Peru trip: Best of Peru
This Peru trip combines some of Peru’s highlights: Cuzco, Machu Picchu, the Amazon region, hikes in the Andes and Lake Titicaca. There are no fixed dates, but the trip can be planned at any time, even with just one person! The details are flexible and can be customized according to interest, time and budget. For the time being, we have put together 4 modules that you can select and combine as you wish.
Module 1: Lima
Peru’s capital has 11 million inhabitants, about a third of Peruvians live here. Normally, travelers land in Lima and start their journey here. It is well worth staying here for a few days and seeing the sights in and around the city.
- Perus old town: Some buildings worth seeing can be visited in the old town. The center is the main square Plaza de Armas with the cathedral, the archbishop’s palace and the governor’s palace.
- Miraflores: The hip district of Miraflores offers a variety of hotels and good restaurants. The beach and promenade attracts many surfers and walkers. The archaeological site of Pucllana takes you back to a time before the Incas.
- Islas Ballestas: Numerous animals can be observed in this nature reserve: sea lions, Humboldt penguins, pelicans and other bird species. The starting point is the small town of Paracas south of Lima.
- Huacachina: The small oasis of Huacachina is located near the town of Ica, with a small lake in the middle and surrounded by huge sand dunes. The most popular activities here are dune buggy riding and sandboarding.
Module 2: Cuzco and Machu Picchu
Cuzco is the most beautiful city in Peru and also the starting point for a number of interesting excursions. A visit to the Sacred Valley is highly recommended. For many, Machu Picchu is the highlight of a Peru trip.
- Cuzco: Around the main square Plaza de Armas there are numerous sights, including the cathedral. The monastery of Santo Domingo still houses the remains of the Inca temple of Qorikancha. Some beautiful corners of the city can be discovered on the cobbled streets of San Blas.
- Sacred Valley: The valley of the Urubamba near Cuzco is known as the valle sagrado, the sacred valley. This valley was the most important agricultural area of the Inca Empire. The important Inca sites of Pisac and Ollantaytambo are located here.
- Day trip Machu Picchu: If you get up early it is possible to visit Machu Picchu in a day trip. We pick you up at the hotel and take you to the train station in Ollantaytambo. From there, we take the train to Aguas Calientes. Then a bus will take you to the excavations. There a local guide will lead you through the site. After the 2-hour tour, you still have time to explore on your own. Then return to Cuzco.
- Machu Picchu by bus 2 days: The cheapest way to visit Machu Picchu. By bus you drive through the sacred valley to the hydroelectric power station Hidroeléctrica. From there it is a short hike to Aguas Caliente, where you will spend the night in the hotel. The next day we hike to the ruins early in the morning (1.5 hours). A local guide will be waiting for you there and will guide you through the excavations for 2 hours. After that you have free time to explore on your own. At noon you walk back to Hidroeléctrica, where the bus awaits you for the journey home.
Module 3: Hikes around Cuzco
Apart from the Inca trail to Machu Picchu there are of course also other shorter and longer hikes in Peru. For example:
- Short Inca trail 2 days/1 night: You will be picked up from the hotel in the morning and taken to Ollantaytambo. From there you take the train to km 104, where the trail begins. On the way we visit the excavations of Chachabamba and Wiñayhuayna. The trek will take you to the sun gate “Inti Punku” where we can watch the sunset over Machu Picchu. Then we descend to Aguas Calientes, where we spend the night in the hotel. On the second day, travel by bus to Machu Picchu and visit the excavation. Then return to Cuzco by train and bus.
- Inca trail 4 days/3 nights: We travel by train from Ollantaytambo to Piskacucho at km 82. After lunch hike to the first camp in Huayllabamba. On the second day we start early and hike up to the highest point of the Inca trail at 4200m where we can enjoy the scenery. In the afternoon we reach our second camp Pacaymayo. On day 3 we hike to the second highest point of the tour at 3850m above sea level. On the way we see several archaeological sites. After lunch we continue our trek to Wiñaywayna, where we spend the last night on the Inca trail. In the morning of the fourth day we reach the Sun Gate where we enjoy a spectacular view of Machu Picchu. After a short hike we can visit the excavations.
- Ausangate trek with rainbow mountain 5 days/4 nights: After a drive to Tinque we start our hike at 4050m above sea level. We pass small farms with friendly people. After crossing the Arapa Pass at 4800m we descend to the first campsite. On the second day we pass remarkable lakes and pass the Pucacocha Pass at 4900m. From there we descend to the second campsite. Day 3 takes us first to Lake Kayrawiri surrounded by white-topped mountains. After that we reach the amazing Vinicunca or Rainbow Mountain which has the most diverse colors. We enjoy our lunch in this unique landscape. Finally we continue trekking to Ausangate Qocha Lake where we spend the third night. On the fourth day we reach the highest pass of the trek at 5100m. We descend along the glacier and reach Finaya Pampa where we can see various camelids. We spend the night in Jampa at 4700m. On the last day we face the spectacular ascent to the Campa Pass (5050m). We also pass several lakes and reach hot springs where we can relax. Finally we will be taken back to Cuzco.
Module 4: Arequipa
- Arequipa: The white city is the second largest in Peru and one of the most beautiful. The old town, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has numerous baroque buildings built of white volcanic rock. Guarded by 3 imposing volcanoes, there are also a number of opportunities for excursions and hikes.
- Colca Canyon 3 days/2 nights: This tour departs from Arequipa. You will be picked up very early and drive first to the village of Chivay, where we will have breakfast. Then we reach the Cruz del Cóndor to enjoy the flight of the condor here. Then our trek begins and after about 3 hours and a descent of 1000m we reach San Juan de Chuccho. In the afternoon we explore the area around the village. On the second day we hike about 2 1/2 hours to Cosñirhua. After another 2 hours we stop for lunch in Sangalle. In the afternoon we have free time and the opportunity to relax in a pool. We spend the night in family houses. After breakfast we hike 3 hours to Cabanaconde on day 3. We pass several viewpoints where we admire the spectacular landscape and traces of the pre-Inca cultures. Later we can visit hot water pools in Maca and Yanque villages. We arrive at Chivay, from where we are taken back to Arequipa, with a stop at Patapampa viewpoint.
Module 5: Tambopata
The Tambopata Nature Reserve is located in the Peruvian rainforest near Puerto Maldonado and the border with Bolivia. The Tambopata is a river that joins the Rio Madre de Dios in Puerto Maldonado. The lodges can be reached by boat going upstream. This excursion forms a stark contrast to the visit to the highlands of the Peru tour.
Giant otters 3 days/2 nights: On the first day you will be picked up from the airport in Puerto Maldonado and taken to the lodge by boat. In the evening you embark on a nocturnal caiman search. The second day is all about the giant otters. You have to get up early to find them at the 1km long Tres Chimbadas Lake. On the third day, after breakfast, you will be transferred back to Puerto Maldonado.
Discoveries in the Peruvian rainforest 4 days/3 nights: This tour is identical to the above for the first two days. On day 3 there is a 3 hour hike to Lake Katicocha where we can observe a diverse fauna and flora. In the morning of day 4 we visit a clay lick located 40 minutes from the lodge. Here we can observe numerous parrots. Upon return to the lodge, breakfast and transfer to Puerto Maldonado.
Chuncho clay lick 5 days/4 nights: It takes an hour and a half to get to the lodge by boat from Puerto Maldonado. During a night walk you will get to know some nocturnal animals. On day 2, you will cruise up the Tambopata River for 3 hours. Around noon we reach the macaw clay lick, a cliff some 200m wide. After an overnight stay at the campsite, you can admire the spectacle of the colorful macaws early in the morning of the third day. Then we drive back to the lodge. On the fourth day we have a 3 1/2 km hike to Cocococha Lake where the endangered giant otters can be seen. On the way we also see exotic plants, insects, colorful butterflies, birds and monkeys. On Day 5, return to Puerto Maldonado.
Module 6: Lake Titicaca
Day trip Uros and Taquile: This day trip from Puno takes you first to the port of Puno and from there to Lake Titicaca. The first stop will be at the Uros Islands. The islets are made entirely of reeds. The people of the Uros have still kept their traditional way of life. Afterwards, cruise to the remote island of Taquile, a beautiful island with Inca terraces. Here, too, the residents live very traditionally, and visitors are asked to respect the rules of the island. You visit the main square of the village and you can have a typical meal (e.g. trout with rice and potatoes) in one of the houses. Afterwards you will learn more about the island and the culture of the Taquile. Finally you will be taken back to Puno.
Put together your personal Peru trip!