Immerse yourself in an ancient culture at the citadel of Machu Picchu and uncover intertwining histories in the colonial city of Lima, where South America’s most flavorful cuisine thrives. On an 8-day Peru itinerary from Zicasso, witness UNESCO World Heritage Sites, exciting city life, off-the-beaten-path gems, and flourishing wildlife in this eccentric destination.

Sample Itineraries

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Peru

8 Day Peru Itinerary at a Glance

When you travel to Peru, you embark on a journey into the storied history and welcoming culture of a treasured nation. A trip to Peru would be incomplete without visiting iconic landmarks, such as the Huaca Pucllana temple in Lima, summiting the Inca Empire's masterpiece of Machu Picchu, and marveling at the Spanish architecture in Arequipa. Around every corner, Peru's vibrant culture permeates daily life, from a mouthwatering culinary scene that features fresh fruit and grilled meat to the boisterous energy of local markets. There's no shortage of things to do and places to explore in Peru.

Regions

Coast: The Coastal region includes the cities of Lima and Paracas and boasts exotic marine life, opulent bars, charming restaurants, and a lively nightlife. The coast also offers adventurous sightseeing opportunities, including paragliding, cruises, and surfing.

Mountains: The mountain region includes places like Cusco, Arequipa, and the Sacred Valley. This region offers unparalleled insight into the most impressive relics of the ancient Inca Empire. Activities include sightseeing of ancient ruins, trekking to El Misti volcano, and ziplining through the Sacred Valley.

Desert: The desert region most famously includes the Ica province at the desert oasis of Huacachina. Activities include dune buggy rides and sandboarding.

Climate

The climate of Peru is diverse. The coast is marked by arid conditions, warm temperatures, and minimal rainfall. Temperatures in Peru's Andean region range from cool to cold throughout the year. November through April is the rainy season in the Andean region. The eastern portion of the country contains the Amazon Rainforest, where the weather is hot, humid, and rainy throughout the year.

Population

The population of Peru is about 33 million people.

Religion

The main religion of Peru is Roman Catholicism.

Language

The official language of Peru is Spanish. The indigenous languages of Aymara and Quechua are spoken and celebrated but mostly in more rural parts of the country.

Currency

Peru's national currency is the Peruvian Sol.

Where to Visit in 8 Days

Lima (1-2 days)

Lima is revered for its sparkling coastline, colonial charm, and metropolitan fervor. You can spend 1-2 days in the city exploring the Plaza de Armas, Miraflores, La Marina Lighthouse, the Barranco District, and Huaca Pucllana.

Ica / Huacachina (1 day)

You can bask in the sun in Peru's desert region of Ica. Here, you can partake in a thrilling dune buggy ride and explore the Huacachina oasis, which was once a resort town for the Spanish elite of Lima.

Paracas (1 day)

There's no better place to experience Peru's marine wildlife than in Paracas. Water and rocky cliff formations teem with rare species of sea lions and exotic birds. During your day-long cruise at sea, you may even spot a humpback whale as it makes its way to warmer water.

Arequipa (1 day)

its intricate Spanish architecture, which is on display at the Plaza de Armas and inside the Santa Catalina monastery. You can also venture to the snow-capped El Misti volcano for an adventurous hike and a panoramic view of the city.

Cusco (2 days)

You can explore the birthplace of the Inca Empire in Cusco. Here, you can step inside the boisterous markets of San Pedro and admire remnants of the grand empire at sites like Qorikancha, Saqsayhuaman, and Tambomachay. Then, dance and live music performances will entertain you as you sip on Peru's iconic pisco sour.

Machu Picchu (1 day)

You will discover the magic of Machu Picchu, which is a masterpiece of Incan innovation. Here, you can uncover some of the grounds most fascinating features, such as Sacred Rock and Temple of Three Windows, before relaxing in the medicinal hot springs of Aguas Calientes.

Best Time to Visit Peru

Mild Temperatures

In total, Peru's temperatures are generally cool to mild, from the Pacific Coast to the Andes Mountains. Annual temperatures in Lima average around 60 degrees Fahrenheit. In the Andes, temperatures can cool to around 45 degrees Fahrenheit at night but pick up to about 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the day.

Avoid Rainy Season

The weather in Lima is generally dry, but in Cusco, November through March are marked by considerable rainfall. Therefore, if you plan to visit Machu Picchu, the ideal time is between May and September when the risk of rainfall is at a minimum. Travelers should be aware that lines will be longer, and tourist areas will be more crowded during this time. 

Essential Experiences in Peru

Thrilling Dune Buggy Ride (Huacachina)

You can take off on an unforgettable dune buggy ride across the undulating terrain of Huacachina. You will get a thrilling tour of this desert oasis before settling down alongside the sparkling lagoon for refreshments and a light snack.

Colonial Architectural Tour and El Misti Volcano (Arequipa)

You can appreciate the Spanish architecture in Arequipa's downtown area and stroll past the bold facades of the Santa Catalina Monastery. Later, you can join your guide on an afternoon expedition to El Misti Volcano for the chance to witness the snow-capped mountain, partake in a short hike around its perimeter, and admire a panoramic view of the city.

Local Market Shopping and Machu Picchu (Cusco)

You can get lost in the whimsy and fervor of Cusco's bustling markets, such as the famous San Pedro market. Here, you can shop for local produce, try on jewelry, and check out other handicrafts. You can also barter with the locals before sitting down at one of the stalls for a freshly squeezed maracuya fruit juice.

Travel Considerations

Weather

Spring and fall seasons are ideal times to visit Peru because the weather is mild across the country.

You should avoid traveling to the Andean region of Peru from November through April because this constitutes the rainy season. Inclement weather may negatively affect ground transportation as well as sightseeing opportunities (dense fog at Machu Picchu).

Transportation

Transportation in Peru is readily available via bus, train, taxi, and private shuttle. Travelers should be aware that mountainous areas of Peru can dramatically increase ground transportation time. For example, traveling between Lima and Cusco takes roughly 2 hours by plane but nearly 24 hours by bus. Cities like Arequipa, Aguas Calientes, Cusco, and Lima are walkable. Travelers can get around by taxi or choose the more adventurous option of boarding a local combi. Traveling by taxi is also common, and visitors should be sure to travel only by well-marked taxis.

Packing

You should avoid large roller bags since the downtown streets of Peru are lined with cobblestones, and rural areas are unpaved.

Weather Considerations:

Peru boasts mild weather throughout the year, but travelers who come to Peru's Andean region during the rainy season (November through April) should pack rain gear, including a jacket/poncho and a small umbrella.

Electrical Considerations:

Peru's electrical system operates on 220 volts at 60 hertz. Outlets are built for two-pronged, flat, or rounded plugs. Travelers should bring a plug converter.

Pharmaceutical Considerations:

Pharmacies are readily available throughout Peru, but travelers are still encouraged to bring all prescribed medications with them. In the case of an emergency, you can speak with your Zicasso trip specialist for medical recommendations.

Cultural Considerations:

Greetings between women or between a man and woman usually include a handshake and kiss on the check. Greetings between men typically only include only a handshake.

The coca leaf is a major bi-product of Peru. While tourists are welcome to consume the leaf in its raw form (either by chewing or drinking as a tea), you should be respectful of the practice because it holds strong traditional and spiritual significance. The plant has garnered much international attention since it is one of many components used in the production of cocaine. That being said, the leaf itself is perfectly safe to consume and has an energy-boosting effect that is similar to a cup of coffee and is said to offset the effects of altitude sickness.

Travel Insurance

You’ve booked your dream vacation, now protect it with travel insurance. A wide range of factors can leave your vacation in limbo. Medical emergencies, inclement weather, and unexpected cancellations can cause turmoil for your trip, so in the unlikely event of a disaster, get the travel insurance coverage that provides peace of mind. To get a quote, visit our travel insurance page.

Flights Via Zicasso

Zicasso Air Desk is an international air ticketing service that eliminates the stress of finding and booking the right flights for your upcoming vacation by employing the same personalized service you can expect from planning a trip with Zicasso. Our competitive flight pricing, 24x7 Service & Support, and Complimentary Consultation of Routing vs. Pricing with an Expert Flight Specialist make finding the perfect flight for your trip effortless.

Travel Documents

Making sure that you carry the appropriate travel documents is essential when visiting Peru. For this reason, you should pack the proper paperwork to ensure the most pleasant and problem-free travel experience. Listed below are some of the most important documents to have on you while traveling in Peru:

  • Personal medical information
  • If you have any medical condition(s), you should carry information regarding your condition from your doctor, especially any medication that you are taking
  • Emergency contact information
  • Passport and Visa (if necessary)
  • Proof of airline tickets and reservations
  • Customs forms and documents
  • Hotel or accommodation reservations
  • Travel and medical insurance (see above section regarding this)

Your Zicasso travel specialist will be able to provide requirements that are specific to your trip, although responsibility always lies with the traveler to ensure that all is in order. Travel requirements can change with little to no notice, so it is wise to stay updated as your trip approaches.

Finances & Tipping

While all major credit cards are accepted at large restaurants and hotels in the city center, rural parts of Peru still primarily only accept cash. Travelers should keep cash on them at all times. ATMs are also readily available throughout Peru.

A gratuity of 10% is expected at restaurants and bars in Peru. Sometimes, the amount is calculated into the bill. If not, patrons can simply leave a cash tip on the table.

Bartering is common and expected at local markets. This is a great way for travelers to get a taste of Peruvian culture. For any questions related to bartering or tipping in Peru, your Zicasso trip specialist will happily provide you with information that is specific to your travels.

Safety and Accessibility of Resources

Generally, tourists should feel safe when traveling in Peru. Travelers can ensure the best possible experience by remaining wary and consulting your travel guide when visiting new areas alone.

When it comes to health, the biggest risk in Peru is altitude sickness, especially when traveling to the Andean region. You can consult with your doctor ahead of time and speak with your Zicasso trip specialist to ensure your best experience in Peru.

Crime Rate

The crime rate in Peru is at a moderate level. Travelers should use caution when exploring the city by night or in less populated areas.

Things to look out for

You should be wary of pickpocketing during your travels. To avoid petty theft, you should carry your valuables in a money belt or inner coat pocket. You should be especially vigilant when on public transportation and gathering in highly populated areas.

Medical & First Aid

First aid, including emergency medical services, are readily available to travelers throughout Peru.

The change in altitude can adversely affect some visitors, especially when traveling to Peru's Andean region (Cusco and Machu Picchu). Most hotels and pharmacies have supplemental oxygen supplies on hand in case of signs of altitude sickness.

It is recommended that all international travelers consult with their primary care physician prior to traveling. This information is not a substitute for guidance from a doctor.

Water & Food Safety

International travelers should avoid consumption of street food, tap water, and fresh market produce that may have been washed in tap water. Instead, travelers should drink bottled or boiled water.

Travel with Zicasso

When planning a luxury vacation, every detail matters, which is why our approach is different. We will match you with leading travel specialists who are the most qualified to make your dream trip happen. They know their country better than anyone, and each travel specialist in Zicasso’s network is among the finest travel agents and tour operators, comprising the top tier of the industry. Experience the wonder of an exceptional itinerary crafted just for you.

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