Knowing more or less our dates, and knowing that we can stay 30 days top, we’ve opted for 21 days in Peru. It’s long but also short, so we did prioritised, and dropped a lot of places we would have love to go (Huarez, Puerto Maldonaldo…), but the show must go on.
We put pins on the map below, looked at the distances between, checked the flight routes with google flight, and seasons. We’ve ended up with the following plan (let’s call it the first-time-in-peru-for-newbie-tourist-100 or i-m-a-cool-sweaty-backpacker-in-south-american-you-know):
1. Puno in 2 days
Floating islands on the Titicaca Lake
2. Colca Canyon in 3 days
Hike, ruins and condors
3. Arequipa in 2 days
Food, cathedral and mummies
4. Macchu Pichu and Sacred Valley in 2 days
Unesco heritage and wonderful landscapes
5. Cusco in 6 days
Rainbow mountain and basecamp
6. Huacachina and Nazca in 3 days
Oasis, sandboarding and Nazca lines
7. Lima in 2 days
Sea and ceviches
General Tips 👏
- Distances are big here and elevation varies, so plan accordingly and allow rest days to acclimate to the altitude.
- Everyone speaks Spanish, but most people speaks English in touristic areas.
- It’s overall cheaper than Europe, more expensive than Bolivia.
- Booking your hotel and flight in advance is a good idea, however not bus and activities since way more expensive. The best is to visit the agency the day before and negotiate a good price, usually a third of online prices.
- Lima is the biggest city in Peru, followed by Arequipa.
- Machu Picchu is the top one visited attraction, followed by Colca Canyon.
We spent 3300£ in 20 days, which means 165£/day, and that was comfortable. Attractions like Machu Picchu are expensive. The banks to withdraw without extra-fees are (full list):
The most common way to move is the bus. There are many companies, but one of the best and the most famous one is Cruz del Sur, which is a bit more expensive than average but safe and high quality.
Flying is also a good option since much faster. Flights with LATAM booked in advance are quite cheap. All the major cities have airports, so a good idea is to first look at the flight routes while planning your trip.
- Netflix: Perfect for rainy days.
- XCurrency: Offline and up-to-date currency rates.
- TravelSpend: Log and budget your expenses day by day.
- Maps.me: Free offline map of the world, including trail paths.
- FourSquare: Perfect to find the best restaurants in a very easy way.
- AirBnB and Booking.com: The best to find cheap accommodations.
- Facebook: There’s some active groups related to traveller in South America where you can ask tips and advices.
Peruvian food is pretty good, specially with the Japanese influence, however don’t expect anything crazy. The price for a good meal in a nice restaurant with drinks is around 100S, so about 20£. Here’s the top dishes/drinks we loved:
- Classic ceviche: Raw trout cooked with lemon, vary per dishes.
- Lomo Saltado: Tenderloin or alpaca meat cooked with some oignons, peppers and usually served with quinoa.
- Pisco Sour: The peruvian cocktail, with egg please. Super tasty and strong, take more than one.
The hygiene has been relatively good during our trip, however keep an eye on the review for food poisoning.
The Coca leaves are also widely used in the country, and we recommend you to get some to help with the altitude. You can also get Muna in a tea which taste much better.
If you come from UK as we do, you can use your own sim card with Three for data roaming at no extra-cost, since it’s a go roam destination. We didn’t investigated the local sim situation.
No need for visas if you come from UK/EU. Passing the border has been very easy, and the entrance is just a stamp on your passport.
We booked all our hotels during this trip via either Booking.com or AirBnB, and didn’t had any issues at all. The advantages of AirBnB is that you usually you have access to a kitchen so you can cook at home and save some cash. Also, most of the time, the hosts are very kind and can help you book tour of put you in contact with people to make you discover specific attraction at a good price.
Hotels however can be nicer, easier to find and got the advantage of 24h reception and room cleaning. Usually we browse on each platform and decide depending of the duration and the deal we get.
Peru is way more touristic than Bolivia. We crossed the path of a lot of Europeans (mainly french and german), but also tons of people from South America (Brazil, Argentina…). It’s a good thing since most of the attraction are hence easier to visit, and come with nice transportation network. However, it was harder to be off the crowds, and we also had to pay more money for similar attractions (600£ for Machu Picchu).
For the season, we were there during december to january 2020, high season but also rain season. We’ve been pretty lucky with the weather with only storms at night, but can be worse. Anyway, you go when you can.
It’s also generally safe as long as you stay in the touristics area, we didn’t had any problem. There’s plenty of police around looking out for you.
Packing List 📦
- Warm clothes (temperature can go below 0°C in the Andes)
- Rain jacket
- Hikking shoes (two pairs) and trouser
- Foldable towel
- Moskito repellent and net
- Re-usable water bottle
- Medication for altitude.
Overall Experience 🤓
We really loved our stay in Peru, and had no problems whatsoever. Doing both the Andes and the sea side in the same trip was perfect to enjoy the diversity of this country. Sadly, we couldn’t go in all the cool places, but that’ll be for another trip.
To be 100% fair, we actually prefered Bolivia since it was a bit more authentic and the landscapes were more spectacular, but that’s our opinion he!
Hope this was helpful, you can leave comments if you need extra informations or if you have any questions or suggestions! You can checkout our summary video below built with 1 second a day.
Read Next ⏭️
Our 2 days stay in Puno.