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.

Enjoy!

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!

Catarata-de-Gocta

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

Laguna-Wilcacocha-Huaraz-Peru

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!

Humantay-Lake

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.

Pastoruri-Glacier-Huaraz-Peru

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!

Laguna-Paron

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 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!

Marcahuasi-Lima-Peru

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.

Huayna-Picchu-Hike-Peru

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.

Rainbow-Mountain-Peru

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.

Climbing-Machu-Picchu-Mountain

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.

Choquequirao-Peru

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.

Inca-Trail-Peru

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!

Colca-canyon-5

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!

Lares-Trek-Peru

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.

Akilpo-Ishinca-Trek-Peru

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.

Peru-Huaraz-Santa-Cruz-Trek

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.

Salkantay-Trek-Day-1(3)

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!

Ausangate-Trek

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

Mate-de-Coco

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!

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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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.

Enjoy!

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

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

Miraflores-Boardwalk-Malecon-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

Larcomar-Miraflores-Lima
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

Maido-Miraflores-Lima-Restaurant
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

Peruvian-Ceviche

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

Huaca-Pucllana-Miraflores-Lima

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)

Love-Park-Parque-del-Amor-Lima
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

Parque-Kennedy-Miraflores-Peru-Things-To-Do

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

Peru-Itinerary

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

Surfing-Miraflores-Peru

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

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

Salsa-Dancing-Miraflores-Lima-Peru

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

Costa-Verde-Miraflores-At-Night

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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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!

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 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.

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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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Where to Stay in Cusco, Peru: Best Hotels and Hostels

Where to Stay in Cusco, Peru: Best Hotels and Hostels

Cusco (Cuzco), a colonial city that used to be the capital of the Inca empire, is filled with beautiful cobble-stoned streets, cute alpaca on the streets, and amazing Peruvian gastronomy. Not only is the city one of the places you must visit in Peru, but Cusco itself is a good place to visit all the attractions nearby. Rainbow Mountain, Macchu Picchu, Sacred Valley, these are just some of the places you can visit from Cusco.

Due to its popularity with tourists, there are so many different accommodations in Cusco. Selecting the best place to stay in Cusco from the hundreds of choices is quite a challenging task. Luxury hotel, hostels, bed and breakfast, boutique hotels, what do you pick?

Don’t worry! In this guide, we will help you decide where to stay in Cusco to make sure you have the perfect visit to this UNESCO Heritage Site

Want a Quick Tip on Where to Stay in Cusco, Peru?

In a hurry to decide on where to stay in Cusco?

Our favorite neighborhood in Cusco is San Blas!

San Blas is a neighborhood immediately north of the Plaza de Armas, or the Main Square of Cusco. Though still considered as part of the historic center, San Blas is concentrated with some of the best things to do in Cusco.

A beautiful and colonial area filled with artisan crafts and traditional Peruvian restaurants, San Blas is undoubtedly one of the best places to stay in Cusco. The whole neighborhood is filled with Inca architecture and artifacts such as the twelve-angled stone.

This is one of the most tourist-friendly neighborhoods in Cusco. As a result, there are some of the best hostels and hotels in Cusco in this neighborhood.

Best Place to Stay in Cusco, Peru

Cusco is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Peru. Consequently, many travelers believe that there are many different neighborhoods to stay in Cusco.

That is not true.

Most hotels and hostels are near Plaza de Armas, or the Main Square of Cusco. This entire area is called the historic center, or Centro Historico in Spanish, and it is the best place to stay in Cusco. Restaurants, the Cusco Cathedral, souvenir stores, and tour agencies (for Machu Picchu, Rainbow Mountain, Sacred Valley, etc) are all located in the historic center. 

Any accommodation in the historic center is a good place to stay in Cusco. The entire neighborhood is very walkable and you can go from one end to the other end in 20 minutes.

There is a sub-neighborhood in the north and northwest parts of the historic center called San Blas. San Blas is a historical area filled with handicrafts, Peruvian souvenirs such as alpaca clothing, and restaurants with amazing Peruvian cuisine. 

Known for its hippie culture and artistic vibes, travelers interested can stay in San Blas. It is not particularly important to stay in the San Blas area because you can simply walk to it in less than 15 minutes.  

Best Hotels in Cusco, Peru

Selecting the right hotel for your Cusco trip might be daunting because of the countless number of hotels in Cusco. Not only that, the language barrier and the high altitude (3399m) are obstacles that you will inevitably encounter on your visit to Cusco.

The typical hotels that are amazing for your normal trips are no longer suitable. You need an accommodation in Cusco that is accustomed to the problems tourists face in this new foreign land.

You might suffer altitude sickness in Cusco due to its high altitude (most do), so your Cusco hotel needs to be able to provide oxygen support. The staff in the hotel should be able to tell you the best things to do in Cusco and the most economical way to go about those activities. It should recommend local Peruvian dishes to try, but also not try to scam you because you are a tourist.

Just having big spacious rooms with comfortable beds, luxurious decorations, and free high-speed wifi is no longer sufficient. Below we have listed our favorite hotels in Cusco that will make your visit perfect! 

Best 5-Star Hotels in Cusco, Peru

JW Marriott El Convento is one of the best 5-star hotels in Cusco. Come and enjoy the beautiful and ancient courtyard and play with the baby alpaca Panchita. Stay in one of the oxygen-enriched rooms with real historic Inca walls. The hotel itself feels like its own lost city inside Cusco, a relic of the past. The staff is happy to assist you with anything including planning your trip to Machu Picchu.

If you don’t feel so well after hiking in the Andes, visiting Machu Picchu, or for any altitude-related sickness, the hotel offers free oxygen treatment that will make you feel better. After the oxygen treatment, relax in their indoor relaxation pool or their spa. Their breakfast buffet is filled with international and Peruvian delicacies and is the perfect way to start your sightseeing in Cusco.

The personalized attention you get from this hotel makes it feel like a 5-star home, not a hotel.

Click here for more details!

One of the best 5-star Cusco hotels with oxygen, Palacio del Inka is located in a historic Inca site. The hotel is named Palacio del Inka because it used to be a palace for the Inca.

Daily tours of the hotel are offered to explain the significance and the history of the Inca. Lessons for Pisco sour, the national drink of Peru, are also offered daily. 

The hotel is one of the few hotels with a gym, perfect for travelers who need a little bit of training before doing the Inca Trail, Salkantay Trek, or any other hikes to Machu Picchu.

Travelers that have not adapted to the altitude of Cusco can visit the adjacent Qorikancha, the most important temple in the Inca Empire.

The staff is attentive and will personally go above and beyond to make sure you have a good time in the hotel and outside the hotel in Cusco.

Click here for more details!

Was it ever your dream to stay in a monastery? Well here is your chance. Belmond Hotel Monasterio is a beautifully restored 15th-century monastery. Most of the design of the monastery has been kept the way it was, as visible by the beautiful courtyard and architecture. It is an attraction in Cusco on its own

The experience of staying in this hotel is a bucket list item in Peru. If you are not sure where to stay in Cusco and want a unique accommodation, consider staying at Belmond Hotel Monasterio.

This 5-star hotel also has one of the best breakfast buffets in Cusco. Their oxygen-enriched rooms can help anyone suffering from altitude sickness. This 5-star hotel is a great base for all the activities you will be doing in Cusco.

Click here for more detail!

Best Cheap Hotels in Cusco, Peru

If you want to stay in a monastery but don’t want to spend big money on the hotel? Consider Hotel Monasterio San Pedro. Located across the local market San Pedro, you can eat local Peruvian food, shop for alpaca souvenirs, and observe Peruvian culture just right across the street.

As a restored monastery, the hotel has one of the most beautiful courtyards in Cusco. It is the perfect place to relax after a day of exploring the Cusco or visiting Machu Picchu.

Click here for more details!

Hosteria de Anita is a small cheap hotel located in the San Blas neighborhood of Cusco. Many of the famous attractions such as the twelve-angled rock, Plaza de Armas, and Cusco Cathedral are just within a 10-minute walk. With affordable and spacious rooms, an amazing breakfast buffet, and a cute courtyard to relax, guests will surely fall in love with this economical hotel. 

Click here for more details!

Not only is Los Aticos B&B a cheap accommodation, but it is also one of Cusco’s best bed and breakfast establishments. Located close to the main square Plaza de Armas, guests can enjoy the convenience of visiting Cusco’s best attractions. This bed and breakfast is situated in a small alley with just foot traffic, so guests can rest in peace and quiet, something that is rare so close to the historic center.

The buffet breakfast, big spacious rooms, and the friendly staff working at the 24-hour reception make this cheap bed and breakfast one of my favorite places to stay in Cusco!

Click here for more details!

Best Hostels in Cusco, Peru

Cusco is one of the top destinations for travelers backpacking Peru. As a result, there are over hundreds of hostels in just the historic center of Cusco. 

With so many hostels to pick from, it might be difficult to which one is the best hostel in Cusco for you. 

Are you looking for a party hostel? A capsule-style bed hostel? Or are you looking for a quiet hostel? 

For me, I prefer a hostel that is social. A little bit of partying is fine but it should by no means disturb anyone that wants to sleep. The beds must be comfortable and the rooms cannot be too crowded. Hot water is a plus (Many cheap accommodations don’t have that in Cusco). And most importantly, it should be an affordable hostel.

Based on those criteria, I have selected what I believe are some of the best hostels in Cusco. 

Best Party Hostels in Cusco, Peru

Wild Rover is one of the most famous party hostels in Cusco. With many other locations in Peru such as Mancora, Huacachina Oasis, and more, Wild Rover hostel knows how to throw a party. Every local knows that if you want to have a wild night, you go to Wild Rover. The only downside of Wild Rover is that it is a little far from the main square and you won’t be getting a lot of sleep with the noise!

Click here for more details! 

Cusco has two famous party hostels, the first one is Wild Rover as we mentioned above, and the second one is Loki. Both are them are battling each other for the title of the best party hostel in Cusco. Luckily for travelers having a difficult time deciding which one of the two to stay in, the two hostels are right next to each other.

Loki, similar to Wild Rover, has locations throughout Peru as well. And similar to Wild Rover, don’t expect lots of sleep but do expect an amazing social hostel full of partying.

Click here for more details! 

Best Cheap Hostels in Cusco, Peru

Blacky Hostel is one of my favorite hostels in Cusco, Peru. Not only is it one of the cheapest hostels in Cusco, but it is also comfortable and social. The staff is friendly and offers tours to many of the best attractions in Cusco such as Machu Pichu and Rainbow Mountain at a cheaper price than more tour agencies. The common areas have a very homey atmosphere and it is very easy to make friends there!

Click here for more details!

The Point Hostels is a high-quality cheap hostel in Cusco, Peru. A social hostel with amazing activities to help you meet fellow travelers, you will never spend a day alone in The Point Hostel. They do have a bar and a common area that tend to get a little rowdy at night, but you will never hear the noise from the rooms. It is a perfect combination of good rest and social atmosphere.

Click here for more details!

Best Overall Hostels in Cusco, Peru

Closely located to the best sights, Nao Victoria is one of the best places to stay in Cusco. The main square Plaza de Armas is located a few minutes away. Though its location is amazing, it isn’t even close to Nao Victoria’s best features.

The hostel’s stylish and modern decoration along with its cleanliness makes it feel like a hotel more than a hostel. Each dormitory bed is equipped with individual lights, a curtain, and an electric socket. The staff becomes your best friend on your arrival day and helps you with your visit to Cusco, including information about Machu Picchu. This is one of the best hostels in Cusco. 

Click here for more details!

Pariwana Hostel is a jack-of-all-trade hostel. A social hostel with some partying but yet clean and comfortable for travelers looking to rest, it is a hostel that will satisfy most traveler’s needs. The reception also has a tour agency that will provide information about the various things to do in Cusco.

My favorite part is definitely the rare spacious rooms in a hostel. Most hostels tend to jam as many beds in a room as possible, but not at Pariwana Hostel. If you are looking for a hostel and are not sure where to stay in Cusco, Pariwana Hostel is a top choice. 

Click here for more details!

Best Boutique Hotels in Cusco, Peru

Staying in a boutique hotel is becoming more and more popular with travelers. The small-sized hotels often time give more personalized services than other large hotels. The atmosphere is more intimate and more often than not the boutique hotel feels like a second home. Boutique hotels are usually more economical than regular hotels.

Here are some of the best boutique hotels in Cusco, Peru. 

Tariq Hotel Boutique is a cute little hotel located in the bohemian neighborhood of San Blas. The rooms are some of the best-decorated rooms I have seen in all of my travels in South America. Each room has a big beautiful window overlooking the entire city of Cusco. No need to hike to the top of Saqsaywaman to get a panoramic view of Cusco, you have it in your room at all times. 

Everything about this boutique hotel in Cusco is just gorgeous. If you are all about the aesthetics of a hotel, Tariq Hotel Boutique is the hotel for you.

Click here for more details!

Located in a refurbished Inca building, many of the rooms in the Loreto Boutique Hotel have historic Inca walls. The rooms are very spacious and you will have plenty of room to put your luggage. The staff is extra friendly and will assist in with anything you need inside and outside the hotel. My friend was looking for a camera bag and a member of the staff escorted us to the shops! 

Situated adjacent to Plaza de Armas and walking distance to San Blas neighborhood and the San Pedro local market, this hotel is the perfect base for exploring Cusco.

Click here for more details!

Casa Montesinos Boutique is a hotel that feels like a mansion. Beautiful decor in an old historic building, vintage vibes with every little detail, and a balcony that looks into the antique cobble-stoned streets of Cusco, staying here is a luxurious experience.

The staff is very friendly and gives you personalized tips to plan your activities in Cusco. They will help you rent a car if you need it to visit the Sacred Valley, Inca ruins, or the Andes.

Click here for more details!

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Deciding on where to stay in Cusco can difficult with the number of accommodations there are. Hopefully, this guide helped you decide on the best places to stay in Cusco!

Any questions? Leave a comment below!

Disclaimer: Some of the links above are affiliate links. That means if you book 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 Peru Bucket List: 31 BEST Attractions in Peru

The Ultimate Peru Bucket List: 31 BEST Attractions in Peru

Peru is arguably one of the best travel destinations in the world. 

Many people know Peru just for its Seven Wonder of the World, Machu Picchu. A relic of the Incas, Machu Picchu is one of the places you must visit in Peru. But did you know that there are many more attractions in Peru than just Machu Picchu? 

Rich culture, diverse landscapes, and amazing gastronomy, Peru is a country that has it all. In the northern part of Peru along the coast, you have some of the most pristine beaches to relax on. If beaches are not your thing, the hikes in Peru in Andes mountains Peru will prove challenging to the most experienced hikers.

Don’t like either? Head into the Peruvian Amazon rainforest for a few days and experience a lifestyle you have never had. There are so many amazing things to do in Peru. 

As the 20th largest country in the world, it is impossible to list all the places to visit in Peru.

For that reason, we have compiled this ultimate Peru bucket list! We even included some of the best cities to visit in Peru!

Hopefully, this will help you plan your itinerary for your next Peru trip!

What To Do In Peru: Peru’s Best Attractions

Best Cities To Visit In Peru

1. Cusco, the Capital of the Incas

Cusco, the former capital of the Inca empire, is a place you must visit when traveling to Peru. From the Incan ruins such as Sacsayhuaman to the indigenous people walking down the street, Cusco is bustling with traditional Peruvian culture. The timeless cobble-stoned streets with gorgeous historical buildings are sprawling throughout the city, making it a photographer’s dream.

As the former capital of the Inca empire, Cusco is also a great base to explore the nearby Incan artifacts. Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Rainbow Mountain, those are some of the best places to visit in Peru. And guess what? Cusco is the perfect place to stay for all those attractions.

As the top travel destination in Peru, it shouldn’t surprise you that Cusco has some of the best traditional foods in Peru. Try out cuy (guinea pig) and alpaca meat when you are in Cusco!

2. Huacachina, The Dreamy Desert Oasis

By: The Wanderlust Within

Huacachina is a desert oasis in the Ica desert in southwestern Peru. In the center is a green lagoon surrounded by palm trees and a small village. 

Huacachina is a great place to relax for two or three nights and is around 5 hours south of Lima. You can spend your days relaxing by the sand dunes (which looks like something out of Aladdin) or head out into the desert on a dune buggy to try your hand at sandboarding.

Sandboarding tours run 3 times a day but the later times are advisable as the weather is much cooler. However, if wine is more your thing, then join one of the local winery and Pisco tours. The last activity that is a must is hiking to the top of one of the dunes in time for sunset, but make sure you give yourself plenty of time as hiking uphill in the sand is tougher than you think!

3. Iquitos, Gateway to the Amazon Forest

By: Brainy Backpackers

Iquitos is the small city in the middle of the Peruvian Amazon rainforest where you cannot get to by road. Yes, you heard me right! The only way you can get there is by flying or by boat through the Amazon rainforest.

This makes it pretty unique, and while the city in itself isn’t the most pretty in Peru, it is the gateway to a unique jungle experience. You can book multi-day tours in Iquitos that take you through the Amazon river to stay in lodges in the rainforest. I recommend paying a little extra to get a little farther away from the city for a better experience.

In Iquitos, you should visit the street market in Belén and walk past the stilt houses raising over the Itaya River. This is the poor area of the city, so respect the people and think about how you photograph so the locals don’t have to feel uncomfortable and get the impression that their poverty is a tourist attraction.

In the heart of the historic center, the main square, Plaza de Armas is surrounded by 20th Century European influenced buildings. Down towards the waterfront, there are numerous bars and restaurants to connect with other travelers and locals.

4. Lima, Peru’s Capital

By: Backpackers.wro

Lima is the capital of Peru and one of the most diverse cities we’ve seen in South America. Lima is a large and dynamically developing city and one of the most popular tourist destinations. Currently, every third inhabitant of Peru lives in the capital. The oldest university on the continent (founded in 1551) is also located in Lima.

It is worth visiting the colonial heart of Lima, and one of its biggest attractions. Take a walk between the two largest squares of the old town – Plaza San Martin and Plaza de Armas. Both can delight with their enormity and monumental buildings. At Plaza San Martin, it’s worth taking a look (entrance is free) to the lobby of the Grand Hotel.

If you like sacred art, don’t miss the monastery of St. Francis. The area of the old town was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1988.

The gastronomy of Lima is one of the top reasons why travelers visit from all over the world. With 2 restaurants on the top 50 restaurants in the world, make sure you try Peruvian cuisine when you visit Lima. Also, don’t forget to try ceviche, the national dish of Peru when you are there!

If you are looking for a good place to stay in Lima, we recommend Miraflores. It is one of the safest districts in Lima and the heart of the tourism industry. This is where you will find the largest and widest range of hostels, cinemas, restaurants, bars, and music clubs.

By: Backpackers.wro

Lima is the capital of Peru and one of the most diverse cities we’ve seen in South America. Lima is a large and dynamically developing city and one of the most popular tourist destinations. Currently, every third inhabitant of Peru lives in the capital. The oldest university on the continent (founded in 1551) is also located in Lima.

It is worth visiting the colonial heart of Lima, and one of its biggest attractions. Take a walk between the two largest squares of the old town – Plaza San Martin and Plaza de Armas. Both can delight with their enormity and monumental buildings. At Plaza San Martin, it’s worth taking a look (entrance is free) to the lobby of the Grand Hotel.

If you like sacred art, don’t miss the monastery of St. Francis. The area of the old town was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1988.

The gastronomy of Lima is one of the top reasons why travelers visit from all over the world. With 2 restaurants on the top 50 restaurants in the world, make sure you try Peruvian cuisine when you visit Lima. Also, don’t forget to try ceviche, the national dish of Peru when you are there!

If you are looking for a good place to stay in Lima, we recommend Miraflores. It is one of the safest districts in Lima and the heart of the tourism industry. This is where you will find the largest and widest range of hostels, cinemas, restaurants, bars, and music clubs.

5. Arequipa, One Of The Coolest Cities In Peru

By: TimeTravelTurtle

Peru’s second-largest city Arequipa doesn’t get as much attention from tourists as you might expect. Known as the “white city” due to the colors of buildings, Arequipa is a fascinating city full of colonial heritage. At the center is the main square, Plaza de Armas, with the cathedral, porticoes, and important neoclassical buildings.

From here, a grid-like structure of streets takes you through the historic city center. There are 49 blocks of the original Spanish layout, and you’ll find churches, mansions, offices, plazas built in the years after Arequipa was founded in 1540.

If you’re looking for things to do in Arequipa, it’s easy just to wander and explore. There are lots of great places to eat and drink, the quaint Callejon del Solar neighborhood is worth visiting, and the main landmarks are all around the central square.

One of the most interesting activity is visiting the Santa Catalina Monastery, where you’ll learn how the girls were anything but humble!

A bus from Lima to Arequipa takes about 15 hours but it’s very safe and comfortable and reasonably priced. Otherwise, you can take a two-hour flight. A bus from Cusco is about ten hours.

6. Huaraz, The Hiking Capital of Peru

By: TravelOutlandish

Huaraz is the oft skipped over the high-altitude city on the edge of the Cordillera Blanca. The city itself is exciting with a packed Mercado Central, a really lovely Plaza de Armas, and a trout hatchery (if you’re into that kind of thing), but the real charm of the city lies in what surrounds it.

Because just beyond the chaos is Huascaran National Park. The UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site park spans 340,000 and contains one of the most stunning section of the Andes – the Cordillera Blanca.

Just a few hours from the city, you can find 400 lakes and jagged peaks climbing as high as 6768m. Diverse wildlife and plant species like the Queen of the Andes.

There are famously challenging day hikes from Huaraz like the one to Laguna 69 which will have you at a glacial lake by mid-day and back to the city by evening. And if you’re open to more ambitious undertakings, Huaraz is the ideal adventure base.

You can find an inexpensive tour or rent everything you need to undertake 4-day Santa Cruz Trek or 10-day Huayhuash Circuit; both have you hiking past brilliant lagoons and high passes, and are some of the most underrated treks in Peru.

7. Mancora, Peru’s Best Beach Town

By: TalesFromTheLens

Located in the far north of Peru, Mancora is a small resort town feet in the Pacific Ocean, that yet attracts a lot less international tourists than the rest of the country.

For those busing around South America, Mancora and Huanchaco are probably the two greatest spots to stop over in order to split the journey on the way to or from Ecuador or even take time away from the high altitude of the Andes.

For travelers coming from Ecuador, they can choose to take the night bus from Cuenca to Mancora.

Although, Mancora has a reputation for being a place aimed at party animals that also lacks security at night… Nevertheless, the town has managed in the past few years, to attract a crowd of hippy-ish travelers and backpackers who enjoy a few days of rest by the beach or on the look for some cheap off-the-beaten-path experiences.

Mancora has, in fact, countless activities to offer. Here, you will find a relax place, where to chill, surf all-year long, learn how to kitesurf or even go whale watching and swim with green turtles!!

The ceviche – a Peruvian dish made of raw fish – will for sure be one of the freshest you will get to taste and the barbecued lobsters, one of the cheapest dinners you will find!

In terms of accommodationthere are plenty – from the wooden hut hosting bunk beds to the party hostels or the luxury hotels and apartments with swimming pool and direct access to the beach.

Mancora truly is a beautiful place that deserves more than its reputation. Check out this article to learn more about all the awesome things to do in Mancora.

Best Hikes in Peru

1. Catarata de Gocta, 3rd Highest Waterfall in the World

There are many places to visit besides Machu Picchu, such as Catarata de Gocta, one of the tallest waterfalls in the world. Depends on the way you measure it, Catarata de Gcota can either by the 3rd tallest waterfall to the 5th tallest.

Either way, the power of the Catarata is immense. Measuring at 771 meters tall, you will truly understand the definition of nature’s wrath. 

To get to Catarata de Gocta, you should base yourself in the Amazonas city of Chachapoyas. From there, it becomes an easy day trip that you can do by yourself or with a guide. 

The hike to Catarata de Gocta is a beautiful one, traversing through lush environments. However, the 1.5-hour path can get muddy and slippery so prepare accordingly.

2. Laguna 69, The Best Day Hike in Huaraz

Laguna 69 is one of the toughest day hikes from Huaraz, the Peruvian capital of hiking. Though it is the most challenging hike, it is also the most rewarding day hike. Photoshopped-blue water, snow-capped mountains, gushing waterfalls, wildlife on the path, the whole trek is a scene from a fantasy movie.

However, all good things take a little bit of sacrifice. In this case, it will be a lot of sweat, water, and coca leaves. Though a single-day trek, Laguna 69 is known to be difficult for even experienced hikers.

At an altitude of 4600m, altitude sickness can become a real problem. In addition to that, the total trek time is 6 hours. Though only 6km one way, you will be gaining lots of altitude quickly. 

3. Inca Trail, a Must-Do in Peru

The Inca Trail is the most popular hiking trail in Peru because it leads to Machu Picchu, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. This 4-day hike is a must-do in Peru.

Allowing only 500 people (only 200 are tourists) a day on the trail, the opportunity to hike the Inca trail is rare. Visitors wanting to take the Inca trail will often have to visit months in advance, or maybe up to a year if it is high season.

The 4 days of hiking will definitely be some of the toughest hiking you will ever do in your life. However, the experience will be unlike any other. Hike through the Sacred Valley of Peru using the same paths that the historical Incans built to connect their settlements. You will explore Inca ruins after ruins and learn about the history of these ruins.

Finally, after 4 days of going back in time and immersing yourself in the history of the Incans, you will arrive at Machu Picchu. But you won’t arrive at the entrance of Machu Picchu, you will go through the Sun Gate at Macchu Picchu, a historical place that the Incans used to go through.

4. Hike Rainbow Mountain and See the Beautiful Colors

By: Trimm Travels

If you are heading to Perú, a top favorite country of mine, you must not miss out on Rainbow Mountain. Originally named Vinicunca, in Spanish, it’s called La Montaña de Siete Colores (Mountain of Seven Colors).

Located roughly 4 hours outside of Cusco, the beautiful mineral sediments of red, purple, gold, and turquoise literally stopped me in my tracks. In the quiet of nature and altitude, there is just nothing more stunning.

A day trip to Rainbow Mountain can be accessed via an organized tour or on your own. I recommend going on your own especially if you or anyone in your group speaks Spanish. You can negotiate a taxi from Cusco the night before and get a set rate on the day.

This gives you control over what day you go for the weather, the time you go to avoid crowds and the ability to stay as long as you wish.

I highly recommend 2-3 days to acclimate to Cusco before you even attempt Rainbow Mountain as you will be finishing the hike (or horse ride) at 16,000 feet. Take it slow and bring plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Weather varies with the season but it is known to become pretty cool to cold at the top. Next to Machu Picchu, this is an attraction you don’t want to miss in Perú. Don’t forget to bring your passport to get the souvenir stamp!

5. Salkantay Trek, The Best Alternative to the Inca Trail

By: Winging The World

Trekking to Machu Picchu is a backpacker rite of passage. However, now that there is so much advance planning needed in order to do the Inca Trail, many travelers have sought out alternatives. The Salkantay Trek is the second most popular way to reach Machu Picchu on foot and it showcases some of the best scenery that Peru has to offer.

This hike traverses through many high altitude landscapes which culminates in you crossing the Salkantay pass, a whopping 4,600 meters above sea level. In my opinion, the trek is worth it for this one point alone as it is possibly the most beautiful place in Peru.

As most South America visitors already know, hiking at altitude can be tough, especially when you are as high as the Salkantay Pass. I was never prescribed Diamox prior to my visit so instead opted to prevent altitude sickness naturally.

I would definitely recommend allowing yourself some time in Cusco to acclimatize before tackling this trek!

6. Laguna Paron, Biggest Glacial Lake in The Cordillera Blanca

Laguna Paron is one of the most rewarding day hikes in Huaraz, Peru. It is the biggest lake in the Cordillera Blanca. However, Laguna Paron is not just any typical lake. Located 4,200m in altitude, the minerals from the nearby mountains have settled into Lake Paron, turning the color to a pastel blue. Some might look at the photos and think that the color has been post-processed.

Not only do you get to see the beautiful water of the lake, but also the summit of mountain Artesonraju. What is the significance of this mountain? Good question. Artesonraju mountain is the same mountain that the famous film company Paramount Studio uses as its logo!

With only a short hike of an hour, you can see both natural beauties with your own eyes. Even though the trek is short, be aware that Laguna Paron is at an altitude of 4,200m, an altitude that could easily cause altitude sickness. Take your utmost precaution against altitude sickness.

7. Visit Palccoyo, the Quiet Alternative to Rainbow Mountain

By: ASocialNomad

A visit to Peru’s rainbow mountains must be on everyone’s bucket list. The Rainbow Mountains are stunning. The variety of colors that you see here are from the natural minerals present, iron and copper primarily.

Most visitors looking for Peru’s rainbow mountains head to Vinicunca. It’s famous for the tough hike, the gorgeous scenery and the thousands of other travelers.  That’s why you should head to the lesser-known rainbow mountain of Palccoyo instead.

It’s a little further to drive – 3.5 hours rather than 3.   It’s about 300 meters lower in altitude than Vinicunca and the walk takes around 30 minutes rather than 3 hours.

But the absolute best reason to visit Palccoyo rather than Vinicunca is that there are significantly fewer people there. 

The day we visited Palccoyo we 5 were the only people on the mountain. The rainbow mountain of Palccoyo is peaceful, tranquil and – I hope as empty for you as it was for us.

8. Colca Canyon, One of the Best Hikes In Peru

By: Backpack Adventures

With twice the height of the Grand Canyon, the Colca Canyon is one of the most impressive hikes in Peru. Most people come to see the Andean condor that flies through the canyon. Representing the heavenly world in Peruvian culture, the condors are the most sacred bird in Peru. In addition to these spiritual animals, the landscapes and the traditional villages are equally spectacular.

The best way to explore this region is by doing the challenging Colca Canyon trek in and out of the canyon. Although possible in 2 days it is much better to take at least 3 days. This allows you much more time in the villages that you come across once you are down in the canyon.

It’s a steep climb out again, but the views are definitely worth all your effort. From Arequipa, it is possible to arrange tours into the Colca Canyon. Some do even offer day trips by bus, but this is really only for those short on time because you will only get to see the tip of the iceberg.

9. Humantay Laguna, A Beautiful Lake in the Andes Mountain

Humantay Lake, or Laguna Humantay in Spanish, is located 4,200m in the Andes mountain of Peru. The best way to visit the Humantay Lake is through a tour from Cusco, or on the way of the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu.

Archaeologists believe that the Humantay Lake was sacred to the Incas, as still visible by the offerings (stacks of rocks) you will see on the perimeter of the lake.

Besides being a sacred place, the view there is simply incredible. Crystal blue water surrounded by snow-capped mountains, crisp air and breezy gusts of wind, it feels like you are on a proper adventure.

The hike to Humantay Lake is only about 1.5 hours one way from Soraypampa, the start of your ascent. It is a fairly easy hike compared to the other hikes you can do in the Andes region of Peru.

Though fairly short, proper precautions should be taken to prevent altitude sickness. 4,200m is an altitude that is no joke. No one should attempt hiking Laguna Humantay without proper acclimatization. 

10. Glacier Pastoruri, A Disappearing Glacier

Glacier Pastoruri, located 5,000m above sea level in the Cordillera Blanca, is by definition not a glacier anymore. That is because in the winter month, Glacier Pastoruri is no longer building ice. Spaning 8 square kilometers, Glacier Pastoruri is simply a big piece of ice that will eventually melt away and disappear.

However, Glacier Pastoruri might disappear but it will never be forgotten. As one of the tourist destinations affected by climate change, it sends a message to everyone in the world.

While it is still there, Glacier Pastoruri is a popular day hike from Huaraz, the Peruvian capital of hiking. The best way to visit Pastoruri is with one of the affordable tours everywhere in Huaraz.

On the tour, you will be transported to the beginning of the hike. Luckily, the hike is only 30 minutes one way, making the trek much more manageable considering the high altitude. Make sure you have enough coca leaves (Peruvian coffee) when you visit Glacier Pasoruri.

11. Choquequirao, An Off-The-Beaten-Path Inca Ruins

By: AWorldOfTravelWithKids

Choquequirao is definitely amongst the best and most unique places to visit in Peru! But let me tell you why it should be on your bucket list right now!

Choquequirao is the “other” lost city of the Incas, but a lot less well known than Machu Picchu.  Unlike Machu Picchu, excavation continues today at Choquequirao and archaeologists think that the ruins of this Inca city are much more extensive than its more famous counterpart.

For example, the incredible llama terraces were only discovered in 2002 – and new additions are found every year.

Folks ‘in the know’ opt to visit Choquequirao vs Machu Picchu because they can sometimes be alone in the ruins – that is right, just themselves – or perhaps a handful of other people.   This is because

At the moment the only way to access Choquequirao is via a difficult 4-day trek – 2 days in and 2 days out.  There is a new route “The Choquequirao Huanipaca route “which means you don’t backtrack over the same ground but you still need to allow 4 days.  Make sure you are well acclimatized to altitude before trekking. 

Best Things To Do in Peru / Best Places to Visit in Peru

1. Machu Picchu, One of the Seven Wonders of the World

Did you think a Peru bucket list would be complete without the famous Machu Picchu? As one of the Seven Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu is the one place you must visit in Peru.

Beautiful, historical, and breath-taking, it is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the world. The most popular way to visit Machu Picchu is through the traditional Inca trail, a 4-day trek that passes through ancient Inca ruins and finally arriving in Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate on the last day.

Machu Picchu is so important because it was never discovered by the Spaniards when they arrived. Everything that was left is in its original form, providing scientists and archaeologists crucial information about the Inca culture and architecture.

However, if you are not hiking the Inca trail, it is advised to stay in Machu Picchu town (called Aguas Calientes) the night before. Then the next day you can visit Machu Picchu for the best views and a minimum amount of tourists.

As the most popular destination in Peru, Machu Picchu is becoming a victim of over-tourism. As a result, the Peruvian government has implemented many rules and regulations to reduce the effects of human erosion and restore the pristine Machu Picchu it once had. Now there are so many things you need to know before visiting Machu Picchu.

2. Uros Floating Islands at Lake Titicaca

By: VoyageWriters

On the world’s highest navigable water of Lake Titicaca, Peru, you’ll find the floating islands of the Uros people. These islands number more than 100 and are entirely made by hand using totora reeds. 

The Uros are welcoming and sustain themselves by fishing, small scale farming, and selling handicrafts to tourists. From the port of Puno, you can take a guided tour of the islands. Having a guide who can speak the language as well as explain the fascinating 1000-year-old plus history and traditions of the island’s inhabitants, is recommended. 

As an increasing number of young people leave the island to seek higher education, they are often reluctant to return to such a simple way of life. It’s sad to think that in our lifetime, this culture may only exist as a tourist attraction. Like Machu Picchu, now is the time to visit.

3. Kuelap, Machu Picchu of Northern Peru

Kuelap, also known as “Machu Picchu of Northern Peru”, is a destination that most visitors miss. This off-the-path attraction is a true hidden gem in Peru. Many travelers believe that Kuelap is a relic of the past left by the Incans, but the truth is, Kuelap was not built by the Incas.

Kuelap was built by the Chachapoyas, or Warriors of the Clouds, a group of indigenous people that existed before the Incas.

Eventually, the Chachapoyas were conquered by the Incas. However, situated more than 3,000m above sea level in the midst of cloud forest and mountains, Kuelap was never discovered by the Spaniards when they arrived.

The high walls of Kuelap were thought to be a fortress protecting against foreign invaders but in fact it wasn’t. Kuelap was a citadel and no battle had ever taken place there. Kuelap was eventually abandoned because the Incans had to support the battles that were occurring in the battlefronts.

Make sure you visit Kuelap when you are traveling in Peru. It is an easy day trip and one of the top things to do in the Amazonas city of Chachapoyas!

4. Moray, Inca’s Agriculture Lab

By: Nomad By Trade

Moray is one of the most mysterious Inca sites in the Sacred Valley. Full of strange-looking tiered circles in the ground, they definitely have a bit of an alien feel.

The prevailing archaeological theory is that the Incas used the area for experimentation with crops as the different altitudes and amounts of sun each section receives would have different effects on the plants.

Entrance to Moray is included in the Sacred Valley tourist ticket along with many of the other important Inca sites in the area. Once you’re there, there is a trail with a good amount of stairs that takes you down along the largest, most central one, and others can be seen if you continue down the path.

A visit can be easily paired with nearby Salineras de Maras, which we did on our super affordable taxitour from Cusco.

5. Explore Paracas National Reserve, Where Desert Meets the Ocean

The Paracas National Reserve is one of the top things to do in Paracas. A protected area consisting of desert, ocean, and islands, the Paracas National Reserve is diverse in every way. The 3350 km² park is filled with beautiful beaches and marine wildlife such as sea lions and seals.

Paracas National Reserve is also home to the Candelabra geoglyph, a symbol carved into the same similar to the ones found in Nazca. No one knows the true origin of the meaning of the symbol.

For those adventurous travelers, Paracas National Reserve is the perfect place to bike through. Rent a bike and bike through the vast desert, eventually leading you to the turquoise water of the Pacific Ocean.

Make sure you visit the Playa Roja, or Red Beach, when you are in Paracas National Reserve. the stark contrast between the red sand and the blue ocean water will be one of the best things you see in Peru.

6. Visit Chan Chan, World’s Largest Adobe City

By: Travels In Peru

Chan Chan is located in northern Peru and is a UNESCO world heritage site.  It is near the city of Trujillo and outside the small surf town of Huanchaco.  It was the largest city built by the Chimu culture who resided here from around 900-1470AD.  

Open to the public is one of the citadels that was built for the king as his final resting place.  Here you can visit the main plaza where the Chimu king would be brought from his burial chamber each year and offerings would be left for him to take back to the afterlife.

You can also see storage rooms, smaller plazas, the ceremonial reservoir, and the kings’ burial chamber.

It is a great place to visit to learn about the people who ruled Peru before the Incas and to find out about how these people lived and died.  

I would recommend that you get a guide as there is very little information inside Chan Chan, so that you can really learn about the culture and exactly what you are seeing.

7. See the Mysterious Nazca Lines

By: Laure Wanders

The Nazca lines are an impressive collection of over 300 geoglyphs that are carved into the sand and rocks of the Nazca Desert. These etchings of people, animals, and objects were discovered during the 1930s when planes started flying over the desert.

What’s so fascinating about these figures is that no one really knows what purpose they serve but it’s estimated that they were made 500 to 2000 years ago. Although it’s possible to see 3 of the geoglyphs from a viewing platform on the ground, the best way to see the Nazca lines is by flying over them in a small airplane.

The flight, that can be booked in the town of Nazca, takes about half an hour and you’ll be able to see 13 figures. It’s an unforgettable and quite fascinating experience that shouldn’t be missed on your trip to Peru.

8. Visit Ballestas Island to See Some Native Marine Life

Interested in seeing some of the native wildlife in Peru? Look no further. Ballestas island, nicknamed the “poor mans Galapago”s, is a group of rocky islands located 24 km (15 mi) off the coast of Paracas.

Known as the home of many different native species such as the Humboldt penguins, seals, sea lions, and much more.

Visitors are welcome to take a 2-hour boat ride starting from the coastal city of Paracas. The boat takes the passengers adjacent to these precious wildlife animals. However, no personnel is allowed to physically set foot onto the islands, as doing so could damage their habitat.

One of the best ways to visit the Ballestas Islands is to do it as a day trip from the city of Ica. Combine your visit to the Ballestas Island with a bike ride through the nearby Paracas National Reserve and you will have yourself an unforgettable Peru vacation.

9. Salineras de Maras, One of the Four Places to Make Pink Salt

By: RovingJo

Visiting the Maras salt mines, or the Salineras de Maras, is an essential part of exploring the Sacred Valley.  If it is not on your Peru bucket list then it should be.

The Salineras de Maras are an ancient architectural wonder with thousands of small salt wells carved onto a hillside. Incredibly, they operate today exactly as they did in the time of the Incas.

Naturally, salty water runs down canals and is diverted into small ponds alongside the mountain. As the water evaporates it leaves behind the salt which is then harvested by hand by local families. 

The Maras salt mines are best seen as part of a full-day Sacred Valley tour. Many other amazing sites are in the nearby area and hiring a private guide or going with an established tour company will help you see them all in the most efficient way possible. 

Keep in mind that Peru has recently restricted access into the salt pans due to health concerns. Therefore, a guide will be helpful not just so you get valuable information, but so you can access the best viewpoints. 

10. Ollantaytambo, An Important Village in the Sacred Valley

By: Dame Cacao

More often referred to as “Ollanta” by locals, Ollantaytambo is one of the most beautiful stops you can make on the way to Machu Picchu. The town is located two hours and a few thousand feet lower than Cuzco, making it the perfect first stop for those worried about altitude sickness.

Ollantaytambo is also fully walkable, with a variety of local Peruvian restaurants and western-style eateries, as well as plenty of free sites to fill a day or two.

The main archaeological park in town attracts hundreds of tourists each day, but just a few meters from the main square is another one, completely free for the public to respectfully explore.

Hotels in Ollantaytambo are all quite affordable, with the few upscale options located closer to the train station. Less than 20 minutes ride from town is bustling Urubamba, the famous salt mines of Maras, and the walking market in Pisac.

If you’re there from October to December, you can’t miss the fresh local strawberries from the farm just outside the main square!

11. Sacrofagos de Karajia, A Relic of the Chachapoyas People

By: The Nomadic Vegan

When it comes to historical and archaeological sites in Peru, most people know only about Machu Picchu and the other Inca sites near Cusco. But there are other civilizations even older than the Incas who have left behind fascinating glimpses into the ancient past.

One of the most mysterious of these is the painted sarcophagi discovered at Karajía in northern Peru.

The sarcophagi were created by the Chachapoya people, who, until they were conquered by the Inca, ruled their own small kingdom in the Amazonian cloud forest. For this reason, they are sometimes called the Warriors of the Clouds.

When a Chachapoya warrior died in battle, his body was placed in a larger-than-life-sized sarcophagus that was placed high up in a seemingly inaccessible cliff face.

Amazingly, the painted decorations on these sarcophagi are still visible 600 years later. The best way to see them is on a guided day trip from the city of Chachapoyas, about 60 kilometers away.

Tours include transportation, but you will still need to walk the last 40 minutes or so to reach the sarcophagi.

12. Visit Monasterio Santa Catalina, A Convent Filled with Secrets

Monasterio Santa Catalina, or otherwise called the Convent of Santa Catalina, is one of the best things to do in Arequipa. Spanning over 20000 square meters, The Convent of Santa Catalina occupies an entire block in the center of Arequipa. 

Monasterio Santa Catalina can sometimes feel like a city within a city, especially with the vivid and bright colors in contrast to the “white city” of Arequipa. In fact, much of Monasterio Santa Catalina was uncovered recently, when it opened to the public in 1972. Built in the 16th century, for more than 400 years it was invisible to the public. The high walls around the perimeter are the best keepers of the secrets. 

Surprisingly, the conditions of the nuns were contrary to what they swore by. All nuns took vows of poverty but some of them can be seen living a frivolous lifestyle, with servants and such. 

There is so much mystery to the Monasterio Santa Catalina. Make sure you check it out when you visit Peru!

13. Visit Palomino Islands and Swim With Sea Lions

By: Glitter Rebel

Has it always been your dream to swim between the seals and sea-lions? Then you NEED to head to the Palomino Islands You can easily book a day trip to this group of islands from Lima.

A little boat will bring you to a large rock in the sea that is literally covered with seals and sea lions. This colony, in particular, counts no less than 8000 animals. Although the stench of (rotten) fish is incredible, this is a once in a lifetime experience!

The guides will hand you snorkeling goggles, a wetsuit, and flippers. Do keep in mind that summer is winter in Peru and winter is summer. When arranging a trip in July or August, the water can be very cold.

The sea lions and seals on the rock are very curious animals and love to come close or even “boop” you with their little snout when you are in the water. Although you can’t always stay very long due to the cold, the smell and the animals themselves (not all of them are friendly), an excursion to the Palomino Islands is a dream come true for many!

The Palomino Islands lie just off the coast of Lima and are a great day trip when visiting the Peruvian capital!

Packing List For Peru

Peru is really diverse country. Ranging from the Amazon rainforest in Iquitos to the high Andes in Cusco, you must properly pack for Peru. Here is our packing list for Peru:

1.  Sunscreen – Sun at high altitude is very destructive, pack some.

2. Insect Repellent – If you plan on visiting the beaches or rainforest, you should consider packing some insect repellent. This one has Picaridin, which is more effective than DEET!

3. Filtration Water Bottle – The perfect companion for long hikes and treks. This item will save you so much money and make your hikes much easier.

4. Warm clothing, gloves, and hat –Peru, though located close to the Equator, can be very cold due to the altitude. Places like Cusco are cold all year round! Pack some warm clothes with you.

5. Rain poncho – A hiking essential, especially if you are visiting the Amazon region of Peru. Though rain could happen unpredictably due to the high altitude.

6. Travel Medicine Pack – An essential for any travelers. This medicine pack will have all the medicine you need just in case anyone gets ill.

7. Reliable Daypack (Him/Her) – A good daypack is essential for the day hikes you will be doing. This Osprey daypack is my personal favorite.

8. Travel Insurance – Hiking in high altitude can be dangerous, as well as a visit to the Amazon rainforest. Check out our recommendation!

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This concludes out Peru bucket list! Some of these attractions will definitely sweep you off your feet! What do you think about this list? Let us know 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 🙂

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7 TOP Things to Do in Chachapoyas Peru

7 TOP Things to Do in Chachapoyas Peru

Chachapoyas is a city close to the Amazons in Northern Peru. Many travelers skip Chachapoyas and the northern part of Peru because there are more attractions to see in Southern Peru.

But if you are reading this guide, you are planning to go to Chachapoyas or are already in Chachapoyas. Way less touristy than southern Peru, Chachapoyas, also called Warriors of the Clouds, is a place filled with history, culture and UNESCO sites.

Chachapoyas was an indigenous tribe just like the Incans. The Chachapoyas is believed to have existed since 800 A.D. until the 16th century when the Incans conquered them.

You will undoubtedly find many attractions in Chachapoyas, with a fraction of the tourists in places like Cusco and Machu Picchu.

Not sure what to do in Chachapoyas? We are here to help!

What To Do in Chachapoyas: 7 BEST Things To Do In Chachapoyas, Peru

Catarata de Gocta, One of The Highest Waterfalls in The World

Catarata de Gocta, or the Gocta waterfalls, is one of the most popular things to do in Chachapoyas. Measuring in at 771m in height, it was the 3rd highest waterfall in the world, but now it falls somewhere between 3rd and 16th in the world, depending on how you measure it.

But one thing for sure is regardless of whether it is the 3rd or the 16th, the sheer force of the Gocta waterfall will sweep you off your feet.

It is one of the natural wonders in my travels that made me said: “Wow, nature is so amazing but dangerous.” I was almost washed away when I visited Gocta waterfall because the water suddenly doubled in volume when we were standing underneath it.

Maybe it was because of a rainfall that happened near the top but to this day we don’t know what happened. It looked like we just came back from a swim. The mist was so strong my phone shut down and I had to toss it in a bag of rice for 2 days (talk about travel hacks).

How to Get to Catarata de Gocta from Chachapoyas

The way to the Gocta Waterfalls from Chachapoyas is quite simple. You have two options, to either take a guided tour, which can be found at all the travel agencies in Chachapoyas, or take public transportation.

It is fairly easy to take public transportation from Chachapoyas to Goctoa waterfalls so if you traveling Peru on a budget, this is a good option.

To get there with public transportation, you would have to go to the Chachapoyas terminal and take a bus to Cocachimba. If there is no bus to Cocachimba, which is often the case, then take a colectivo (shared van) to Pedro Ruiz and get off at Cocahuayco. At Cocahuayco, you will be able to take mototaxi (or tuk-tuk) to Cocachimba.

Once you arrive at Cocachimba, you will pay for the entrance and embark on a 2-3 hour journey to get to the Gocta waterfalls. The whole hike takes about 5-6 hours round trip, making it a great day trip from Chachapoyas. Don’t forget to reward yourself with a traditional dish you must try in Peru after!

To go back to Chachapoyas from Gocta Waterfalls, there is usually transportation at Cocachimba that will take you back directly. If not, you can take a mototaxi to Cocahuayco and flag down any transportation going towards Chachapoyas. 

Sacrofagos de Karajia and Caverna de Quicota

Credit: J F

Sacrofagos de Karajia(Sacrofagi of Karajia) and the Caverna de Quicota (Cavern of Quicota) is a popular tour package that is offered in Chachapoyas.

The Sacrofaogs de Karajia and Caverna de Quicota are some of the best places to see in Chachapoyas for history lovers.

In the cavern of Quicota, you will see bats, stalagmites, and stalactite formation. But the most impressive part of Caverna of Quicota is the bones and paintings that are still in the caves. Caverna de Quicota was once a cemetery for the Chachapoyas people. 

On the other hand, the Sarcophagi of Karajia is the highest level of burial ground there is in Chachapoyas. The Chachapoyas people believe that the most important officials, royalties, and tribal leaders are to be buried in a place high and inaccessible to others. As a result, many of the archaeologists believe that the buried are from the city of Kuelap, which brings us to our third top thing to do in Chachapoyas.

Kuelap, Machu Picchu of Northern Peru

Kuelap ruins, otherwise known as the Machu Picchu of the north, is definitely the number one reason why people come to Chachapoyas. 

It is easy to see why so many people compare it to Machu Picchu. They are both ruins they were abandoned by the indigenous people, both were at a high altitude to give them a better advantage against invaders, and both are incredible engineering achievements.

Even though Kuelap had high walls that were impenetrable from the outside, there is no trace that battles actually took place there. It was simply a settlement of the Chachapoyas people that lived here from the 6th Century to the 17th Century.

Kuelap is still a hidden gem of Peru and does not receive many tourists. In fact, my experience at Kuelap was much better than the overcrowded Machu Picchu and their restrictions.

How to get to Kuelap from Chachapoyas?

While finding a tour in the city of Chachapoyas should not be difficult, it is also very easy to go to Kuelap on your own. If you are afraid of taking public transportation in Chachapoyas or don’t speak any Spanish, you should go with a tour agency.

To get to Kuelap without a tour, you will have to take a shared van at the bus terminal of Chachapoyas.

The van should drop you off at the ticket booth where you will buy your ticket for the cable car. Once you have your ticket, you will then board a transport shuttle to the cable car station, get on the cable car, arrive in Kuelap, then buy another ticket just for the entrance of the Kuelap ruins. The entrance ticket for Kuelap is 30 soles.

To get back to Chachapoyas from Kuelap, just take the exact same way but opposite direction.

Revash Mausoleums

Revash Mausoleums are funerary complexes similar to the Sacrofogos de Karajia. Archaeologists believe that the people buried in Karajia were more important than the ones buried in Revash. However, the Chachapoyas that were buried here were no common people either. These mausoleums are located high in the air and have little houses made of rock and adobe, indicating that people of importance were buried inside. 

How to Get to Revash Mausoleums from Chachapoyas?

The easiest way to do it would definitely be taking a tour from one of the travel agencies in the city of Chachapoyas. However, if you want to do it yourself and save some money, it is also quite easy.

To get to the Revash Mausoleums, you will have to take a shared van at the Chachapoyas terminal to Leymebamba and ask to get off at Yerbabuena. At Yerbabuena, you will embark on a 2-3 hour hike to get to the Revash Mausoleums.

If you take a tour, it is considerably less walking.

Yumbilla Falls

Credit: Paulo Tomaz

Though not as popular as the Gocta waterfalls, the Yubilla falls are actually much higher in altitude.

Measuring at 895.5m (yes the .5m is important), it is officially the 5th highest waterfall in the world.

The difference between the Yumbilla waterfall and the Gocta waterfall is that you can literally walk to the base of the Gocta waterfall. For Yumbilla waterfall, you will see it from a distance.

However, it is definitely worth going, the Yumbilla waterfall is surrounded by lush scenery and gives off a mysterious vibe.

How to Get to Yumbilla Falls from Chachapoyas?

Like the other places to see in Chachapoyas, you can easily go with a tour company. Tour companies are located throughout the city and concentrated around Plaza de Armas.

But if you want to DIY, you can take a shared van from the Chachapoyas terminal to Pedro Ruiz, as if you were going to the Gocta waterfalls. But this time you will take it all the way to Pedro Ruiz. At Pedro Ruiz, you will have to get a mototaxi (or tuk-tuk) to the town of Cuispes. You will want to get off at the tourist information center named Yacu Urcu. Ask the driver or the locals that live in Cuispes, they should know. If not, the location is on maps.me.

Tell the people at Yacu Urcu that you want to go to Yumbilla falls. You will have to pay an entrance of 10 soles. It is advisable to take a guide but not required.

After you pay the entrance, take another mototaxi to the beginning of the hike to Yumbilla falls. You can walk this part but it will add another 1.5 hours each way, on top of the 2 hours walk you will be doing to get to Yumbilla falls.

To return back to Chachapoyas, just do the exact opposite.

Leymebamba Museum

Credit: pmoroni

Come to the Leyebamba museum to see hundreds of mummies on display. These mummies were found in the nearby historical site, Lagunas de los Cóndores.

There are over 200 mummies that are preserved in the Leymebamba museum, many of them still kept the same expression as when they were buried. Faces of agony, pain, and fear are expressions you can find in this eerie museum. 

How to Get to the Leymebamba Museum from Chachapoyas?

Like the other destinations in this guide, you will have to go to the terminal of Chachapoyas. At the terminal, you will take a shared van to the city of Leymebamba.

Once you get off the van at Leymebamba, take a taxi to the Leymebamba Museum. It is a 10-minute ride but a 45-minute walk up. On the way back, it is easy to walk back down. 

Cañon del Sonche

Credit: Srooose

Cañon del Sonche is one of the most spectacular canyons in Chachapoyas. If you love nature and don’t want to go too far out, Cañon del Sonche is perfect for you. Not only is it easy to get to, but it is also very cheap.

If you are looking for some of the best hikes in Peru, make sure you check out Huaraz.

How to get to Cañon Del Sonche from Chachapoyas?

It is very easy to get to Cañon Del Sonche so it is foolish to pay a tour company to take you. Located only 20 minutes away from the town of Chachapoyas, you can either take a taxi or a colective (shared van) for 3 soles.

To get to Cañon Del Sonche, you will have to get to the small village of Huancas (known for their pottery). To get to colectivo to Huancas, ask your accommodation where is the closest stop for the shared van. Depending on where you are located, it might be different.

Once you get to Huancas, it is a short walk there to the Mirador of Cañon Del Sonche.

Where to Stay in Chachapoyas Peru

Best Hostel in Chachapoyas – Chachapoyas Backpackers Hostel

Chachapoyas Backpackers Hostel is one of my favorite hostels in all of Peru because of one thing. Their reception was so friendly and got to know everyone on a personal level. The staff never hesitated to offer any help regarding what to do in Chachapoyas. Their facilities are also quite nice, offering a clean kitchen and hot showers for a low price.

Click here for more details!

Best Hotel in Chachapoyas – La Casa de Los Balcones

One of the best hotels in Chachapoyas (remember you are off the beaten path), La Casa de Los Balcones offers comfortable beds and clean and spacious rooms for a fair price. Guests can enjoy a good night’s rest here after taking day trips from Chachapoyas.

Click here for more details!

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Those are the 7 best things to do in Chachapoyas! We were so surprised by the Gocta waterfall and Kuelap ruins. Have you been to any of the places? Let us know 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 🙂

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