What to see and do in Peru in 12 days? I know, 12 days to visit Peru is very little, but it gives you enough time to see the most essential parts of Peru, but you will have to choose between the different options. I’ll tell you about my itinerary, and 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 hitting me just coming down from the plane, terrible, it was 100 % humidity and I don’t think I am exaggerating.
I had hired, with the accommodation, the transport to the hotel because it was supposedly cheaper, but when I arrived my taxi driver wasn’t there.
Coming in with euros was complicated, no one wanted to exchange with them, 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 haggled; I got a ride for 15 bucks. (Miraflores is quite far from the airport)
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The taxi thing was an adventure; the car was ramshackle. The taxi driver stopped halfway in a neighborhood that didn’t cool me at all and to top it off, his phone card didn’t work. He did not know where my accommodation was and 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 arrived at the hotel, the receptionist told me that there was no water until 6 am due to the “huaicos” (avalanches that are produced by the heavy rains). At least, I could 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 cost of living is much cheaper than Madrid, although it is not a cheap area of the city.
Since I was jet lagged, I tried to hold on to the next day to get up at a reasonable time.
The next day, I got up early, toured a little of Miraflores and Barranco in the morning, got a place that would change euros for “Soles” and, in the afternoon, toured the historic center of Lima where I found a telephone shop that sold prepaid phone cards for 15 days with unlimited internet. The price was 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 it included ceviche!
I saw the changing of the guard. I walked like a madwoman and visited the water fountain. 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 a.m. for Paracas. The bus, car, and bed were great and didn’t cost me more than 15 dollars.
I arrived in the morning in Paracas and paid for the excursion to the Ballestas Islands. It was the day or the days of Pisco, the national drink, so there was dancing, and we 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 will tell you about it in more detail.
1 night in Nazca
At about 6 p.m., after dancing all day and full of sand from sandboarding in Huacachina, I took another bus and went to Nazca or Nasca, depending on where you are.
I arrived at 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 I appreciated that they picked me up, especially when it felt that my backpack weighed 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 p.m., I had my bus ticket to go to Cusco, which set off more than two hours late and arrived at about 11 a.m. in Cusco. On the bus, it was hell-hot, it didn’t stop, I was near a window, my roommate was asleep the entire time, and I was already numb.
After the fact, I realized it was a shitty decision. I should have gone back to Lima and left by plane to Cusco, it is a little more expensive but it definitely compensates for the hours stuck on the bus. After the fact, I realized it was a shitty decision. I should have gone back to Lima and left by plane to Cusco, it is a little more expensive but it definitely compensates for the hours stuck on the bus.
Cusco is a city that I really liked, and it has many things to see and do. There are many city tours, museums, markets, rich heritage and it has very good gastronomy. In this post, I will tell you more about my visit to Cusco.
Sacred Valley and One Night in Ollantaytambo
When going in the rainy season, the trains to Machu Picchu do 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 worthwhile visit, you pass through some amazing places and, if you have a good guide, you will enjoy it much more.
Ollantaytambo is a village in the middle of the mountains that I loved. It was very green, the people were quite friendly, everything was quite well priced (to be such a touristy place), and it felt cozy.
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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 travel to Machu Picchu by train early in the morning, then, got on a bus, and finally, walked down to Machu Picchu. I stayed here to sleep, but I think I could have saved some money and returned (late) to Cusco on the train.
Just visiting the Inca city gets very tiring, the altitude, the humidity, the heat, and your physical condition are things to consider if you want 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 whom I met on the train and we became friends. I also had enough time to visit the neighborhood of San Blas at night, which was cool.
Train from Cusco to Puno
The next day in the morning I went to Puno on the luxury train that links 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, and a 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, especially during the day, 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 about prices and schedules and I chose the one that fit me better. It was a nice experience, to live up close to the customs of other peoples. Many things are a “touristy”, but well, they live on that and tourism helps them.
As you know, this trip continues in Bolivia and into Argentina but since I did it alone, I already had an excuse to go back with Fer and visit the places that I didn’t’’ get to do like the Colca Valley to the south and I’d love to get to know the jungle to the north.
Travel to Peru
- How to get to Machu Picchu
- Cuzco Must Visit Places
- Recommendations to travel to Peru
- Huacachina, sandboard in the desert.
- Best Travel Insurance for your trips
- How to Prevent Altitude Sickness
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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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