What to see and do in Peru in 12 days? I know, 12 days to visit Peru is very little, it gives you time to see the most essential, but you will have to choose between the different options. I’ll tell you my itineray, I hope you will find it useful!
Índice de contenidos
In my case, for example, I wanted to go to Arequipa and tour the Colca Valley and the canyon of the same name. I’ll tell you everything below.
12-day itinerary in Peru
2 days in Lima
I arrived in Peru in the rainy season, on February 2. I entered the country through Lima, as flights from Madrid were direct and cheaper. I remember the humidity just coming down from the plane, terrible, it would make a 100 % humidity and I don’t think I exaggerate.
I had hired with the accommodation the transport to the hotel, it was cheaper supposedly. But I arrived and my taxi driver didn’t.
Coming in with euros was complicated, no one changed me, they said dollars yes, but no euros. I called the hotel and they didn’t give me an answer. So I got myself a cab and haggling, taking me for 15 bucks. (Miraflores is quite far from the airport)
The taxi thing was an adventure, the car was ramshackle. The taxi driver stopped halfway in a neighborhood that didn’t cool anything, to top up his phone card. As he did not know where my accommodation was, he called himself to ask what height (of an important street) he was, he was quite friendly and in the end I reached my destination.
After the taxi adventure. When I arrive at the hotel, the receptionist told me that there is no water until 6 am by the “huaicos” (avalanques that are produced by the heavy rains). At least I can leave my stuff, get some rest and meet a friend from Madrid who lives in Lima right now.
Pizza Street for Dinner
We dined on The Street of Pizzas, a super lively street of Lima, with many locals and plenty of life. The price at the change is much cheaper than Madrid, although it is not a cheap area of the city.
This day with the jet lag, I tried to hold on to the next day I get up at a reasonable time.
The next day I got up early, I toured a little Miraflores and Barranco in the morning, I got a place that would change euros for “Soles” and in the afternoon touring the historic center of Lima, I found a telephone shop that sold prepaid cards for 15 days with unlimited internet, the price were 60 soles, about 20 euros, for them the phone is much cheaper, but this was the only card they sold me because I was a non-resident foreigner.
I ate in St. Martin’s Square, where people who work in nearby offices eat. The menu was very good and cheap. And included ceviche!
I saw the changing of the guard. I walked like a madwoman, visited the water fountain and in another post I will tell you more about what to see and do in Lima.
Paracas, Ballestas Islands (Islas Ballestas)
The next night instead of sleeping in Lima, I took a bus at 3 am for Paracas. The bus was great, car bed, with blanket and didn’t cost me more than 15 dollars.
I arrived in the morning in Paracas and hired the excursion to the Ballestas Islands. It was the day or the days of Pisco, the national drink, so there was dancing, you were invited to pisco, it was a lot of fun. There were many domestic and foreign tourists.
After this visit, I went with the same company to Huacachina, in this post I tell you in more detail.
1 night in Nazca
At about 6 pm, after being all day dancing, full of sand for sandboarding in Huacachina, I took another bus and went to Nazca or Nasca, depending on where you are.
I arrived around 9 pm at the bus station. I was waiting for the owner of the hostel Nanasqa (where I stayed). The truth was that the treatment in the hostel was great, and it is appreciated that they will pick you up, at those hours the backpack weighed me four tons…
The next day in the morning I got on a dwarf plane to fly over the famous Nasca lines, in this post I tell you the experience in more detail.
4 days in Cusco, Peru
At about 9 pm I had my bus ticket to go to Cusco, set off more than two hours late and arrived about 11am in Cusco. On the bus it was hell-hot, it didn’t stop, and I was at the window and my roommate fell asleep all the way and I was already numb.
After I’ve done it, I realize it was a shit. I should have gone back to Lima and left by plane to Cusco, it leaves a little more expensive but sure it compensates for the hours on the bus.
Cusco is a city that I really liked, it has many things to see and do. There are many city tours, museums, markets, a rich heritage and very good gastronomy. In this post I tell you more about my visit to Cusco.
Sacred Valley and one night in Ollantaytambo
When going in rainy season the trains to Machu Picchu did not leave from Cusco, but from Ollantaytambo. So what I did was do the Sacred Valley tour and instead of going back to Cusco I stayed in Ollantaytambo.
The Sacred Valley is a visit to be done, you pass in amazing places and if you have a good guide you enjoy it much more.
Ollantaytambo is a village in the middle of the mountains that I loved, very green, the people quite friendly, quite well priced (to be such a touristy place) and cozy.
1 night in Machu Picchu
My idea to visit Machu Picchu was to walk through Hydroelectric. Honestly, It’s a good thing I didn’t. I went to Machu Picchu by train early in the morning, went to Machu Picchu by bus and walked down. I stayed here to sleep, I think I could have saved it and returned (late) to Cusco on the train.
Just visiting the Inca city gets very tired, the height, the humidity, the heat, the physical condition, are things to consider and thus be able to enjoy this wonder of the world.
In this post I have written a guide to visit Machu Picchu with the different alternatives to get there and its price.
1 night in Cusco
I went back to Cusco, stayed one more night and took the opportunity to say goodbye to Costanza, my fellow traveler to Machu Picchu, met on the train and we made friends. Also to visit the neighborhood of San Blas at night that is cool.
Train from Cusco to Puno
The next day in the morning I went to Puno on the luxury train that link Cusco with Puno. The ticket was courtesy of Perurail, it’s a bit expensive if you go on a backpacker budget, but it’s really awesome. You go through incredible landscapes and the treatment on the train is fantastic, with food, show, workshop to prepare pisco sour, totally recommended. I’ll tell you everything in the post link.
2 Nights in Puno, Peru
I arrived in Puno at night, I still remember the sunset from the train on Lake Titicaca, beautiful.
The city of Puno is not very pretty, in fact, but at night it has much more charm. Also, as it was carnival season, at night, when I went out for dinner, there was a very cheerful and colorful parade.
The next day I visited the Uros and Taquile Islands on Lake Titicaca (Peru side). I did it with an excursion I hired right there. Before dinner I was asking prices and schedules and I chose the one that fit me better. It was a nice experience, to live up close the customs of other peoples. Many things are a “tourist”, but well, they live on that and tourism helps them.
As you know this trip continues in Bolivia and then in Argentina. But since I did it alone I already have an excuse to go back with Fer and visit the places that have been left to me. Like the Colca Valley to the south. To the north, I’d love to get to know the jungle.
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Have you been in Peru? How many days? Did you like it? Any recommendations you want to leave in the comments?
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