Peru 12 Day Itinerary

by Meghdut

Planning a trip to Peru? Look no further! In this article, we have prepared a comprehensive 12-day itinerary that will take you on a thrilling adventure through the magnificence of Peru. From exploring the iconic Machu Picchu and experiencing the vibrant city life of Lima to immersing yourself in the ancient culture of the Sacred Valley, this itinerary has it all. Get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey as we guide you through the must-see sights, recommended activities, and the best modes of transportation to make your trip to Peru truly remarkable. Get your bags packed and let’s begin this exciting 12-day adventure through Peru!

Day 1: Lima

Morning

Welcome to Lima, the vibrant capital city of Peru! As you begin your first day in this bustling metropolis, we recommend starting off with a visit to the Historic Center of Lima. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to stunning colonial architecture, including the famous Plaza de Armas and the beautiful San Francisco Church. Take a leisurely stroll through the charming streets and immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of Lima.

Afternoon

For lunch, why not try some traditional Peruvian cuisine? Lima is known for its incredible culinary scene, and you will find a plethora of options to satisfy your taste buds. Whether you’re craving ceviche, causa, or lomo saltado, there is something for everyone.

After lunch, head to the Larco Museum, which showcases a vast collection of pre-Columbian art and artifacts. Take a journey through Peru’s ancient past as you explore the various galleries and learn about the indigenous cultures that thrived in this region.

Evening

To end your day in Lima, make your way to the bohemian district of Barranco. This vibrant neighborhood is known for its artistic flair and lively nightlife. Stroll along the Bajada de los BaƱos, a charming pathway that offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. Stop by one of the local bars or restaurants for a delicious Pisco Sour, Peru’s national drink, and soak in the lively atmosphere.

Day 2: Cusco

Morning

Today, you will be leaving Lima and heading to the enchanting city of Cusco. Start your day bright and early as you catch a morning flight to this ancient Inca capital. Upon arrival, take a moment to adjust to the high altitude and immerse yourself in the rich history that surrounds you.

Afternoon

After settling into your accommodation, head out to explore the historic center of Cusco. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is filled with stunning colonial architecture and Inca ruins, blending together the rich legacies of both civilizations. Visit the iconic Plaza de Armas, where you can admire the impressive Cathedral and the Church of the Society of Jesus.

Evening

As the day comes to a close, venture into the lively neighborhood of San Blas. Known for its narrow and winding streets, San Blas is a hub for local artisans and has a bohemian charm. Browse through the numerous art galleries and craft shops, and perhaps pick up a unique souvenir to remember your time in Cusco. End the evening with a delicious dinner at one of the many cozy restaurants in the area, indulging in traditional Peruvian dishes such as alpaca steak or rocoto relleno.

Day 3: Sacred Valley

Morning

Today, you will embark on a memorable journey to the breathtaking Sacred Valley of the Incas. After a hearty breakfast, hop on a scenic train ride from Cusco to the town of Ollantaytambo. From there, you will continue your exploration by visiting the Pisac Ruins, an impressive archaeological site perched high upon a mountain.

Afternoon

After exploring the ruins, make your way to the town of Pisac, famous for its vibrant local market. Here, you can find a variety of traditional handicrafts, textiles, and fresh produce. Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere as you stroll through the winding alleys, interacting with local vendors and perhaps even picking up a unique souvenir to take back home.

Evening

In the evening, head to the town of Urubamba, where you can relax and unwind in the peaceful surroundings of the Sacred Valley. Enjoy a delicious dinner showcasing the region’s flavors and ingredients, and take in the stunning views of the Andean mountains as you reflect on the beauty and tranquility of this magical place.

Day 4: Machu Picchu

Morning

Today is the day you’ve been waiting for – your visit to the majestic Machu Picchu! Rise early in the morning and catch a breathtaking train ride to Aguas Calientes, the gateway to this iconic Inca citadel. As you approach Machu Picchu, be prepared to be awe-struck by its sheer beauty and architectural brilliance.

Afternoon

Upon arrival, embark on a guided tour of Machu Picchu, where you will learn about its history, significance, and the mysteries that still surround it. Explore the intricate stone structures, terraces, and temples, and marvel at the panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.

Evening

After your visit to Machu Picchu, take some time to relax and unwind in the tranquil town of Aguas Calientes. Soak in the natural hot springs that gave the town its name, or indulge in a well-deserved massage to rejuvenate your body and mind. End the evening with a delicious dinner, savoring the flavors of the Andes as you reflect on the awe-inspiring day you’ve had.

Day 5: Lake Titicaca

Morning

Today, you will be leaving the mountainous regions and heading towards the beautiful Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. After breakfast, catch a morning flight to the city of Juliaca, where you will then travel to the lakeside city of Puno.

Afternoon

Upon arrival in Puno, settle into your accommodation and prepare for an afternoon excursion to the floating Uros Islands. These man-made islands, constructed entirely out of totora reeds, are home to the Uros people – a vibrant indigenous community. Learn about their traditional way of life, explore their unique homes, and even take a ride in a traditional reed boat.

Evening

As the sun begins to set, enjoy a picturesque boat ride across Lake Titicaca to Taquile Island. This peaceful island is known for its stunning landscapes and the warm hospitality of its inhabitants. Immerse yourself in the local culture as you interact with the islanders, enjoy a traditional dinner, and perhaps even participate in a lively traditional dance.

Day 6: Arequipa

Morning

Today, bid farewell to Lake Titicaca as you make your way to the beautiful city of Arequipa. After breakfast, catch a flight to the “White City,” named after its stunning architecture made from white volcanic stone.

Afternoon

Upon arrival in Arequipa, take a leisurely stroll through the historic center of the city. Visit the Santa Catalina Monastery, a fascinating cloistered convent that offers a glimpse into the daily lives of the nuns who once lived there. Marvel at the colorful facades and vibrant gardens as you explore the various rooms and courtyards.

Evening

As the evening approaches, head to the Yanahuara district to enjoy panoramic views of the city and the iconic Misti Volcano. Located on a hilltop, Yanahuara offers stunning vistas and is the perfect spot to watch the sunset. After taking in the breathtaking scenery, indulge in a delicious dinner at one of the many rooftop restaurants in the area, savoring the unique flavors of Arequipa’s renowned cuisine.

Day 7: Colca Canyon

Morning

Today, prepare for an exciting adventure to one of the world’s deepest canyons – the Colca Canyon. After breakfast, embark on a scenic drive through the breathtaking landscapes of the Andes.

Afternoon

Upon arrival at the Colca Canyon, check into your accommodation and take a moment to soak in the natural beauty that surrounds you. In the afternoon, set off on a trek along the canyon’s rim, marveling at the stunning views and keeping an eye out for the elusive Andean condors, which often grace the skies above.

Evening

As night falls, unwind and relax in the peaceful surroundings of the Colca Canyon. Enjoy a traditional dinner in your accommodation, accompanied by live music and maybe even a dance performance. Reflect on the wonders you’ve seen throughout the day and embrace the tranquility of this remote and beautiful location.

Day 8: Nazca Lines

Morning

Today, you will be venturing into the desert to witness one of the world’s greatest enigmas – the Nazca Lines. After breakfast, embark on a journey from Colca Canyon to the desert town of Nazca.

Afternoon

Upon arrival in Nazca, join a thrilling flight over the Nazca Lines, where you will get a bird’s-eye view of these massive geoglyphs etched into the desert floor. These ancient line drawings, depicting various animals and shapes, have baffled scientists and archaeologists for decades.

Evening

After your flight over the Nazca Lines, take some time to explore the town of Nazca and learn more about this intriguing ancient civilization. Visit the Antonini Museum, which houses a collection of artifacts and information about the Nazca culture. End the evening with a delicious dinner, savoring the flavors of the Peruvian desert as you reflect on the mysteries you’ve encountered.

Day 9: Ica and Huacachina

Morning

Today, you will be heading to the desert oasis of Huacachina, nestled amidst towering sand dunes. After breakfast, embark on a journey from Nazca to this picturesque destination.

Afternoon

Upon arrival in Huacachina, prepare for an adrenaline-filled afternoon of sandboarding and dune buggying. Experience the thrill of racing down the steep sandy slopes and exploring the vast desert landscape. If you’re feeling adventurous, try your hand at sandboarding, gliding down the dunes on a board just like snowboarding.

Evening

As the sun sets over the desert, take some time to relax and soak in the breathtaking views of Huacachina. Enjoy a refreshing cocktail at one of the many bars surrounding the oasis, as you watch the colors of the sky change and the stars begin to emerge. Conclude your evening with a delicious dinner, sampling some of the region’s finest wines and cuisine.

Day 12: Departure

Morning

Today marks the end of your incredible journey through Peru. After breakfast, take some time to savor your last moments in this beautiful country. Reflect on the memories you’ve made, the sights you’ve seen, and the connections you’ve formed with the people and places along the way.

As you bid farewell to Peru, carry with you the warmth of its people, the vibrancy of its culture, and the timeless allure of its ancient treasures. Whether it’s your first visit or a return trip, Peru will always have a special place in your heart. Safe travels, and until we meet again, my friend!

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