2-Week Peru Itinerary

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In 2019, we embarked on an unforgettable journey to Peru, marking a memorable Christmas spent amidst the breathtaking beauty of the Pacaya Samiria reserve in the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest. Immersed in nature and disconnected from the modern world, it was a holiday like no other. After Christmas, we travelled around Peru for two weeks. Peru has everything you can ask for: mountains, deserts, forests, seas, and a unique built heritage. In this post, we are going to share our two-week Peru itinerary.

A visit to the capital city Lima

As we mentioned already, our trip to Peru started in the Amazon Rainforest. It was a unique experience that allowed us to explore pristine natural environments and meet amazing cultures. There are several ways to get to the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest and live some unforgettable experiences. If you want to know more about it, read our blog post “Peruvian Amazon Rainforest Tour

After Christmas, we flew from Iquitos to Lima. We stayed at Miraflores Apartment in the homonymous district. They have spacious and comfortable rooms located in a very quiet area, close to all amenities and shops. In total, we spent 3 days in Lima and enjoyed every bit of it!

Located on the desert coast of Peru, Lima features a cosmopolitan atmosphere, historic plazas and churches, stunning Pacific views, and much more. Lima is also one of the food capitals of the world, and the must-eats include ceviche, lomo saltado, and causa rellena. The best time to visit Lima is during its summer season, between December and April when temperatures are roughly 21°C to 30°C. That’s the best time to visit the parks and beaches and enjoy some amazing Pacific sunsets.

two weeks peru itinerary
Parque del Amor Lima

Things to do in Lima

Let’s now explore the best things to do in Lima

1. Free Walking Tour

As usual, we stick with free walking tours when visiting cities. The Lima Free Walking Tour is a full immersion, 2 hours tour of the historic centre of the city. You will get the chance to visit San Martin square and enjoy the beautiful architecture of Lima and its most iconic monuments including the Governmental Palace and Cathedral of Lima. Highly recommended.

2. Miraflores & Barranco Tour

Miraflores and Barranco are notoriously Lima’s most famous neighbourhoods which deserve a visit. There is the possibility to do so differently and more funnily with this Miraflores & Barranco E-Scooter Tour. What better way to visit the charming Parque del Amor in the heart of Miraflores or the street art of Barranco?

3. Santo Domingo Convent + Bodega y Quadra Museum

Some of Peru’s best-preserved archeological sites and historic buildings are located in Lima. It would be a pity to leave the city without having fully discovered the history of Lima from the pre-Hispanic times to the 16th – 19th centuries. With this unique tour, you will discover some of the most important sights of Lima including the archaeological site of Huaca Pucllana, the Bodega y Quadra Museum, and the Santo Domingo Convent.

4. Lima Food Tour

Lima is one of the food capitals of the world. Moreover, as there is a general growing interest in contemporary and fusion cuisine, food tours are becoming ever-popular. With this Lima Food Tour, you will gain in-depth knowledge about Peruvian gastronomy. And of course, try out some iconic delicacies such as “papa a la huancaina” as well as taste iconic drinks such as “chicha morada” and “pisco sour”.

5. Magic Water Fountain

Not many know that at Parque de la Reserva lies the highest fountain complex in the world. The Magic Water Fountain and Dinner Show are one of the most popular nightlife attractions in Lima. First, you’ll enjoy the magic fountain show which consists of thirteen ornamental fountains lasering lights and images onto the water set to Peruvian music. Afterward, you’ll get treated to a delicious buffet dinner while watching a traditional Peruvian dance show.

Where to stay in Lima

1. Miraflores

Notoriously known as a must-visit district, Miraflores is also one of the most popular places to stay with modern international shops, and many cafes, bars, and restaurants. We stayed at Miraflores Apartment and we really liked it as it was located in a safe area close to all amenities.

Check out the best places to stay in Miraflores

2. Barranco

Barranco is the city’s bohemian quarter and it features quirky street art and beautiful ocean views. It is the place to go if you’re looking for craft beer, delicious food, art galleries, and artisanal boutiques. At night, Barranco changes look and the plazas fill up with buskers, dancers, and circus performers.

Check out the best places to stay in Barranco

3. San Isidro

The upscale district of Lima, San Isidro is the city’s financial hub and home to more exclusive shops and restaurants. Don’t miss out on a stroll through the heart of San Isidro – El Olivar, a forest of olive trees.

Check out the best places to stay in San Isidro

A visit to the White City Arequipa

After Lima, we got a bus to Arequipa. The journey was quite exhausting. It took us approximately 16 hours to get from Lima to Arequipa but we travelled overnight so it saved us the day.

Bus travel is a popular way to get around Peru because is affordable and routes cover most destinations. Cruz del Sur is a major bus operator which operates a large variety of routes and it was our choice on some occasions.

TIP! Choosing to bus travel overnight will save you hotel costs and time for daylight activities 😉

Arequipa is Peru’s second-largest city and an important cultural capital. Featuring distinctive colonial architecture, Arequipa should be included in your two-week Peru itinerary. To start, we joined a free walking tour of Arequipa which gave us an overview of the “White City”, including the San Francisco church, the Order of Friars Minor​ Temple, and the San Lazaro neighbourhood.

Then, we visited the Santa Catalina Monastery. For many years the monastic life and the treasures of the place were hidden from the Arequipa population until the monastery opened its doors to the public in the 20th century. The monastery is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Historical Centre of the City of Arequipa”. Not to be missed!

two weeks peru itinerary Arequipa
Santa Catalina Monastery Arequipa

In Arequipa, we stayed at Casona de Sillar and we liked the place as it is conveniently located in the city centre close to all amenities. The staff was very welcoming and booked a transfer to the bus station for us.

Two-Week Peru Itinerary: Exploring the Colca Canyon

While in Arequipa, we went trekking the Colca Canyon on a 2-day tour. Located in the colorful Colca Valley which hosts pre-Inca-rooted inhabitants, and towns founded in Spanish colonial times, the Colca Canyon is one of the deepest canyons in the world. The Colca Valley is one of the most popular attractions of Peru and should be included in your two-week Peru itinerary!

Colca Canyon Trekking

The trekking tours typically follow the same route which consists of:

  • Hotel pick up
  • Chivay
  • Cruz del Condor
  • Descending the canyon
  • Overnight
  • Ascent
  • Relax at a hot spring

The first stop was at Cruz del Condor. This is a viewpoint where is possible to admire the condors, resident birds of the Andes, flying over the Canyon. The views are great and if you’re lucky enough you might get to see the condors closely.

Spending the night nestled within the canyon’s embrace was a highlight, offering a rare chance to bask in the serenity of nature and gaze upon a sky ablaze with stars. However, the ascent on the opposite side posed a formidable challenge, with steep inclines testing our resolve. While some opted to enlist the assistance of mules for the ascent, we pressed on, mindful to travel light, keep snacks handy, and take regular breaks to ensure a safe and enjoyable trek.

The Colca Canyon Trek was one of the greatest experiences of the trip. Although we did enjoy the trekking, we must say it was challenging as it involved long walks on uneven pavements and hard and steep trails. If you’re looking for something easier, check out the Colca Canyon 2-day trip or the Colca Valley Tour.

two weeks Peru itinerary Colca Canyon
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The Inca Empire Capital City: Cusco

After the canyon and Arequipa, we moved to Cusco. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Cusco was once the capital of the Inca Empire. It is one of the most visited cities in Peru and the departure point to all the major attractions of Peru including the Rainbow Mountains and Machu Picchu.

We did not do the Rainbow Mountains trek but opted for something else. Firstly, we joined a Free Walking Tour of Cusco. It was great to discover the history of this important Inca city and appreciate its beauty. Moreover, we got to visit the San Pedro market and tasted a bit of the local cuisine.

Afterwards, we joined the Laguna Humantay Hike. The Humantay Lagoon features a turquoise lake and imposing glaciers that form part of the mountain range. It takes approximately 2 hours of hike to reach the lagoon. But once there, at 4200 meters high, the efforts are repaid with some of the most amazing breathtaking views of Peru. What better way to finish up the year?

Humantay Lagoon Cusco tour
Humantay Lagoon

New Year’s Eve in Cusco

For New Year’s Eve, we joined the celebrations at Plaza des Armas in Cusco. That time of the year is pretty popular among tourists and also locals. Yellow is the dominant colour for the occasion as it is believed to bring good luck in the new year. Vast crowds wearing yellow clothing and accessories filled the Plaza, dancing and screaming “Feliz Año” (happy new year). The atmosphere was great and even the rain did not stop the celebrations.

We stayed at Auka Boutique in the San Blas quarter and we loved it. We enjoyed exquisite breakfasts with a view, comfortable big beds, and super welcoming staff. They also offer breakfast bags, should you need to go on an early excursion.

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cusco two weeks peru itinerary
Cathedral of Cusco

Two-Week Peru Itinerary: Touring the Sacred Valley

Not far from Cusco city, lies the Sacred Valley of the Incas. In Inca times, the Inca dominated the valley between Pisac and Ollantaytambo creating agricultural canals and terraces, still in use today. On New Year’s day, we hired a taxi and visited Pisac and Sacsayhuaman.


Investing in the general tourist ticket, commonly referred to as the “Boleto Turistico” proves to be a worthwhile decision for those planning to explore Cusco and the Sacred Valley.


Famous for its pre-Colombian agricultural terracing, Pisac is one the jewels of the Sacred Valley. Overlooking the town of Pisac is the large Inca complex of what is believed to be an ancient citadel and religious site. The local communities used to raise their crops on terraces as well as on the flood plain which can still be visited today. We allowed ourselves a couple of hours to visit this beautifully preserved site. Later on, we visited the town plaza market which is a great place to buy typical Andean crafts such as knitted alpaca wool clothing and ceramics. The entrance ticket to the ruins of Pisac is included in the Boleto Turistico.


On the way back we stopped at Sacsayhuaman, a citadel located just outside Cusco, overlooking the city. The Inca built the complex in the 15th century and served as a fortress to Cusco. Surrounding the citadel are enormous defensive dry stone walls. The citadel’s large square was also used for ceremonies and several other large structures at the site may also have been used for rituals. Sacsayhuaman entrance ticket is included in the Boleto Turistico.

sacsayhuaman tour from cusco

We have planned and visited most of the Sacred Valley on our own. However, it is possible to join countless guided tours of the Sacred Valley and the Inca Ruins which also include Pisac and Sacsayhuaman.


After Cusco, we moved to Ollantaytambo, another town that forms part of the Sacred Valley. The architecture within the archaeological park of Ollantaytambo is nothing short of monumental. Here, finely crafted stonework stands alongside remarkable agricultural technology, showcasing terraces, fountains, and irrigation canals that continue to serve their purpose to this day. While the ruins are open from 7 am to 5:30 pm, they tend to draw significant crowds during daylight hours. To savor a more tranquil experience, consider arriving early in the morning. It’s worth noting that access to the ruins is exclusively granted through the Boleto Turistico.

Find out more about the Boleto Turistico

Find out the best places to stay in Ollantaytambo

We recommend Killari Hostal

ollantaytambo tour from cusco

Moray & The Maras Salt Mines

Many take Ollantaytambo as the beginning route to Machu Picchu. The true adventurers start the ancient Inca Trail on foot from Ollantaytambo, passing by lakes, agricultural communities, and incredible glacial landscapes. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to do the Inca trail. However, we couldn’t head to Machu Picchu, the last stop of our two- week Peru itinerary, without a visit to Moray and the Maras Salt Mines.

The archaeological site of Moray features Inca ruins with terraced circular depressions, sparking theories about its purpose, from farming to ceremonial use. The Maras Salt Mines, comprising over 6,000 salt ponds, are believed to have been carved by the Wari civilization and have operated for 500 years. Managed by Marasal S.A., local miners use ancient techniques, offering visitors an authentic experience. Look for the “Marasalt” label for genuine Peruvian salt.

Maras salt mines inca valley
Maras Salt Mines
moray inca valley

Machu Picchu

Our two weeks Peru itinerary could not conclude without a visit to Machu Picchu. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu is one of the most visited archeological sites worldwide. Daily entry is restricted and tickets sell out fast. Moreover, the trains to get to Machu Picchu are limited. Therefore, you should plan your visit to Machu Picchu well in advance.

Planning a visit to Machu Picchu

When planning your visit to Machu Picchu, the first thing to do is to get a train ticket. The most common route is Ollantaytambo-Aguas Calientes, the gateway to Machu Picchu. Train rides take approximately 1.5 hours and pass across scenic Andean landscapes. Unfortunately, train tickets are expensive and tend to sell out fast. If you wish, you could book your train ticket to Machu Picchu here.

Then, you must buy your entrance ticket in advance to reserve your slot. The tickets can be found on their official website. Finally, you would need to reserve your place to stay at Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu village). It is a good idea to look at both train and Machu Picchu tickets at the same time when planning your visit.

Once in Aguas Calientes, you will need to get the bus to reach the archaeological site. Buses run regularly up and down the site every 10 minutes approximately. The journey to the site is 20 – 30 minutes. They are usually very busy so expect to find queues at times (bear in mind you are in a very popular destination after all). Tickets are sold at the ticket office located at Calle Mayta Cápac s/ n (just a few steps from the bus station). Alternatively, you could book your bus tickets to Machu Picchu here. The embarkation station is located at Avenida Hermanos Ayar s/n, in front of the Artisan market.

Important things to note

Planning a visit to Machu Picchu requires time and effort. To ensure that everything runs smoothly, you must stick to the selected times. It is therefore essential that you show up in advance to the train station, bus station, and at the site. The management of Machu Picchu is strict with timing and may not allow you entry at a time that is different than the slot assigned.

If you plan on visiting Machu Picchu on your own, we would advise that you spend at least one night in Aguas Calientes. From Ollantaytambo, we took a late afternoon train to Aguas Calientes, overnighted there, and then visited Machu Picchu the following morning. That allowed us to save a day that we spent visiting Ollantaytambo and it worked perfectly. In addition, we could leave our large bags at the hotel in Aguas Calientes, as only small carry-on bags are allowed inside the site.

If you want more freedom, you could join a Day Trip to Machu Picchu from Cusco or Ollantaytambo. They include trains from/to Ollantaytambo, bus transfer, entry to Machu Picchu, and tour guides. Day tours to Machu Picchu from Agua Calientes are also available.

Visiting Machu Picchu

Finally, the moment we had eagerly anticipated arrived: stepping foot inside Machu Picchu. Despite our early entry to avoid the crowds, a few visitors had already arrived, but it didn’t detract from the excitement of the experience. Remember to have your passport stamped at the entrance—a small but meaningful memento of your visit.

Upon entry, we joined other visitors in hiring a tour guide—an optional but highly recommended way to gain insight into the site’s history and significance. While previously required, guided tours are no longer mandatory, though they remain a valuable addition to the experience, especially for those on organized day trips.

Machu Picchu stands as a testament to the ingenuity of the Inca Empire, nestled in a breathtaking natural setting. Abandoned by locals and undiscovered by Spanish invaders, its remarkably preserved state offers a glimpse into ancient Inca life and engineering prowess.

Key sites not to miss include the Sun Gate and the Temple of the Sun. The Sun Gate served as a control point for city access, while the Temple of the Sun likely functioned as an astronomical observatory, highlighting the Inca’s advanced understanding of celestial movements.

For the adventurous, a climb to Huayna Picchu—a mountain overlooking Machu Picchu—offers a unique perspective, with temples and terraces adorning its summit. Access to Huayna Picchu requires advance booking, but the panoramic views and archaeological wonders make it well worth the effort.

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Time for conclusions…

Visiting Peru was certainly worth and it has been an unforgettable experience. We loved touring the spectacular Andean landscapes, visiting the mythical Inca ruins, and getting close to a vibrant cultural tradition. Spending the Christmas period in the Amazon Rainforest is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We will never forget the wildness and beauty of that part of the rainforest. Certainly, we would have added other stops to our trip, such as Puno and Titicaca Lake. However, we are aware we would have rushed too much and we are happy and grateful for what we did. To recap, the following was our two-week Peru itinerary

  • Iquitos – Pacaya Samiria
  • Lima
  • Arequipa
  • Cusco – Colca Canyon; Humantay Lagoon; Pisac; Sacsayhuaman;
  • Ollantaytambo – Moray; Maras Salt Mines
  • Machu Picchu
  • Lima

Did you like our itinerary? Want to share yours? Feel free to comment below

Don’t forget to read also our article on the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest

You can find all our blog posts in ‘our trips’


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