→ Land of Incas
→ Filled with ancient sites
→ The unique culture and traditional experience
Peru is rich in archaeological sites and home to famous Machu Picchu, site of ancient Inca city high in the Andes Mountains.
Trekking/Hiking, Rafting and Kayaking, Surfing, Paragliding, Exploring National Parks
Beaches, National Parks, Forests, Mountains, Scenic Landscapes
Architecture, Museums and Galleries:
Culture and Traditions:
Festivals and Events:
Best season: May-September
This is the list of top destinations in Peru where you can have a lot of experience in one trip. This saves your time not only while surfing the internet for the top destinations to travel but also while traveling or exploring that particular location. And of course, this can save your money too.
City of the Kings
Capital city of Peru
- Lima has got Spanish colonial history.
- Museo Larco
- Parque del Amor
- Huaca Pucllana
- Plaza de Armas
- San Francisco Church and Monastery
- Santo Domingo
- Museo de la Nacion (National Museum)
- Circuito Magico del Agua (Magic Water Tour)
- Walk around Parque del Amor
- Tour to the ancient clay pyramid of Huaca Pucllana
- Visit historical center of Lima
- Visit Circuito Magico del Agua
- Bicycle tour
- Go shopping in Larcomar
- Enjoy the nightlife in Barranco
- Eat food in some restaurants
World Heritage Site
- Cusco offers Inca and 16th-century colonial architecture.
- Easy day trip to the famous Rainbow Mountain, the Sacred Valley, and numerous Inca Ruins
- Plaza de Armas, City’s main square
- Cusco Cathedral
- Church of Santo Domingo
- Rainbow Mountain (day trip)
- Planetarium Cusco
- Qurikancha (Temple of the Sun)
- Inca Museum
- Stroll around Plaza de Armas
- Visit museums and galleries
- Visit nearby Inca ruins
- Watch some traditional dances/events
- Take a photo with a llama
- Sample some foods
The Sacred Valley (Urubamba Valley)
The Sacred Valley (Urubamba Valley)
- The Sacred Valley is the popular destination for exploring Inca ruins.
- At easy day trip distance from Cusco and Machu Picchu
- Pisac Ruins, Inca ruins in the valley
- Sunday Market
- The Salinas de Maras, salt pans
- The ancient site of Moray
- Ollantaytambo (starting point for the Inca Trail)
- Exploring Inca ruins
- Mountain biking
- Staying in the Skylodge
- Taste Cuy, a Peruvian dish
- One of the New7Wonders of the World
- Incan citadel in the Andes Mountain
- Inti Punku (The Sun Gate)
- Temple of the Sun
- The Royal Tomb (The Palace of the Princess)
- The Inca Bridge
- The Funerary Stone
- Watchman’s Hut
- Central Plaza
- Temple of Three Windows
- The Principal Temple
- Moon Temple
- House of the High Priest
- The Sacred Rock
- The Rock Quarry
- Huayana Picchu
- Exploring Inca Ruins
- Ascending Huayna Picchu
- Biologically diverse area
- Forest and wildlife (Monkeys, Parrots, Piranhas, Turtles, Caimans to name only a few)
- The Reserva Nacional Tambopata
- The Parque Nacional Bahuaja Sonene
- Lake Sandoval
- Boat ride to the Reserva Nacional Tambopata
- Explore the Peruvian Amazon
- Discover wildlife
- Bird watching
- Mysterious Nazca lines
- Huge images on the desert floor
- Cantalloc Aqueducts
- Cemetery of Chauchilla
- Cahuachi Pyramid
- Museo Antonini
- Fly above Nazca Desert
- Explore Nazca lines from ground/view the lines from a tower
- Watch mummies in Cemetery of Chauchilla
- Discover Cantalloc Aqueduct
- The highest navigable lake in the world
- Lake Titicaca
- Uros Floating Islands
- Yavari Floating
- Taquile Island
- Villages in the hills
- Boat trip to the Islands
- Know about the local life
Either a valid passport only or valid passport with visa (depending on your country) may be required to enter Peru.
For Australian, Canadian, USA and EU nationals visas are not required. For nationals from other countries, it’s better to check visa requirements (required for the nationals of your country) with the embassy well before you travel.
Citizens from the selected countries can stay up to 183 days without a visa for tourism purposes.
Credit Cards are mostly accepted in Lima and tourist areas. Visa and Master Card are easily accepted. ATMs are available throughout the country. Changing cash or traveler’s check is not that hard in Lima. But it may be hard outside the capital city. It is better to take traveler’s check in US Dollars.
Since Lima and Cusco both receive international flights to Peru, you should choose one based on where you want to go and what you want to see.
Since the major attractions are well scattered across Peru, domestic flights are convenient and fast for traveling long distances.
The quality of the roads is not good. City buses/coaches can be overcrowded. It may be wise to avoid them.
Inside the city, you can get around on foot or by taxi. Hiring a car or picking up a taxi (registered) can be the other alternatives too. You can rent a bike too.
Peru Rail provides services between Puno-Cusco and between Cusco and Machu Picchu.
In rainy season landslides are frequent. It is a good practice to always check the latest weather updates before going to mountainous regions. Do not ignore the suggestions given by local people and always follow the instructions given by local authorities.
It’s better to take precaution against Dengue and Malaria while traveling to the Peruvian Amazon Basin.
Although immunizations are not required while traveling to Peru, it is advisable to update your standard vaccinations of mumps, measles, rubella, polio, diphtheria, tetanus, rabies and hepatitis.
It’s better to make full travel/health insurance.
You should be aware of the petty crimes/street crimes (from pickpockets, thieves, scammers, etc.) taking place inside and outside the cities. You should take care of your travel documents, luggage, and other belongings.
Don’t walk alone at night and don’t walk through less traveled areas alone.
Based on the places and experiences that you will never get in other countries i.e they are uniquely different from other countries, we tried to narrow down the lists in terms of ‘must-see’ places.
Must-visit destinations in Peru:
If you are a trekking lover:
- Machu Picchu (Inca Trails)
If you are ancient ruins and history lover:
- Machu Picchu
- Nazca Desert
- The Sacred valley
If you are a nature lover:
- Machu Picchu
- Lake Titicaca
- Ballestas Island
- Peruvian Amazon
- The Sacred valley
If you are museums, galleries and culture lover:
For Art, Museums and Galleries:
For Cultures and Traditions:
From the above list, you can see that Machu Picchu overlaps in three categories, whereas the Sacred Valley and Lima overlap in two categories. You can make your trip worthy by planning an itinerary according to your priorities and make much out of it by having a lot of experiences in your single trip without having your time and money wasted in traveling and just covering distances in-between.
Our Pick: Since Peru is mostly about history, culture, ancient ruins and adventure our first pick would be Machu Picchu, Cusco, Nazca Lines, and Lima.
Follow these itineraries ideas (below): If you want to make most out of your trip; if you want to have a lot of experiences in one trip missing almost nothing in your whole trip; if you also don’t want to miss the must-see places and if you also don’t want to miss ‘nowhere-else’ destinations on the planet, then follow these tips.
If this is your first-time visit to Peru and
If you have 7-8 days, then we recommend you to choose the following itinerary:
Lima (Day 1)→Cusco, Sacred Valley, Rainbow Mountain (Day 2-3)→Machu Picchu (Day 4-5)→ Return to Cusco, flight to Lima (Day 6/7)→Return home (Day 8)
Lima (Day 1)→Direct to Nazca lines then head towards Cusco (Day 2-3)→Machu Picchu (Day 4-5)→ Return to Cusco, flight to Lima (Day 6/7)→Return home (Day 8) (Hasty itinerary covering main highlights of Peru)
If you are an adventure lover, you could trek Inca Trail to reach Machu Picchu and it is a 4 days hike. For this
Lima (Day 1)→Cusco, Aguas Calientes (Day 2)→Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu trek (Day 3-6)→Return to Cusco, flight to Lima (Day 7)→Return home (Day 8)
If you have 14 days, then you can extend above itinerary.
Lima (Day 1-2)→Huacachina, Nazca, Arequipa (Day 4-5)→Puno, Lake Titicaca (Day 6-7)→Cusco, Sacred Valley, Rainbow Mountain(Day 8-9)→Machu Picchu (Day 10-11)→ Return to Cusco, flight to Lima (Day 12/13)→Return home (Day 14)
Depending upon your interests, you could replace Lake Titicaca with the Ballestas Island or Amazon Rainforest.
If you have 3 weeks, then you can extend above itinerary depending upon your interests:
Lima (Day 1)→Paracas, Ballestas Island (Day 2-4)→Huacachina, Nazca, Arequipa, Colca Canyon (Day 5-7)→Puno, Lake Titicaca (Day 8-9)→Cusco (Day 10-11)→Machu Picchu (Day 12-13)→ Return to Cusco, flight to Puerto Maldonado (Day 14)→Amazon Rain Forest(Day 15-18)→Flight to Lima (Day 19)→Flight to home (Day 20/21)
(Tips: You can skip Amazon Rainforest tour if you have already done it unless you are thinking to do it again. You can also do the Amazon tour from Brazil if you are thinking to visit Brazil. Don’t miss Nazca Lines since this experience is unique only available in Peru. )
(Note: Please note that the itineraries mentioned here are focused on the routes or directions to follow for saving time and money and still not missing the ‘must-see’ destinations. The days mentioned here in-between the places is a rough estimation just to give you general itinerary ideas. You can shorten or lengthen this time according to your interests, season, budget and time available. For example, sometimes you might want to experience the nature, activities, and culture in a relaxed manner without any haste and without feeling cramped.)
We’ve covered our recommendations for ‘must-visit destinations’. The list of other wonderful places throughout Peru can get long. The priorities for a destination to visit can be different from person to person as it depends upon personal preferences and interests. But these are the itineraries covering ‘must-do’ or ‘must-see’ places once in your lifetime.