19 BEST Peru Hikes and Treks That Will Leave You Breathless!

19 BEST Peru Hikes and Treks That Will Leave You Breathless!

Home of the impressive Andes Mountain Range, mysterious Amazon Rainforest, and complex archeological sites, Peru’s geological diversity makes it one of the best places for hiking in the world.

With so much to explore, it can be overwhelming for anyone planning any type of hiking or trekking in Peru. Rainbow Mountain, Machu Picchu, Colca Canyon – the list goes on and on. 

Our hiking guide features 19 of the best Peru hikes and treks, as well as all the information you need to do them. Finally, we finish off with safety information and a packing list to help you prepare for your hiking trips in Peru.


Best Day Hikes In Peru

1. Gocta Waterfalls (Catarata de Gocta): One of The Tallest Waterfalls In The World

Duration: ~4 hours out-and-back

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Highest Elevation: ~2000 m

Nestled in the lush jungle of the Amazonas region of Peru is the almighty Gocta Waterfall (Catarata de Gocta), the third to the sixteenth tallest waterfall in the world. (Depending on how it is measured)

Many travelers aren’t aware of such beauty because this attraction is located in Chachapoyas, a small city in the seldom-visited Northern part of Peru. Along with Kuelap, also known as the Machu Picchu of the North, they make up the top things to do in Chachapoyas.

Visiting this amazing waterfall is no difficult feat, as there are many travel agencies offering day tours from Chachapoyas. If you are traveling in Peru on a budget and would like to DIY, you can take public transportation from the city as well.

There are a total of three hikes for Gocta Waterfall, that is because you can either reach the lower falls, middle falls, or upper falls. The most popular option is the hike to the lower falls of the Gocta waterfalls. The 4-hour out-and-back trail that starts at the small village of Cocachimba, and reaching as far out as the bottom of the 771-meter waterfall.

The hike is not too treacherous, but due to the location of the waterfall in the Amonzas, the weather can be unpredictable and rain is always around the corner. Always bring waterproof gear and don’t even consider going in for a swim. It is dangerous due to flash floods (first-hand experience)!

The mist created from the 771-meter giant will be enough to give you a proper shower!


2. Laguna Wilcacocha (Wilcacocha Lake), The Beautiful Hike For Altitude Acclimation

Duration: ~3 hours out-and-back

Difficulty: Easy

Highest Elevation: 3680 m

As the home of the Andes mountain range, Peru has some incredible hikes and treks. However, many of them are situated high above sea level, and proper altitude acclimation is required.

The Laguna Wilcacocha is the perfect day hike in Peru to acclimatize to the potentially-dangerous altitude, especially for anyone that wants to do any hiking or trekking in Huaraz, the hiking capital of Peru.

To hike to Wilcachocha Lake, you would want to base yourself in Huaraz. Many travel agencies offer a tour to the lake, but honestly that is just a waste of money. Public transportation can easily take to the start of the trailhead for less than a few USD.

Though the trail is rather easy, do understand that it is an altitude of 3680 meters, an elevation that could easily cause altitude sickness. Though we consider this hike suitable for acclimatization, it still has the potential to cause you altitude sickness.

Being a relatively easy hike, the views are spectacular. the serene lake offers the perfect foreground for the stunning snow-capped mountains in the distance. Make sure you pick a day with no clods or you might not see anything!

Photo Credit: WikiCommons


3. Laguna Humantay (Humantay Lake), The Perfect Day Hike From Cusco

Duration: 3 hours out-and-back

Difficulty: Moderate

Highest Elevation: 4200 m

The stunning glacier Humantay Lake, or Laguna Humantay in Spanish, is one of the most popular hiking day trips from Cusco. Nestled in the snow-capped mountains of the Andes region, Humantay Lake and its surrounding landscapes belong on the cover of National Geographic magazine. 

The minerals from the rocks deposit into the lake water, giving it a surreal blue color that either looks like laundry detergent or photoshopped.

The hike to Humantay Lake starts at around 3800 meters above sea level. After a gradual incline for 1.5 hours, you arrive at 4200 meters, where the beautiful lake is situated. 

Daily day tours can be found in the numerous travel agencies in Cusco. Most of them are around 80 Peruvian Soles ($25 USD) and will include transportation, lunch, and a guide to lead the way (You really don’t need one). 

There are advantages of taking one of the arranged tours from Cusco but a huge disadvantage is the crowd that will be there. If there is one thing we learned from visiting Machu Picchu, it is how much a relentless crowd can ruin natural beauty.

Alternatively, you can hire a taxi from Cusco for around 75 USD a day. It is three times as much as a tour but if you are traveling with other people, not only can it be more affordable but also give you a better experience!


4. Pastoruri Glacier, A Fleeting Glacier in the Cordillera Blanca

Duration: 2 hours out-and-back

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Highest Elevation: ~5000 m

The Peruvian Andes are the home of 70 percent of the world’s tropical glacier, and no Peru itinerary is complete without a visit to at least one of them!

The one we highly recommend you to visit is Glacier Pastoruri.

By definition, the Pastoruri Glacier can no longer be considered a glacier because it no longer builds up ice in the winter. It is just a huge block of ice with fleeting memories of its once glory. Visitors used to be able to step foot on the glacier itself, but conversationist has restricted that to extend its goodbyes. 

Make sure you see this before this place is no longer one of the top things to do in Peru.

Though at an altitude of 5,000 meters, the Glacier Pastoruri hike cannot be considered difficult. The hiking trail is well paved and you only ascend about 150 meters or so. If you have been doing a lot of hiking in Peru, you can reach the Pastoruri Glacier from the trailhead in around 30 minutes.

To visit the Pastoruri Glacier, you have to base yourself out of Huaraz, the hiking hub of Peru. Here you will find many agencies offering day trips to the Pastoruri Glacier. Visiting the Pastoruri Glacier independently is not recommended because of how inaccessible the location is.


5. Laguna Paron (Paron Lake)

Duration: 2 hours out-and-back

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Highest Elevation: 4200 m

As the biggest lake inside the Huascaran National Park, Laguna Paron (Lake Paron) is one of the must-visit places in Peru. Featuring beautiful blue glaciated water surrounding by dramatic snow-capped giants, Laguna Park offers a hypnotizing landscape unlike anywhere else in Peru.

While most of the prized views appear at the end of a treacherous hike, the trailhead of the Laguna Paron hike starts on the shore of the glacial lake, offering incredible views of the surroundings already.

Visitors can then hike up to the nearby mirador (viewpoint) along a clearly marked trail but with numerous boulders near the end. It is at the mirador that hikers can see the famous Artesonraju mountain, the same mountain illustrated in the logo of Paramount Pictures, a famous film company.

The hike to the viewpoint is only about 45 minutes to an hour and should be fairly easy for hikers of any level of experience. It is at 4,200 meters above sea level, so some degree of acclimation is required.

The Laguna Paron hike can be done independently, though we recommend a tour because they are safer, easier, and affordable. You can easily find many travel agencies offering tours in the streets of Huaraz, just don’t forget to haggle! 

If you want to secure one of the best Huaraz hikes, the Laguna Paron hike, beforehand, click here!


6. Laguna 69, The Most Beautiful Day Hike In Huaraz

Duration: 6 hours out-and-back

Difficulty: Moderately Difficult

Highest Elevation: 4600 m

If there is a one-day hike you have to do in Peru, it has to be the Laguna 69 hike (Lake 69) in Huaraz. It is a beautiful and challenging hike, high in the Cordillera Blanca mountain range. The trail begins at 3900m above sea level and reaches a breath-taking 4600m.

Before attempting to hike to Laguna 69, make sure that you are fully acclimatized to the altitude, otherwise, you probably won’t be able to make it to the lake.

Those who make it to Laguna 69 will be rewarded with beautiful turquoise waters that flow into the lake from the mountain glaciers. It makes for a refreshing (and cold!) swim if you fancy a dip or sit back and enjoy the view before heading back along the same trail. The whole hike takes around 5-6 hours.

It is possible to hike to Laguna 69 independently, but the lack of reliable public transport makes it much easier to join a group tour from Huaraz, which costs around 45 Peruvian Soles per person. Each person would then have to pay an additional 30 soles at the entrance of the Huascaran National Park.

Your driver picks you up at around 5 AM at your accommodation before driving for around 3 hours to reach the beginning of the trail, passing through the UNESCO listed Huascaran National Park where you may spot some vicuña, a rarer relative of the llama.

If you wish to secure one of the best hikes in Peru, Laguna 69, beforehand, click here!

Laguna-69 Huaraz

7. Marcahuasi

Duration: 6 hours out-and-back

Difficulty: Moderately Hard

Highest Elevation: 4000 m

Though it is not known for hiking or trekking in Lima, there is one hike that is worthing the effort: the pre-Inca site Marcahuasi.

The hike to Marcahuasi is one of the lesser-known hikes in Peru (definitely not nearly as known as the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu), and that’s one of the things that make it special. Located at about 100 km from the capital Lima, Marcahuasi is the kind of place that not even Peruvians usually know about.

The origins of the place are unknown – to date, there is still no certainty if this is a man-made site or a natural one that was formed through erosion. Locals believe the site has cosmic energy.

Though the trail is very easy to follow and to walk, the fact that the hike starts at 3200 meters above sea level and that you gain a further 800 meters during the walk makes it incredibly hard.

You will start walking in San Pedro de Casta, and it will take you around 3 hours to reach the main site. Make sure to carry enough water and food for the day, as there is absolutely nothing and nobody (save for a few farmers near the village) along the way. Start hiking as soon as the sun rises, and plan to be back by 2:00 pm at the latest as that’s when it starts raining, pretty much any day.

In order to reach San Pedro de Casta, you need to take the colectivos (public transport vans ) to Chosica stop. Once in Chosica, get a bus to San Pedro de Casta. The overall drive will take you more than 5 hours even if it is less than 100 km. The views along the way are stunning, but the road isn’t exactly in good conditions hence the bus moves really slowly.

Alternatively, you can try to find a tour in Lima. Given its lack of popularity, you might have to get lucky!

Though it is possible to accomplish the hike in one day, you should factor in at least one night in San Pedro de Casta due to the unreliable public transportation. The village is tiny – no more than 300 people live there.

You will have to register your name at the office right in front of the bus stop – don’t worry about finding it: the lady that works at the office will find you as soon as she sees an unknown face getting off the bus!

You can sleep at the Hospedaje Municipal, which is very basic (no hot water, very cold rooms) and eat in one of the two comedores (local eateries) which prepare a few basic but genuine Peruvian dishes.

If you wish to camp in Marcahuasi, there is a section named the “Amphitheater” that is popular for camping. Camping is also another popular option, but you must be well-equipped (especially for the cold) and experienced!

Don’t worry if hiking is not what you planned to do in Lima, there are many delicious and cheap seafood restaurants and plenty of other things to do in Lima!


8. Huayna Picchu, One of The Most Dangerous Peru Hikes

Duration: 2 hours out-and-back

Difficulty: Moderate

Highest Elevation: 2693 m

Many travelers visit Machu Picchu and not realize that there are many hikes you can do inside Machu Picchu. Yes, I am not talking about the Inca Trail or the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu itself, but the mountains inside.

Huyana Picchu is one of the hikeable mountains in the Machu Picchu citadel. It’s also known as “Wayna Picchu,’” or young mountain in the indigenous language Quechua.

The Huayna Picchu hike is a popular option for both those who are visiting Machu Picchu for the day and also the multi-day trekkers. At an altitude of 8,835 feet (2,693 meters), the summit gives you a spectacular view of the Machu Picchu citadel.

Due to conservation efforts, only 400 people can hike Huayna Picchu per day and reservations book up quickly. You’ll want to get a permit to hike in advance and you can do so on the official Machu Picchu government website. A guide is not needed for this hike and it can be completed in about two hours.

It’s a short hike but you’ll have an elevation gain of more than 1,000 feet. The hike is mostly a series of steep steps so being acclimated to the altitude is preferred.

The iconic hike ends at the summit of the peak, a staggering 1,180 feet (360 meters) above the lost city of Machu Picchu. With dramatic drop-offs and steep steps along the trail, you’ll want to not only be physically prepared but mentally as well.

If the weather is just right you’ll have a view to remember and bragging rights that you did not only one of the most dangerous hikes in Peru, but also one of the most dangerous hikes in the world.


9. Rainbow Mountain

Duration: 3 hours out-and-back

Difficulty: Moderate

Highest Elevation: 5200 m

Rainbow Mountain is one of the best day hikes in Peru. Also known as the Vinicunca or La Montaña de Siete Colores (Mountain of Seven Colors), Rainbow Mountain was only discovered in 2015 but has become very popular since then due to the mountain’s unique colors.

While it is possible to do the hike on your own, it’s very difficult to reach the trailhead unless you have your own car. Therefore, most people opt to join a tour from Cusco which includes transportation and a guide.

The hike itself is relatively short at 7km round-trip, but what makes it difficult is the altitude. The trail starts at just under 5,000m and goes up to 5,200m. Starting at this kind of elevation makes it much more difficult to breathe, so it’s important to take your time going up.

It takes about two hours to get to the top. If you aren’t up for hiking, there is also an option to take a horse up rainbow mountain.

Despite its physically demanding nature, the hike’s breathtaking views will keep anyone motivated to the summit. The trail passes along snow-capped mountains, fields of llamas, and colorful valleys. Rainbow Mountain itself is not visible until the very end of the hike but upon reaching it, you will be rewarded with an explosion of colors.

When selecting a tour in Cusco for the Rainbow Mountain, pick one that includes extra time to explore the literally adjacent Red Valley, or Valle Rojo in Spanish. A short 30-minute hike from Rainbow Mountain is one of the best hidden gems in Peru, a place that is more stunning than the Rainbow Mountain!

It is recommended to visit the Rainbow Mountain in the dry season between May and September. In the rainy season, you might encounter snow and rainfall that will make the hiking path much more treacherous.

Though if you are an avid photographer, the rare sight of the Rainbow Mountain partially covered by snow is very picturesque.


10. Machu Picchu Mountain

Duration: 3.5 hours out-and-back

Difficulty: Moderate

Highest Elevation: 3082 m

By: Susan of Thrifty After 50

Visitors to the historic site of Machu Picchu have a choice of two hikes; Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain. Machu Picchu Mountain, also known as Montana Machu Picchu, is the easier and safer of the two climbs.

It can be easily done without a guide and is suitable for all ages, the mountain is 3082m above sea level making it physically challenging if you are not used to hiking at altitude.

The hike is primarily stone steps the entire way up the mountain with a few narrow sections of the pathway that might challenge someone with a severe fear of heights.

You should allow three to four hours for the return hike as well as plenty of time on top of the mountain to enjoy the amazing 360-degree views. The view from the top makes it the perfect place for a picnic lunch.

If it is a beautiful sunny day then the climbing Machu Picchu mountain is well worth the pain of all those stairs, but you may wish to reconsider if it is cloudy as the best part about the hike is those stunning views from the top.

Tickets to both the hiking trails are purchased online and also include your entry to the Inca City. The tickets to both Huayna Picchu (400 per day) and Machu Picchu Mountain (800 per day) sell out fast and should be purchased well in advance.

On the day of your visit, make sure you carry your passport as security guards will check that the name on your ticket matches the name on your passport. You should also carry plenty of water and dress for a wide range of weather conditions.


Best Multi-Day Treks In Peru

1. Choquequirao

Duration: 5 days 

Difficulty: Moderately Difficult

Highest Elevation: 3050 m

The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu might be the country’s most famous hike, but for those in the know, there’s another incredible trek that should be added to your list of must-visit places in Peru.

Meaning Cradle of Gold in the original Quechua, Choquequirao is an archaeological site located in the Vilcabamba mountain range close to Machu Picchu.

The trek to reach Choquequirao is a challenging two days, with over 13 kilometers of steep ascent through the Apurimac Canyon – comprising a series of switchbacks and false summits and a maximum elevation of 3,050 meters above sea level – across the 32-kilometer trail.

After a brutal climb to reach the site – which sits on a flattened hilltop at 2,950 meters above sea level – you can spend a day exploring the agricultural terraces and temples of Choquequirao that have been excavated from the encroaching jungle. The best bit? There are hardly any visitors each day, meaning you might well experience it alone.

From here, you can continue on to Machu Picchu (a further five days’ trekking and an additional 78 kilometers that is only for the brave and the acclimatized) or return the way you came, taking the total hiking distance to 64 kilometers. It’s possible without a guide, although you might want the hiking experience and someone to bring all camping equipment.

The most popular trekking duration is 5 days: 2 days of getting there, one full day for exploring Choquequirao, and 2 days to return back.


2. Inca Trail, The Most Famous Peru Trek

Duration: 4 days

Difficulty: Moderate

Highest Elevation: 4215 m (Dead Woman’s Pass)

The Inca Trail to the lost city of Machu Picchu is not only considered one of the best treks in Peru, but one of the best treks in the world. Though there are many other hikes and treks to Machu Picchu, the famous 4-day Inca Trail provides you with a cultural experience unlike any other.

Trekkers hike through the Sacred Valley of Peru using the same paths that used to connect the Inca settlements. Nowadays, most of these settlements are abandoned, and you are left with historic ruins that your tour guide will elaborate on.

The Inca Trail is unlike other treks to Machu Picchu where you arrive at the Aguas Calientes, the closest town to Machu Picchu. On the last day of your Inca Trail, you arrive through the sun gate, the exact way the Incans used to take! You don’t even go through the entrance to buy the tickets; you arrive inside Machu Picchu from the mountains!

This once in a lifetime experience is definitely a must-do in Peru, and it is not surprising how early in advance you have to reserve this tour. Because the trail only allows 500 people per day and 300 of them are porters and guides, the classic Inca Trail books out far in advance.

We recommend booking at least 6 months in advance. While there are many online travel agencies, only a tourism agency authorized by the Ministry of Culture of Peru can take you on the Inca Trail.

The Inca trail is a high-elevation hike, so it’s a good idea to spend a few days before in Cusco so your body can acclimatize to the altitude. The highest point on the hike is on day 2, where you go over a section of the trail known as Dead Woman’s Pass at a height of 4,215 meters above sea level.


3. Colca Canyon, One of The Deepest Canyons in the World

Duration: 1, 2, or 3 days

Difficulty: Moderate

Highest Elevation: ~3,300 m

One of the most stunning Peru treks actually lies 376 kilometers away from Machu Picchu in a unique city called Arequipa. Known as the “White City” due to the construction material, Arequipa is home to the impressive Colca Canyon trek.

While most travelers know the fantastic trekking in Cusco, only a handful might know of Colca Canyon. Colca Canyon is the second deepest canyon in the entire world! And if you think the Grand Canyon in the United States would be No.1, the Colca Canyon is actually twice the depth of the Grand Canyon.

Though trekking Colca Canyon is doable without a tour, we hardly recommend choosing one of the treks offered. In the travel agencies in Arequipa, you will find tours for the 1-day Colca Canyon trek (which involves close to no hiking), the 2-day Colca Canyon trek (which we recommend), and the 3-day Colca Canyon trek (which is a prolonged version of the 2-day tour).

On the 2 or 3-day tour, you start the tour at Mirador Cruz del Condores, a viewpoint to observe the majestic condors. Locals believe that condors are spiritual creatures and represent Hanan Pacha, or the heavenly world.

After the viewpoint, you are transferred to Cabanconde, a small village where your hike will start.

The unique thing about the Colca Canyon trek is that Cabanaconde, the starting point of your hike, is actually the highest altitude you will reach at ~3300 meters. That is because you will spend your first day or two descending into the canyon, staying in the beautiful Sangalle Oasis, and ascending back to Cabanaconde on the last day.

Though many consider the Colca Canyon a difficult trek because you have to ascend more than 1100 meters on the last day, the relatively low elevation makes the trek a moderate difficulty.

Reserve your Colca Canyon trek beforehand here!


4. Lares Trek To Machu Picchu

Duration: 2 to 5 days, depending on if you visit Machu Picchu

Difficulty: Moderately Difficult

Highest Elevation: ~4,400 to 4,600 m, depending on the hiking route

One of the most beautiful things about the Lares region hikes is that they are very customizable. The shortest Lares hikes are 2 days, the longest 5 days. As a Lares region trek can take a variety of routes, you can cross a number of different passes of up to 4600m, though most are around 4400m.

The majority of the Lares Treks finish in Ollantaytambo, a town and archaeological site in the Sacred Valley where visitors can take the famous train to visit Machu Picchu.

What makes the Lares Trek in Peru so unique is not only the stunning landscapes, but also the different Quechua-speaking indigenous villages you encounter.

Until recently the Lares region of Peru was totally inaccessible by car. As a result, many typical villages remained living a traditional lifestyle high up in the mountains, largely unaffected by the world outside.

They still farm using Incan agricultural practice, amongst other fascinating facts. Their clothing remained the same and their agricultural practices handed down from the Incas. Trekking the Lares route was like stepping back in time.

This mountain region near Lares contains many paths taken by the locals as they go about their daily lives, such as the herding of llamas, using them for transport, and so on. If you are an experienced outdoors person and speak a decent level of Spanish, you should have no problems trekking through this region independently. Even though many women don’t speak Spanish, the majority of men do speak some and nearly all the children.

Lares can be trekked all year round, meaning it’s the perfect wet season trek should you visit the Cusco region from December through March. Tours can be arranged with the multitude of travel agencies in Cusco. Since it is an off-the-beaten-path Peru trek, you won’t need to reserve your spot beforehand!


5. Alkipo-Ishinca Trek

Duration: 3 days

Difficulty: Moderately Difficult

Highest Elevation: ~5,000 m

By: Thea of ZenTravellers

Trekking in Huaraz Peru’s incredible Cordillera Blanca range is an unforgettable experience. There is a multitude of treks that are suitable for many skill sets and desire for adventure.

One great option for those looking to do a multi-day trek amid breathtaking scenery and sky-high glaciated peaks without the crowds found on the Santa Cruz trek is the 3-day Alkipo-Ishinca route.

Leaving from Huaraz, the first day of the trek climbs gradually on a trail that winds through a picturesque valley to a beautiful creekside campsite where the starry night skies are sure to impress.

On the second day, you’ll climb over a 5000m pass and walk along the stunning shores of Laguna Alkipo before arriving at Ishninca base camp where you’ll spend the night with views of the impressive Toccaraju glaciers. There you can take a shower and even have a drink in the refugio (camp) if you so desire.

With most of the hard work behind you, the trail meanders mostly downhill on the third day with views of the Sierra Negra range in front of you. For those seeking a trek in the Cordillera Blanca without the crowds of some of the more famous trails, Alkipo-Ishinca is a great option for trekking in the Huaraz region.


6. Santa Cruz Trek

Duration: 3 or 4 days

Difficulty: Moderately Difficult

Highest Elevation: 4750 m (Punta Union)

The Inca Trail may get all the credit, but if you’re looking for one of the more adventurous treks in South America, look no further than the Santa Cruz Trek.

The Santa Cruz Trek is a 50km hike between La Vaquería and Cashapampa. Within Huascaran National Park, there are more than 400 lakes and jagged peaks climbing to 6768m. Over the course of four days, you’ll get to experience many of these brilliant lagoons and high passes along the trail.

The hike hits its max elevation of 4,750 meters at Punta Unión, making the Santa Cruz a relatively moderate acclimatization hike for the region. The hike can also be made easier depending on where you begin; the route starting from Cashapampa is the Classic Route, but if you get dropped off at La Vaquería and hike it in the opposite direction, your uphills will be easier.

Because its less known, the Santa Cruz trek is inexpensive whether you hike with or without a guide. Organized tours range from $150-$300, and can be easily found in Huaraz. while an independent trek can be organized for a bit less (though transport to the trailhead can be a tough logistic to navigate),  you will need to rent all the gear in town.

This is not an easy trek by any means and weather can be unpredictable at such high altitudes, we recommend going with an organized tour for safety reasons.


7. Salkantay Trek, The Perfect Alternative to the Inca Trail

Duration: 5 days

Difficulty: Moderately Difficult

Highest Elevation: 4600 m (Salkantay Pass)

The 5-day Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu is the most popular Inca Trail alternative and it is not difficult to see why. Along the trek, hikers will see pastel blue glacial lakes surrounded by some of the tallest snow-capped mountains in Peru, as well as traversing through many local villages.

On the second to last day, trekkers can walk on the train tracks from Hidroelectrica to Machu Picchu town, or formally known as Aguas Calientes. Finally, on the last day, hikers rise up early to see Machu Picchu in all of its glory, the perfect reward to a tiresome 5-day trek.

Many people compare the Salkantay Trek to Inca Trail, but they are very different in my opinion. Salkantay Trail gives more stunning natural landscapes but the Inca Trail is more cultural and informative, as it passes through ancient Inca settlements.

The Salkantay Trek is also more demanding, perfect for avid hikers. Lastly, the Salkantay Trek is considerably cheaper than the Inca Trail and doesn’t require booking in advance.

Stroll along the cobblestoned streets of Cusco and you will undoubtedly stumble upon many travel agencies offering the Salkantay Trek tour. Scout around and try to find the best deal and don’t forget to negotiate.

I would highly recommend getting acclimatized in Cusco before attempting the Salkantay Trek, as the highest elevation on the hiking trail is 4600 meters.


8. Cordillera Huayhuash Circuit Trek, The Most Challenging And Beautiful Trek In Peru

Duration: 4 to 12 days

Difficulty: Very Difficult

Highest Elevation: 5000 m

If you are an experienced hiker looking for the ultimate trek in Peru, the Cordillera Huayhuash Circuit Trek is perfect for you. The Huayhuash Trek has been considered one of the most beautiful treks not only in Peru or South America, but the entire world. It is the dream of many hikers in the world to complete this trek!

The Classic Huayhuash Trek is a 12-day trek that takes you up to enormous ice-capped peaks, down the surreal cascading rivers, and around the breathtaking turquoise glacial lakes. 

On the trek, you will see many famous mountains in Peru, such as the Yerupajá, the second-highest mountain at 6635 m. You will also see Siula Grande, a 6344-tall mountain made famous by the book and movie, “Touching the Void.” If you have seen that movie, you will know how stunning those mountains are!

Most of the trek involves hiking in altitude more than 4000 meters and some passes are more than 5000 meters, so proper acclimatization is needed. Though it is possible to trek the Huayhash Trek independently, we highly advise against it, as hiking in such difficult conditions can be quite dangerous. 

If you want a piece of the Huayhuash experience, there are easier treks with a duration of 4 days. If I were to decide for you, I would say go big or go home!

Tours can be found in the many travel agencies scattered throughout Huaraz. 

Cordillera Huayhuash Trek

9. Ausungate Trek

Duration: 5 days

Difficulty: Difficult

Highest Elevation: 5161 meters (Palomani Pass)

If you enjoy tough hikes and jaw-dropping scenery with a fraction of the tourists on the Inca Trail or Salkantay Trek, then the Ausangate Trek is perfect for you.

This lesser-known 5-day circuit trek is gifted with fantastic turquoise lakes, hanging glaciers, snow peaks of the Andes, impressive waterfalls, indigenous animals such as llamas and alpacas, and even a visit to the famous Rainbow Mountain if you decide to take a short 1-hour detour.

As beautiful as it sounds, the Ausangate Trek will test your physical and mental capabilities before rewarding you with its best features.

The entire route of the Ausungate Trek is over 4000 m above sea level with two passes around 5000 m; the Palomani Pass – 5161 m and the Arapa Pass – 4850 m. Not only would you need proper acclimatization before attempting the Ausangate Trek, being in relatively good shape is essential. The hiking days are long and many parts of the path are very physically demanding.

Though the trek can be done independently, we would highly recommend you to be prepared and experienced at hiking in such weather and altitude. There are hardly any villages or settlements along so hikers must carry camping gear and food supplies, let alone attempting to seek help in case anything goes wrong.

If you do decide to trek the Ausangate without a tour, the start and finish of the trail are at the remote village of Tinque (Tinki), about 100 km from Cusco. If you would like to go with a tour company, you can easily find a travel agency in Cusco!


How To Prepare for Your Hikes And Treks In Peru 

Due to the towering Andes Mountain Range, hiking in Peru is unlike hiking anywhere else in the world. Many of the hikes and treks in Peru are over 3000 meters in elevation, an altitude that could easily cause altitude sickness.

As someone that has had a potentially-fatal incident with altitude sickness in Peru, I am here to tell you that proper acclimatization is needed. Altitude sickness can be potentially fatal even for the fittest athlete. Don’t be an idiot!

If you are hiking anywhere above 3000 meters, stay a few days in the nearby city to acclimate. Huaraz, Cusco, and Arequipa, are great high-elevation cities with plenty of things to do. Just stroll around those cities, check out the attractions, and take things slowly until you have gotten used to the elevation.

Besides acclimation, there is one thing you need to have: Mate de Coca, or Coca Tea.

Mate de Coca is one of the most famous Peruvian drinks. Known as the Peruvian coffee, Mate de Coca will help ease the effects of altitude and make you stronger in general. You will find them nearly in every market, grocery stores, and even in your accommodation.

Just don’t bring some back to your country. It is considered drug trafficking in some countries!

Photo Credit: audrey_sel


Ultimate Packing List For Hiking And Trekking In Peru

Hiking in Peru can be dangerous, and that is why you need the perfect packing list you make sure you have the perfect Peru trip. Here are some things we would highly recommend to bring with you if you intend to hike or trek in Peru!

1. Cold Weather Sleeping Bag – A warm and light sleeping bag is essential if you intend to hike independently in the Andes.

2. Reliable Backpack (Him/Her) – The perfect backpack for transporting all the camping equipment you will need. These are fitted with a light aluminum frame for long hiking, but also big enough to carry everything you need.

3. Tent (1 Person/2 Person) – What is camping without a tent? You want to have a tent that is reliable, waterproof, windproof, light, and generally tough. Though you can rent a tent in many places in Peru, you can never trust the reliability of them.

4. Camping Stove – A light and portable camping stove for cooking if you will be trekking without a guide in Peru.

5. Torch/Headlamp – A torch or headlamp is extremely useful whether you are hiking with a tour or alone. Many times you will hike before the sunrise or need to navigate around your camp at night.

6. Swiss Army Knife – A versatile tool for various scenarios. A must-have.

7. Cooking Set – A portable cooking set for your long treks!

8. Trekking Poles – The Peru hiking trails aren’t necessarily always in the best condition. Trekking poles will help you manage your hiking in Peru! 

9. LifeStraw Water Bottle – Allows you to drink from any water sources. Did you find a stream or a waterfall on your hike? Now you can drink from it with the LifeStraw water bottle.

Listed above are some of the many essentials you will need. We won’t mention the obvious items here such as hiking shoes, warm clothing, padlocks, towels, and etc.

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This is the end of our guide for Peru’s best treks and hikes. We hope you will enjoy one of the best countries in the world for hiking!

Any questions? Leave a comment!

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13 BEST Things To Do in Miraflores Lima, Peru

13 BEST Things To Do in Miraflores Lima, Peru

Not sure what to do in Miraflores Lima, Peru?

As one of the most affluential districts in Lima, Miraflores is filled with some of the best attractions in Lima. Amazing restaurants, stunning landscapes, nice parks, the list goes on and on. 

With so many things to do in Miraflores Lima, it is easy to get overwhelmed, especially if you only have a short time in Lima.

Below we have compiled a list of our personal favorite attractions in Miraflores, Peru. Hopefully, this will help plan your exciting Peru itinerary.


What To Do in Miraflores: 13 BEST Things To Do in Miraflores, Lima

1. Stroll Down the Miraflores Boardwalk (Malecón De Miraflores)


If there is one thing to do in Miraflores Lima, it is to stroll down the ~6-mile long malecón, an elevated walkway situated above the dramatic cliffs overlooking the stunning Pacific Ocean. Sometimes also referred to as the Costa Verde, this path is one of the most popular places in Lima due to its wide stretches of green spaces, calm atmosphere, and surreal sunsets.

On any given day, you will find numerous tourists and locals strolling along the malecón, enjoying the breezy ocean air and admiring the panoramic views. The walkway is also a popular location for joggers and bikers to escape the bustling city and get some exercise outdoors.

There are many bike rental companies throughout Miraflores for anyone interested in biking the malecón. Though we haven’t rented one ourselves, we have heard great reviews for Mirabici. One of their locations is located right on the malecón!

2. Go Shopping in Larcomar, Lima’s Fanciest Mall

Credit: Ivan Mlinaric via Flickr Nested in the stunning cliffs of Miraflores is Lacromar, one of the most luxurious shopping malls in Lima. Featuring more than 80 shops, Lacromar is the place to go to if you want to do some shopping in Miraflores. Its unique location offers breath-taking seaside views and adds a touch of romanticism whether you are doing some shopping, eating at the food court, or going on a date at the cinema. Though the price is quite steep for even the most mundane dish, having the mystical ocean as your backdrop when munching on your greasy fries does make a difference. A shopping mall is definitely not on our Peru bucket list, but Lacromar is unlike any other shopping malls that we have been to. Visitors can spend the whole day here, shopping, eating, going to the cinema, and admiring the views.

3. Eat At Maido, One of the World’s Top 50 Restaurants

Credit: Cathrine via Flickr If you are not sure what to do in Miraflores, may I suggest eating till you can’t walk? In Arequipa, our tour guide said there are three reasons why travelers come to Peru. The first one is Machu Picchu (obviously), the second one is gastronomy, and the third one is the diversity of the landscapes. While we knew have seen the desserts in Ica, the Andes in Huaraz, and Machu Picchu itself, we were not exposed to the delicious Peruvian dishes until we came to Lima. To our surprise, Lima has a total of 2 of the top 50 restaurants in the world. Maido, one of the top 50 in the world, is also considered the best restaurant in Latin America. Guess where Maido is located? The friendly Miraflores district in Lima, Peru! Maido offers a unique Nikkei experience, the perfect fusion between authentic Peruvian cuisine and Japanese cuisine. Their philosophy believes in combining the best of two worlds to create a “third dimension”, the complex Peruvian Nikkei cuisine. The food here is inexplicably phenomenal, and along with other small touches create the iconic Maido experience. Though Maidos is expensive, it is relatively cheap compared to some of the top 50 restaurants in other parts of the world. We recommend you to reserve 2 months in advance to secure your table!

4. Indulge in Delicious Ceviche, The National Food of Peru


If there is one Peruvian dish that I could have forever, it would be the Peruvian ceviche. This national dish of Peru is exemplary of what Peruvian cuisine is about – simplicity, superb ingredients, and bursting flavors.

For anyone unfamiliar with the Peruvian ceviche, it is a popular dish made using raw fish “cooked” primarily in Peruvian lemon juice. The acidity of the Peruvian lemon is so strong that it essentially kills all the harmful bacteria in the raw fish, creating a dish that is fresh and flavorful.

Every bite of this national dish of Peru reminds you of the sea, as the fish retains most of its flavor. Combined that with the unique flavors of the Peruvian lemon and a few spices, you have yourself a simple master dish.

As a coastal city, Lima is blessed with some of the freshest seafood in the world. There is honestly no better place in the world to try this magical dish. Luckily for you, having the Peruvian ceviche doesn’t have to be expensive.

Here are some of our favorite affordable ceviche restaurants in Lima!

5. Visit Huaca Pucllana, A Pre-Incan Archaelogical Ruin


Located in the heart of the Miraflores district is one of the oldest archaeological sites in Peru – Huaca Pucllana. At first glance, this site looks less impressive than Machu Picchu or even Kuelap in Chachapoyas. That is because this ruin actually dates back to sometime between 200 AD to 700 AD, almost 1000 years before the Inca empire. 

This pre-Inca run features a great adobe and clay pyramid made from seven staggered platforms and was once the administrative center of the Lima culture indigenous group.

At around 700 AD, the Lima culture group was conquered by the Wari culture. Under the Wari’s rule, Huaca Pucllana became a burial site for nobility. In 2008, tombs were discovered in Huaca Pullcana.

The admission fee to Huaca Pucllana is 15 Peruvian soles and it comes with a mandatory guided tour.

6. Visit Love Park (Parque Del Amor)

Credit: WikiCommons Along the beautiful malecón of Miraflores is one of the most popular parks in Lima – the Love Park, or Parque del Amor in Spanish. Featuring a kissing statue, mosaic walls, and views of the Pacific Ocean, the Love Park is a relaxing romantic place for dates and couples. Lovers and soon-be lovers can sit on one of the benches and enjoy a nice chat while enjoying the ocean breeze. If you are hungry, there are several snack stands nearby to keep you at the top of your performance!

7. Go Paragliding Off Of Lima’s Picturesque Coast

Miraflores Lima

If the view from the malecón is not breath-taking enough, why not go paragliding. The perfect mixture of fun and sightseeing, paragliding is one of the most popular activities in Miraflores, Peru.

As you stroll down the malecón, it is not unusual to see paragliders over the beautiful coast of Lima. You don’t have to watch from the sidelines, as there are many paragliding schools right on the malecón.

Simply head over to Parque Raimondi near the Love Park and you will find yourself multiple paragliding companies. We recommend Parapuerto Miraflores – APIPT. No reservation is required but it is wise to give them a phone call to make sure the weather is okay for paragliding!

8. Pet Some Stray Cats At Kennedy Park, The Central Park of Miraflores


While there are many things to do in Miraflores Peru, there is only one if you are a cat-lover – visiting Kennedy Park.

Kennedy Park is the home of numerous stray cats. But unlike stray cats that are not taken care of, these stray cats in Kennedy Park are well-maintained. Park officials periodically do check-ups, feed them, and give them water.

These stray cats stroll around the park and approach anyone that has food. However, they are by no means aggressive. Even if you don’t have food, they are always up for a nice belly rub or a head scratch. Don’t worry about being scratched by them, they are the most docile cats we have ever encountered.

If you see a cute one that is just dozing off on the side, don’t approach him/her. Imagine someone entering your house and waking you up from your sleep, you wouldn’t be too happy, would ya?

Kennedy Park in Miraflores is pretty much like a cat cafe in Japan, but the cats are living happy lives and free from captivity!

Besides the adorable cats, there is the famous Sunday night dance. A speaker is set up and locals dance the night away, sharing laughter and having fun!

9. Check Out the Crafts at The Miraflores Indian Market


No Peru trip is complete without a visit to one of its artisan/craft market. Luckily for you, there is the perfect one in Miraflores – the Miraflores Indian Market.

A huge market with anything from alpaca sweaters to hats to t-shirts to other miscellaneous crafts, the Miraflores Indian Market is the perfect place to see what the local craft scene is like. If you are looking to purchase some souvenirs, this is the perfect place to do so.

Like many markets in South America, quality can be an issue. Many vendors will claim that their textile or clothing is 100% (insert adjective here), but that isn’t the case most of the time.

The most popular souvenirs from Peru are the alpaca products –  hats, sweaters, ponchos, and others. The most precious of which is the 100% baby alpaca products, sometimes costing as much as a few hundred dollars. 

We do not recommend you to search for any high-quality alpaca products at the Miraflores Indian Market. If you do intend on purchasing some, please go to Cusco, as their selection is much cheaper and higher quality.

Nevertheless, a stroll down Miraflores Indian Market will expose you to the amazing crafts Peru is known for!

Don’t forget to negotiate… and negotiate again when you visit the Miraflores Indian Market.

10. Learn How To Surf At One Of Miraflores Beaches


Behind the dramatic cliffs in Miraflores are some of the most beginner-friendly surfing beaches in Peru. One of the most popular beaches for surfing in Miraflores is the Makaha Beach, or Playa Makaha in Spanish.

Dozen of surfing schools line up on the beautiful rocky beach with wetsuit and boards available for rent. Classes are available, and so are 1-on-1 private lessons.

Unlike other surfing beaches in Peru such as Mancora in the North, the surfing beaches in Miraflores are less crowed, perfect for beginners.

Though we haven’t taken a lesson in any of the surfing schools, we have heard great reviews for Willy’s Surf School.

TOP Things To Do In Miraflores At Night

1. Try Pisco Sour (The National Drink of Peru) At One Of The Best Bars In Miraflores


Pisco Sour, the national drink of Peru, is an alcoholic beverage you must try on your Peru trip. The name of the cocktail comes from pisco, which is the base liquor used, and the term sour comes from the citrus elements used.

At first glance, this drink might look at all appetizing, because raw egg white is one of the ingredients, creating a thick white foamy layer at the top of the drink.

However, this doesn’t stop local Peruvians from indulging in their favorite alcoholic drink. In fact, they love it so much that the first Saturday of every February is National Pisco Sour Day.

Luckily for you, there are plenty of bars in Miraflores serving some of the nation’s best Pisco sours. The one we highly recommend is Bar Capitán Meléndez. Its friendly atmosphere along with carefully crafted Pisco sours makes it one of the best places to visit in Miraflores at night. 

2. Dance Salsa At One of The Nightclubs in Lima


If you are traveling in South America, learning how to dance salsa is essential to surviving in the nightclubs. From the small towns to the big cities in South America, salsa dancing is a huge part of the culture. Though Colombia is definitely the prime location for salsa dancing, Lima’s salsa scene is quite amazing.

Though you might want to take some salsa classes to unlock your full potential, local Peruvians are very accepting of foreigners trying to learn. Since this is a partner dance, if your partner is experienced, you both can still have a lot of fun.

If you don’t want to dance salsa, you can just admire the art. The quick movement of the feet, the sway of the hip, everything about this dance is hypnotic to watch.

If you ask a local how did they get so good at dancing salsa, chances are they will tell you they were dancing salsa when they came out of their mother’s womb!

The best place to dance salsa in Miraflores Lima is unquestionably Son de Cuba. It is a place with good music, decent drinks, and a fun atmosphere!

3. Relax And Admire The Night View Of Costa Verde From The Malecón


Though the nightlife in Miraflores is amazing, you don’t always have to go to a bar or club at night. In fact, one of my favorite things to do in Miraflores at night is to simply stroll along the malecón. I know we have mentioned this malecón numerous times throughout our post, but visiting it at night is very different from seeing it in the day.

If you simply want to unwind and look into the abyss that is the Pacific Ocean at night, the malecón is the perfect place to do it.

Traveling doesn’t always mean doing something exciting all the time. Simply doing nothing or very little at night will help you enjoy your travels more, especially if you are traveling for a long time! 

Where to Stay in Miraflores, Peru

Best Hostel in Miraflores, Lima – Pariwana Hostel Lima

If you are backpacking Peru, you are in luck. There are plenty of amazing hostels in Miraflores, Lima. Our personal favorite is the Pariwana Hostel Lima, a famous hostel chain in Peru.

Featuring comfortable beds, an on-site restaurant, a bar, a shared lounge, and an outdoor roof terrace. The hostel is in no shortage of common areas where guests and socialize and meet other solo travelers. Anyone traveling solo in Peru must stay at Pariwana Hostel Lima.

Click here for more details!

Best Cheap Hotel in Miraflores, Lima – Larq’a Park Rooms

Featuring spacious no-frills private rooms, Larq’a Park Rooms is one of the best cheap hotels in Miraflores, Lima. The decor is cozy and the hotel actually feels like a home more than a hotel, something rare to find traveling abroad.

The location of this hotel in Miraflores cannot get any better, but certain rooms in the hotel can get noisy. However, it is not a big deal given the high quality of the rooms.

Click here for more information!

Best Luxury Hotel in Miraflores, Lima – Radisson Decapolis Miraflores

If you want a luxurious stay in Miraflores Lima, then you must stay at Radisson Decapolis Miraflores. Featuring beautiful rooms and stylish modern decor, it is a luxurious experience the moment you step into the hotel.

The hotel contains an outdoor rooftop swimming pool, a well-equipped fitness center, a restaurant, and two bars. When you are not exploring the city, guests can enjoy a drink from the bar on their rooftop pool. A delicious breakfast buffet is served every morning.

Don’t miss this luxury hotel in Miraflores Lima, Peru.

Click here for more info!

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Things To Do in Miraflores Lima Peru Pinterest

Here are the best things to see in Miraflores, Peru. I hope this Miraflores blog post has at least given a rough idea on how to plan your Lima itinerary!

Any questions? Let us know in the comments!

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Things To Do in Miraflores Lima Peru Pinterest
The PERFECT 2 Week Peru Itinerary: The Best Of Peru

The PERFECT 2 Week Peru Itinerary: The Best Of Peru

Planning your next vacation in Peru? Do you want to spend 2 weeks in Peru? Great choice!

Peru is my favorite country by far and I am excited to share with you everything about it on our 2 week Peru itinerary. 

From the diverse and stunning landscape to the delicious and exotic Peruvian cuisines, the charm of Peru is irresistible. It was so irresistible that my intended 1-month Peru trip turned into 2.5 months!

Without further ado, let’s see the Peru highlights in our 2-week itinerary!

Where To Flying Into? Lima Or Cusco?

The first question many travelers have when planning their trip to Peru is whether they should fly into Lima or Cusco. Both cities seem like a good starting point for your 2-week Peru adventure.

In general, it really does not matter too much. In our Peru travel itinerary, you will visit both Lima and Cusco. If you fly into Lima first, you will see Cusco at the end of your trip. If you fly into Cusco first, you will save the country’s capital for last. In terms of what you see on your trip, it doesn’t make a big difference.

However, there are certain advantages of flying in Lima over Cusco. 

1. Flights to Lima are significantly cheaper than flights to Cusco. I don’t know if this is always but every time I have looked for flights to Peru, flights to Lima are always cheaper. But if you are flying out of Cusco at the end of your 2 week trip in Peru, it doesn’t make a big difference in price.

2. It is easier to acclimatize to the altitude if you start in Lima, especially if you plan on taking a bus to Cusco. Situated 3,400 meters above sea level, altitude sickness is inevitable in Cusco, especially if you fly into it from a sea-level city. If your plan is to fly from Lima to Cusco anyways, it doesn’t make a big difference.

When I spent 2.5 months backpacking in Peru, I took a bus to Cusco. The slow and steady increase in elevation helped me adjust to the altitude much easier.

Peru 2 Week Itinerary Map

Below is a personalized map for your two weeks Peru itinerary. Our itinerary will focus on the southern part of Peru, where most of the best attractions such as Machu Picchu and Rainbow Mountain are located. Northern Part of Peru does have its own charm and it is off the beaten path. If you have more time, I recommend you to include it in your Peru itinerary.

In crimson red are the places you will visit in Peru. They are numbered from 1 to 6, with number 1 as Lima and number 6 as Puno. This is the order you will follow for your Peru vacation.

If you have more than two weeks in Peru, check out the extra attractions we have indicated with the blue stars.

You will notice that there is a pin in Bolivia. That pin is the Uyuni Salt Flats. Though it is far away, there are tours from Puno (number 6) all the way to the Salt Flats in Bolivia. If you have a few extra days, consider adding it to create a Peru and Bolivia itinerary.

2 Weeks In Peru: The PERFECT 2-Week Peru Itinerary

Day 1-2: Lima (Peru’s Capital)

Welcome to Peru, my favorite country in the entire world! Are you ready to see the best places in Peru?? Luckily for you, you are in Lima, Peru’s capital. Featuring the perfect balance between Peruvian culture and a metropolitan city, Lima is a great introduction to Peru.

Lima is a place where you won’t find too many culture shocks because it is a big city that has adapted to many of the western cities. Here you will find international food, lots of English speaking locals, and a little bit of culture.

For anyone that wants an introduction to indigenous ruins before they visit the famous Machu Picchu can visit Huaca Pucllana.

Things To Do In Lima, Peru

1. Explore the Historic Center

Explore the old town of Lima and learn why the city is called “The City of Kings”. You are more than welcome to do a self-guided tour but I highly recommend a free walking tour with a local guide.

The service is free and tips are voluntary. So if you are unsatisfied with their service, you are not obligated to give them any money! However, it is a great way to learn about the history of Peru from a local expert and give something back in return!

2. Eat Delicious Peruvian Food!

Did you know that Peru is one of the top gastronomy destinations in the world? With 2 of the top 50 restaurants located in Lima, the flavors of Peruvian cuisine is absolutely orgasmic.

Part of the reason why I stayed for 2.5 months in Peru is because of the food. Luckily, there are many hikes in Peru to shed off that weight! If you like seafood, you must try ceviche, Peru’s national dish! Here are some restaurants we recommend for ceviche in Lima! Don’t forget to try Peru’s national drink, the Pisco sour, when you get the chance!

3. Walk along the Promenade in Miraflores!

The promenade in Miraflores is absolutely one of the most breath-taking places to visit in Lima. With endless views of the Pacific Ocean and romantic parks such as Love Park, the promenade is one of the best places to take your loved ones.

The promenade is situated above some dramatic cliffs, making it the perfect spot for some dope photos!

After visiting the promenade in Miraflores, either head to Barranco for some more amazing views and food or head to Kennedy Park, a park where numerous cats roam freely!

Where To Stay In Lima, Peru?

Selecting the right place to stay in Lima is imperative to have a good experience. That is because parts of Lima are still unsafe. Poverty exists in many parts of Peru and it is no exception in Lima.

The one surprising characteristic is that the historic center (centro historico) of Lima is dangerous at night. Usually, the center of a city is the safest part of a city but it is the opposite in Lima. Foreign visitors should stay near the “suburbs” of Lima, namely Miraflores and Barranco.

Miraflores and Barranco are the safest and most beautiful parts of Lima. There is no doubt that they are the best places to stay in Lima.

Here are our recommendations in Miraflores and Barranco:

Best Hostel In Lima – Pariwana Hostel Lima

Pariwana Hostel is one of the best hostels in Lima for any type of travelers. Are you traveling solo and wanting to meet other travelers? There are a bar and a ping pong table at the terrace for socializing. Are you traveling for work? You can take advantage of their business center.

The dormitory and privates rooms are both clean and spacious.

Located in the safe neighborhood of Miraflores, you will have access to nightlife and some of the best seafood restaurants in Lima.

Click here for more details!

Best Hotel In Lima – Andesmar Hotel

Andesmar Hotel is one of the highest-rated hotels in Lima and it is not surprising why. Helpful staff, spacious rooms, amazing buffet breakfast, the pros of this hotel go on and on.

If you are looking for a quiet ad comfortable place to stay in Miraflores, Andesmar is the place for you. Located on a quiet street but not too far from the beach or the famous Kennedy Cat Park, there will never be a dull moment in your stay at Andesmar Hotel

Click here for more details!

Day 3-5 (3 Days): Ica, Huacachina, Paracas

After your visit to the country’s capital, you will move south into a completely different environment: the desert region. 

This area is drastically different from the dramatic cliffs of Lima. Featuring silky sand dunes that stretch beyond your eye’s reach, the landscape in this region is absolutely mesmerizing.

This region is also known for its wine, the Huacachina Oasis, and the wildlife that resides in Paracas.

To get to Ica, Huacachina, or Paracas, you have to take a bus from Lima. I recommend the company Soyuz. A clean and economical bus company, Soyuz provides amazing service in this region.

Where To Stay? Ica? Huacachina? Or Paracas?

Before you embark on your adventures, you need to pick the perfect place to stay. Ica, Huacachina, and Paracas are located close to each other but all provide a distinct experience.

Ica, the cheapest place to stay out of the three, is a local city. Here you will find low prices on accommodations, food, and culture. No wonder why it is the most popular to stay for budget backpackers.

Huacachina, otherwise known as the breath-taking oasis, is only located 15 minutes away from Ica on a tuk-tuk. The journey costs less than a few dollars but the prices in Huacachina are substantially higher. There are hardly any locals that live in Huacachina because the prices are just too high. Huacachina is also the spot to party!

Paracas is a coastal city located on the edge of the Pacific Ocean. As the home of the Paracas National Reserve and Isla Ballestas, Paracas is a must on any Peru itinerary. But is it a good place to stay? Depends. Paracas is a rather quiet town with not much to do at night. The only pro is staying in Paracas is that you get to hear the waves of the Pacific Ocean as you fall asleep!

Personally I stayed in Ica for the prices and because I love observing local life.

Whether you’ve decided to stay in Huacachina, Ica, or Paracas, here are some accommodations we recommend in the area:

Best Hostel In Ica/Paracas/Huacachina – Ica Adventures II

Located in Ica, Ica Adventures II is a hostel for budget travelers. With comfortable beds, a rooftop terrace, and an amazing breakfast, you can’t get a better deal anywhere else! No wonder why it is one of the highest rated hostels in Ica!

Click here for more details!

Best Hotel In Ica/Paracas/Huacachina – Hotel El Huacachinero

Located in Huacachina, Hotel El Huacachinero is a hotel close to the action. Featuring an outdoor swimming pool where guests can relax and admire the soft and silky dunes around them, Hotel El Huacachinero is one of the best hotels in the area. Their breakfast is the perfect way to prepare yourself for a day of exploring!

Check prices here!

Things To Do In Ica/Huacachina/Paracas

For a complete list of things to do in the area, please check here!

1. Huacachina Oasis

If you aren’t already staying in Huacachina, a visit is something you must do. A stunning oasis in the middle of Ica, come here and ride dune buggies or try sandboarding!

I highly recommend coming to Huacachina during sunset. Hike up the dunes and watch the sun set behind the magical dunes as the skies burn with vibrant colors. They say people hallucinate in the dessert and see things they aren’t supposed to. Well, the view here is something I can’t even believe with my eyes. 

2. Ballesta Islands (Isla Ballestas) and Paracas National Reserve

Both located in Paracas, you can easily knock two birds with one stone in a single visit. Isla Ballestas are a group of islands closely located off the coast of Paracas. Here is the home of many South American species such as penguins, sea lions, and blue-footed boobies. It is definitely one of Peru highlights!

Paracas National Reserve is a huge protected area spanning 335,000 hectares. It is a magical place where the turquoise water of the Pacific Ocean meets the desert. If you are an avid photographer, the Paracas National Reserve will be a paradise for you. Don’t miss this bucket list item in Peru

3. Nazca Lines

Located about 2 hours southeast of Ica are some of the earth’s biggest mysteries. Figures of animals, plants, and other objects are etched into the sand, spanning an area of about 50 square kilometers.

To this present day, the mystery of the Nazca Lines has not been solved. Who made them? What were they for? Were there terrestrial beings?

If you want to see the Nazca Lines, I highly recommend seeing it in the air on a plane. Tours can be found in Huacachina and Paracas but you might want to consider booking in advance!

Day 6-11 (6 Days): Cusco (Capital of the Incas) and Machu Picchu

How To Get From Ica To Cusco

The next stop on our 2 week Peru itinerary is the capital of the Incas, Cusco. But how do you get there?

If you look on the map, Ica and Cusco are on opposite sides of the country. The fastest way to get there would be to get back to Lima and take a direct flight to Cusco.

The other option is to take a bus. There are buses that run from Ica to Cusco daily. However, let me warn you. Even though taking a bus is the most economical way, the journey is about 17 hours long.

You will start close to sea level and arrive at 3,400 above sea level. As you ascend higher, your body adjusts to the level of oxygen. Taking a bus to Cusco is a great way to acclimate to the high elevation.

To check the bus schedule, use busbud.com and enter your route. 

Things to Do in Cusco, Peru

Cusco was once the capital of the mighty Inca civilization before getting conquered by the Spaniards. Inevitably, you will see lots of remains of the Inca empire in Cusco. Matter of fact, many of the buildings you currently see are built by the Incas!

Situated in the Andes, the surrounding area is filled with natural wonders as well as Inca ruins. We will spend a total of 6 days in Cusco exploring the many unworldly attractions and acclimating to the altitude.

Here are some of the best things to do in Cusco, Peru.

1. Machu Picchu

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room, Machu Picchu. An abandoned ancient Inca ruins untouched by the Spaniards, Machu Picchu s one of the most spectacular Seven Wonders of the World.

Did you really think our Peru itinerary would not include Machu Picchu?

However, there are several things I need to clear up about Machu Picchu. 

1. Machu Picchu is not located in Cusco. In fact, it is located extremely far from Cusco. One of the main reasons why Machu Picchu was never discovered is because it was so inaccessible.

2. It is totally feasible to visit Machu Picchu in 1 day from Cusco. However, I would highly not recommend it because of the cost and your time of arrival at Machu Picchu. If you do want to visit in 1 day, you must take a train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes, then take a bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu, and then come back the same way. 

You will arrive at Machu Picchu midday, which is considered the worst time to arrive because of the number of tourists. Bunched up like sardines in a can, you will get smacked in the face by selfie sticks and pushed by aggressive visitors.

3. The cheapest option to visit Machu Picchu will take 2 days. You will spend one night in Aguas Calientes, otherwise known as Machu Picchu town. The way to do it is to take public transportation to Hidroelectrica. Hike two hours from Hidroelectrica to Aguas Calientes, stay the night there and then visit Machu Picchu early in the morning.

After visiting Machu Picchu, go back to where you were dropped off at Hidroelectrica to get a van back to Cusco. Of course, you can always get a tour from Cusco to do all the planning for you.

4. I highly recommend you to visit Machu Picchu as soon as you arrive in Cusco. Why? Because Machu Picchu is about 1,000 meters lower in elevation than Cusco. Visiting Machu Picchu first might actually help you acclimate to the high elevation of Cusco and prepare you for other future activities.

5. If you are doing the Inca Trail, Salkantay Trail, or any other treks to Machu Picchu, make sure you are acclimated beforehand. You might need more than two weeks in Peru in that case. Here are some things you should know before visiting Machu Picchu.

2. Sacred Valley (Namely Moray and Salineras de Maras)

The Sacred Valley receives its name from the numerous Inca ruins that starts from Pisac all the way to Machu Picchu, stretching about one hundred kilometers long. Before the ruins became ruins, they were ancient Inca settlements and villages where numerous activities such as mining and agriculture took place.

The Sacred Valley is a huge open area and technically it is free to enter. Because its attraction lies in the numerous ruins that are spread out across this lush valley.

The two places you must visit in the Sacred Valley are Moray and Salineras de Maras. 

When the Moray ruins were first discovered, archaeologists thought that Moray Ruins were an amphitheater with its circular levels. Later as more research was being done, they discovered that Moray was actually an agricultural lab. Each level was a different climate and by testing out where the crops grew best, the Incas could optimize their output!

Though not exactly an Inca ruin, the Salineras de Maras is an active salt mine that Inca used for mining salt. Nowadays, visitors are allowed to enter and see some of the salt ponds close up! It is one of the few places on Earth that produces pink salt!

Check out our recommended tour for Sacred Valley here!

3. Rainbow Moutain

You’ve probably seen this natural wonder somewhere on the Internet before arriving in Peru. The Rainbow Mountain, or Montaña de Siete Colores, is one of the most Instagram-worthy spots in Peru. Before visiting Rainbow Mountain, I doubted if the colors are actually that vibrant in real life. To my disappointment, they were not. 

The colors you see on the photos of the Rainbow Mountain are usually over-edited in post-processing. However, the colors are definitely more vibrant on a sunny day!

Try to find a tour in Cusco that leaves earlier than usual to beat the crowd. Having an unworldly place like the Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain to yourself is an unforgettable experience. 

Alternatively, visitors can hike the lesser-known Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain, an equally beautiful location in the mountains of Peru.

Secure your Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain tour online here!

Where To Stay In Cusco, Peru

Because of the high elevation in Cusco, it is a lot trickier to find the perfect place to stay. For example, you might need an oxygen-enriched room to help with altitude sickness. Therefore, we have written a complete guide on where to stay in Cusco here.

Best Hostel In Cusco – Blacky Hostel

Not only is Blacky Hostel one of the cheapest hostels in Cusco, but it also has amazing comfort and many socializing opportunities. I particularly like the super cozy and friendly atmosphere created by the amazing staff and guests! A great place to stay in Cusco for backpackers!

Check price here!

Best Hotel In Cusco – Tariq Boutique Hotel

Tariq Boutique Hotel is my favorite hotel in Cusco and it is easy to see why. The boutique hotel is small enough to get the individualized attention you need in case you fall ill. Their rooms have a huge window with jaw-dropping panoramic views of Cusco. It is also much more affordable than all the other “big name” hotels in the area!

Click here for more details!

Day 12-13 (2 Days): Puno and Lake Titicaca

Puno is the next stop on your Peru 2 weeks itinerary. We saved this city as the last place on our Peru trip because the city is located more than 3,800 meters above sea level. If you thought Cusco’s elevation was high, Puno is a whole new ball game.

But after spending several days in Cusco, you will be ready for the elevation of Puno. Located on Lake Titicaca, one of the biggest lake in South Ameria and the highest navigable lake in the world, Puno is considered Peru’s folkloric capital.

You can also find tours to Uyuni Salt Flats from Puno!

Things To Do In Puno, Peru

1. Lake Titicaca and Uros Floating Islands

Not only is Lake Titicaca the highest navigable lakes in the entire world, but it is also the home of the Uros Floating Islands, an archipelago made of artificial man-made islands. 

A visit to the Uros Floating Islands is a must on any Peru itinerary. Each individual island is made by totora, a plant of thin leaves that grows in the lake. The composition of the totora is exactly what makes the islands floatable.

Travelers can also visit the Taquile Islands located on the Titicaca Lake, where a group of indigenous Quecha-speaking people lives!

Besides the interesting history and science, the views are spectacular on Lake Titicaca. You can see across the border to Bolivia and some of the snow-capped mountains!

You can find full-day tours for Uros Floating Islands and Taquile here!

Where To Stay In Puno, Peru

Best Hostel In Puno – Bonny Hostel

Bonny Hostel is one of the few good hostels in Puno, Peru. Featuring comfortable single beds in dormitory rooms, guests can finally have undisturbed sleep. The showers are hot, which is something rare for a cheap hostel. Their breakfast is also very tasty and filling.

Learn more here!

Best Hotel In Puno – Tierra Viva Puno Plaza

Located next to Puno’s main plaza, Tierra Viva Puno Plaza is one of the prime hotels in Puno. Everything from the spacious rooms and comfortable beds to the helpful staff was amazing. You cannot go wrong with this hotel in Puno!

Check price here!

Day 14: Back To Cusco for Your Flight

It is highly recommended that you leave from a city different than the one you came in. If you came into Peru from Lima, then exit in Cusco and vice versa.

If your flight out of Cusco is at night, you can take one of the morning buses from Puno to Cusco. If your flight leaves in the morning or afternoon, you should leave in the night on Day 13 to arrive in Cusco early morning. Either way, check busbud.com for all bus schedules.

It will be sad to leave such a beautiful country but don’t worry, you can always come back. Northern Peru has plenty of hidden gems such as Chachapoyas for you to explore next time!

More Than Two Weeks In Peru?

Do you have more than two weeks in Peru? If you have 3 weeks in Peru or even 1 month in Peru, here are some recommendations to add to your Peru itinerary!

1. Huaraz, The Hiking Captial of Peru

Are you an avid hiker? If you answered yes to that question, then you must visit Huaraz! Located about 8 hours away from Lima on a bus, Huaraz is a small local city surrounded by stunning snow-capped mountains.

There are many gorgeous day hikes in Huaraz such as Laguna 69 and Lake Paron, but the most incredible ones are the multi-day treks that take you on extensive journeys on the Cordillera Blanc.

Make sure you have a proper hiking camera when you hike in Huaraz!

2. Arequipa, Peru’s White City

Arequipa is known as the white city of Peru because of the sillar (a type of white volcanic rock) used in the construction of the buildings.

The city is filled with so much history that the historic center is crowned as a UNESCO Heritage Site. Visitors coming to Arequipa cannot miss the mysterious Monasterio Santa Catalina. Stretching over an entire block, the Santa Catalina Monastery is one of the most fascinating religious buildings.

Travelers also cannot miss Colca Canyon. A canyon with twice the height of the Grand Canyon in the United States, the marvelous natural wonder will take your breath away!

3. Salar de Uyuni (Uyuni Salt Flats)

If you want to visit the magical Uyuni Salt Flats in Bolivia, it is completely feasible with a few-days trip from Puno. 

If you are not sure why the Salt Flats are so impressive, read here!

You will find many tour agencies in the historic center of Puno offering tours to Uyuni Salt Flats.

Combine Salar de Uyuni for a perfect Peru and Bolivia itinerary!

Peru Cost Of Travel: How Much Money To Take To Peru For 2 Weeks

The truth is, Peru can be cheap, but most visitors don’t find it that way. Why? Because they fall into tourist traps. They eat at tourist-targeted restaurants, shop from tourist-targeted vendors, and they get scammed easily.

The cost of travel in Peru doesn’t have to be high if you know where to look. If you are a budget backpacker, you can live comfortably off of 30 USD a day. A hostel in Peru costs at most 10 USD, a meal 3 USD, and the rest for transportation and attractions.

However, if you are not keeping track of money and go to places designed for tourists, a meal can cost 10-15 USD and a hotel can cost a few hundred USD.

So the question of how much money to take to Peru for 2 weeks really depends on what type of traveler you are. If you are a budget traveler, 50 USD a day will be more than enough (not including the flights). If you prefer to travel luxuriously, you can spend a few thousand dollars in 2 weeks. 

Getting Around Peru

If you are traveling for a few weeks in Peru, you will inevitably have to use some of its public transportation systems. Even though the big cities such as Lima, Cusco, and Arequipa have Uber, you can save some money by knowing how to use public transit.

For most of the cities, you will be staying in the historic center, an area where it is walkable. It is rare that you will need to take public transportation inside the city. If the distance is short, I recommend Uber for safety and convenience.

If you are traveling between cities, you must take long-distance buses. There are many different long-distance bus companies and they all have distinct features. Some are more comfortable while others are more secure.

Here are some of the most reputable bus companies in Peru:

1. Movil Bus

Movil Bus is my favorite long-distance bus company in Peru. It is affordable and comfortable. Most seats recline enough so you can sleep comfortably. VIP seats are also in each and every bus for anyone that would like more space and more reclination.

My favorite part of Movil Bus is the amazing food they provide on the journey!

2. Cruz Del Sur

Cruz Del Sur is probably the most luxurious bus company in Peru. Their buses are comfortable, their amenities are sufficient, and they have amazing security. However, the only downside is the price!

3. Oltursa

Though I haven’t been on an Oltursa bus (because I keep picking Movil for their food), I have heard great things about it as well. It is a little more pricey than average but cheaper than Cruz Del Sur!

4. Soyuz

Soyuz is the best bus company for traveling up and down the Peruvian coast near Lima, Paracas, Ica, and Nazca. It is a no-frills company. They don’t offer food or anything but your time on the bus should not be longer than a few hours!

Is Peru Hop Worth it?

First-time travelers in Peru that are looking for ways to get around will inevitably stumble upon Peru Hop, a private company responsible for transportation and tours in Peru.

Peru Hop is specifically targeted at tourists (because they are pricey) so you will not see any locals on their buses. Using their service is definitely guaranteed to be more expensive than using any of the Peruvian bus companies. However, there are some pros to using Peru Hop.

Peru Hop will pick you up at your accommodation and drop you off at your accommodation in the next city. If Spanish is not your strength, don’t worry, the staff in Peru Hop is fluent in English.

Each bus has an English tour guide that will give you a little bit of information about the place you are going to (and sell you their tours). They are also the safest bus company in all of Peru, with GPS tracking of the buses. This is especially important if you are traveling to Peru with kids or elders.

Though safety has never been an issue when I was in Peru, traveling with Peru Hop and purchasing travel insurance will give you the peace of mind you need for your Peru trip.

Click here for more details about Peru Hop!

Packing List For Peru 2 Week Itinerary

For your 2 weeks in Peru trip, you will experience high elevation, long bus journeys, and possibly extended hikes. 

Consequently, you will need a specific packing list in Peru to endure those conditions.

After spending 2.5 months backpacking in Peru, here is what I would recommend you to pack.

1.  Sunscreen – The sun at high elevation is much more detrimental than at low elevation. Pack some high-SPF sunscreen to protect yourself.

2. Melatonin, Ear Plugs, and Blindfold – These items are essential to help you get proper sleep on the long bus journeys. You will be doing a lot in our 2-week itinerary for Peru so you will need to get as much sleep as possible!

3. Filtration Water Bottle – One of my favorite traveling items. With this filtration water bottle, you can drink tap water and any water source you encounter on hikes!

4. Proper Rain Jacket (Him/Her) – The weather can be unpredictable in Peru, especially at high altitudes. Pack a light rain jacket so you will be ready when Pachamama (Mother Earth) decides to throw some rain at you! Here are some of the best light rain jackets. 🙂

5. Travel Medicine Kit – A travel medicine kit will contain the first-aid items needed when you fall ill. With a variety of medicine, you will be prepared for many different scenarios!

6. Altitude Sickness Remedy – Altitude sickness is a serious issue in Peru. This natural altitude sickness remedy will help prevent and alleviate altitude sickness. However, I do recommend getting a proper prescription from your doctor or purchasing altitude sickness medicine from Cusco!

7. Warm Wool Socks – Wool socks are essentials when traveling to cold places. Due to the high elevation of most places in Peru, it will be cold at night. Not only will wool socks keep you warm in bed, but you can also wear them on hikes!

8. Compact Travel Camera – You don’t want to miss the stunning attractions in Peru but you also don’t want to be carrying a dumbbell-like camera with you. A nice compact traveler camera is the way to go!

9. Warm Clothing – As I said with the high elevation, Peru will be cold even in the summers. It is possible for the temperature to drop below freezing in the summer at high altitudes! Please pack some warm clothing! OR buy alpaca products in Cusco! 🙂

Best Time To Visit Peru

Winter is by far the best time to visit Peru. You will have clear skies in the day time and cold nights. Winter also corresponds to dry season in Peru so you won’t see lots of rainfall. However, winter is also the peak season. Winter in Peru is from May to October. 

Summer, or the wet season, is from November to April. During this time, you will see fewer tourists and heavy rainfall. The Inca Trail is closed in February because February is usually the month with the heaviest rainfall.

Like this post? Don’t forget to save it on Pinterest! 🙂

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This is the end of our 2 week Peru itinerary! I hope this at least gave you a rough idea of the things you can do in Peru in 2 weeks

Any questions? Leave a comment!

Disclaimer: Some of the links above are affiliate links. That means if you book or make a purchase through the links, we will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you! The money will help run this site! Thank you 🙂

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The ULTIMATE 3-Week Colombia Itinerary: Cartagena, Medellin, Bogota, and More!

The ULTIMATE 3-Week Colombia Itinerary: Cartagena, Medellin, Bogota, and More!

A welcoming country with a horrendous past, Colombia has transformed and is becoming a top travel destination in South America. As the 25th biggest country in the world, it might be difficult to improvise your Colombia trip on the spot. 

As a result, I highly recommend that you have a Colombia itinerary before you arrive. I have spent close to 2 months backpacking Colombia and exploring the hidden and best places to visit in Colombia: Lost City Trek, Cocora Valley, Cartagena, Bogota, Medellin, Salento. I have done it all. 

Below is my personal 3 week Colombia itineraryThough 3 weeks in Colombia might seem too long for most people, I can guarantee you will wish you had more time! 

This Colombia travel itinerary assumes you will start in Medellin, but you can come from any of the big cities such as Cartagena or Bogota. 

Colombia Itinerary Step-By-Step Map

This is the basic outline for the Colombia 3 weeks itinerary. I suggest that you fly to Colombia through one of the major cities and out through another. That way, you can maximize your time in your three weeks in Colombia. 

3 Weeks In Colombia: The PERFECT 3-Week Colombia Itinerary

Day 1-3 (3 Days): Medellin, Once the Most Dangerous City in the World


Welcome to Colombia! Are you ready to see the best places in Colombia?? Luckily for you, you are in Medellin, the city of eternal spring.

In 1993, Medellin was announced as the most dangerous city in the entire world. It used to be a place where the name of the city would strike terror into anyone’s heart, a place where tragedy such as bombing, assassination, kidnapping, and many more terrible things happened on the daily.

Nowadays, Medellin has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Colombia. Safety is no longer an issue in most parts of the city; trendy restaurants and places are popping up here and there, and the nightlife is one of the best in the world.

I recommend spending 3 days in Medellin so you will have enough time to cover all the essentials of the city.

Things to Do in Medellin

If there are things you must do in Medellin, they would be getting to know the history of Medellin by visiting Communa 13, and taking a day trip to Guatape and Piedra del Penol.

1. FREE Walking Tour to Learn About the History of Medellin

There is no better way to know the city of Medellin than a FREE tour with a local. Don’t worry, the walking tour is very professional and the tour guides make their money off of tips.

You can find more information on their website here.

2. Communa 13

Communa 13 was the most dangerous part of the most dangerous city in the world. However, nowadays, Communa 13 has become a completely different place. Long gone are the days of violence and crime.

The city itself is trying to forget the terrible past it had and trying to build something better for the future generation. When visiting Communa 13, you will see a lot of graffiti revolving around the theme of hope, transformation, and a brighter future.

Visit Communa 13 in the daytime, preferably with a tour guide. FREE Communa 13 Graffiti tours can be found here. You do not have to pay a dime for the tour but a tip at the end is appreciated.

If you prefer a private tour for more individualized attention, check out our recommendation here. 

3. Guatape and Piedra del Penol

Guatape and Piedra del Penol is the most popular day-trip from Medellin. Often at times, you will see Guatape and Piedra del Penol put together, making you think it is actually the same place. Piedra del Penol is a huge rock formation soaring into the sky about 15 minutes away by car from the colorful town of Guatape.

It can be done easily without a guide but you will have to take Colombia’s public transportation. It will also help tons if you speak Spanish.

Here are some tours we recommend for Guatape and Piedra Del Penol if you don’t feel comfortable:

4. Memory House Museum

Prepare to shed tears if you decide to come to the Memory Museum. It is full of heartfelt tales of the Colombia conflicts and all the wars and tragedies it has experienced. It will definitely give you a better understanding of how the Colombian conflict affected the lives of local people.

5. Spend a night out in El Poblado

El Poblado is the party district of Medellin. I don’t know exactly what it is with the Colombians, but they know how to party. Come to El Poblado for an unforgettable night.

6. Arvi Park

If you are allergic to the concrete in Medellin or aching to go into nature, then I would recommend Arvi Park. Accessible with the intricate cable car system of Medellin, Arvi Park can be done as a half-day trip.

It is definitely nothing impressive and you actually have to pay a tour guide to go into some of their designated trails. Without paying, there isn’t much to explore. For that reason, I would not recommend spending your time at Arvi Park considering your next destination on this Colombia itinerary is full of nature. 

Where to Stay in Medellin

Low-Budget Accommodation

Los Patios Boutique Hostel – One of the best value for money hotels/hostels in Medellin! Offering amazing amenities such as an outdoor gym, co-working spaces, rooftop bars, and many other beautiful luxuries. Spanish classes? Tours? Anything you will need, Los Patios has you covered.

High-Budget Accommodation

574 Hotel – One of my favorite hotels in El Poblado. When staying in El Poblado, you have the risk of staying up all night due to the crazy partying. 574 Hotel is located just far enough from all the craziness, but still close enough to the action. The included breakfast was beyond delicious.

Day 4-6 (3 Days): Jardin, The Hidden Gem in Colombia

On my Colombia travel itinerary, you will head to the town of Jardin after Medellin. Jardin is a hidden gem of Colombia and many other Colombia itineraries tend to skip it.

Don’t skip Jardin.

Jardin is a beautiful little town surrounded by lush scenery on all sides. Waterfalls, caves, hikes, everywhere you go, you are in the stunning nature that Colombia is known for.

My favorite part of Jardin was definitely just going on a hike and picking up whatever fruit we found on the way, plantains, coffee beans (there are so many in that region), oranges, guavas, and more!

I would not be surprised if Jardin becomes your favorite town after spending 3 weeks in Colombia!

Things to Do in Jardin, Colombia 

The most popular thing to do in Jardin is definitely Cueva del Splendor, which is a waterfall in the cave. It is impressive but we didn’t like it as much as some of the other activities. It was very unique though.

1. Chorro Blanco Waterfall

The Chorro Blanco waterfall is the hidden gem of Jardin. It is a waterfall that is not even located on Google Maps. But that means you will have this natural beauty in complete privacy. When was the last time you had a waterfall to yourself?

Going to Chorro Blanco is definitely a full-day activity. Before going, read this guide to make sure you don’t get lost going to Chorro Blanco.

2. Cueva Del Splendor 

Cueva del Splendor is the most popular tourist activity in Jardin and it is easy to see why.

A lengthy hike into the spectacular nature and you are rewarded with a huge waterfall inside a cave. It is like nothing I have ever seen before.

There are tours in the city that take you close to the cave, but you will still need to hike for maybe another hour or so. If you DIY and take public transportation, the hike will be much longer.

3. Cafe Jardin

Cafe Jardin is located up in the hills of Jardin. Travelers can decide to take a mototaxi from the town or hike for 40 minutes.

Come to Cafe Jardin for a panoramic view of Jardin while enjoying some of the local Colombian coffee from the region.

Better yet, come at sunset and watch the lush scenery of Jardin imprint an image you will never forget. But make sure you bring some mosquito repellant!

At Cafe Jardin, you will also find the famous “I love Jardin” sign!

4. Garrucha

Garrucha is another viewpoint where you can see the entirety of Jardin. To arrive at Garrucha, you can either take a short hike or take their homemade wooden cable car!

Don’t worry, the cable car is quite secure and no accidents have happened as far as I know.

Garrucha is also a good place to watch the sunset and have a drink or two while doing it, though I prefer Cafe Jardin.

5. Cascada la Escalera

A double waterfall located very close to the town center of Jardin (45 minutes). Though not as impressive as the other waterfalls such as Chorro Blanco, it is still worth the short hike.

6. Cristo Rey

A good short hike (30 min) up to the Cristo Rey statue from the town center. Good if you are short on time and want to see Jardin from above.

Where to Stay in Jardin, Colombia

Low Budget Recommendation

Lulo’s Hostel – Amazing clean and modern place with a standard breakfast included. Tea and coffee available for free throughout the day. The terrace also has beautiful views of Jardin. Don’t forget to try their newly-opened restaurant!

High Budget Recommendation

Casa Passiflora Hotel Boutique – Though I did not stay there, I heard many great things about it! It even has a hot tub!

Day 7-9 (3 Days): Salento and Filandia, Colombia’s Coffee Region

No Colombia trip would be complete without a visit to the famous coffee region of Colombia. In our Colombia 3 week itinerary, you will head to Salento after Jardin.

Salento is a town you must visit in Colombia due to its location in the coffee region of Quindio.

I came to Colombia (especially Salento) expecting some of the best and cheapest coffee in the world. Well, everywhere you go in the world, people are crying over Colombia coffee and saying it is one of the best.

Well here’s the honest truth. I went on a coffee tour in Salento and I was disappointed. The coffee farm informed me that the coffee in Colombia is some of the worst, because all the good quality coffee is exported. So if you came to Colombia to look for good coffee, you lucked out.

Back to Salento.

Salento itself is quite a small town with not much to do. There are some cute coffee shops especially around the main square and Calle Real. Salento is also known for their trouts (trucha in Spanish) so definitely give that a try.

Here is a full guide on things to do in Salento. 

Things to Do in Salento, Colombia 

1. Hike Valle de Cocora

Valle de Cocora is the top thing to do in Salento and why many people decide to come to Salento in the first place. Wax palm trees, some towering over 60 meters, are found in only a few places in the world, and Valle de Cocora is one of them.

There are two loops you can do in Valle de Cocora to see the palm trees. One is the long loop that takes about 5 hours to complete and you have to pay twice to pass “private property”. The other is a 30-minute direct route that takes you directly to the best viewpoint for the wax palm trees.

The long route is a nice hike but nothing too special. The views aren’t too spectacular but you do cross several cool suspension bridges along the way. My recommendation would be to take the direct route and see the wax palm trees and get out. You don’t have to pay anything if you take the short route.

2. Coffee Tour

Salento is located in the coffee region of Colombia. It would be a shame to not do a coffee tour before you leave. Coffee tours can be easily found throughout the abundant travel agencies in Salento. Come and learn about every step of the process of producing a good cup of coffee.

You can also buy some good quality organic coffee at these coffee farm tours.

3. Day Trip to Filandia

Filandia is a cute colonial town 30 minutes away from Salento. The nature there is much more spectacular and is not as touristy as Salento. Make sure you eat at the famous restaurant Helena Adentro, visit the double waterfall, and check out some of the viewpoints (miradors) for sunset.

4. Santa Rita Waterfall  

If you are not tired of waterfalls after visiting Jardin, guess what? There is one in Salento too! Santa Rita waterfall is located about 90 minutes away from the city center. It is a beautiful waterfall located in the lush greenery of Colombia.

Where to Stay in Salento, Colombia

Low-Budget Recommendation

Coffee Tree Boutique Hostel– Beautiful place to stay with a porch overlooking some of the lushest scenery of Colombia. The breakfast included is one of the best in Colombia.

High-Budget Recommendation

Posada Casa Salento– One of the most beautiful hotels in the center of Salento. The space was clean and spacious, with balconies that overlook the city. Highly recommended if you want luxury in a place that is not common for luxury.

Day 10-12 (3 Days): Bogota, Colombia’s Capital

Welcome to Bogota! As the capital city of Colombia, Bogota is a place you must visit on your Colombia vacation. You will spend a total of 3 days in Bogota! Filled with history, art, and great food, Bogota has attracted travelers from all over the world.

Bogota has been through hell and back and now it has finally become a touristy-friendly destination.

However, when I visited, it didn’t feel that way.

Many of the places are dirty and some of the tourist attractions are dangerous. For example, the area La Candelaria, the “historical district” of Colombia, is quite dangerous to walk in at night. Monserrate, one of the best viewpoints of Bogota, is only safe to arrive by an Uber.

Update: Uber is now banned in Colombia (January 2020). However, you can still use Uber-like apps such as Beat, Cabify, or Didi for your travel needs!

Bogota is filled with Colombian history that you cannot get anywhere else. My recommendation is definitely to see all the things you need to see and get out.

Things to Do in Bogota

1. Free Walking Tour/Biking Tour

The free walking tour/biking tour is one of the best ways to know the city of Bogota. The “free” tours are led by locals and they tell you about the history of Bogota as well as some of the best things to do, places to eat, things to see.

Don’t miss the free walking/biking tours.

You can find more information here.

2. Zipaquira Salt Cathedral

The Zipaquira Salt Cathedral is one of the best day trips from Bogota. The cathedral is located an hour away from Bogota in the town of Zipaquira and can be easily reached by bus. 

The biggest underground cross in the world exists in the Zipaquira Salt Cathedral. As the First Wonder of Colombia, it is definitely something that should be on your Colombia itinerary.

3. Botero Museum and Gold Museum

Bogota is known for its extensive amount of high-quality museums. For example, the Gold Museum in Bogota, or Museo de Oro, contains the largest collection of gold in the world. 

Another museum such as the Botero museum contains the sculptures and artwork of the famous Colombia artist Fernando Botero. His artwork is controversial and definitely worth checking out.

4. Monserrate Viewpoint (Sunset/Night)

Monserrate is the best viewpoint in all of Bogota. The only trick is that the surrounding area is extremely dangerous at night so you would have to take an Uber. Come at sunset and wait till the sun completely disappear to watch the city of Bogota glow!

5. Eat at Andres Carne De Res 

Andres Carne De Res is one of the most famous restaurants in Bogota.  Featuring some of the best meat dishes, live music, and entertainment, Andres Carne De Res is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike. The food is above average but it is very pricey. However, the experience of eating at a high-class restaurant is well worth it. 

6. Visit the Waterfalls Surrounding Bogota

Bogota is surrounded by waterfalls on all sides. The easiest one to get to is definitely Waterfall Rio Archbishop, followed by Cascada la Chorrera, and then Salto Del Taquendama. All the waterfalls are impressive and I would recommend going to Salto Del Taquendama if you have the time.

7. Visit the Sunday Flea Market at Usaquen

If you are visiting Bogota on a Sunday, head over to Usaquen for one of the best flea markets in Colombia. Featuring handicrafts, souvenirs, and all types of weird and amazing things, the Usaquen market is a fun activity for everyone in the family.

If you are looking for company for some of these activities, check out some of the tours we recommend:

Where to Stay in Bogota

Due to the safety concerns of La Candelaria area, none of my recommendations will be in that area.

For a full guide on where to stay in Bogota, click here.

Low-Budget Recommendation

Aurora Hostel– Cozy hotel with a beautiful interior. Comfortable beds and a great common area to meet other travelers. Bar on-site that provides affordable drinks. Good value for money.

High-Budget Recommendation

bs Rosales Hotel– Beautiful big rooms away from the craziness and noise of Bogota. Comfortable beds, amazing breakfast, sleek interior, I highly recommend this place. 

Day 13-15 (3 Days): San Gil, Colombia’s Adventure Capital

Known for some of the most adrenaline-pumping activities, San Gil is the adventure capital of Colombia.

To arrive in San Gil, you will have to take an overnight bus from Bogota. It is the most economical way. You also have the option to fly from Bogota if you are short on time or don’t like night buses.

Besides heart-racing activities, there are activities for travelers who want to take it easy. The beautiful colonial town of Barichara is only a short bus ride away. Las Gachas is a beautiful river filled with naturally-made holes where you can sit in and relax. 

San Gil has more than just adventurous activities.

Things to Do in San Gil, Colombia 

For a complete guide on things to do in San Gil, click here.

1. Level 5 White-Water Rafting on Rio Suarez

The most popular activity in San Gil is definitely the level 5 white-water rafting on Rio Suarez. Level 5 rafting is extremely rare to find in the world and is the highest level where you can go rafting. There are inherent risks involved in activities like this so make sure you listen to the guide and take extra precautions.

If you are with kids, there is also a level 2 rafting that everyone can participate in.

2. Las Gachas

Las Gachas was one of the most unique things I have seen in Colombia. To put it simply, they are little holes in a running riverbed where you can sit in and relax. It is like having your own bathtub there. Las Gachas was definitely one of my favorite activities in San Gil to relax after all the crazy activities I have been doing.

How did those holes develop? I am not entirely sure. It has something to do with the minerals in the water.

Make sure you come on weekdays unless you want to socialize with the locals. Las Gachas is a popular weekend hangout spot for Colombians.

3. Cueva Del Indio/Cueva De La Vaca

The region of San Gil has many caves you can explore. The 2 most popular ones are Cueva Del Indio and Cueva De La Vaca. The two caves are completely different from each other.

Cueva Del Indio is the more adventurous and fun cave. It features parts where you have to jump into water, swim, and tight spaces. At the end of the cave, you have the option to do a 5.4m jump into the water in the darkness.

Cueva De La Vaca is the junior league of Cueva Del Indio. You don’t need to swim, the spaces are less tight, and its just a fun experience for everyone involved. If you are traveling with kids, I would recommend doing the Cueva De La Vaca over Cueva Del Indio.

4. Cascada Juan Curi

One of the most beautiful waterfalls tucked into the lush environment of Colombia. It is easy to pair a visit to Juan Curi waterfall with a visit to the Cueva Del Indio.

You can also do canyoning at this waterfall but tours will have to be obtained in San Gil.

5. Barichara

Barichara is a beautiful sleepy town less than an hour away from San Gil. Beautiful architecture, amazing scenery, and good food are some of the things you will find in Barichara. Come and spend half a day wandering around, but make sure to visit Salto del Mico when you are in Barichara.

Where to Stay in San Gil, Colombia

Low-Budget Recommendation

Hostel Trip Monkey– Family-owned hostel and you can really tell. The owners are very friendly and helpful and make sure every guest has a pleasant stay. The breakfast is phenomenal. The owner also drives you to Las Gachas for a low price.

High-Budget Recommendation

Hotel Castillo Resort– Though not super high-budget, I had to include this hotel in my recommendations. An amazing place with a great outdoor swimming pool, a tanning area, a delicious buffet breakfast, and spacious rooms. It has everything you need for a cheap price. Good value for the money you spend. 

Day 16 (1 Day): Santa Marta

Welcome to Santa Marta, one of the biggest port cities in Colombia. Can you believe you have already been in Colombia for 2 weeks?

Santa Marta has its specific charm and not a lot of people fall in love with it.

I didn’t for sure.

However, that doesn’t mean it is not a place worth seeing just for a day.

Besides, most hostels allow you to store your bags if you stay there, making your journey into Tayrona National Park much easier. The accommodations here usually come with a pool and a bar. Nothing beats a cold drink, especially a coconut, to fight the Colombian heat.

Some places in Santa Marta are also dangerous at night. To be on the safe side, ask your accommodation which areas you should avoid!

Some Colombia travel guides might recommend going to Minca after Santa Marta. Having been to Minca myself, it is a run-down Jardin. Most people go to Minca for hikes and nature, but at this point, I think you’ve had enough. It is time to relax on some of the best Colombia beaches on the Caribbean Sea.

Things to Do in Santa Marta, Colombia

1. Parque de Los Novios

Parque de Los Novio is a nice park surrounded by restaurants and bars. Sometimes there will be live entertainment as well. Great place to get something to eat or drink, but expect to pay gringo prices.

2. Camellón Rodrigo de Bastidas Park

A nice park right by the beach where you can swim. Come relax, enjoy the sun, people watch, or even take a dip in the water with the locals.

3. Tairona Gold Museum – Casa de la Aduana

A FREE museum that tells the stories of the indigenous people that lived in this area. Though the museum is not too big, it is filled with interesting facts and history.

Definitely don’t miss this one since it is FREE!

4. Lost City Trek **

** The Lost City Trek is a 5-day trek into the rainforest of Colombia. You will discover a “lost city” of the indigenous people that used to live there.

If you have time to spare or you are spending more than 3 weeks in Colombia, consider the Lost City Trek an exciting option to add to your itinerary.

Where to Stay in Santa Marta, Colombia

Low-Budget Recommendation

Hostel Masaya Santa Marta– Cheap hostel prices with the quality of a hotel. Two swimming pools. Beautiful terrace with a bar and amazing views of Santa Marta. Delicious breakfast can be purchased. Spacious rooms. Everything about this place speaks luxury. 

Masaya also offers private rooms at affordable prices.

High-Budget Recommendation

Hotel Boutique Maree– An amazing 5-star hotel for an affordable price. The rooftop with a jacuzzi, swimming pool, and cocktail bar is one of the best places in Santa Marta to be. The rooms are spacious and clean and the hotel is located in a good neighborhood. 

Day 17-18 (2 Days): Tayrona National Park, Where Jungle Meets the Caribbean Sea

As you approach the end of the 3 week Colombia itinerary, it is time to properly relax on the best Colombia beaches.

Some say Tayrona National Park is one of the most beautiful places in Colombia and I for sure had my doubts before going there. Places with a big name like that seem to be overrun with tourists and only looks good in photos, such as Machu Picchu in Peru.

After spending 2.5 days in Tayrona National Park doing nothing but relaxing on the best beaches in Colombia, I can say Tayrona is one of my favorite places in Colombia.

The best beach in Tayrona National park has to be Cabo San Juan. With a beautiful watchtower that juts into the turquoise Caribbean Sea, it offers unparalleled views. The waves are calm and are just the perfect place to suntan on the sand or go for a nice swim!

If the idea of sleeping in hammocks or tents right next to some of the most amazing Caribbean beaches sounds good to you, you definitely don’t want to miss Tayrona National Park.

You can do hikes in the jungle of Tayrona and watch the native animal species that live there and then next minute arrive at a secluded beach of the park.

The jungle reminds me of the time when I was camping in Tikal Ruins in Guatemala, especially when I started hearing the howler monkeys.

Tayrona National Park is a well-protected area of Colombia and therefore comes with many restrictions. For example, every February the Tayrona park is closed.

Read this Tayrona National Park camping guide before going.

Day 19-21 (3 Days): Cartagena, Colombia’s Most Beautiful City

To arrive at Cartagena, you will need to take a 5-hour bus from the Santa Marta bus terminal to Cartagena, and to get to Santa Marta from Tayrona, you will need to take a bus as well.

So that means you will arrive in Cartagena quite late a night.

But you have finally made it, the last stop of our Colombia itinerary for 3 weeks, Cartagena.

In the Caribbean Gem of Cartagena, you will immediately notice that the city is nothing like any of the cities you have been to in Colombia. Cartagena was one of the most important cities in protecting Colombia against invasions, hence you will see many fortresses and even the historical center is inside a wall.

Demographically, Cartagena is very diverse due to its history. You will see many different ethnic groups living here such as the Palenqueras (the women with bowls of fruits on their head)!

Things to Do in Cartagena Colombia

1. FREE Walled-City Walking Tour

No better way to know the city and understand the history of it through a guided tour by one of the locals. The FREE walled-city walking tour is funded by voluntary donations at the end of the tour. You can give as little as nothing to as much as your entire bank account.

Find more information here.

2. Explore the Walled City

If the free walking tour wasn’t enough, take some time to walk around the colorful alleys within the walled city. Every street is filled with colorful colonial buildings, Palenqueras (black women in colorful dresses with bowls of fruits on their heads), and historical landmarks.

3. Watch the Sunset at Cafe Del Mar 

Cafe Del Mar is the only restaurant that sits on top of the walls of Cartagena. Its elevated location above the ground and right next to the Caribbean sea makes it the best place to watch the sunset

Beware though, Cafe Del Mar gets crowded during sunset and the prices are geared towards tourists.

4. Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas

Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas is a historical fortress that was built on top of a hill for its strategic advantages. Its superb location gave the defending team many advantages over the approaching enemies. 

Nowadays, you can walk the fortress and explore the intricate tunnels the Spaniards set up for communication inside the fortress.

5. Mud Volcano (Volcan de Lodo el Totumo)

The mud volcano, or Volcan de Lodo el Totumo in Spanish, is a popular day trip from Cartagena. The mud inside the volcano is filled with minerals and it’s said to have “healing and therapeutic powers”. Come and enjoy the feeling of weightlessness and get a massage from one of the locals. Warning: they are not shy. 😉

6. Bioluminescent Plankton at Playa Blanca 

Located a little over away from Cartagena is a stunning beach called the Playa Blanca. Many people come here for a day trip or stay for a day or two and relax on the beaches. 

At night, there are tours that take you out to see the bioluminescent plankton in the area. These planktons make the ocean look like it has lights. Pretty cool thing to check out if you haven’t seen one before.

7. Casa En El Agua

Casa en el Agua is an island hostel located about 2 hours from Cartagena! It is quite a unique experience so check it out if you have extra time!

If you don’t feel comfortable doing any of these activities alone, check out some of these recommended tours: 

Where to Stay in Cartagena, Colombia

Low-Budget Recommendation

Bourbon St Hostal Boutique– One of the cleanest and most spacious hostels in Cartagena, perfect for anyone traveling solo in Cartagena. Each bed is equipped with an outlet, lights, and a curtain for privacy. Every room has air-conditioning which is equivalent to hitting the lottery. 

The hostel also comes with an amazing swimming pool.

High-Budget Recommendation

Hotel Capellán– An elegant 5-star hotel located close to the historical center. The decor is beautiful, modern, and romantic. Rooms are spacious, clean, and well-furnished. By far one of the best hotels in Cartagena.

Safety Tips For Traveling in Colombia

As beautiful as Colombia is, there are proper precautions that should be taken when you travel there.

The safety of Colombia has improved drastically over the years. Nowadays, most travelers would consider Colombia safe to travel.

The touristy area in most of the cities are safe during all times, but exercise extra precaution at night.

Bogota is the only city where safety was my concern. It is easy to accidentally walk into a neighborhood that is not safe. In addition, the main touristy area “La Candelaria” is not so safe at night. Try to use Uber in these areas.

UPDATE: Uber has now been officially banned in January 2020. However, visitors can use Uber-similar apps such as Beat, Cabify, or Didi for their travel needs. Those apps are looked down upon by the locals so make sure you get in the front passenger seat when you get in the car. If your driver gets pulled over, remember to stick up for them and say you are related to the driver!

Pickpockets are probably more of a concern than armed robbery, especially at bars, clubs, and public transportation. Keep an eye on your belongings in crowded areas.

I recommend getting travel insurance when visiting Colombia.

Packing List for Your 3 Weeks in Colombia Trip

For your 3-week Colombia itinerary, you will be going from the hottest beaches in Colombia to the Andes mountains in Bogota. 

The weather will go from suffocatingly hot to freezing cold, especially at night. Hence, you will need to have a comprehensive packing list. 

Outside of the regular packing items you need for every trip, you should pack:

1.  Sunscreen Saves you from skin cancer and looking like a tomato. Better pack some for your Colombia trip.

2. Insect Repellent with Picaridin – Colombia is very tropical and humid. There are tons of insects and mosquitos. Pack some so you don’t come back looking like you broke out in hives!

3. Filtration Water Bottle – One of my favorite traveler items. It will save you money from buying water, and will also save you in dire circumstances.

4. Rain poncho or rain jacket – The weather can be unpredictable in Colombia. Even when you are traveling in the dry season, there is always a possibility of rain. Pack a lightweight rain poncho or jacket at all times to stay dry!

5. Travel Medicine Kit – A travel medicine kit will contain the first-aid items needed when you fall ill. With a variety of medicine, you will be prepared for many different scenarios!

6. Warm Clothing – The Andes region of Colombia is high in elevation. If you plan on visiting any of the cities there (such as Bogota), you will inevitably need some warm clothing.

Best Time To Visit Colombia

Colombia’s relative location to the equator results in two seasons: the dry season and the wet season. However, the weather could differ drastically in the country because of the different topographical regions. What I mean is that the weather in the Andes will differ from the weather on the Caribbean coast. 

As a result, it is difficult to pinpoint the best month to visit Colombia. Generally speaking, Colombia is a great country to travel year-round. Rainy season does not mean that it will rain the whole day. Usually showers only last a few hours. 

In the Andes, the rainy season is in the months of May to July and October to December. On the Caribbean coast, however, the months with the heaviest rainfalls are September and October.

Another factor to consider when visiting Colombia is when is its peak season? When is Colombia the most expensive to travel? 

Colombians love to travel and they have lots of holidays during the months of December and January. These are the peak seasons in Colombia and prices soar during these months. Hotels are full, beaches are crowded, and tour availabilities decline.

If you are backpacking Colombia or traveling on a budget, I recommend not visiting Colombia in December and January. 

Overall, Colombia’s weather is the best from December to March, but aim to avoid the high season to save money!

Getting Around Colombia

I am happy to say that getting around in Colombia is quite easy. Their bus system between the cities is very reliable. However, you must consider the distance between the cities you are traveling to. Colombia is a big country – 2 times the size of the US State Texas.

Inevitably, there are going to be some bus journeys such as the ones in our 3 week Colombia trip that will take several hours. It is recommended to take these long bus journeys at night so you don’t waste your entire day on a bus.

The best bus company (from my experience) is Bolivariano. You can purchase their bus tickets at the bus station in the respective city or visit them online here. Apparently you can also bargain for your bus ticket in person to get a lower price, though I did not try that when I was in Colombia.

Keep in mind that you might be traversing through the Andes on your bus journey. The roads are windy and the driver will be aggressive. Carry motion-sickness pills with you on your Colombia vacation. 

The other obvious option to get around Colombia is by flying. There are budget airlines such as LATAM that will offer affordable domestic flights. Sometimes the flights are even cheaper than the bus tickets!

More Than 3 Weeks In Colombia?

Do you have more than 3 weeks in Colombia? Worry not! Colombia has enough attractions to keep you excited for months! If you are planning on staying for more than three weeks, here are some places I recommend:

1. Minca

We talked briefly about Minca in our Colombia itinerary because it is a popular day trip for anyone visiting Santa Marta and Tayrona National Park. Minca is located in the rainforest region of Colombia. There are various hikes to do and gorgeous waterfalls to visit in the area. The giant hammock that hovers over the canopy in Casa Elemento is something worth seeing on your Colombia trip.

2. Cali

As the capital of Salsa dancing in the world, Cali is a place you must visit if you are into Salsa dance. If you are not a big dancer yourself, you are still more than welcome to just admire from the sideline. It is mesmerizing what the Colombians can do with their hips! Shakira was right about their hips not lying!

3. Tatacoa Desert

Tatacoa Desert is one of the most stunning landscapes in Colombia. Unlike the typical deserts that are covered by sand dunes, Tatacoa’s most iconic features are the dry and rocky canyons that span across. The Tatacoa Desert is also one of the darkest places in the entire world, the ideal place for stargazing. 

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This concludes our 3 week itinerary in Colombia. I hope it has at least given you a rough idea of how to spend your 3 weeks in Colombia.

Any questions? Leave them in the comments!

Disclaimer: Some of the links above are affiliate links. That means if you book or make a purchase through the links, we will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you! The money will help run this site! Thank you 🙂

9 TOP Things to Do in Jardin Colombia

9 TOP Things to Do in Jardin Colombia

Jardin, a beautiful small town located 4 hours South of the city of Medellin, is a tourist destination that many people skip when traveling in Colombia.

However, the word is out and many tourists are now flocking to Jardin for some of the best waterfalls, hikes, and exotic caves. What to do in Jardin Colombia when there are so many great attractions? 

Below we have selected the 9 top things to do in Jardin and you will see why Jardin is a place you must visit in Colombia!

What To Do in Jardin: 9 BEST Things to do in Jardin, Colombia

1. Hike to the Hidden Waterfall Chorro Blanco

To be honest, I had never heard of Chorro Blanco until I arrived in Jardin. I can bet almost no travelers have heard of Chorro Blanco before they arrive.

Chorro Blanco is a gigantic waterfall located in a secluded part of the lush environment in Jardin. It is so hidden that you will not be able to find Chorro Blanco on Google Maps.

But that only piqued our interest. Typically waterfalls are overrun by tourists. If you have visited the waterfalls in Bali Indonesia, you will understand. Chorro Blanco is a waterfall that rarely sees any tourists.

We were pleasantly surprised by Chorro Blanco when we arrived, despite the difficult way to get there. It is how a waterfall should be enjoyed, in isolation and at one with nature. Don’t miss out on Chorro Blanco, it is our favorite thing to do in Jardin.

How to Get to Chorro Blanco from Jardin?

Getting to Chorro Blanco form Jardin is quite complicated but worth the effort. I have written a completely separate guide for Chorro Blanco here.

Long story short, it will be a full-day activity that can take about 4+ hours of hiking, depending on which route you take.

2. Discover a Waterfall in a Cave at Cueva Del Splendor

Now Cueva Del Splendor is the opposite of Chorro Blanco. Before I even arrived in Jardin, I heard from many travelers that you have to see Cueva Del Splendor when you visit Jardin.

Cueva Del Splendor did not disappoint.

A huge waterfall entering through the opening of the cave, powerful enough to wash away anything in its way. It is no doubt one of the best places to visit in Jardin.

You can swim in the waterfall if you want but when I visited the water was freezing.

How to Get to Cueva Del Splendor from Jardin?

There are three ways to get to Cueva del Splendor from Jardin. The easiest way is through a tour agency. I highly don’t recommend this way unless you don’t feel comfortable with hiking for 4-5 hours because you will be grouped with a bunch of people. The cave is not that big and it will be crowded.

The other option is to take public transport at the bus terminal. The shared jeep takes you quite far up the road but you will have to hike the last 1.5 hours on your own. The only problem with that is on the way back it will be difficult to find transportation and you might have to hike for 3-4 hours to get back.

The last option is taking a private taxi (mototaxi). They drop you off at the same place as the Jeeps but you will have flexibility as to when you want to leave.

3. Get a Panoramic View of Jardin at CAFE JARDIN

When you are not hiking or chasing waterfalls, take a break at one of the beautiful cafes called Cafe Jardin.

Cafe Jardin is located up in the mountains of Jardin and in my opinion, is the BEST viewpoint there is in Jardin. Not only will you get a panoramic view of Jardin from above, but you can do that while enjoying some Colombian coffee and sweets at an incredibly cute cafe.

After you are done being amazed by the beauty of Jardin, the “I love Jardin” sign is conveniently located adjacent to Cafe Jardin. Time to tell your Instagram followers you are in Colombia!

How to Get to Cafe Jardin from Jardin?

That are two options to get there.

The first one is to hike via Cristo Rey which takes about 30-45 minutes. The way is entirely uphill. I recommend you to do a loop starting with Cascada La Escalera, then to Cafe Jardin, then Cristo Rey, and finally returning back to Jardin.

The second way to get to Cafe Jardin is through one of the mototaxis in town. You can flag them down and pay a small price for them to take you there.

4. Take a Short Hike to the Double Waterfall Cascada La Escalera

Want to go see some of Jardin’s most beautiful natural wonders but don’t want to hike for hours? Then the waterfall Cascada La Escalera is perfect for you.

Though not as impressive as the waterfalls in Cueva del Splendor or Chorro Blanco, you get what you paid for (or hiked for).

If you come after rainfall, the Cascada La Escalera will be much more impressive.

How to Get to Cascada La Escalera?

Cascada La Escalera is conveniently located 45 minutes away on foot from the city center of Jardin. Travelers usually stop by Cafe Jardin after visiting Cascada La Escalera to enjoy some delicious snacks and coffee before making the full loop and returning to Jardin.

5. Ride a Wooden Cable Car at Garrucha

Only the bravest shall attempt this dangerous activity. The WOODEN cable car Garrucha is one of the most extreme things you can do in Jardin.


This wooden cable car is safe and is used by the locals to transport both passengers and goods up to the viewpoint. The cable car ride lasts about 5 minutes but you are flying (slowly) through the banana and plantains trees. It was quite an experience.

At the top of the cable car, you have a viewpoint where you can see the entirety of Jardin as well as a restaurant where you can get food and drinks.

However, I still much prefer Cafe Jardin over Garrucha.

How to Get to the Garrucha?

To arrive at Garrucha, you can take the scenic route through Charco Corazon (a cute little river), which will take you about an hour.

Or option 2 is the less scenic route which takes about 30 minutes from the center of Jardin.

Option 3 is to take the wooden cable car from the town of Jardin. 

6. Check Out the Viewpoint at Cristo Rey

Jardin is full of beautiful viewpoints and Cristo Rey is one of those.

It is a statue of Christ Rey that can be seen anywhere from town. Come here and check out the beautiful white statue. Take a picture of it with the beautiful town of Jardin as your background!

How to Get to Cristo Rey?

A short 30-minute hike from the city center of Jardin will take you to Cristo Rey. There are options to arrive on horseback and vehicles as well. 

7. Take a Dip at the River Charco Corazon

Charco Corazon is the river the borders the southern border of Jardin. You have the option to swim in several places but just be careful as the river gets quite strong especially during the rainy season.

But obviously you are more than welcome to just walk by and admire its beauty!

How to Get to Charco Corazon from Jardin?

It’s super easy and quick (30 minutes) to get to Charco Coraon from the town center of Jardin. Google maps will take you to the right place if you put Charco Corazon!

8. See the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception at Town Center

In every town, there is a magnificent church that stands in the center of the town square.

Jardin is no exception.

The Basilica of the Immaculate Conception is Jardin’s iconic church. Built by the “sins” of the local people, the church is a beautiful piece of art. The high ceiling inside and the detailed paintings are definitely some things worth checking out.

The Basilica of the Immaculate Conception is one of the best attractions in Jardin

Luckily for you, it is conveniently located in the town center so you can’t miss it!

9. Explore a Man-Made Bat Tunnel

The bat tunnel is a unique thing to do in Jardin. It is pretty secretive so not many people know about it. But if you ever walked the scenic route to Garrucha, you will notice this greenish door that doesn’t look like it belongs there.

That is because it doesn’t. The owner of the Bat Tunnel carved the entire thing by himself. (You can call him Batman.) The whole experience is very surreal as he takes you through the cave and shows you all the bats that live inside! Don’t be afraid though, they don’t bite.

The end of the cave leads you to a hidden waterfall!

How to Get to The Bat Tunnel from Jardin?

You can find the owner of the bat tunnel here on Google Maps. 

Where to Stay in Jardin Colombia

Best Hostel In Jardin – Lulo’s Hostel

Lulo’s Hostel is my favorite hostel in Jardin. A simple but elegantly designed hostel, guests can enjoy their stay in their comfortable rooms or beautiful roof terrace. Their staff is friendly and willing to go out of their way to assist you. Make sure you check out their newly-opened restaurant as well!

Click here for more details!

Best Hotel In Jardin – Casa Passiflora Hotel Boutique

With the quality of a luxury hotel, it is surprised that Casa Passiflora Hotel Boutique offers such high quality at a low price. Everything from the interior decor of the hotel to its friendly staff is just perfect. Did I mention the hot tub in the rooms?

Click here for more details!

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Those are the top 9 things to do in Jardin Colombia. I really hope you get to do at least a few of the popular ones.

As we said, Jardin was our favorite town in Colombia so we hope you enjoyed or will enjoy it!

If you have any questions, leave a comment or contact us via email!

Disclaimer: Some of the links above are affiliate links. That means if you book or make a purchase through the links, we will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you! The money will help run this site! Thank you 🙂

Guide to Camping in Tayrona National Park

Guide to Camping in Tayrona National Park

Tayrona National Park, one of the best places to visit in Colombia, is a place where the beautiful Caribbean Sea meets the magical forest. Filled with exotic wildlife, indigenous tribe, and coconuts trees everywhere, Tayrona National Park is a place that should be in every Colombia Itinerary.

However, arranging accommodations in Tayrona National Park can be confusing, especially if you want to camp. Since camping is one of the best ways to connect with nature and enjoy the surroundings, there are numerous campgrounds in Tayrona National Park.

With so many campsites to choose from and so many pros and cons, which one will you choose to be your base for your Tayrona adventure?

This guide to camping in Tayrona National park will answer all the questions you have about the different campgrounds in Tayrona National Park! 

Tayrona National Park Map

Camping in Tayrona National Park can be quick tricky because you cannot book most of the campsites online beforehand. This guide will give you an overview of the different camping grounds available in Tarona National park through the El Zaino entrance (the most popular one). The majority of the campsites can be booked the day of at the entrance of the park, except for Ecohabs and the two hotels in the park. 

Where To Stay In Tayrona National Park

Don Pedro Camping

Don Pedro camping is one of the most popular campsites in Tayrona National Park. Located about an hour from the shuttle drop off point, Don Pedro is a convenient campsite for travelers that want to explore a little deeper inside Tayrona National Park but still want to be close to the exit.

Don Pedro campsite features an on-site restaurant (with hour restrictions), showers (with hours restrictions), bathrooms, a basic kitchen, tents, and hammocks.

In general, Don Pedro is a solid choice for any travelers looking to camp in Tayrona National Park. Though it is not right on the beach, the closest beach can be easily reached within 10 mins of walking. However, you are not allowed to swim on that beach because it is dangerous.

Watch out for falling coconuts when you are in camping Don Pedro. Coconuts kill more people than sharks per year!

Cabo San Juan, Best Place For Hammocks In Tayrona National Park

Cabo San Juan is the most popular camping spot in Tayrona National Park, and for good reason. Located about 1.5 hours away from the shuttle drop off point, Cabo San Juan is the furthest camping site there is through the Zaino entrance.

There are two places where you can stay in Cabo San Juan, the watchtower that is jutting into the Caribbean Sea, or on the beach. If you do stay on the watchtower, they only have hammocks and it gets very windy and chilly at night.

Bring a blanket if you want to stay at the watchtower. Also, you might want to bring some insect repellant because those hammocks do not come with a mosquito net.

If you stay on the beach, you can decide between staying in a tent or staying in a hammock. The hammocks on the beach also do not have mosquito nets. The hammocks at the watchtower tend to get sold out quickly, especially during peak season. Make sure you reserve them in advance.

You can reserve your Cabo San Juan accommodation at the entrance of the park or at the reception on site.

Cabo San Juan campsite also features an on-site restaurant, showers and toilets, snorkeling equipment rental, and boat trips to Taganga (a small beach town).

Though a bit touristy and crowded, I would highly recommend staying at least one night in Cabo San Juan for the experience.  

Castilletes Campsite

Castilletes is the closest campsite from the Zaino entrance of the park that is on the beach. It is also the only campsite where you can book directly online here.

Located a 45-minute walking from the entrance of the park, Castilletes camping ground is the only campsite that the shuttle can take you to because the shuttle passes by it. If this is your first or last day in the park, you might want to consider staying at Castilletes for an easier time leaving and entering the park. 

Castilletes is a very beautiful campground with many amazing amenities including a restaurant, showers and toilets, hammocks, tents, and even Wi-Fi. Though you might be sleeping right next to the sea, you cannot swim in the water adjacent to the campground because the waves are rough.

It is a whole completely different atmosphere than Don Pedro or Cabo San Juan. Castilletes camping ground is a whole paradise on its own.


Though we were told it wasn’t an option to stay in any of the Arrecifes camping grounds at the entrance of the park, we did see a lot of people at those camping grounds.

When I say Arrecifes camping ground, I am referring to the campgrounds that are closest to the Arrecifes beach. However, none of these camping sites are actually on the beach itself, they are the best option if you don’t want to walk far to reach the beach.

It is unsure how you can book these tents and hammocks at the various campsites in Arrecifes since we were not given the option when we rented our tents at the entrance of the park. Honestly, from what I saw, you are better off staying in Don Pedro, which is a few minutes away from the campsites in Arrecifes. Don Pedro has better amenities and is only a few minutes more away from the beach.

Ecohabs, The “Luxury” Tayrona National Park Hotels

Ecohabs, or most commonly miscalled as Ecohuts, are the most luxurious type of accommodations you can get in Tayrona National Park. Though Ecohabs are not for camping, I would like to include it in this guide to outline all the options there are.

Located at Cañaveral beach, the Ecohabs are situated on top of a hill surrounded by dense vegetation. Each Ecohab offers spectacular views unmatched by any other viewpoints in the park, miles of turquoise Caribbean Sea and white sand beach.

If you can afford to splurge on the Ecohabs, I would highly recommend doing so. It is an experience you will not forget.

Ecohotel Yachay Tayrona or Hotel Jasayma Tayrona

The last type of accommodations in Tayrona National Park is the Ecohotel Yachay Tayrona and the Hotel Jasayma Tayrona. These two hotels are situated right next to each other and are the closest hotels to the entrance of Tayrona Park. That means you won’t have to go that far into the park to reach your accommodation but that also means you will it will take you longer to reach other parts of the park, especially the beautiful Cabo San Juan.

Both of these hotels are located in the heart of the forest, meaning that at night there will be a lot of insects. The hotels do offer mosquito nets but light attracts them so you will find them everywhere within the vicinity of the hotel. It is a totally surreal experience to fall asleep to the sound of the jungle and to be woken up by the native birds of the area.

Breakfast is included in the stay but their on-site restaurant also serves some amazing dishes. Additionally, the hotels have WiFi if you need it. 

Tayrona National Park Hostel

I am going to address one of the most common questions I get about Tayrona National Park.

Are there hostels in Tayrona National Park?

The answer is… NO!

There are no hostels in Tayrona National Park. However, there are many great hostels near the entrance of Tayrona National Park.

I personally stayed at one of the top-rated hostel, The Journey Hostel, and had an amazing time. I would recommend staying there or in Santa Marta before going into Tayrona Park. 

Bringing Your Own Tent Into Tayrona National Park

You are allowed to bring your own tents into the park. However, you are only allowed to camp in the designated campsites like the ones I mentioned above.  You are NOT allowed to camp in the wilderness.

In addition, you will need to pay a fee to erect your tent in the designated areas. In July 2019, it was 10,000 COP to do so. It is still much cheaper than renting one of their tents (and much cleaner as well).

Things to Know Before Going to Tayrona National Park

Tayrona National Park is one of the most protected areas in Colombia. As a result, there are many regulations and rules.

1. Yellow Fever Vaccine

Though the Yellow Fever vaccine is listed as a must to enter Tayrona National Park, I was never asked if I had proof of it. The same thing also happened to many travelers I have met. However, better safe than sorry.

2. Water and Food Are Available in the Park but are Overpriced

If you were thinking of just buying water and food in the Tayrona National Park, think again. Though there are many places that sell water and a proper meal, they are quite overpriced.

3. No Alcohol is Allowed

4. No Loud Music is Allowed

Headphones are allowed but if you were planning on blasting some reggaeton in the park, you will be stopped by the patrols and obviously tossed into the sea. Music is detrimental to wildlife in the area, sometimes disrupting their way of life.

5. No Plastic Bag is Allowed to Enter the Park

In the effort to stop the littering of plastic, Tayrona National Park has banned all plastic packs, though we did sneak one in (we are badasses). Just make sure you dispose of it properly!

6. Store Your Big Luggage in Santa Marta

If you are camping, you should not take more than a small backpack with you. Store your luggage in your accommodation in Santa Marta.  

7. Tayrona National Park is Closed in February!

Due to the agreements with the indigenous tribes that still live inside Tayrona National Park. The park is closed every February. For the exact dates it is closed, refer to the Tayrona Park official site.

Packing List for Tayrona National Park

Located in the heart of the rainforest as well as on the Caribbean coast, there are many things you should pack for your visit to Tayrona National Park. Here are things we recommend:

1. Passport – Not because you want to, but you have to in order to enter the park! You cannot enter Tayrona National park without your passport.

2. Cash – There are no ATMs in the park and the restaurants and other vendors only accept cash.

3. Insect Repellent and Sunscreen – Insect Repellent for the army of insects you will encounter in Tayrona National Park. Sunscreen to avoid looking like a burnt lobster.

4. Bathing Suit and Microfiber Towel – Self-Explanatory.

5. Combination Locks – Every campsite has lockers but they do not give you a padlock. Bring your own to use the lockers or even for locking up your tent!

6. Warm clothes – Especially if you are sleeping in the hammocks!

7. Reliable Flashlight – For going to the bathroom at night or traveling inside the park after sunset. A must-have for Tayrona National Park 

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This marks the end of the guide to camping in Tayrona National Park. Camping really enhances your whole entire experience in the park and I suggest not to do it any other way.

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