The purpose of this itinerary is to give you a rough outline or idea of where you should travel in Peru. I don’t want to go into to much detail because that will take away from your adventure. What you do on the road and when you get there is your story. I just want to give you a little direction because when you land in Lima, you land smack-dab in the middle of the country. It can be overwhelming which way you want to go. Let me help you decide and give you some recommendations.
First, I recommend 4-8 weeks in Peru for this itinerary. It is a huge country and there is a lot to do. I did all of this in 6 weeks, my friend Matt did everything up to the Jungle in 4 weeks.
Easy, Peru has desert, mountains, jungles, and beach. You can sandboard, surf, mountaineer, raft, zip line, hike, and visit ancient sites. All for an amazing exchange rate.
Fly to Lima – Settle in and chill or stay the night and get out.
Bus south to Ica – Take a taxi out to the desert oasis Huacachina. From there you can Sand board and party with the shit-faced tour.
Bus to Nazca – Dusty little town that reminds me of Iraq (not as violent I swear). from here you can fly over the Nazca lines or climb the tallest sand dune in the world, Cerro Blanco. I chose the dune (see it in the background?). Bring water.
Bus to Arequipa – Cool town with Misti Volcano as a backdrop. You can climb the volcano and hike the Colca Canyon.
Bus to Puno – Awesome lakeside town, take a day to run around and climb the stairs to the giant Condor. Also, book a trip to the island of Amantani and Tequile. Great way to see Lake Titicaca.
Bus to Cuzco – Stay at ecopackers, this place is a blast – There are tons of activities in Cusco. I won’t even start. Plan your trip to Machu Picchu from here (you can leave your bags in Cusco while you go to Muchu Picchu).
Machu Picchu – You have several options. You can take a train there and buy a ticket at the office. You can take an adventure tour (like I) and Mountain bike, raft, zip line, and hike your way there. You can go hippy and walk the train tracks camping all the way. Last option, you can book months in advance and hike the Inca Trail.
Either way, you have to go!……..No picture of Machu Picchu, you have to see it for yourself
Return to Cusco -Cusco has an airport and from here you can fly to Puerto Maldonado and Lima.
Puerto Maldonado– Get on a boat and head down river to a jungle resort. Ayahuasca, jungle hikes, floating and swimming the river, searching for wildlife, and visiting tribes. It’s all there.
Lima – From here you can re-group and start planning your trip up North.
Bus north to Huaraz – This is the Mountaineering and Climbing capital of Peru. It sits next to the Cordillera Blanca Mountain range. Hit the streets and start deciding what crazy stuff you want to do. There’s tons of mountains to climb and amazing trails to hike. It’s overwhelming. Take a day to shop around (acclimate) and book some trips.
Bus to Huanchaco– This is a little surf town near Trujillo. You can rent a board for $20 USD week (I did). It’s a laid back town with a good party scene on Thursday night (weekends are dead for some reason), and is close to the worlds longest point break wave in Chicama. Get some Ceviche!
Get to Iquitos – This is a jungle town waaaay north up the river. I hear you have to take a boat up there. Sadly I never made this part of the trip (had to get home to run a Tough Mudder), but I hear it is an adventure to get to. Go there and tell me all about it!
Recap: Lima – Ica – Nazca – Arequipa – Puno – Cusco – Machu Picchu – Cusco – Puerto Maldonado – Cusco – Lima – Huaraz – Huanchaco – Iquitos
Once again I recommend 4-8 weeks in Peru. You need at least 1 week in Huaraz, Cusco, and the jungle. If you are going for less than that, then prioritize Cusco, you can’t miss Machu Picchu. Learning some Spanish will help you get along the way. Now go to Peru, drink a Cristal, and enjoy.