Three Weeks in Peru

“Half the fun of the travel is the aesthetic of lostness.” – Ray Bradbury 

THREE WEEKS IN PERU

DAY 1: LIMA

DAY 2:  PISCO

DAY 3: BALLESTAS ISLANDS

Day 4 :NAZCA

DAY 5: AREQUIPA

DAYS 6-7: COLCA CANYON

DAYS 8-10: PUNO/LAKE TITICACA

DAYS 11-12: CUZCO

DAYS 13-16: INCA TRAIL

DAY 17: CUZCO

DAY 18-19: AMAZON JUNGLE

__________________

While I was living in Buenos Aires, I had the opportunity to take three weeks to travel around Peru. I will admit – I went with an organized tour group. Why, you may ask? I was young, scared, and probably too lazy to plan it myself. While there were definite benefits of going with a group – easy transportation being the most prominent, you miss the magic of hostels, finding the right train and getting lost when someone else is planning it for you.

Our itinerary was pretty incredible and we did get to see so much beauty throughout Peru in a very short amount of time. I recommend the following as a guide to planning your own trip to Peru. While there is still so much more to see in that lovely country, this was a great start.

DAY 1: LIMA

Lima is the largest city in Peru and by far the most likely you will fly into. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t like Lima and I love big cities. Granted, the weather was crappy when I was there and I was spoiled by living in Buenos Aires. The most popular recommendation is to walk around Miraflores. Take a walking tour, spend some time at the beaches and then head out.

Lima, Peru

Lima, Peru

DAY 2:  PISCO

Take a local bus from Lima to Pisco (four hours). When we were there, an earthquake had just hit. The damages were everywhere and it was definitely a challenging time for the locals. You’ll definitely want to try a Pisco Sour here and I recommend doing a Pisco tasting!

Pisco tasting in Pisco

Pisco tasting in Pisco

DAY 3:  BALLESTAS ISLANDS

The Ballestas Islands are an ecological hub full of pelicans, flamingos, sea lions, and my favorite, penguins! Head here for a taste of the Galapagos. I definitely recommend taking a boat tour to get up close and personal to all of the wildlife in the area!

Wildlife in the Ballestas Islands

Wildlife in the Ballestas Islands

Day 4: NAZCA

Slide or ride through the sand dunes of Huacachina. Then, opt for a helicopter ride over the Nazca Lines – an extraordinary and mysterious archaeological site that was only discovered once airplanes were invented. It’s still unknown as to who drew them or why they were drawn. I love the alien man. Who do you think created these?

Nazca Lines

Nazca Lines

DAY 5: AREQUIPA

Arequipa is amazing! It’s colonial heritage has filled this city with gorgeous architecture. Known as the “White City” for the rock that the buildings were created out of, spend time just wandering the streets of this lovely town. Check out Deja Vu for a drink on their rooftop bar overlooking the city.

Arequipa, Peru; Photocredit: tourperu.com

Arequipa, Peru; Photocredit: tourperu.com

DAYS 6-7: COLCA CANYON

The Colca Canyon is known to be the deepest canyon in the world. For you bird-lovers out there, the viewpoint pictured here is a fabulous viewing spot for the Andean condor, the largest flying bird in the world. I didn’t get the chance, but this would be an incredible place to do some serious hiking!

Condor flying over Colca Canyon; Photocredit: prestige-promotions.co.uk

Condor flying over Colca Canyon; Photocredit: prestige-promotions.co.uk

DAYS 8-10: PUNO/LAKE TITICACA

Highlights for this region are heading to meet the Uros who are a pre-Incan people who live on a series of floating islands made out of reed. Then, head to Taquile Island to purchase some of their famous handwoven textiles. Both experiences are great sites for gathering gifts for family and friends while supporting local culture!

Floating Islands, Lake Titicaca; Photocredit: wikimedia.org

Floating Islands, Lake Titicaca; Photocredit: wikimedia.org

DAYS 11-12: CUZCO

Cuzco is one of my favorite smaller cities in the entire world, yet I’m seriously lacking some photos. I could have spent weeks in this quaint, yet international city. Travelers from all over the world come here and never leave. Because of this, you’ll find a German-owned jewelry store and an Israeli falafel restaurant. To head to the Inca Trail, you must first spend some time in Cuzco (this is also the only way to get to the Inca Trail).

Downtown Cusco

Downtown Cusco

DAYS 13-16: INCA TRAIL

If you have the chance, hike the Inca Trail – and make sure you use a sustainable tourism operator such as Llama Path if you choose to go with a group. Many operators do not ensure fair and safe working conditions for their employees. Be sure to do some research on your operator before you go. The trek itself was challenging, breathtaking, and critical to experiencing Machu PIcchu.  Whether you choose to do the Inca Trail, or one of the many other less – traveled paths, I definitely recommend it (though be warned, going organized here is pricey).

Hiking Inka Trail to Machu PIcchu, Peru

Machu Picchu, Peru

DAY 17: CUZCO

Celebrate the end of your trek back in Cuzco! There are so many wonderful bars and restaurants – you’ll deserve some good ‘ole fun after all that hard work. For you food-lovers out there, you must go to a restaurant in Cuzco called Fallen Angel. Known for its great food and eclectic decor, you will not want to miss this! For a fun hostel recommendation, I’ve heard Loki is the spot. Don’t miss the indoor markets where you can get some tasty fresh juice!

Drinking some fresh juice!

Drinking some fresh juice!

DAY 18-19: AMAZON JUNGLE

Who knew that you could accomplish so much in three weeks? Desert, mountains, and jungle are only a few of the many different biomes in Peru. To get here, fly to Puerto Maldonado (usually about $90) and take a motorized canoe to a jungle lodge. Spend some time in the Amazon admiring all of the wildlife and reflecting in the serenity that comes with being so deep in nature. Make sure you get to do a night-hike to see some of the animals that only pop out once the sun goes down!

Amazon jungle hut

Amazon jungle hut

There’s so much more to see in Peru. Comment below on where I should go back to visit my second time around!

Do you prefer solo or group travel? Why?

The following two tabs change content below.
I'm Emily - a twenty-something female travel-enthusiast - here to serve and inspire you. Need help planning your next trip? Email me at emily [at] letsroamwild [dot] com and tag your own travel pics to share with the world @letsroamwild.

, , , , ,

14 Responses to Three Weeks in Peru

  1. wanderlustking March 10, 2014 at 11:17 pm #

    My relationship with pisco is a love/fear kind of thing. Piscosour and piscola are so delicious but so covertly alcoholic, some of my best nights, and subsequently worst mornings in South America were pisco-induced. It’s awesome you had the chance to travel to the town that shares it’s namesake with fiery grape drink!

    • Roam Wild March 12, 2014 at 5:16 pm #

      I posted a reply to you, but it got deleted! I totally agree that Pisco can be dangerous – but somehow convince myself otherwise because other protein in the egg white from the Pisco Sour! Where were some of your favorite places to spend time in Peru?

      • wanderlustking March 12, 2014 at 5:37 pm #

        I unfortunately only had 3 weeks in Peru as well! Spent it between Machu Picchu, Cusco, and busing back down into Chile. It was on the back end of our trip through Bolivia and Peru so we were pretty worn out and took the time to relax and really explore Cusco. We also got the opportunity to settle the debate of who has better piscosour, Chile or Peru, and even though Chile is like my second home, I have to give the win to Peru.

  2. travelingtastesgood March 12, 2014 at 1:37 pm #

    This is a great guide! I’m living in Mendoza now but I’ll have some time to travel in Peru on my way home in July. I won’t be traveling with a group (mostly because of money constraints) and I’ll be there for less time. If you had to give your top three, more inexpensive picks for the trip what would you choose? I’m guessing Cuzco is up there but what about Lake Titicaca and Colca Canyon?

    • Roam Wild March 12, 2014 at 5:14 pm #

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this guide! I absolutely LOVED Mendoza :)…Malbec just doesn’t taste the same here. Coming from Mendoza, I’d definitely do those three – Cuzco, Lake Titicaca and Colca Canyon (and possibly Huacachina). The floating islands are definitely touristy, but it’s such a unique experience. And if you can swing it, you can still see Machu Picchu without doing the hike – when you arrive in Cuzco, there are one-day trips up by train. If I were to go back to do anything – I would want to be in Cuzco and see Machu Picchu again! Go as early as possible to beat the crowds. Where have you been able to visit in Argentina?

      • travelingtastesgood March 12, 2014 at 6:13 pm #

        Thanks so much the advice! I think I’ll be heading back to the states in July and instead of flying from Argentina, which is super expensive, I think I’m going to fly from Columbia and use the money I save to travel over land through Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia. Definitely most excited for Peru though!

        I’ve been living in Mendoza for six months and I’ve been working so I’ve spent most of my time here. I was in Buenos Aires for two days and I also visited Bariloche which I absolutely loved. In a month I’ll be doing a roundtrip road trip on Rt.40 from Mendoza to Salta and back. There’s so much more that I want to do though so I’ll have to see what I can fit in! What were your favorites in Argentina?

        • Roam Wild March 12, 2014 at 9:22 pm #

          That sounds like a fantastic plan! Let me know how it goes as I’ll be doing the opposite route next year. What has your work looked like in Mendoza?

          My suggestions are to definitely go spend some more time in Buenos Aires!! You’re totally on the right track with Bariloche and Salta. I loved Iguazu Falls and going south to see the glaciers in El Calafate also. Read my post here on my favorite spots in Buenos Aires and email me if you plan to go and I can give you more recommendations!

          http://letsroamwild.com/2014/02/22/a-perfect-week-in-buenos-aires/

          • travelingtastesgood March 14, 2014 at 5:53 pm #

            I definitely will let you know how the adventure goes! What’s your trip plan for next year? How long will you be traveling?

            I know I need to spend more time in BA! It’s funny because I’m from New York City but sometimes when I travel, big cities overwhelm me so your post is perfect and super helpful–thanks! Once I know when I’m heading back I’ll get in touch too.

            I’ve been teaching English here since I first arrived. I started out at an institute but I’ve switch to mostly private classes. The pay is a lot better and you have more control over your hours. I’ve also been working on a tourism project for the past three months in Valle de Uco, which is a wine region about an hour from the city center. The team is small so I’ve been involved in everything from marketing to operations. You can check it out at http://www.tresarbolitos.com if you’re curious! Also if you’re interested in teaching english classes in Argentina let me know and I can give you the name of this great website where you can post an ad for free. I got lots of my students from using it!

  3. Emily Moyer March 24, 2014 at 8:08 pm #

    Thanks for the nice words!
    Emily Moyer recently posted…Best Restaurants in Buenos AiresMy Profile

  4. Hitch-Hikers Handbook April 14, 2014 at 2:04 pm #

    Lovely photos, Emily!
    We invite you to participate in the next edition of our Travel Photography competition. Every week we publish 3 winning shots on our website and write a nice bio with a link to the photographers’ websites/FB/Flickr pages.
    Find more details here: http://hitchhikershandbook.com/your-contributions/travel-photography/
    Happy travels!
    P.S. Some of the photos are not loading.
    Hitch-Hikers Handbook recently posted…Camera giveaway: win Nikon D800 or Canon 5D Mark III!My Profile

    • Emily Moyer April 17, 2014 at 5:04 pm #

      Thank you so much! I will definitely participate 🙂

  5. Catheriya May 29, 2014 at 10:09 am #

    I’m heading out to Peru next Friday and doing the 4d/3n Inka Trek with Llama Path. I came across your blog on Reddit /r/Travel. I read your blog about the trek and I laughed so hard I cried. I’m sorry…! Looking at some of the photos you took and read through your blog really get me all pump for the trip!

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Emily Moyer June 1, 2014 at 1:08 pm #

      I’m so glad! LLama Path was an amazing experience for me – I was really impressed with them. And, I’m so glad you laughed – if you come back with a story of your own you’d like to share, I’d love to post it!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. NIGHT HIKING IN THE AMAZON - August 30, 2014

    […] and I arrived in Puerto Maldonado towards the end of our three-week adventure in Peru.  We had helicoptered over the Nazca lines, trekked the Inca Trail to Macchu Picchu, and surfed […]

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge

Designed by Let's Roam Wild