Peru Itinerary 12 Days

by Meghdut

Imagine you’re a travel planner with a knack for crafting unforgettable journeys. Well, get ready to embark on a thrilling adventure exploring the vibrant landscapes and rich cultural heritage of Peru! In just 12 days, you’ll have the chance to wander through ancient Incan ruins, hike breathtaking mountains, and immerse yourself in the bustling markets of Lima. With carefully curated itineraries that weave together historical sites, natural wonders, and authentic experiences, you’ll create memories that will last a lifetime. Get ready to discover Peru’s hidden gems and create a journey that perfectly encompasses the essence of this extraordinary country.

Day 1: Lima

Morning – Arrival in Lima

Welcome to Lima, the vibrant capital city of Peru! After arriving at Lima’s Jorge Chávez International Airport, take a moment to soak in the excitement of the city. As you head out of the airport, you can arrange for a transportation service to your accommodation. Lima is known for its diverse neighborhoods, each offering unique experiences. Whether you choose to stay in the historic center or the trendy Miraflores district, you are in for a treat.

Afternoon – Visit Huaca Pucllana

In the afternoon, make your way to the archaeological site of Huaca Pucllana. This ancient adobe pyramid is a fascinating testament to Lima’s rich history and the pre-Inca civilization that once thrived here. Explore the ruins and learn about the mysteries surrounding this ancient structure. You can opt for a guided tour to get the most out of your visit and gain insights into the historical significance of Huaca Pucllana.

Evening – Explore Miraflores

As the sun sets, head to the trendy neighborhood of Miraflores. This coastal district is famous for its stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, picturesque parks, and lively atmosphere. Take a stroll along the iconic Malecón de Miraflores, a coastal promenade offering breathtaking views of the ocean. Enjoy the vibrant energy of Parque Kennedy, known for its resident cats and lively street performances. Indulge in a delicious dinner at one of the many gourmet restaurants in the area, and don’t forget to try some traditional Peruvian dishes like ceviche or lomo saltado.

Day 2: Lima to Cusco

Morning – Flight to Cusco

Today, you will embark on an exciting journey to Cusco, the gateway to the ancient Inca civilization. Catch a flight from Lima to Cusco and marvel at the aerial views of the stunning Andean landscapes. Upon arrival in Cusco, take some time to acclimate to the high altitude and check into your accommodation.

Afternoon – Explore Cusco City Center

In the afternoon, set off to explore the beautiful city center of Cusco, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wander through the charming cobblestone streets lined with colonial architecture and Inca stone walls. Visit the iconic Plaza de Armas, the main square of Cusco, where you can admire the impressive Cathedral and the Church of La Compañía de Jesús. Immerse yourself in the rich history of Cusco by exploring the Qorikancha, the ancient Inca temple of the sun.

Evening – Enjoy Traditional Peruvian Cuisine

End your day in Cusco by indulging in a culinary adventure. Sample traditional Peruvian cuisine at one of the many local restaurants in the city. From hearty stews like lomo saltado to delicious desserts like picarones, Cusco offers a wide range of flavors that will tantalize your taste buds. Don’t forget to try a glass of chicha morada, a refreshing purple corn drink that is a local favorite.

Day 3: Sacred Valley

Morning – Travel to Pisac

Today, embark on a journey to the mesmerizing Sacred Valley of the Incas. After breakfast, hop on a comfortable vehicle and make your way to the town of Pisac. The drive will take you through breathtaking landscapes, with towering mountains and picturesque valleys.

Afternoon – Visit Pisac Market and Ruins

Upon reaching Pisac, explore the vibrant Pisac Market, where you can find an array of colorful handicrafts, textiles, and traditional souvenirs. Immerse yourself in the bustling atmosphere and interact with local artisans. Afterward, head to the Pisac Ruins, perched high on a hilltop overlooking the valley. Explore the ancient terraces, temples, and ceremonial sites while enjoying panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.

Evening – Overnight stay in Urubamba

As the day comes to a close, make your way to the town of Urubamba, where you will spend the night. Urubamba is known for its beautiful landscapes and serene atmosphere. Check into your accommodation and relax, enjoying the tranquility of the Sacred Valley.

Day 4: Machu Picchu

Morning – Train Journey to Aguas Calientes

Today is the day you’ve been waiting for – a visit to the legendary Machu Picchu! Catch an early morning train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes, the gateway town to Machu Picchu. Sit back and enjoy the scenic train journey as it winds through the magnificent mountains and lush valleys of the Sacred Valley.

Afternoon – Explore Spectacular Machu Picchu

Upon arrival in Aguas Calientes, take a short bus ride up the winding roads to the majestic Machu Picchu. Set amid mist-shrouded peaks, this ancient Inca citadel is a true marvel of architecture and engineering. Explore the intricate stone structures, terraces, and temples while soaking in the magnificent views of the surrounding mountains. You can opt for a guided tour to learn about the history and significance of this awe-inspiring UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Evening – Return to Cusco

As the day comes to an end, bid farewell to Machu Picchu and make your way back to Cusco. Reflect on the incredible experience you’ve had exploring one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Take some time to relax and recharge in preparation for more adventures in Cusco.

Day 5: Cusco

Morning – Visit Sacsayhuaman

Start your day by visiting the ancient fortress of Sacsayhuaman, located just outside Cusco. Marvel at the massive stone walls and intricate stonework that has stood the test of time. Explore the site and imagine the grandeur of the Inca civilization that once thrived here. Don’t miss the opportunity to take in the panoramic views of Cusco from the fortress.

Afternoon – Explore Qorikancha

After visiting Sacsayhuaman, head to Qorikancha, also known as the Temple of the Sun. This ancient site was once the most important temple in the Inca Empire and was covered in gold. Although much of the gold was looted by the Spanish conquistadors, the impressive stonework and architectural features still showcase the magnificence of the Inca civilization.

Evening – Dinner with a Traditional Dance Show

End your day in Cusco by immersing yourself in its vibrant culture. Enjoy a delicious dinner at a local restaurant where you can savor traditional Peruvian dishes. Be entertained by a traditional dance show, showcasing the colorful costumes and rhythmic music of Peru. This is a perfect way to experience the rich cultural heritage of the region.

Day 6: Arequipa

Morning – Flight to Arequipa

Today, you will make your way to Arequipa, known as the “White City” due to its stunning colonial architecture made from volcanic sillar stone. Catch a flight from Cusco to Arequipa and admire the breathtaking views of the Andean landscapes as you descend into the city.

Afternoon – Discover Plaza de Armas

Once you arrive in Arequipa, head straight to the Plaza de Armas, the heart of the city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Admire the stunning colonial buildings, including the Arequipa Cathedral and the Church of La Compañía. Take some time to sit in one of the park benches and soak in the ambiance of this beautifully preserved square.

Evening – Enjoy Arequipa’s Culinary Delights

Arequipa is renowned for its gastronomy, so be sure to treat yourself to a culinary adventure. Sample the city’s iconic dishes, such as rocoto relleno (stuffed spicy pepper), adobo (marinated meat), or chupe de camarones (shrimp chowder). Wash it all down with a glass of local craft beer or try a “chicha de jora,” a traditional fermented corn beverage. Arequipa’s culinary scene is a true delight for food enthusiasts.

Day 7: Colca Canyon

Morning – Drive to Colca Canyon

Today, embark on an unforgettable journey to the breathtaking Colca Canyon. After breakfast, hop on a comfortable vehicle and enjoy the scenic drive through the picturesque landscapes of the Andes. Marvel at the towering mountains, lush green valleys, and traditional agricultural terraces that dot the landscape.

Afternoon – Visit Cruz del Condor

As you venture deeper into Colca Canyon, make a stop at Cruz del Condor, a popular viewpoint for spotting majestic Andean condors in flight. Witness these magnificent creatures soaring through the canyon’s dramatic cliffs and take in the awe-inspiring views of one of the world’s deepest canyons. The sight of these powerful birds is an experience you won’t soon forget.

Evening – Relax in Thermal Baths

After a day of exploration, treat yourself to a relaxing soak in one of the region’s natural thermal baths. Soak in the warm waters while surrounded by the stunning scenery of Colca Canyon. This is the perfect opportunity to unwind and rejuvenate before continuing your adventures in Peru.

Day 8: Lake Titicaca

Morning – Journey to Puno

Today, you will travel to the enchanting Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest navigable lake. After breakfast, embark on a scenic journey to the city of Puno. Enjoy the beautiful landscapes as you make your way through the picturesque countryside of Peru.

Afternoon – Explore Uros Floating Islands

Upon reaching Puno, head to the shores of Lake Titicaca and embark on a boat tour to the Uros Floating Islands. These unique man-made islands are constructed entirely out of totora reeds and provide a glimpse into the traditional way of life of the Uros people. Explore the islands, learn about their customs and traditions, and even take a ride on a traditional reed boat.

Evening – Traditional Folklore Show

In the evening, immerse yourself in the vibrant folklore of the region. Enjoy a traditional dance and music performance that showcases the rich cultural heritage of the Andean communities. Witness colorful costumes, lively music, and captivating dances that tell stories of ancient traditions and beliefs. This cultural experience will leave you with a deeper appreciation for the diversity of Peruvian culture.

Day 9: Lima

Morning – Flight to Lima

Today, you will return to Lima for the final leg of your journey. Catch a morning flight from Puno to Lima, enjoying the aerial views of the rugged Andean landscapes one last time. Upon arrival in Lima, you can arrange for transportation to your accommodation.

Afternoon – Visit Larco Museum

In the afternoon, visit the Larco Museum, one of Lima’s most renowned cultural institutions. Delve into Peru’s fascinating past as you explore the collection of pre-Columbian artifacts, including intricate ceramics, jewelry, and textiles. The museum offers a comprehensive overview of the diverse ancient cultures that once thrived in Peru.

Evening – Last-minute Shopping

Spend your final evening in Lima indulging in some last-minute shopping. Lima is a shopper’s paradise, offering a wide variety of markets, boutiques, and shopping malls. Browse for unique souvenirs, artisanal crafts, textiles, or stylish clothing. Don’t forget to pick up some delicious Peruvian chocolates or a bottle of pisco, the country’s beloved spirit, to take home as a memento of your incredible journey.

Day 12: Lima Departure

Morning – Return to Lima

Today marks the end of your memorable adventure in Peru. Catch your return flight from Lima back to your home destination. Take this time to reflect on the incredible experiences and memories you’ve made throughout your 12-day journey, from exploring ancient ruins to delighting in mouthwatering cuisine.

Afternoon – Explore Barranco District

Before your departure, make the most of your remaining time in Lima by exploring the bohemian Barranco District. This neighborhood is known for its vibrant art scene, charming streets, and picturesque views of the Pacific Ocean. Take a leisurely walk along the famous Bridge of Sighs, explore the colorful streets adorned with beautiful street art, and soak in the artistic atmosphere that permeates the district.

Evening – Departure from Lima

As the sun sets on your Peruvian adventure, it’s time to bid farewell to Lima and head to the airport for your departure. Remember to carry your cherished memories and the warmth of the Peruvian culture with you as you embark on your journey back home. Keep in mind that Peru has so much more to offer, and you are welcome to return for another unforgettable exploration of this captivating country.

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