The Ultimate 7 Day Peru Itinerary for Adventure-Lovers

7 day peru itinerary

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Are you planning a trip to Peru and need help building the perfect 7 day Peru itinerary? You’ve come to the right place! I spent 7 days in Peru and it was absolutely incredible. I did a ton of research before my trip to plan out the best Peru Itinerary for 7 days, and I’ll give you our exact itinerary in this blog post so you can use it too!

Now, Peru is a big country. You definitely can’t see all of it with just 7 days in Peru. If you’re a first-timer to Peru, I recommend sticking to Southern Peru to see Machu Picchu as well as many other epic nature spots. My itinerary is perfect for adventure-lovers and it is JAM PACKED. If you can add a few days to your trip to incorporate some rest days into your Peru itinerary, that would be ideal! Not gonna lie – this trip was epic but exhausting (but so worth it). Keep reading for my full Peru itinerary for 7 days!

SEE ALSO: Cusco to Machu Picchu in One Day: Everything You Need to Know

7 Day Peru Itinerary: Trip Overview

  • PTO/Vacation Days Needed: 6-7
  • Cost: $$
  • Currency: Sole
  • Language: Spanish
  • Time Zone: Central Time

7 Day Peru Itinerary Overview:

  • Day 1: Ollantaytambo
  • Day 2: Day Trip to Machu Picchu
  • Day 3: Sacred Valley to Cusco
  • Day 4: 7 Lakes of Ausangate Hike
  • Day 5: Rainbow Mountain
  • Day 6: Cusco to Lima
  • Day 7: Huacachina Day Trip

I planned this 7-Day Peru itinerary in this exact order to give time to acclimate to the elevation. The town of Ollantaytambo is lower elevation than Cusco (8K feet vs 11K ft) and is closer to Machu Picchu, so it makes the most sense to start your trip there!

Note: You can also check out videos from my Peru trip saved on my Instagram Highlights!

How to Get to Peru

The biggest airport in Peru is in the capital city of Lima (LIM). There are direct flights to Lima from LAX and several other US airports. For this itinerary, I recommend picking a flight that lands in the morning in Lima, and then taking a connecting 1-hour flight from there to Cusco to start your trip!

Pro Tip: I highly recommend using Taxidatum throughout your Peru trip to pre-book private transfers in advance (for instance, from the Cusco airport to Ollantaytambo, from Ollantaytamnbo to Cusco). Their website makes it super easy to request the exact type of ride you are looking for. They are super responsive – once you submit a request, you’ll receive an email from them in just a few minutes. You can also request to pay in advance if you want to use your credit card instead of cash.

Best Time to Visit Peru

The best time to visit Peru is in their dry season: May – October. I visited in late September and had perfect weather! It’s always a good idea to pack a rain jacket (even in the dry season) as it can rain on a moment’s notice.

Peru Packing List

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7 Day Peru Itinerary

Day 1: Land in Cusco, Head to Ollantaytambo & Settle In

The first day of your 7 days in Peru is a big travel day. Once you land in Lima, you’ll need to then take a connecting 1.5-hour flight to Cusco. I recommend giving yourself at least a 2-hour buffer for the layover, just in case there are long lines for customs.

Once you land in Cusco, take a private transfer or taxi 2 hours to the town of Ollantaytambo. I highly recommend booking a private transfer beforehand via Taxidatum. It makes it super easy! It’s also very affordable – our two-hour ride from Cusco to Ollantaytambo only cost $34 USD.

Once you arrive in Ollantaytambo, the adventure begins!

What to Do on Day 1 in Ollantaytambo

7 day peru itinerary

Ollantaytambo is a small town in the Sacred Valley of Peru. It’s very picturesque, with cobblestone streets, historical buildings, and some awesome Inca ruins right in the heart of town. I highly recommend staying here for the first two nights of your 7 days in Peru instead of Cusco. The town itself is such a good vibe, but also this way you can acclimate to the elevation (Ollantaytambo is 9K feet vs 11k ft in Cusco) AND you are closer to Machu Picchu than you would be if you were in Cusco (1.5 hours vs 3 hours away).

Get Some Food in Town

Once you get checked in, grab some food in town. I highly recommend:

7 day peru itineraray
lunch/breakfast with a view at Sunshine Cafe
  • Sunshine Café: casual café for breakfast or lunch that has a balcony with a view!
  • Uchucuta Cafe: has a great “American Breakfast” where they bring you out a full platter of bread with homemade jam, eggs, avocado, and fresh squeezed juice.
  • Apu Veronica: One of my favorite meals I had the whole trip! I had the Pollo Saltado
Check out the Ollantaytambo Ruins

Afterwards, take a quick walk over to the Ollantaytambo Ruins, which are super impressive Inca ruins that are literally right on the outskirts of town. The ruins are comprised of many agricultural terraces, and the view from the top is amazing!

You have to buy a ticket to enter (boleta turistico). You can either buy the full boleta tursitico ($38, includes a ton of other sites), or the partial turistico ($21, includes the Sacred Valley ruins). We went with the partial ticket. Make sure you save it, as you’ll need it again for Day 3 of your 7 day Peru itinerary to get access to Moray and Pisac.

There are locals standing out front selling their services as a guide to come with you through the ruins. We opted out of this and just walked around it ourselves, however if you are really interested in the history and facts about this special spot, then hire one of the guides!

7 day peru itinerary

The views from up here looking down below at the town and the ruins are incredible. If you’re lucky, you might even see some wild Alpacas grazing.

Best Places to Stay in Ollantaytambo

There are quite a few great options of places to stay in Ollantaytambo! A few I recommend:

Apu Lodge. source:
  • Apu Lodge: located off a quiet side street just a few minutes walk from the heart of town. This spot has great reviews and beautiful views!
  • Kamma Guest House: great reviews, conveniently-located, and awesome view from their rooftop
  • Sky Lodge: if you’re looking for a unique lodging in Peru (and aren’t scared of heights!) – it would be so cool to stay here for a night or two! It’s about 30 minutes from Ollantaytambo, but they have a restaurant on site and the views (and overall experience) looks incredible. You’re literally hanging off the side of a mountain!
Sky Lodge: source:

Day 2: Day Trip to Machu Picchu

The second day of your 7 day Peru itinerary is an exciting one – you’ll get to see Machu Picchu, which is one of the 7 natural wonders of the world! I’m sure, like most people, that Machu Picchu was one of the main catalysts to inspire you to plan a trip to Peru ( I know it was for me!). Let me just tell you, it definitely lives up to the hype. Seeing it in person is just as epic as the pictures!

machu picchu day trip

Booking Tickets for Machu Picchu

This is important!! You need to book your entry ticket to Machu Picchu ahead of time (I recommend at least two months ahead of time). It can sell out. Entry costs about $40-$60 depending on if you book direct through the government site (which can be a little hard to navigate) or if you want the easier experience booking through GetYourGuide (linked above). You select a ticket based not only of the date you are going, but also the one-hour time slot of when you can enter. Once you enter, you can stay as long as you like, but you HAVE to enter within the time frame of your ticket. They are strict about this. For instance, we booked a ticket for 11:00-12:00 entry, got up there at 10:55, and they made us wait 5 minutes before we could enter.

Note: On your 7 day Peru itinerary, I recommend avoiding Sunday as your Machu Picchu day. On Sundays, locals get in for free, so it can be even more crowded.

For more details on how to plan your day trip from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu, check out my other blog post: How to Plan a Day Trip to Machu Picchu.

If you have more than 7 days in Peru and want to do the Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu, you’ll want to go on a guided Inca Trail trip like this one. It looks amazing, if you have the time to do it!

What to Do at Machu Picchu

7 day peru itinerary

You’ll take the train 1.5 hours from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes (the town at the base of Machu Picchu), and then take a short 20-minute bus ride up to the top. Once you’re up there, you’ll see the entrance, as well as a restaurant and a little bar/cafe just outside of the entrance.

Enter Machu Picchu during the time slot you have allotted on your ticket, and get ready for some jaw-dropping views of this iconic landmark! Follow the signs for Circuit 1 & 2, which will lead you to the epic picture spot that you see all over social media. It’s even more breathtaking in person than it is in pictures!

We spent about 1.5 hours there, walking around, exploring and taking pictures. I would plan to spend around that (or more).

Afterwards, get back down to town and catch your train back to Ollantaytambo for the night!

Day 3: Ollantaytambo – Sacred Valley Tour – Cusco

On your third day of your 7-day Peru itinerary, it’s time to say goodbye to the cute town of Ollantaytambo and head to Cusco! The drive straight from Ollantaytambo to Cusco is about 2 hours, but I recommend making some stops in the Sacred Valley on the way.

The Sacred Valley is the area from Pisac (about 20 minutes from Cusco) to Machu Picchu, about 62-miles long, and is filled with Incan history and ruins. Ollantaytambo is part of the Sacred Valley.

You can, once again, book your private driver ahead of time via Taxidatum. Book your ride from Ollantaytambo to Cusco, but in the customize box, include a note that you want to stop at Moray, Maras Salt Mines, and Pisac on the way there. Ours ended up being around $60.

First Stop: Moray

7 days in peru

The first stop on your way from Ollantaytambo to Cusco is Moray. It’s about 1 hour from Ollantaytambo. Moray is a spot with some interesting Inca ruins that almost look like a circular amphitheater set at the top of a hill. Your driver brings you right to the top at the parking lot/entrance where you can walk around and check it out. The most interesting thing about these ruins is that no one knows why they were created or what they were used for. There are a few theories (that it was used for farming/agriculture, an entertainment/amphitheater space, OR an alien landing!)

Second Stop: Maras Salt Mines

This next stop is just a 15-minute drive from Moray. The Maras Salt Mines are super cool. No one has exact info on how/when/why it was created, but apparently there’s a natural salt spring running through the area. The Incas cleverly created these different square pools and diverted the stream so that it runs into each of them. Currently, each square salt pool is owned by a different local family and they work to harvest it and turn it into salt. You can buy some of the salt here too – it’s really good!

peru itinerary 7 days

Third Stop: Pisac (either the Pisac Market or the Pisac Ruins)

Pisac is about a 1 hour and 15 minute drive from the Maras Salt Mines.

When I was doing research for this trip, everyone said to check out Pisac Market. I added it to my Peru itinerary but honestly, I wish I would have seen the Pisac Ruins instead of going to the Pisac Market.

The Pisac Market was cool – but I didn’t think it was anything special. The vendors are selling the same things that you can get at other street vendors in Ollantaytambo and Cusco. I will say though, this was the most peaceful market I’ve ever been to. I fully expected to be overwhelmed with people trying to get us to go to their stalls and buy something, but it was the complete opposite experience! Everyone was super nice and not pushy at all.

My friend and I each bought an Alpaca sweater and a hat. But then when we got to Cusco, we saw plenty of other sweaters (and the exact same hat).

The Pisac Ruins, however, look awesome. I recommend choosing the ruins over the market (or if you have time, you could do both!)

Next Stop: Cusco!

best things to do in cusco

Cusco is a 50 minute drive from Pisac. It’s an amazing city full of old colonial architecture and is known as the main launching point to several different treks, day trips, and hikes. It

Once you arrive, check in and get some food!

Best Place to Stay in Cusco:

There are plenty of great options of places to stay in the historic city of Cusco!

Best Budget Option: Viajero Kokopelli Hostel

We stayed in a private room at Viajero Kokopelli Hostel and loved it! It was super nice and clean, in a GREAT location very close to the main square (Plaza de Armas), and there is a nice bar in the hostel that has a pool table and a lounge.

Best Mid-Range Option: Antigua Casona San Blas. This hotel is in the cute hipster neighborhood of San Blas. It’s an uphill walk to get to this neighborhood, but it’s worth it! It reminds me of streets/areas I’ve walked around in Italy or Greece. Very picturesque. This hotel has great reviews and is in an awesome location.

Best Luxury Option: Casa Cartagena Boutique Hotel & Spa. This hotel is actually a UNESO world heritage site! It’s a beautifully-restored antique home turned into a hotel right in the heart of the city.

Best Restaurants in Cusco

There are a ton of good restaurants in Cusco, but here are a few of our favorites that we tried!

  • Organika: Organic farm-to-table restaurant. They had amazing Osso Bucco, homemade pasta, and sourdough pizza
  • Morena Peruvian Kitchen: This is one of the best Peruvian restaurants in Cusco. It’s a nice slightly-upscale restaurant, and you’ll likely need a reservation. We walked up around 8pm on a Tuesday and had to wait about 30 minutes to get a table.
  • La Bodega 138: If you need a break from Peruvian food and are craving some pizza or pasta, this is a good spot
  • Qura: Great breakfast or lunch spot with smoothies, avocado toast, and other health options!

Go to bed early if you can, tomorrow is a big day!

Day 4: Hike the 7 Lakes of Ausangate (Day Trip from Cusco)

7 days in peru itinerary

The 7 Lakes of Ausangate hike was the highlight of our trip! The hike starts in a small remote village and weaves through the mountains, ending at 7 different alpine lakes. It’s absolutely incredible and I highly recommend including it on your 7 day Peru itinerary.

We did this hike with Salkantay Trekking, and the experience was great. It’s a group tour, but we ended up being the only two on it! This is a lesser-known day trip so it’s a great way to beat the crowds and be immersed in a peaceful mountain setting. We basically had the place to ourselves all day. The tour costs $100 per person, and is SO worth it.

PRO TIP: to help with the elevation, I recommend taking the following supplements leading up to your trip and during your trip (I’m not a doctor, but did a lot of research before my trip and this is what helped me):

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What to Expect on the 7 Lakes of Ausangate Day Trip

peru itinerary 7 days
the scenic village of Pacchanta

Your guide will pick you up in a sprinter-type van around 4:30am and drive you 3 hours to Pacchanta, a tiny remote village at the base of these Andes Mountains. The town is super scenic, with snowcapped mountains in the background and natural hot springs that you can soak in after the hike. You’ll have breakfast in town (included in the price) before starting your hike!

The hike is about 6 miles round trip. It starts out pretty flat, but then has a steady incline. It normally wouldn’t be too hard of a hike, except for the fact that you’re at elevation! The hike starts out at 13.8K feet and goes up to about 15.6K feet.

Our guide, Fredy, was super helpful the whole time. He constantly checked in with us to make sure we were feeling ok with the elevation, and gave us Coca Leaves to chew on. Coca Leaves are a natural Peruvian remedy that helps with altitude sickness. It’s the same plant that cocaine is made from, but without the active properties of cocaine. You roll up some leaves, stick them in the side of your mouth, and chew on them for awhile.

best day trips from cusco

You’ll see wild Alpacas on this hike, along with some cute dogs (that will hike with you sometimes), flowing streams, snowcapped mountains, and 7 awesome and unique alpine lakes. It’s truly amazing. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves here!

After you finish the hike, you eat lunch in town (the best quinoa soup!!) and then have the opportunity to soak in the natural hot spring pools (so make sure you pack a swimsuit!). It costs 10 soles (about $2.50 USD) per person. It was a great way to cap off the day!

Then you’ll make your 3-hour van ride back to Cusco. Yes, it’s a lot of car time, but don’t let that deter you. It’s very much worth it!

Day 5: Rainbow Mountain (Day Trip from Cusco)

rainbow mountain peru

Ok, I will admit – this is an aggressive stretch of the 7 day Peru itinerary with two back-to-back day trips with 4am wake-ups… but if you can handle it, it was worth it! You can’t come all the way to Peru and not see Rainbow Mountain, right??

Which Rainbow Mountain Tour Should I Book?

I’m sure you’ve seen the iconic picture of Rainbow Mountain on Instagram before. It’s definitely a popular day trip (read: crowded) from Cusco. Rainbow Mountain is actually the second-most visited landmark in Peru, after Machu Picchu. If you want to experience Rainbow Mountain the right way by beating the crowds, you need to book a private tour instead of one of the group tours.

We picked this private tour from Airbnb Experiences with Coco. It was incredible and I’m SO glad we did it this way! He picked us up at 4am and we drove straight to Rainbow Mountain (about a 2-ish hour drive) and had blankets and pillows for us in the back seat so we could sleep. Since he is in a personal mini-van type of car, he was able to drive a bit faster than the big group tour busses heading to the same place. We passed about 20 tour busses on the way up. When we got to the parking lot, we were the FIRST ONES THERE! Incredible.

What to Expect on the Rainbow Mountain Hike

There are three bathrooms here – one in the parking lot, and two more along the trail. It costs 3 soles per person to use the bathroom, so make sure you bring some cash.

The hike itself is fairly short but what makes it a bit challenging is the elevation. At the top, it’s 5,036 M (16,522 feet), which is HIGH! For reference, this is about 2,000 feet higher than Mt Whitney, which is the highest peak in the United States. I do not recommend doing this hike if you have not acclimated to the elevation yet. But if you are following my same itinerary, at this point in the trip you should be fine! Especially since you will have done the 7 Lakes of Ausangate hike the day prior.

If you aren’t feeling up for the hike, you have the option to pay to ride a horse up 90% of the way (you still have to hike the last 10%) for about 60 Soles.

Once you’re at the top, the views are incredible and colorful. There are alpacas at the top and you can pay a donation to have them in your picture with you. Keep hiking up the last bit to get an even higher view of Rainbow Mountain (worth it). There are several different viewpoints (and photo-ops) here!

Coco was such an amazing and friendly guide. He had Coca Leaves for us and told us some interesting facts about the area. After the hike, he brings you to a beautiful breakfast/lunch spot out of someone’s house, about halfway back to Cusco. It was such a peaceful setting!

If you do this private day trip, you can expect to get back to Cusco by about 1 or 2 pm, so you’ll have some time to explore around the city.

Get a Massage in Cusco

One of the best ways to unwind after two back-to-back hiking days is to get a massage! You will find a lot of people in Plaza de Armas advertising their massages for about 20 soles. We opted to read some reviews online first and went with “Best Massage Cusco”, which is off a side street near the main square. It was amazing! We both got the “Inka Massage” which was about $45 for one hour. It’s basically a mix of a deep-tissue + shiatsu + hot stone massage, and a foot bath. It was so relaxing and just what we needed!

Explore the San Blas Neighborhood

One of the best things to do in Cusco is to explore the cute little vibey, picturesque, hipster neighborhood of San Blas. If you walk past the square and up the hill, you’ll get there! Walking up the hills of this neighborhood will leave you out of breath, but it’s worth it.

San Blas Viewpoint

First stop should be the San Blas viewpoint for a great view of the city of Cusco down below!

san blas viewpoints cusco
San Blas Rooftop Bar

There are quite a few rooftop bars and restaurants in San Blas with an amazing view looking down into Cusco. We went to ViewHouse and had a beer, and the views were amazing! I’ve heard that this bar brings a young, lively crowd at night, but we were there too early to experience any of that. Another popular option is Limbus Restobar.

Afterwards, get some dinner and drinks in Cusco!

Day 6: Cusco to Lima

We’re nearing the end of your 7 day Peru itinerary! The next and final stop is Lima. We opted for a 1pm flight to have some time to walk around Cusco in the morning and get some breakfast before saying goodbye to this picturesque, historic city. The airport is only a 20-minute drive from the heart of town. The reception at our hostel called a taxi for us, and it cost 12 Soles.

Best Place to Stay in Lima

There are two main neighborhood options that visitors choose from in Lima: Miraflores or Barranco. Miraflores is more city-like, with high rises along the coast. Barranco has more of a hipster, artsy-feel to it. They are only about 10-15 minutes apart from each other, so no matter which one you choose – you could still explore both areas.

We chose to stay in Barranco, and I’m so glad we did! I loved the vibe there.

Best Places to Stay in Barranco, Lima
  • Budget: Viajero Kokopelli Barranco Hostel
    • We stayed at Viajero Kokopelli Barranco hostel, and loved it. It’s set in the most amazing historic building and is walking distance to several awesome restaurants (and bars).
  • Mid-Tier: Villa Barranco looks beautiful, great location, and amazing reviews!

If you’re staying in Barranco, after you check in to your hotel, spend some time walking around and exploring! Check out the famous Bridge of Sighs in the heart of the Barranco neighborhood. Legend has it – if you hold your breath while walking across this wooden bridge – all your wishes will come true. Follow the path under the bridge to the ocean/beach overlook for some coastal scenery!

Dinner in Lima

Lima is known for their food scene. In fact, the #1 ranked best restaurant in the world is in Lima! There are several ranked or Michelin Star restaurants to choose from.

If you want to go to the #1 restaurant in the world (Central), you’ll need to book at least 2-3 months in advance. It’s a prix fixe 12-course meal and is a high price point.

We opted for Isolina for dinner, which was amazing. It’s ranked #12 best restaurant in Latin America! They serve elevated Peruvian comfort in a cool colonial-style building. And to top it all off, it’s located in Barranco just a quick walk from where we were staying.

Some other restaurant options that I researched (but didn’t have time to go to) are:

Day 7: Paracas and Huacachina (day trip from Lima)

Your 7 day Peru itinerary is coming to a close with this epic day trip! Huacacina is an amazing, tiny town with a lake in the middle of desert sand dunes. It feels like a literal oasis! The surrounding sand dunes are incredible, and make for an exciting day of sandboarding, ATV’ing, and soaking in some sunset sand dune views. Here’s the deets:

day trip to huacachina
Which Huacachina Day Trip to Choose From

I don’t recommend going to Huacachina on your own, as that would involve renting a car and driving 4.5 hours. Taking a day trip tour makes it super easy. You can just sit back, relax, and enjoy the day!

There are a few tour companies to choose from. This is the exact tour we went on through Peru Hop and it was great! I highly recommend doing this group tour with them. It costs $139/person for this full-day experience.

They pick you up around 6am with a big coach bus. The seats are comfortable, and they have a USB charging port if you need to charge your phone.

What to Expect at the Stop in Paracas

The tour makes a stop on the way to Huacacina to spend a few hours in the beach town of Paracas, which is a 3-hour drive from Lima. Once you get off the bus in Paracas, the tour then takes you on a boat ride around the Ballestas Islands, which are a group of small islands off the coast. I’ve heard these islands nicknamed as “the poor man’s Galapagos Islands”. They’re known for being home to over 1,500 species of birds, as well as a ton of sea lions. If you’re excited about marine wildlife, then this 2-hour boat tour (which is included in the price of your Huacachina day trip) will be great!

If you would rather skip the boat tour, I recommend heading over to the luxury Hotel Paracas instead! You can pay $55 for a day pass and lay by the pool overlooking the ocean. The day pass also includes a non-alcoholic drink + a snack. This is what we did, and it was amazing! Such a relaxing little 2-hour break for the last day of our 7 day Peru itinerary.

You’ll then meet back up with the rest of your group around 12:30 for lunch in town before boarding the bus and heading an hour to Huacachina.

What to Expect at Huacachina
7 day peru itinerary

Once you arrive at Huacachina, you have about an hour or so of free time. Walk around the lake at the center of town and soak in the views of this unique desert oasis! Or, grab a snack or a beer at one of the many restaurants overlooking the lake.

Next up is the exciting part – the ATV ride + sandboarding on the huge dunes!

Should I Rent a Sandboard?

The “sandboard” included in the price of the tour is actually a sled. It does look super fun to just sled down the dunes, but if you ski or snowboard back home and want to try it out here on the sand, you’ll need to rent a board or skis in town. This is what we did! There are several places to rent from. It only costs about $12 USD for the 2 hours.

Exploring the Dunes of Huacachina

The ATV/dune buggy ride along the sand dunes is absolutely incredible, and thrilling! It feels like a rollercoaster at times, with your driver going up and down STEEP sand dunes. Note that you aren’t able to drive your own ATV, which I learned is a rule across the whole town there (and after riding in the ATV I can see why!).

You’ll make 4 stops on the ATV sand dune tour. The first stop is a lookout point. The second stop is where everyone can sled, ski, or snowboard down 3 different sand dunes (going from small, medium, to large & steep!). The third stop is for sunset, where you can watch the sun drop down below the dunes (so magical!). And the final stop is to see the iconic viewpoint of the town of Huacachina from above on top of the sand dunes.

The experience is absolutely incredible!

Afterwards, you’ve got about a 4.5 hour ride back to Lima. They make it very comfortable, though! They play a movie, (they played Mrs. Doubtfire on ours), turn the lights off, and pass out popcorn. You’ll be back in Lima before you know it!

Departure Day of Your 7 Day Peru Itinerary

The next day, wake up and head to the Lima airport! Note that Lima is known for having bad traffic. It took us about 45 minutes to an hour to get to the airport from the Barranco district. Give yourself enough time to get through the security and international check points!

This Post Has 29 Comments

  1. Syp

    Fantastic. Thank you for this. Will plan our trip based on.

  2. Phyllis

    Your 7 day itinerary in Peru sounds like the kind of trip my husband and I like to take. He does likes to drive, but it sounds like it is best to take day tours to the different sights. We like to hike and the 7 Lakes of Ausangate Hike and Rainbow Mountain looked great! We are thinking of doing the One day Inca Trail tour with Machu Picchu in the afternoon. I will be looking into Taxidatum and see if Salkantay Trekking has day trips to some other spots we might want to explore. Thanks for all your information!
    Phyllis in Pennsylvania

    1. Lauren Wilson

      Amazing! I normally am not the kind of traveler that likes to take organized “day trips” and prefer to just rent a car and go places on my own… BUT in Peru I feel like it makes the most sense to do it this way. Especially when you are on narrow, winding, mountain roads to get to the trailhead! You will absolutely love the 7 Lakes of Ausangate hike. It’s so unique, and also very remote and uncrowded. Such a hidden gem of a hike! I hope you have the best time!

  3. Absurd

    Hi Lauren….this is so useful. I literally just booked an entire trip with my wife & kid following your blog! A question….on the supplements that you took for the altitude management….did you have all 3 of them a few days ahead of the travel (or when did you actually start having them)? Is there any other altitude sickness type pill that you took along?
    Thanks again

    1. Lauren Wilson

      that’s so great to hear! Yes, I started taking them about 3 days before I left. I didn’t take any other type of altitude sickness pill (I know some people get a prescription for Diamox, but I wanted to go the natural/supplement route). I just made sure to drink a lot of water. I brought some electrolyte powder with me as well, and drank that in my water every morning. I hope you have an amazing trip!

  4. Zoe

    Hi, I was wondering how much your trip cost you in total? And what was the cheapest this itinerary could be done for (plane tickets excluded)? Thanks!

    1. Lauren Wilson

      I just checked my Splitwise, and it looks like the total cost ended up being about $1,800/person (not including flights) for the week-long trip. You can definitely do it cheaper, though. We ate at some nice restaurants and took private transfers, etc. The day visiting Machu Picchu is probably one of the most expensive, having to buy the train ticket + the entrance ticket. But of course, you can’t go to Peru and NOT see that! I bet a budget traveler could do the trip for $900-$1,000.

  5. Shazia

    Hi, as per planning all this, did you pre-book all these activities before your flight online or did you pay in person in peru?
    how much to have on me per day $$?
    Did you mostly use cash, can we even use credit or card?
    also how did you navigate around?
    did you have a phone plan w data or buy a phone in peru>?

    1. Lauren Wilson

      Hi! I booked pretty much everything ahead of time. The 7 Lakes of Ausangate and Rainbow Mountain day trips I booked just a few days before, but Machu Picchu is one that you need to book tickets for further in advance (at least a month or two) since it sells out. You will need cash on hand to tip for any day trips you book, and if you want to buy souvenirs. I was able to use credit card at most restaurants. I have T-Mobile which includes free international data, so I just used my normal phone plan, but prioritized using Wi-Fi when possible. I used Google Maps to get around! You can download the map ahead of time so that you can navigate even without cell service. Hope this helps! Have fun!

  6. Marion

    Hi! How and where did you book your train ticket from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes? Also, will be using your itinerary for my upcoming trip!

    1. Lauren Wilson

      I booked the train through Peru Rail. I meant to write another blog post with more details on the full day trip from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu, but then lost track of time and forgot to write it :) I will do so soon! I hope you have an amazing trip, and glad my itinerary was helpful!

  7. Bing

    Hi Lauren, can you please share the link for your post: How to Plan a Day Trip to Machu Picchu?

    1. Lauren Wilson

      Ah, thanks for the reminder. when I wrote this blog post I meant to write the “How to Plan a Day Trip to Machu Picchu” shortly after, but then time escaped me! I will respond here once I write it :)

  8. Bethany C

    I loved this layout. Your’s is one of a kind! I am doing a month trip in November doing Mexico and Argentina. We wanted to add another country, and we were deciding between Brazil or Peru. After seeing this itinerary, I have to choose peru!

    Our trip is as follows:

    One week in Aguascalientes, Mexico
    One week in Peru (Following this itinerary)
    Two weeks in Argentina ( 4 cities: Rosario, Leones, Alberdi, and Buenos aires)

  9. Katrina Goodman

    Hi! Could I ask what time of the year did you go?

    1. Lauren Wilson

      I went in late September! The weather was perfect.

  10. Katie

    I’m looking to plan a trip to Peru following your amazing blog! I was wondering, though, if you wished you had taken one more day to acclimatize to the altitude before going to Machu Picchu? With our potential flight plan, we wouldn’t be getting into Ollantaytambo until close to 7 PM and would leave the next AM for Machu Picchu.
    Just don’t want to get stuck with nasty altitude sickness!
    Thanks for your words of wisdom!

    1. Lauren Wilson

      Love hearing that my blog is helpful in planning your trip! :) Honestly, I think you’ll be fine. Machu Picchu is only 8K elevation. If you were flying in and going straight to Cusco (11K elevation) and doing the high-elevation hikes around there, I would say that you would want an extra day to acclimate. But for Machu Picchu – you should be ok! I do recommend taking the supplements I recommended, starting a few days before you leave, which will help too. And drink lots of water!

  11. Amelia

    Hi ! We are going to Peru next week and I literally want to do all activities you did!!! Looks incredible! My only thing is- we have a 9 year old- do you think it’s too hard for an active 9 year old to do 7 lakes and the rainbow mountain ? Was thinking to do the horse option for the rainbow mountain . Also how cold is it up there , I’m reading bring gloves and hats especially since hikes start early morning… thank you so much!!

    1. Lauren Wilson

      hi! love to hear that! It’s hard to say without knowing how capable your 9-year old is. Does he/she have experience hiking? Rainbow Mountain is a shorter/easier hike than 7 lakes, but what makes it hard is the elevation. The option for the horse on that hike is good to have just in case! For 7 Lakes – there are some tours that take horses on the trail instead of hiking, so maybe you could look into that as an option as well! The 7 Lakes hike was SUCH a highlight for me, so I hope that you guys do it! :)

      I didn’t bring gloves, (I just put my hands in my pockets if I’m cold) but I did bring a beanie and a down jacket. Definitely helps for the early morning hiking when it’s chilly!

  12. Coco

    This itinerary is excellent! Wow so helpful….exactly how I will be planning my trip.

    1. Lauren Wilson

      So glad to hear that! I hope you have an amazing trip! :)

  13. Ashley

    Hi Lauren, thank you for posting such a detailed itinerary, the level of detail in this is SUPER helpful!! I will definitely follow it for my next trip! Was it relatively warm while you were there? It seems like you wore a tank top and leggings for the majority of the trip! For the sand boarding, did you rent the snowboards and boots the day before the tour and brought them with you on the tour? Also, how long did it take for you to check in to your flight and get through customs/security at the Peru airport?

    1. Lauren Wilson

      Hi Ashley – so glad to hear my itinerary was helpful! :) Yes, we had great weather! I was about 60-70 degrees F when I was there in September. I brought a puffer jacket on the high elevation day hikes because it can get chilly, especially with the early morning start. For sandboarding – we did that day trip through Peru Hop. When you get to Huacachina, you have about an hour or so of free time before the ATV tour starts. During this time, you can walk to the nearby sandboard rental place and rent the sandboard + boots (and just bring them back right after). For the airport, the customs line was nothing crazy that I remember. For reference, our flight landed in Lima at 7:30am and our flight from Lima to Cusco was at 9:40am, which gave us enough time. Hope this helps! Enjoy!!

  14. Durba Banerjee

    Hi, November is a good time to visit Peru?
    What time did you visit Peru?

    1. Lauren Wilson

      Yes, November would be a good time! It’s the last part of the dry season. I went in September!

  15. Aizelle

    Hi Lauren can you share me the link of Rainbow Mountain Private tour in Air Bnb Experience? I couldnt find it.

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