Peru Itinerary: Cusco, Lima and Other Cities

Peru is on a lot of people’s bucket list of countries to visit and for good reasons too! I can only try my best to provide a great representation of what this impressive country is like but you’ll only fully enjoy that experience when you visit. This country is great for all types of travelers: The foodie, The adrenaline junkie, The history buff, The cultural enthusiast, The nature and animal lover; seriously, this country has a lot to offer. So where do you begin? I’ve written a full proof Peru Itinerary to help you plan on your upcoming trip to this Andean country. It took me a month to put this all together, but I know my audience deserves the best. In this itinerary, you shall find top places to eat, activities to do and sights to see in over 6 locations. Enjoy!

Peru Itinerary: Cusco

The city of Cusco and its surrounding area is like a mini country in of itself.  There is so much to do in the Cusco area that I recommend 2.5 weeks (In the Cusco region alone) to fully enjoy it all. You’ll see why in a bit. Before visiting Cusco there is something very important to know. Cusco’s elevation! I personally call Cusco the city in the mountains. Cusco is 11,152ft (3,399m) above the ground. Flying from New Orleans (56ft) was a huge change in elevation and I had to find ways to cope with the changes. 

 EAT

Day 1:

Mr. Soup

Peru Itinerary: Pumpkin soup

Peru Itinerary- Pumpkin soup

Address: Calle Garcilaso 210, Cusco 08000, Perú

Hours: Monday – Sunday: 12 pm – 10 pm

Price: $

Due to the high elevation, locals recommend avoiding any form of meat. Beef, Chicken, Fish etc come to mind. Adopt a vegetarian diet and eat lots of soup. Mr. Soup offers the best comfort food and delicious soups. The meals served here are great for Cusco’s altitude.

Chakruna Native Burgers

Address: 699 Plazoleta San BlasCusco, Peru

Hours: Monday- Sunday: 12:30 pm – 3 pm , 5:30 pm – 10:00 pm. Closed on Saturdays

Price: $

Try some of the best Peruvian vegetarian food Cusco has to offer. They provide quality service and healthy food. Customers love their veggie burgers and fries.

Day 2 – 3

Pachappa Restaurant **Not Zabiha but Vegetarian options available**

Peru Itinerary: Traditional Peruvian Food

Peru Itinerary: Traditional Peruvian food heavy with large meat ration

Address: Carmen Bajo 120, Cusco 08000, Perú

Hours: Monday – Sunday 11 am – 11 pm

Price: $$

Once your body has acclimatized to the altitude, you can now start enjoying some of Peru’s finest cuisine in the heart of Cusco. Peruvian dishes are mostly heavy on meat, you can see it by the huge size of meat served above. Pachappa is considered one of the best restaurants in Cusco mostly for its authentic Peruvian dishes. Here you can find Cuy, Alpaca meat, well-seasoned beef, and some seafood options. In addition, Pachappa also serves vegetarian meals. After all, its Quechua name “Pachappa” means “Earth Potato“. Look out for their scrumptious Papa en dúo de ocopa y huancaína, which is Potato mixed with creamy sauce, cheesy huancaína, and other local spices. All their vegetarian dishes have a green leaf icon by its side.

Map Cafe

Address: Plazoleta Nazarenas 231 | Museo de Arte PrecolombinoCuzco, Perú

Hours: Monday – Sunday: 12 pm – 9 pm

Price: $$$

Owned by the famous Peruvian Chef Coque Ossio, Map Cafe is a perfect place for a romantic night out or a great time with friends. Customers usually choose a three-course meal recommended by the Chef. One of Map Cafe’s well-loved Peruvian dish is the Capchi Setas. A creamy Andean mushroom soup.

Cicciolina

Address: Triunfo 393, Cusco 08000, Perú

Hours: Monday – Sunday: 8 am – 11 am, 12 pm – 3 pm, 6 pm – 10 pm

Price: $$$$

A bit on the pricier side, Cicciolina is a Peruvian-Italian fusion restaurant. You can enjoy a delicious pizza with a mix of Peruvian delicacies. The most loved dish at Cicciolina is their special Ceviche meal.

La Valeriana

Address: Portal Espinar 115, Cusco 08000, Perú

Hours: Monday – Sunday: 7 am – 10 pm

Price: $$

La Valeriana is the most recommended cafe by locals. It’s chic, warm and the staff offers you a blanket while you munch on their many delicious sweets.  This cafe also has toilet paper in their bathroom. This is a gem in Cusco.

Quinta Eulalia **Not Zabiha**

Address: Choqechaka 384, Cusco 08000, Perú

Hours: Tuesday – Sunday: 12:30 pm – 4 pm

Price: $

A traditional restaurant located in the heart of Cusco. Quinta Eulalia offers authentic Peruvian meals that are going extinct. Stop by the restaurant to find out more about these Peruvian meals. Of course, you’ll find the typical Cuy, Alpaca meat, Lomo saltado, and much more common dishes to Cusco. 

Cafe y Chocolate

Address: Calle Espaderos 120 Cusco | Cusco, PeruCuzco, Perú

Hours: 

Price: $$

Cafe y Chocolate is a great breakfast and dinner place. Customers recommend their tea and lemon pie. Another added benefit of this cute cafe is its free wi-fi and great balcony view.

Morena Peruvian Kitchen

Address: 348-B Calle Plateros Cusco PeruCuzco 08000, Perú

Hours: Monday – Sunday: 12 pm – 10 pm

Price: $$

Day 5 – 7: The Sacred Valley

Blue Magic

Address: Av. Patacalle 115Ollantaytambo 08676, Perú

Hours: Monday – Sunday: 7 am – 10 pm

Price: $

A great restaurant to try menu del dia (a three-course meal) with traditional Peruvian dishes.

The Tree House Restaurant

Address: Av Imperio de los Incas, Aguas Calientes, Perú

Price: $$

A must-try restaurant in the Sacred Valley. The Tree House Restaurant is located in Aguas Calientes.  As its name suggests, this restaurant has a rustic tree house ambiance. Some of the meals customers recommend are the Alpaca tenderloins and their Quinoa-crusted trout

El Albergue Restaurant . **Vegetarian options available**

Address: Estación de Tren, Av Ferrocarril 1, Ollantaytambo, Perú

Price: $$

This is a great place to have breakfast. They have great vegetarian options. At El Albergue restaurant you enjoy healthy food with farm fresh ingredients. Their scrambled eggs are to die for. It’s definitely a restaurant to visit.

 

Inka’s House Restaurant: Buffet style **Vegetarian options available**

Address:

Price: $$

Inka’s house was an incredible restaurant in Urubamba that I got to enjoy lunch. The best part of Inka’s house is its buffet lunch whereby a plethora of scrumptious Peruvian dishes are served.

DO 

Day 1

Peru Itinerary: Chilling

Peru Itinerary- Chilling in the mountain

Do nothing! I’m serious. The Altitude is so high here that every hilly step you take feels like you’ve run a 10k marathon. I suggest you take it easy and relax for a day or two.

Day 2 – 5

Day trip to Saqsayhuaman

Peru Itinerary: Saqsayhuaman

Peru Itinerary- Saqsayhuaman

 

Saqsayhuaman is one of the historical sites awarded by Unesco. Here you’ll learn about the Incas brilliant engineering and their cultural lifestyle. You also get to see some Alpacas.

Peru Itinerary: Alpacas

Peru Itinerary: snobby Alpacas

*Warning* Some of the Alpacas there are bougie, there’s a high chance that they’ll ignore your existence. 

Walk around Cusco

Peru Itinerary: Plaza de armas Cusco

Peru Itinerary- Plaza de armas Cusco

Cusco’s center isn’t huge. It can take you a day or two to discover most of what the city has to offer. As you walk through this gorgeous city, you enjoy it’s hilly cobbled stoned streets and observe how the Incan and colonial Spanish cultures are fused together. This can be seen in the food, the architecture and sometimes the way of life.

Shop at San Pedro Market

Peru Itinerary: Peruvian Souvenirs

Peru Itinerary: Peruvian Souvenirs

To get unique Peruvian artisanal products,  Cusco and its surrounding area are your best bet. There are tons of places to shop from in the city, however, the market with the best prices and quality products is San Pedro Market. You can bargain with the locals but note that the marketers are already offering their lowest price.  If you don’t shop for any products, which I doubt will happen, make sure you try the Fruit bar. In the middle row of the market, you’ll find fresh fruit juice stalls. They sell fruit smoothies, with exotic fruits common to South America like chirimoya, and soursop. Sipping on the cold creamy smoothie made me pause and ravish on that moment. It was the creamiest and most refreshing smoothie I’d ever tried.

 

Day trip to the Rainbow Mountain

Peru Itinerary: Rainbow Mountain

Peru Itinerary- Pixabay, Rainbow Mountain, Peru

Sometimes called the seven colored mountain, Instagram has definitely made this spot popular to the masses. It takes an hour or a 1.5-hour drive from Cusco to get to the hiking base. You later have to hike 3 hilly hours to reach the famous Rainbow Mountain. Depending on the weather, you might actually see the mountain as colorful as it is in the image above. With the perfect weather and temperature, a hike to the rainbow mountain is worth it.

Enjoy the views

Peru Itinerary: Cusco views

Peru Itinerary- Cusco views

Flying into Cusco is a view in of itself, however, there are great restaurants and cafes where you can relax and admire the city. Spots like: Limbo Resto bar, Mirador de San Blas, Inkazuela, Mirador de San Cristobal, Plaza de Armas are a good start.

Day trip to the Sacred Valley

Peru Itinerary: Moray

Peru Itinerary- Moray

If you are a history buff/nature lover/ you definitely don’t want to miss the Sacred Valley. This region is filled with evidence of the ingenuity of the Inca civilization. Here you can find the Saqsayhuaman ruins, The Salt mines, Textile Museum and many more. Hire a private taxi from Cusco to give you a tour around.

Day trip to Machu Picchu 

Peru Itinerary: Train Station

Peru Itinerary-Train Station

If you aren’t into hiking but you still want to see one of the seven wonders of the world, a great option will be a day trip from Cusco.  You can go by bus and train using PeruRail in the Wanchaq Station, Poroy Station or Estacion de comis a Ollantaytambo.  All the trains stop at Aguas Caliente. From Aguas Calientes, you can either walk uphill for an hour to Machu Picchu or take a bus uphill that departs every 15 minutes from 5 am to 5 pm.

Festivals

Peru is big on festivals and Cusco has its own unique festivals celebrated every year. One of which is the popular Inti Raymi. See their calendar to plan accordingly.

Museums

Peru Itinerary: Inki Museum

Peru Itinerary: Inka Museum

Check out the museums in Cusco. My favorite was the Museo Inka (Inka Museum)

Day 5- 7

Peru Itinerary: Salt Mines

Peru Itinerary- Salt Mines

The Sacred Valley can be overwhelming to cover in one day. Some travelers stay in the Sacred Valley overnight and take their time to explore. Some key areas to visit are:

  • Pisac– The best markets outside of Cusco for local souvenirs,  and crafts
  • Urubamba– Great restaurant/food options.
  • Ollantaytambo– Historic Incan ruins, Aguas Caliente.
  • Chinchero– Stunning colonial church. It is also a city with many terraces for breathtaking views.
  • Salineras de Maras– magnificent salt mines.

 

Day 7 – 11/17

Hike to the famous Machu Picchu

Peru Itinerary: Machu Picchu

Peru Itinerary: THE Machu Picchu

One can’t visit Cusco without having Machu Picchu in mind. There are many methods in which you can pay homage to this sacred site. Either a one day trip as mentioned above, a 3-day trek, a 4-day trek, or a 10-day trek. There are options for every type of traveler. For more information about hiking Machu Picchu check out this post.

Fun fact: Choquequirao is another site similar to the famous Machu Picchu. In the upcoming 5 years, Choquequirao will be the next hot spot. Scientists and archeologists haven’t fully discovered this place because much of it is still covered in the amazon forest. The little that has been discovered shows that Choquequirao is bigger and offers more historical information about Inca civilization than Machu Picchu.

Peru Itinerary: Lima

EAT

Day 1 – 3

Chez Wong

Address: Enrique León García 114, Cercado de Lima 15034, Perú

Hours: Tuesday – Saturday: 1 pm – 3:30 pm

Price: $$$$

Owned by Lima’s legendary Chef Javier Wong. Chez Wong is known to offer the best Ceviche dish in the world. Yeah, you heard that right! Located in the residential neighborhood of Santa Catalina, Chez Wong blends right in with all the other houses. Chez Wong offers the freshest seafood meals in the country with Ceviche being the customers’ favorite, of course. With the title Chez Wong has made for itself, it’s no surprise that the meals there are pricier. However, that doesn’t stop customers from coming. Guests are always in for Chef Wong’s treat. The restaurant is only open for 3 hours during the day and entry is by reservation only.  

 

Siete Sopas

Address: Av. Arequipa 2394, Lince 15046, Perú

Hours:

Price: $$

Siete Sopas (7 seven soups) as the name suggests, serves some of the tastiest soups in Lima. The Chef uses fresh ingredients local to Peru. Such as Yellow beans, Shambar wheat etc. A special soup is served every day and the lines from hungry customers never cease to end.  The most recommended soup is the chicken soup or Sopa de gallina **Not Zabiha**. Siete Sopas is a perfect place to stop by on a cold day. 

 

Punto Azul

Address: Calle San Martin 595, Miraflores 15074, Perú

Hours:

Price: $$

This restaurant is a great place for seafood lovers. However, you can find delicious soups, causa, and pasta to enjoy from Punto Azul’s menu. Make sure to try their version of Ceviche. It’s their stellar dish.

 

Sofa Cafe – Barranco and San Isidro

Address: Barranco location -Av. San Martin 480 – Barranco, Perú ; San Isidro locationAvenida Guardia Civil, 551 San Isidro, Perú

Hours:

Price: $$

This cute and cozy cafe is perfect to chill or just read a book. The food served here is mostly international cuisines. Look out for their waffles and crepes, they are the customers’ favorites.

La Mar

Address: Av Mariscal La Mar 770, Miraflores 15074, Perú

Hours:

Price: $$

La Mar is one of the top seafood restaurant for an economic price in Lima. It is owned by well-known Peruvian Chef, Gaston Acurio. The food and service at this restaurant here exceeds all expectations. Their Chupe (Soup) and Ceviche are a must have. Make sure to also try some of the scrumptious desserts offered. One is a sweet potato concoction!

Grimanesa anticucheria ** Not Zabiha**

Address: Calle Ignacio Merino 466, Miraflores 15074, Perú

Hours:

Price: $$

Great restaurant for Anticucho

La lucha Sangucheria  ** Not Zabiha**

Address: Av. Sta. Cruz 814, Miraflores 15073, Perú

Hours:

Price: $

This is one of the best food joints I’d ever visited! The service was organized, the place was clean and the sandwiches were tasty!

for more on Lima’s Food scene, click here.

DO

Explore the ancient site of Huaca Pucllana

Peru Itinerary: Huaca Pucllana

Peru Itinerary-Wikimedia- Huaca Pucllana

This site was built between 300 – 700 AD, Huaca Pucllana is a massive pyramid made of adobe bricks. It is a site, turned museum, located in Miraflores, Lima, Peru.

Let your taste buds dance with Lima’s finest cuisines

Peru Itinerary: Lomo Saltado

Peru Itinerary- Lomo Saltado

Peru offers world-class cuisines, many of which lies in the heart of Lima. The capital city has a special twist of African, Japanese, and Chinese fusion with the indigenous Peruvian food. If you are a foodie, you’ve found your city!

Walk around Lima’s hip neighborhood, Miraflores

Peru Itinerary- Miraflores

Peru Itinerary- Flickr-Jose C. Fotografia-Miraflores-Lima, Peru

Do a day trip to Ballestas Island or Huacachina

Take a road trip from Lima to visit the Island of Penguins and an Oasis. See below for more information.

Watch the light show in Parque de la Reserva

Peru Itinerary: Light Show

Peru Itinerary-Light Show

Every night the Parque de La Reserva in Lima showcases an interactive light show. The light show highlights the diverse culture of Peru. Locals come together to enjoy this spectacular show.

Visit the Lima Museum of Arts: and other Museums

The Museo de Arte de Lima is the most famous Museum in the country. It showcases expositions and artifacts spanning over 3000 years of history.  You can also enjoy contemporary arts at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Lima.

But don’t miss Lima’s Pre-Colombian Museums

Learn about Lima’s culture before colonization. The Museo Nacional de Arqueologia and Antropología Historia del Perú are great starting points

Cat watching in the Kennedy Park

Peru Itinerary: Kennedy Park

Peru Itinerary- Cats in Kennedy Park

Kennedy Park in Lima’s Miraflores is full of pampered cats. It’s a cat lover’s heaven. Cats of every breed walk majestically around the park (knowing they own it). It’s fun watching the cats play, sleep, eat, or just being cats. At night locals volunteer to feed the cats. Felines at Kennedy park are friendly however some of them can be a bit pompous, ignoring your existence just like the Alpacas.

Marvel at Lima’s finest religious building: San Francisco monastery

Peru Itinerary: San Francisco Monastery

Peru Itinerary- Wikimedia-Capomo81-San Francisco Monastery-Lima, Peru

Chill at Lima’s Plaza Mayor

Peru Itinerary: Plaza Mayor

Peru Itinerary-Wikipedia-Marie Therese Herber-Plaza Mayor-Lima, Peru

What’s a city without a “downtown” or city center? Check out Lima’s Plaza Mayor. It’s a historical plaza with colonial architecture. This plaza mayor plays a significant role in Peru’s history. So much so that it was awarded by UNESCO world heritage in 1988. Lima’s Plaza Mayor is a spot history buffs wouldn’t want to miss!

 

Peru Itinerary: Other places

Puno

Peru Itinerary: Puno

Peru Itinerary-Wikipedia-Aviachar-Puno, Peru

A 6.5-hour drive away from Cusco would take you to one of Peru’s impressive natural sights. Puno is located by the Lake Titicaca. What’s fascinating about this city is its floating Islands. There are approximately 41 floating Islands surrounding Lake Titicaca. Each floating Island has houses and boats made of Tortora reeds weaved or matted to form a structure. You can find boats floating across the lake. Most of the locals by the lake are fishermen and the women usually weave the Tortora reeds. The locals sometimes perform a show for tourist in which the women sing and chant in either Spanish or their native indigenous language. 

Arequipa

Peru Itinerary: Arequipa

Peru Itinerary-Pixabay-Logga Wiggler-Arequipa,Peru

Located 5 hours away (by car) from Puno is an immediate change of scenery. Arequipa is Peru’s second commercialized and industrialized city. Upon arriving Arequipa, you’ll stare in awe at the great Misti mountain (11,440 ft ) overshadowing the entire city. There are tons of activities in Arequipa to keep you busy. Visit Colca Canyon, one of the world deepest canyons. Check out historical sites that shape what Peru is today. Or simply sightsee and take your breath away by the city’s marvelous architecture. 

Ballestas Island

Peru Itinerary: Islas Ballestas

Peru Itinerary: Wikipedia-Lisa Weichel-Islas Ballestas

When I tell you that Peru is like a continent within a country, you’ll see why you need some time to take it all in. It has almost every landscape, weather, unique produce, and a wide range of animals recognizable around the world.  So when you find Penguins in Peru, you shouldn’t be surprised. Ballestas Island comprises of 3 Island, 3.5 hours away from Lima.

Huacachina

Peru Itinerary: Huacachina

Peru Itinerary- Huacachina- Diego Delso- Huacachina, Peru

Huacachina is one of my favorite places in Peru that I never got to visit.  The Youtube and Instagram videos were good enough to reel me in but unfortunately, I was short on time. What is Huacachina? It is a desert city surrounding a little lake. Basically an Oasis. They have activities that will make your time in this Oasis memorable. Activities such as Dune buggy rides, Sandboarding, Lake paddling and much more. Huacachina is a 4-hour ride from Lima. 

Nazca Lines

Peru Itinerary: Nazca Lines

Peru Itinerary- Nazca Lines-Diego Delso- Nazca Desert, Peru

When I first saw the images from the Nazca Lines, I thought, “There’s no way the Peruvian indigenes weren’t giants”. It turns out that they actually weren’t giants but an incredibly smart and industrious civilization. The Nazca lines are a collection of giant geoglyphs. There are many theories from scientists on how these lines came to be, some even suggesting that they might have come from Aliens. You can view the Nazca Lines by a plane ride

The Amazon Jungle

Peru Itinerary: Amazon Jungle

Peru Itinerary- Pexels- Alan Kotok-Amazon Jungle-Peru

THE Amazon jungle is spread across many countries in South America including Peru. There are many tours you can book to see the exotic animals and wildlife in the jungle. Here’s an intro guide on the Amazon Jungle to get you started.

Peru Itinerary: Transportation

Getting around Peru, in my opinion, is the most expensive cost. From arriving at the airport in Lima to getting around the country. Peru is huge. The good news is that you are spoilt for choice when it comes to transportation.  Here are some of my personal recommendations:

  • Buses
    • From Lima airport: Take Airport Express Lima, a shuttle bus that drops you by your hotel in the Miraflores neighborhood. $8 (one way); $15 (round trip)You can reserve a spot once you are at the airport. 
    • Click here on info for public buses in Peru.
  • Taxi
    Peru Itinerary: Peru Taxi

    Peru Itinerary-Wikipedia- Again Eric- Peru Taxi- Lima, Peru

    • Taxi is a common form of transportation in Peru. However, you must be very careful. Kidnappings from fake taxis aren’t unheard of. Make sure that the taxi vehicle is marked Taxi and has the Peruvian flag color on the door side. If you are still wary ask for the driver’s taxi license documentation. For more tips on Taxi safety, click here. Also, many Taxi drivers would try to cheat you for the fare. Make sure you’ve both agreed on what you are going to pay before entering the vehicle. 
    • Uber is even more popular in Peru. In fact, many taxi drivers are uber drivers. Take safety precautions before getting in your Uber ride. 
    • Private Taxi is the best way to get a personalized tour of the city. Fare starts at no more than $40 per day. 
  • Train
    • One of the best means of transportation in Peru. The service is truly world class. The major railway companies here are Inca rail, Peru rail, and Ferrocarril Central Andino. My favorite experience was riding the Vistadome through Peru rail where the roof of the cabin is open, allowing you to admire Peru’s natural wonders
  • Other forms 

 

Peru Itinerary: Where to stay

Peruvian hospitality is the best I’ve ever experienced. The staff is professional and you feel genuine care from all employees. They make sure all your needs are taken care of no matter how unique or peculiar they may be.

Accommodation is pretty affordable for travelers in Peru. I enjoyed a 3-star hotel at Casa Andina Standard Miraflores which cost $30 per night. And let me tell you something, Casa Andina’s 3-star hotel was equivalent to a 5-star hotel treatment in the U.S. or many European countries. They had a real continental breakfast!  If you prefer a more affordable option you can opt for Airbnb, Boutique hotels, or a hostel. Regardless of your choice, you are guaranteed to be treated well by the host. 

My Personal Recommended places to stay in Peru

Peru Itinerary: Best Time to Visit

During the dry season (May – October)

 

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Peru Itinerary

 

2019-02-26T13:21:21-05:00February 26th, 2019|Peru|2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Odette March 9, 2019 at 9:38 am - Reply

    Those rainbow mountains simply look from out of this world. Would love to visit Peru one day soon, will save this itinerary for sure!

  2. Maps and Merlot March 9, 2019 at 9:46 am - Reply

    I’ve been dying to see Peru! Your pictures make it look like such an awesome trip!

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