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Let me start this post off by saying if you can spend more than 10 days in Peru, by all means, do it! There is SO much to do and see in this amazing country. However, if you’re on a time constraint like I was, this itinerary will help you plan your Peru adventure and see as much as you possibly can in your 10 days! (I’ll also share some suggestions if you’re on an even tighter time constraint.)

*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

Time of year we visited: September (This was great because there were not too many crowds and the weather was quite comfortable!)

Day 1 – Arrive in Cusco and get acclimated

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. Be sure to drink lots of water and coca tea, move slowly and avoid alcohol.

Plaza de Armas

Plaza de Armas

We leisurely walked through Plaza de Armas this first day, found some food and went to bed early. It was incredible how much the altitude got to me! However, my husband was totally fine.

Day 2 – Hike Rainbow Mountain

Overnight in Cusco

Hands down, hiking Rainbow Mountain was my favorite part of our trip. I can’t recommend this enough! It’s not a particularly strenuous hike. However, the altitude will once again be a factor. Click here to read my tips for this hike.

Rainbow mountain, Peru

Rainbow Mountain is a must-do!

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

Overnight in Aquas Calientes (aka Machu Picchu)

Aquas Calientes is the closest city to Machu Picchu. The best way to get there is by train. So, what we did was take a tour through various ruins in the Sacred Valley on our way to the train station in Ollantaytambo. We visited Pisac, Urubamba and Ollantaytambo before boarding our 4:30 train. We had taken the Peru Rail Expedition Train. *Click here for more information on this day.

*Another option is to book a full-day tour of Machu Picchu straight from Cusco.  Click here for a luxury train + private tour service. And the most luxurious service is the Hiram Bingham Train.

Day 4 – Machu Picchu

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.) Click here for all my tips for visiting Machu Picchu.

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

*If you have the time and budget, you can also check out a stay at the Skylodge Adventure Suites! If you’ve never used Airbnb before, this link will give you up to $45 off your trip!

Machu Picchu

Day 5* – Visit Moray, Salt Mines and Chinchero

Overnight in Cusco

These were perhaps my favorite ruins to visit in the Sacred Valley. The Salt Mines were especially cool to see! Click here for info on this day.

Day 6* – Scenic bus ride 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). Now, I did not particularly care for this portion of the trip. If I were to do it over, I would skip Puno and the Floating Islands altogether. However, most folks absolutely loved the Floating Islands and have told me it was the highlight of their trip, so, I’ll let you decide for yourselves! Click here to read about this bus ride from Cusco to Puno.

*If you are on a tight schedule, skipping this portion could save you 3 days. And if I were to do this over, I would consider visiting the Amazon (and staying at Treehouse Lodge or any of the other Rainforest lodges) for these 3 days instead. But again, to each their own!

Church of Andahuaylilas

Church of Andahuaylilas – “Sistine Chapel of the Andes” – 1 stop on this bus ride.

Day 7 – Floating Islands & Taquile Island in Lake Titicaca

Overnight in Puno

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.

Click here to read more about the Floating Islands, and click here to read more about Taquile Island.

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

Overnight in Cusco

Catching an express bus back to Cusco is what we 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!

Overnight in Lima

At some point during your Peru trip, you have to make a point to experience San Pedro Market in Cusco. It is HUGE, and there are so many crazy things to see and try here. We had to catch a flight, so we didn’t spend more than a couple hours here. However, you could seriously make a day of San Pedro Market. Click here for more info on 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 our trip planning where we 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. Click here for more info on how I spent my one day in Lima.)


Travel Insurance

It’s a good idea, no matter where your adventure takes you, to have travel insurance. You never know what might happen! Whether you get sick before your trip and can’t go, or you become sick or injured while on your adventure – being covered with travel insurance is a must. Some credit card companies do provide this (check with yours), or you can get a free quote from travel insurance companies such as RoamRight to find the best plan for you and your adventure. To get a free quote, click here

Visa Requirements

To check if your country requires a Visa for traveling to Peru, click here.

Update: Hotels – Where We Stayed

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about where we stayed on this trip! We used Marriott and Sonesta Inn points for this trip. 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 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.

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!), and in Lima we stayed at the Courtyard Marriott in Miraflores (fabulous location and hotel)!

Update: Intrepid, G Adventures or Contiki Group Travel Addition

And if this all sounds like a lot of work and stress – you can also book a group tour with a very similar itinerary via Intrepid Travel. Click here to see it. And click here to see all of their Peru trips.

Another great option is booking through G Adventures… they have a TON of different Peru trips to choose from, depending on your preferences. Click here to see their options.

Or, if you are between the ages of 18-35, you can check out Contiki’s group Peru tours. Click here to see their Peru trips. (These tours are only available to travelers between the ages of 18-35.)

Travelzoo also runs all-inclusive travel packages to Peru every once in a while. Your dates will have to be quite flexible, though, to take advantage of their deals. Click here to check them out. 

Classic Peru

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.)

Cool day trip from Cusco – Humantay Lake:

Cool day trips you can take from Lima:

Want to spend some time in Arequipa? *Click here for hotels and check out tours, below.


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

*To see all of my Peru travel posts, click here.

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How to Spend 10 Days in Peru - The Ultimate Itinerary

How to Spend 10 Days in Peru – The Ultimate Itinerary

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I appreciate each & every share. Thank you!

36 thoughts on “How to Spend 10 Days in Peru – The Ultimate Itinerary

  1. Jodie

    Such great advice, Lindsey!! I didn’t realize the elevation was so high, and I know that happens when people come visit us in Denver.
    You have the most adventurous spirit, and it’s like I get to live vicariously through you. Thanks so much for being such a fabulous tour guide!


  2. Falasha

    Your photos are gorgeous. I have never traveled with a guide or group but this seems like there were some great places. I would love to visit Peru right now my next far destination is Brazil, sometime in the future hopefully.

    xoxo Falasha
    Bite My Fashion


  3. smileisit

    The pictures are so beautiful! I have to explore Latin America more. My first and the only time there so far was in Colombia, and I fell in love with the vibrant culture. Peru sounds extremely interesting too!


    1. haveclotheswilltravel Post author

      Aw, thank you! And you and me both, haha. I’ve been a bit of a bum in the travel department lately – I have to get around Latin America more! Colombia is very high on my list! I’ve heard such amazing things! Which cities did you visit? I would probably go for around 4 days next year. πŸ™‚


  4. Teri

    Thank you! Beautiful pictures. Machu Picchu looks so amazing. All your pictures look great and it looks like you had a great time. It’s funny because tour groups always help me find the nice or popular spots to see but then it’s super crowded when going with so many people. I had this problem in Thailand when going to Phi Phi island. Beautiful islands but so many of us showed up in boats it was crazy and took the serenity out of it. I am tempted to start viewing tour guide iteneraries but still book everything on my own for this reason. Lol. I enjoyed your post and I will definitely consider Puru now as my South America trip. I am trying to visit all 6/7 continents as a bucket list goal!

    Teri – http://MillennialAdulting.life


    1. haveclotheswilltravel Post author

      Thank you so much! And oh wow! I really want to visit Thailand. And yes, there are certain situations where I like to have a guide (dangerous hiking conditions for example), but it tends to be far more enjoyable to just go on your own versus a big group. And yes! Definitely, head to Peru! You won’t regret it as your South American trip. πŸ™‚


    1. haveclotheswilltravel Post author

      I can’t recommend Rainbow Mountain enough! And as far as accommodation, we have a ton of Marriott points saved up and stayed at Marriotts for this entire trip (which were all awesome, but would’ve been expensive out of pocket). However, (especially in Cusco) there are many amazing hotels to stay in! My friend stayed in LLipimpac Guesthouses for around $70/night and said it was wonderful. In Cusco, you’ll want to stay as close to Plaza de Armas as possible too.


      1. samantha


        I am visiting Peru in October and will be using our marriott points for our entire stay.

        Do you have a list of places you stayed at using points?

        The JW Marriot in Cusco is booked during our stay, so were looking at other options.



  5. Apit bhatnagar

    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.



    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 Post author

      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.


  7. shivani

    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 ?


  8. Debra Gil

    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 Post author

      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.


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