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How to Spend 10 Days in Peru – The Ultimate Itinerary

10 days is a great amount of time to see the highlights of Peru. From the bustling city of Lima to the mystical structures of Machu Picchu to the famous Amazon Rainforest, it can all be done in 10 days!

However, if you have more time to spare, I highly recommend spending more time in Peru. This is one country that every time I visit, I find a new part to fall in love with. From gorgeous natural scenery to ancient manmade structures and the most divine food in the world – Peru is a country that has it all.

That being said, though, 10 days in Peru will afford you a fantastic opportunity to see some of the most famous parts of Peru. This Peru itinerary will take you through step-by-step how to make the most of your 10-day trip!

A woman walking a horse on a dirt path on the Rainbow mountains in Peru.

*Disclosure: some of these links are affiliate links. Meaning, if you click a link and make a purchase, Have Clothes, Will Travel gets a very small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible! I am also a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Best Time of Year to Visit Peru

When thinking of Peru seasons, it’s best to think of “rainy and dry seasons” instead of summer or winter.

The dry season, from May to September/October, is generally considered the best time to visit Peru. During these months, the weather is pleasant and the skies are clear, making it ideal for outdoor activities and sightseeing. This is also the peak tourist season, so popular attractions can be crowded, and prices may be higher.

The wet season, from November to March, brings heavy rainfall, especially in the Andes and the Amazon. However, the coastal areas remain relatively dry and warm. Despite the rain, this season has its own charm, with fewer tourists and lush, green landscapes.

I personally like visiting Peru in September. There are not as many crowds as there are in June and July, but the weather is still comfortable and dry (the Amazon will also have fewer mosquitos!!).

A boat is traveling down the Amazon river.

How to Get Around Peru for this Itinerary

This itinerary will require a combination of flying, buses, and even boats at some points! I’ll explain how to get from each day/destination and the options available.

Domestic flights are a quick and efficient way to travel long distances, especially if you’re short on time. Airlines such as LATAM and Avianca offer regular flights between major cities like Lima, Cusco, and Arequipa. It’s advisable to book your tickets in advance to secure the best prices. (I, personally, fly LATAM for my South America flights and have always been happy with their service.)

For shorter distances, buses are the most popular mode of transportation. Peru’s extensive bus network connects even the most remote areas. Companies like Cruz del Sur and Oltursa provide comfortable and reliable services. Overnight buses are a great option to save on accommodation and travel time.

*Please note – you will be backtracking at points in the itinerary. That is because there are not direct routes to and from all of the places mentioned.

How to Spend 10 Days in Peru – The Ultimate Itinerary

Plaza de Armas in Cusco, Peru.

Day 1 – Arrive in Cusco and get acclimated

Flight from Lima // Overnight in Cusco

Cusco is 3,399 meters (or 11,152 feet) above sea level. Chances are, when you first arrive, you’re not going to feel the greatest. So, take some time to acclimate to the high altitude.

Be sure to drink lots of water and coca tea, move slowly, and avoid alcohol. (Save the pisco sours for a little later in the trip!) Coca tea also happens to be the local remedy for altitude sickness.

I recommend walking leisurely through Plaza de Armas on this first day. This is Cusco’s main square, which features gardens, a fountain, cathedrals, and many shops and restaurants.

Find some yummy local food, and then try to go to bed early. It is incredible how much the altitude can affect you!

I got altitude sickness on my first day in Cusco, however, my husband was totally fine.

A couple standing and smiling towards the camera on top of Rainbow mountain in Peru.

Day 2 – Hike Rainbow Mountain

Roundtrip Tourist Bus from Cusco // Overnight in Cusco

Hands down, hiking Rainbow Mountain is one of my favorite memories of Peru – heck, it’s one of my favorite travel memories of all time! I’ve actually gone twice now, I’ve loved it so much. I can’t recommend this hike enough! Trust me, this day is going to be a key highlight of your 10-day Peru itinerary.

Rainbow Mountain is the colorful mountain pictured above and it requires around a 3-hour hike. This natural wonder is also known as Vinicunca and is famous for its unique, multi-colored streaks caused by mineral deposits. It’s not a particularly strenuous hike. However, the altitude will once again be a factor, so you’ll be moving slowly.

Keep in mind that Rainbow Mountain’s weather can be unpredictable, so it’s essential to dress in layers and bring a waterproof jacket. Also, don’t forget to bring plenty of water and snacks for the hike.

The easiest way to get to Rainbow Mountain and back to Cusco is to take a tourist bus from Cusco. Along the way, you’ll be treated to stunning views of the Andean landscape, including snow-capped peaks, vibrant green valleys, and herds of alpacas.

You can book ahead of time online if you’re a planner like me and like to have this all set before you leave for your trip (+ read reviews!). Or you can book a spot on a tour bus once you get to Cusco (this will likely be cheaper than booking online).

Read all my tips about hiking on the Rainbow Mountain.

Day 3 – See the Sacred Valley and hop on the train to Aguas Calientes

Tour + Train to Aquas Calientes // Overnight in Aquas Calientes (aka Machu Picchu)

Aquas Calientes, also known as Machu Picchu Pueblo, is the closest city to Machu Picchu. There are plenty of restaurants and shops in town where you can grab dinner and any last-minute supplies you might need for your visit to Machu Picchu.

The best way to get there is by train. So, what I recommend doing is taking a tour from Cusco through the various ruins in the Sacred Valley, on your way to the train station in Ollantaytambo. The valley is home to numerous archaeological sites, including the Inca ruins of Pisac and Ollantaytambo.

You can visit Pisac, Urubamba, and Ollantaytambo before boarding your afternoon train. I had taken the Peru Rail Expedition Train to Aquas Calientes both times I went to Machu Picchu.

Peru Traveling Tips

If you would rather not take a tour through the Sacred Valley, and instead, go directly to the train station in Ollantaytambo, hiring a taxi from Cusco will be the easiest/fastest option. 

Yet another option is to book a full-day tour of Machu Picchu straight from Cusco.

A stunning early morning view of Machu Picchu in Peru.

Day 4 – Machu Picchu

Train back to Ollantaytambo + taxi to Cusco // Overnight in Cusco

Today, you’ll want to wake up bright and early and get in line for the bus to Machu Picchu as early as possible! (You can also order your tickets ahead of time.) The journey takes about 30 minutes and the views along the way are breathtaking. Then you’ll spend the morning exploring Machu Picchu.

Known as the “Lost City of the Incas,” this UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most famous landmarks in the world and a must-visit when in Peru.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also hike up Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain. Both hikes are quite challenging but offer spectacular views of the surrounding landscapes and the ruins from above.

After your visit, you will get back on the train to Ollantaytambo, from here you can take a bus, taxi, or hire a service to get back to Cusco.

Want more tips on visiting Machu Picchu? I have a complete guide for everything you need to know about Machu Picchu before visiting it.

Day 5 – Visit Moray, Maras Salt Mines and Chinchero

Take a tour or taxi // Overnight in Cusco

The landscapes of Moray and the Salt Mines of Maras are incredible. These were perhaps my favorite ruins to visit in the Sacred Valley. Moray is an archaeological site that’s a bit off the beaten path. I think Moray is fascinating. Experts aren’t entirely sure how Moray was built.

The Salt Mines, are thousands of individual salt pools on a hillside, that date back to Incan times. These are quite close to Moray.

Then, Chinchero is actually a small town not terribly far from Cusco (about 40 minutes in a car). It has a lot of interesting things going on and is famous for its weaving and incredible Sunday market where locals trade their goods.

There are also beautiful Inca ruins, a colonial church, a traditional weaving/demonstration area, and a very nice market. Make sure to carry water, wear comfortable shoes, and bring a camera to capture the stunning landscapes.

The easiest way, again, is to take a tour to these ruins from Cusco. You could also hire a taxi for the day.

A wide angle shot of the Church of Andahuaylilas in Peru.

*I am offering two separate options for this next portion of the trip. The first is the most popular option (going to Puno) and the next I will explain at the end of the post. It is visiting the Amazon Rainforest (which I recommend doing). 

Day 6* – Scenic bus ride to Puno

Bus to Puno // Overnight in Puno

The reason you would want to go to Puno is to see the Islas Flotantes de los Uros (a.k.a. the Floating Islands). The journey takes you along winding roads, past lush green fields, and through quaint, traditional villages.

Once you arrive in Puno, you’ll be greeted by the stunning sight of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigatable lake in the world.

Now, I did not particularly care for this portion of the trip. If I were to do this itinerary over, I would skip Puno and the Floating Islands altogether.

However, most folks absolutely loved the Uros Islands and have told me it was the highlight of their trip, so, I’ll let you decide for yourselves!

Learn more about this bus ride from Cusco to Puno.

Day 7 – Floating Islands & Taquile Island in Lake Titicaca

Boat ride to the Floating Islands // Overnight in Puno

You’ll start your day early with a boat ride to the Floating Islands of Uros. These islands showcase incredible indigenous engineering as these islands are entirely constructed from totora reeds, which grow abundantly in the shallow waters of the lake.

The Uros people, who live on these islands, have maintained their traditional way of life and are largely untouched by modernity.

Again, I was not terribly impressed with either of these places. But this is just my opinion! This could be because we were on a large tour for this day as well.

In retrospect, perhaps doing a private tour or simply forgoing the tour and just boarding a boat in Puno to the Floating Islands and Taquile Island would have made the day more enjoyable.

Learn more about these places by reading my articles on the Floating Islands and Taquile Island.

Day 8 – Express bus back to Cusco & free afternoon in Cusco

Bus ride from Puno to Cusco // Overnight in Cusco

Catching an express bus back to Cusco is what I did to catch our flight out of Cusco the next day.

However, you could also get a flight from the Juliaca airport (an hour away from Puno) to Lima. Or there is a bus from Puno to Lima, if you don’t want to go back to Cusco.

Day 9 – Check out San Pedro Market!

Walking to San Pedro Market then take a flight to Lima // Overnight in Lima

At some point during your Peru trip, you have to make a point to experience San Pedro Market in Cusco.

This market is HUGE, and there are so many crazy things to see and try here. It’s also the perfect place to pick up some unique souvenirs for your trip.

I had to catch a flight, so I didn’t spend more than a couple hours here. However, you could seriously make a day of San Pedro Market.

If you’re not going back to Cusco, though, I would suggest squeaking San Pedro Market in after you visit Moray, the Salt Mines, and Chinchero. None of these places take terribly long to visit, and you could get a few hours in at the market before it closes.

Then, catch a plane to Lima!

Day 10 – Lima

Overnight in Lima or flight home (we flew out at 10 pm)

There was a point in this trip planning where I had considered not visiting Lima at all. Boy, would that have been a mistake! Lima is a beautiful city with absolutely incredible food. Give Lima at least a day out of your trip – you won’t regret it.

I spent the day eating as much food and trying as many beverages as I could, haha. I went to an incredible market and also wandered through Barranco, which was lovely. I ended my day at the Parque del Amor, by the Pacific Ocean, and also stopped to see the kitties at the Parque Kennedy.

Learn more about spending time in Lima by reading my article on how I spent my one day in Lima.

A boat is traveling down the Amazon river with trees in the background.
Heading out to look for wildlife in the Amazon Rainforest!

*Alternate Day 6-9 Itinerary Option: Visit The Amazon Rainforest (Iquitos)

Flight from Cusco to Iquitos then transport to your lodge // 2-3 nights in the Amazon Rainforest

Instead of going to Puno, I personally recommend going to the Amazon Rainforest instead. While Rainbow Mountain is my favorite Peru memory, the Amazon is a VERY close second.

There are many different lodges you can stay in while in the Amazon. These are all-inclusive adventures and your itinerary will depend on where you stay. (Most will include wildlife spotting, fishing, jungle treks, visiting Amazonian villages and more.) The majority offer 2-3 night stays, which is plenty of time to experience the Amazon.

I recommend going through the complete list of all-inclusive Amazon Rainforest lodge experiences.

A tree house in the middle of the Amazon rainforest.

I, personally, spent 3 nights at the Treehouse Lodge and it was AMAZING. If you have the budget, the Treehouse Lodge is the experience of a lifetime. (My treehouse in the Amazon is pictured above!)

*If you end up staying 2 nights in the Amazon vs 3, use your extra day to sightsee in Lima!

From Iquitos, you can take a direct flight to Lima for the last portion of this itinerary.

My SCOTTeVEST jacket I used on the Inca Trail.
The views on the Inca Trail were unreal!

*Alternate Peru Itinerary Option – Hiking the Inca Trail

The last time I visited Peru, I did a version of this 10-day itinerary, but instead of going to the Amazon Rainforest or Puno, I hiked the Inca Trail. I loved it! (Full blog post and YouTube video on this experience, coming soon.) Of course, you have to really enjoy hiking and the outdoors to want to do this version. You can check out that itinerary here.

Peru Travel Essentials

Travel Insurance

Getting travel insurance is always a good idea. I, personally, use Squaremouth to find the best insurance policies for my travels. They’re also recommended by Forbes! The last time I was in Peru, I was stuck there for an extra 5 days due to an accident at the Lima airport. My Trawick travel insurance policy I purchased via Squaremouth was super easy to file a claim with, and I was reimbursed within a few weeks. I HIGHLY recommend getting travel insurance. I recommend getting a free travel insurance quote to get started.

And while you’re planning your trip, don’t forget to check if your country requires a Visa for traveling to Peru.

Hotels – Where We Stayed

Cusco Hotels

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about where we stayed on this trip! We used Marriott and Sonesta Inn points for our first trip here. So, in Cusco, we stayed at the JW Marriott. (LOVED it! They have an incredible spa and restaurant on-site and the service is phenomenal!) My friends had stayed at the LLipimpac Guesthouse and had nothing but great things to say (especially for the price).

We also recently stayed at the lovely boutique hotel in Cusco, Antigua Casona San Blas. The staff here was phenomenal and went out of their way to make sure we had a great stay. We were traveling with a 1-year-old child at this time, and the staff was very accommodating, providing a pack-and-play and adequate space for him. They also helped get rooms for us when our flight was canceled, and we wound up in Cusco for an extra 4 nights! Their onsite restaurant and bar are really great too, and we loved hanging out by the firepits at night. I can’t recommend this hotel enough.

Aguas Calientes Hotels

The first time we stayed at the Wiracocha Inn for Machu Picchu. This was a budget-friendly, no frills stay that was conveniently located near the bus stop for Machu Picchu. It wasn’t the best, but it was super cheap.

The last time I went to Aguas Calientes, I stayed at the El MaPi Hotel byInkaterra. This is a hip, new hotel in Aguas Calientes. The rooms are fairly basic, but they have a wonderful spa and restaurant/bar. For me, it was worth spending a little extra to stay here and get a good nights sleep after hiking the Inca Trail.

Puno Hotels

In Puno, we stayed at the Sonesta Posadas del Inca Puno (was undergoing renovation at the time, but was still a fantastic hotel! There were also wild guinea pigs running around the grounds!).

Lima Hotels

In Lima, we stayed at the Courtyard Marriott in Miraflores (fabulous location and hotel)! I have also stayed at the Casa Andina Select Miraflores, which was a fairly basic hotel with spacious rooms, and affordable prices.

Read next: What to Pack for Peru + FREE Packing List Printable

Baboo Travel Option

And if this all sounds like a lot of work and stress – you can also book a private tour with a very similar itinerary via Baboo Travel for trips to Peru!

A map showing the route for a peruvian itinerary.

Other Cool Tour/Places to Consider in Peru

If you have the time or some of these places just don’t sound all that great to you, here are a few more incredible places to explore in Peru!

Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu:

  • Inca Trail Hiking adventure from Cusco – if you have the time and are physically capable, hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. (Note: you do need to hire a guide in order to hike the Inca Trail.)
Lindsey of Have Clothes, Will Travel wearing earth leggings and a pink REI shirt sitting on a rock by a bright blue colored lake in Peru

Cool day trip from Cusco – Humantay Lake:

  • This full-day hiking tour will take you to Humantay Lake from Cusco. I did a similar tour to this recently and am so glad I did! Humantay Lake is breathtaking. However, this is a pretty strenuous hike. Be sure to wear adequate footwear and bring plenty of water.

Cool day trips you can take from Lima:

Using a VPN When Traveling

VPN is short for “virtual private network.” A VPN (like IPVanish) sets up a private connection between your device and whatever network you are connected to – so, no one can see your browsing data. It is important to use a VPN anytime you are connected to public Wifi (such as at a restaurant, resort, hotel, cafe, airport, etc.).

This is because when you connect to a public network no matter where you are, you run the risk of a hacker grabbing your unencrypted data. Trust me, speaking from experience here…this can put a real damper on your trip if your banking, phone or email get hacked while you’re traveling!

VPNs can also help you save on domestic flights in Peru, help you watch Netflix shows not available in certain countries and more! You can read more about using a VPN in my post “Why I Use a VPN When Traveling and at Home (And You Should Too).”

Thank you for reading! I hope this helps you narrow down your Peru travel plans!

Want to learn more about traveling to Peru? Then check out all my Peru Travel posts.

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How to Spend 10 Days in Peru - The Ultimate Itinerary
How to Spend 10 Days in Peru – The Ultimate Itinerary
How to Spend 10 Days in Peru - The Ultimate Itinerary


  1. Mica Away From Blue says:

    This is such a great post! I’d love to visit Peru one day – my sister saw it briefly when she did her little tour around south America and I’m very jealous! It will just be so nice to travel safely again!

    Hope that you are having a nice weekend 🙂 Another cold one here, but it has stopped raining!

  2. Debra Gil says:

    This has been so unbelievably helpful for my planning to take my two college age sons to Peru! Grogeous photos and your comments have taught me tons! I shared to a group asking me to share Peru recommendations I found and also to my Facebook. Will likely checkout the clothing and tour links you provided and purchase that way, I hope this will help fund you.

    Here are my questions:
    1) Would you recommend both Humantay lake trek along with the Rainbow mountain trip as two day trips from Cusco? Reason you didn’t include Humantay? If we do both, would you recommend rainbow mountain first or second. The Humantay appears to be shorter but steeper. It would be our second day in Cusco.

    2) Were you glad you stayed in Aguas Calientes overnight rather than do one of the round trip train rides from Ollantaytambo that you list on your site. Is it the sunrise wake up that you did it for? What tour did you use at MP itself? What hotel did you stay at in MP?

    3) We are likely going to skip the lake and floating island to avoid sea sick and the LONG bus ride. My boys have already traveled to the Amazon 5 years ago. I I like your idea of taking more time in Ollantaytambo as it looks like so much fun to climb (I’m a former step aerobics teacher!). Would you recommend any other extra day trips or places if our time is flexible?. Thoughts on Paracas?

    4) Have you heard anything about going down to the shore of Urumbambu river? Is rafting trip worth any time for people who have rafted many times before? The skylodge hotel looks amazing but seems to be sold out (at least trip advisor affiliates) during whole month of August!

    I know you are not a travel guide, so please forgive me if I’m asking too much. I plan to call the person you mentioned.
    (we are comparing this trip to a hiking trip of the Lares trek 10 days by REI)

    1. haveclotheswilltravel says:

      Hello! I did not do Humantay due to time constraints. I preferred staying in Aguas Calientes and going right away in the morning – it was a great way to avoid the crowds and the heat. I’ve updated this post to include my hotel in MP – thank you for pointing that out! Unfortunately, I do not have information on the rest of your questions.

  3. hi u have a lovely blog
    with this particular itinerary id love to know along the route
    where u stayed and how many days so it helps make the hotel bookings. also did u use a tour company to plan ure trip or once u go there u take a local guide from the hotel ?
    eg: Machu Pichu – did u stay in Machu Pichu ?

    1. haveclotheswilltravel says:

      Thank you so much for that suggestion! I’ve updated this post to reflect that. Thank you! And we booked all of our tours ahead of time through tour companies.

  4. shaitamary says:

    Hi! Great post 🙂 What was the cost of internal travel?? I am planning to go for 10 days on a tight budget.

    1. haveclotheswilltravel says:

      Hello, I had spent $1000 total on my tours + bus tickets (these were private tours, though). I also bought a plane ticket from Lima to Cusco and back. Each plane ticket was around $70 USD, I believe.

    1. haveclotheswilltravel says:

      For two people, it was around $4,500 total. There are quite a lot of different variable that go into that number, though. Is there a specific cost you are trying to figure out?

  5. ANA DE LA TORRE says:

    Hi! thanks for sharing. I don’t know if I missed it in the questions but could you tell me what time of year you visited?

    1. haveclotheswilltravel says:

      Hi! Sorry! I talked about it in all of the supporting blog posts and completely forgot to mention it in this one! I was there in early September. The weather was perfect for us at that time. 🙂

  6. styleofbonnie says:

    My son is right there right now. He loves Peru so much. It is one of my destinations in the future.

    1. haveclotheswilltravel says:

      That’s awesome! Peru is one of my favorite countries I’ve visited. 🙂

  7. Apit bhatnagar says:

    I am 24 years old ,Peruvian visa is Soo hard for me ,I love peru I want to visit it ,it’s my life aim ,once my visa problem solved I will visit .if someone is able to help in these kindly help me.

    1. haveclotheswilltravel says:

      I’m sorry, I don’t have any advice to offer for a Peruvian visa. We did not need one when we went.

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