When looking into itineraries for my trip to Peru, I was really struggling to find an itinerary that suited our needs as we only had 2 weeks to see as much of Peru as possible. With long bus journeys between locations, it almost seemed impossible. Thankfully I took the risk and squeezed a 3 week itinerary into 2 weeks, and it all worked out perfectly! Granted it would of been nice to have a few extra days, but I don’t feel we were too rushed in any part of our trip. Below is how we managed to fit it all into 2 weeks!
Day 1- Lima
We arrived in Lima late the night before, so used our first day to explore and to recover from the long flights. Our first stop of course was to see Paddington Bear! The general area around where Paddington is situated is a great place to sit and people watch. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from, and you can watch the para-gliders swoop from above. We spent most of our day in this area, and then at night went to Parque de la Reserva to see the night show which consists of images and colours being projected onto the water features. It should be noted however that we were warned by our taxi that the area surrounding the park is not overly safe, so best to get to and from the park via taxi.
Day 2- Lima/Paracas
We spent the morning in Lima, before getting the bus to Paracas. We booked all of our buses through Cruz Del Sur which we found to be quite comfortable and reasonably priced. If you can I would recommend the upgrade to the first class seating, which gives you the opportunity to watch films and have a bit more leg room. The bus to Paracas took about 4 hours in total. Once in Paracas we enjoyed dinner in a pizza restaurant, and had an earlyish night.
We started the day with an early rise, to ensure we had a chance to see the “mini Galapagos islands”. The early start was definitely worth it! On this trip you will see a variety of wildlife, for us this included seals, penguins, all types of birds and dolphins! We then had a short break before getting the bus to Huacachina. This bus trip was only an hour, and got us to Huacachina in time to be able to enjoy some time in the buggy down the sand dunes as well as some sand-boarding. Before our trip we had time to check out our hostel and enjoy some food.
We booked online for our sand dune experience as we were worried we would get in late, however I would suggest waiting till you are there to book, as we paid 4x the amount of everyone else or contact the hostels directly. Since we hadn’t snowboarded at this point, we took the safer option of lying on the board to make our way down the sand-dunes. This was still great fun however, and the views over Huacachina from the sand-dunes can’t be beaten!
We then spent the evening having a couple of drinks, before heading to bed after a very busy day!
Day 4- Huacachina/Nazca/Arequipa
We had another 2 hour bus journey to Nazca in the morning, where we hired a private taxi to take us to the viewing platforms for the Nazca lines. If you are braver than us, you would have time to take a flight over the Nazca lines. We found our taxi driver at the bus station and negotiated how much we were willing to pay. We had a chance to stop at a few viewing points, before making our way back into the town to have a bite to eat before our next bus to Arequipa. This bus took 9 hours in total in the end, so make sure you are prepared with snacks and drinks! Needless to say once in Arequipa we went straight to bed.
There was plenty to explore and see in Arequipa, and plenty hikes if you have a bit more time on your schedule you can visit places like the Colca Canyon. We took this opportunity however to relax, have a few drinks and to just explore the history of Arequipa. We were also treated to a bit of a display that night when they had a practise earthquake, with pretend fires, evacuations and helicopters circling the square.
We spent the morning again in Arequipa, exploring a bit more before getting a 6 hour bus to Puno. We enjoyed our dinner in Puno, before heading to bed to get ready for Lake Titicaca.
Day 7-Puno/Lake Titicaca
We were up early again to start our two day journey on Lake Titicaca. We booked through ‘All Ways Travel’ as they are a socially responsible company. We booked the two days (1 night) trip and felt we got very good value for money. The first day we stopped at the uros islands and got to try on the cultural dress as shown above. After this we made our way to the Amantani island where we were introduced to our host family and our new accommodation. We had lunch with our host family and another two people who were on the trip with us. I recommend brushing up on your Spanish for this part of the trip! We then had the opportunity to climb to the tallest part of the island, or to sit in the square and have a cup of coca tea. We took the chance to climb to the top of the island, however we did spend long at the top due to the ever changing weather. The night was finished off by dinner again at our hosts house, and a party later on with dancing and traditional dress.
Day 8 -Lake Titicaca/Puno
We said goodbye to our ‘Papa’ on the last day, and headed back to the boat. We then headed to Taquile Island where we had another hike to the main square where we stopped for lunch before hiking back to the boat and back to the mainland. We spent the evening back in Puno, where although it doesn’t have much to offer, I definitely had some of my best meals here!
We had another long bus journey of 8 hours, this time to Cusco. On arriving in Cusco we went out for a Mexican, and a few drinks before retiring in our accommodation.
We arranged a taxi to take us to Ollantaytambo on day 10, as we had managed to get a lot cheaper train tickets to Machu Pichu from here. We left Cusco about 11am and arrived about 1pm in Ollantaytambo. We had a nice taxi driver who even stopped to show us some of the views! Ollantaytambo is a lovely place to stay and I would highly recommend it for your gateway to Machu Pichu. There are some ruins you can pay to climb, however we took the option of taking the free route next to our accommodation. This did result in us taking a bit of a detour and climbing parts we maybe shouldn’t have been on, but it was all part of the adventure!
Day 11-Ollantaytambo/Machu Pichu
This was the big day-the day we finally visited Machu Pichu. We were lucky to have a hotel that provided us with a take away breakfast for our train journey. Machu Pichu is definitely worth the trip, although costly it is simply breathtaking and worth every penny. There are plenty points where you can get good pictures, but beware that there are no toilets once you enter, so make sure you go before entering. The bus journey is a bit of a scary one-but close your eyes and it will all be worth it in the end! We spent the day at Machu Pichu, before heading back to Ollantaytambo for the night.
We headed straight to the airport from Ollantaytambo and caught a flight back to Lima that afternoon. We then spent the evening in Lima.
We spent our last day in Lima, as we had given ourselves this extra day in case we had any issues getting back to Lima in time for our flight home. We used our last day to go paragliding, which was amazing, if not a bit scary! If you are lucky enough like us to get good conditions for the paragliding, I would definitely recommend it!
Day 14 -Home
This was our last day-so it was straight to the airport for our flights home sadly!