make ceviche and the perfect pisco sour. 

Days 6-9: Huancayo

If your have timed it right you´ll depart Lima´s Desamparados station at 7 AM for the trip into the Central Highlands. The highest train in the world climbs to 4,818 meters (14,694 feet) at La Cima before dropping down to 3,254 meters (9,921 feet) at Huancayo. For the next two days shop for crafts and visit Andean markets in the Mantaro Valley and hike to the glacier at Huaytapallana or visit nearby Huanca ruins. If you want to volunteer in a highland village helpign prphaned children or learn to weave or cave gourds from the masters, spend more time here. Otherwise, catch the train back on the fourth day.  

 

The North Coast & Cordillera Blanca 

Day 1:Lima 

On your first morning, tour the Plaza de Armas and the catacombs at San Francisco. In the afternoon, see the Museo Nacional de Antropología y Arqueología and the Museo rafael Larco Herrera. Have dinner in Miraflores.  

Days 2 - 6: Huaraz 

From Lima, drive or take an early-morning bus to Huaraz and spend the day acclimatizing while exploring the city and the nearby Wari ruins of Wilcahuaían or the sanctuary at Old Yungay, a town covered by a devasting earthquake in 1970, burying tens of thousands of people. For the next tour days trek on the Santa Cruz circuit, a fantastic route in the heart of othe Cordillera Blanca, or take less strenuous day trips to pristine mountain lakes and the ruins of Chavín de Huántar. 

Days 7 & 8: Trujillo 

From Huaraz go to Trujillo. Explore the Plaza de Armas at your leisure. The Libertador Hotel on the Plaza is a good spot for lunch or dinner. The next morning continue touring the city, visiting the beach resort of Huanchaco, for lunch and spend the afternoon lounging on the beach. Local fishermen set out in their caballitos de totora, or reed boats. In the afternoon travel to the adobe-brick city of Chán Chán and the Huaca del Arco Iris. 

Days 9 & 10: Chiclayo

Take a bus to Chiclayo (208 km/129 mi) from Trujillo. Visit the cathedral and the witches´market, where shamans and folk healers sell their herbs. The next morning tour the burial platform of Huaca Rajada to see the tomb of the Lord of Sipán and the on-site museum. Continue to Pampa Grande, site of the largest pyramid in the South America. In the afternoon explore the nearby mud-brick pyramids at the Tucume and the Bruning museum at Lambayeque. Overnight again in Chiclayo. 

Days 11 - 14: Mancora 

From Chiclayo take a bus or plane to Piura, where transfers to the beach paradise of Mancora can be made. In the day you´ll bask in the sun or ride horses on Los Pocitas beach, learn to surf at the Municipal beach, or visit the craft town of Catacaos. For a day trip head to La Chicama to surf the world longest left breaking wave, to Cerros de Amotape National Park near Tumbes, or a snorkeling tour at dancing in a sandly-floored club until the sun comes up.

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