Six days is just enough time for an efficient tour of the country's highlights. You can certainly visit Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley—and if you fly into Cusco instead of Lima, you can even fit a short Inca Trail trek in the itinerary. If this isn't your first visit to Peru, you might want to skip Machu Picchu in favor of a wildlife tour in the Amazon or an excursion to the more remote reaches of Northern Peru. Find out more below.

Itinerary #1: Cusco, the Sacred Valley & Machu Picchu

On this classic itinerary, you'll explore the ancient Inca capital of Cusco, drive through archaeological sites in the Sacred Valley, and visit the lost city of Machu Picchu.

Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley, Peru
Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley, Peru
Day  Highlights  Overnight 
Day 1 Arrival in Lima Lima
Day 2 Arrival in Cusco, Exploring the City  Cusco
Day 3 Pisac and Ollantaytambo Ollantaytambo
Day 4 Chinchero, Moray, and Salineras Aguas Calientes
Day 5 Machu Picchu Cusco 
Day 6 Departing Cusco  

Start the trip in Lima, where you'll spend a day exploring the historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and stroll along the oceanfront promenade in the neighborhood of Miraflores. Stop to admire the sculptures in the Parque del Amor (Love Park) before feasting on ceviche in a family-run restaurant. The next day, you'll fly to Cusco and spend the afternoon walking through colonial plazas and visiting key sites like the Coricancha, also known as "The Temple of the Sun." Move onto the Sacred Valley on day three, passing through the crafts market at Pisac and visiting Inca archaeological sites on your way to Ollantaytambo, where you'll spend the night.

On the second part of the trip, see the Inca ruins at Chinchero, Moray, and Salineras, then hop on a train for the scenic ride to Aguas Calientes, the jumping-off point for visiting Machu Picchu. Day five is devoted to exploring the lost city of the Incas: after arriving at the site at sunrise, you'll go on a guided tour to see royal tombs, temples, and plazas. Back-track to Cusco for one last dinner with pisco sours before you catch a flight out of Peru the next morning. Learn more

Itinerary #2: Short Inca Trail & Machu Picchu

Explore a section of the Inca Trail leading to Machu Picchu on this active trip that mixes cultural sightseeing with outdoor adventure.

Hiking on the Inca Trail
Hiking on the Inca Trail
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Fly to Cusco - Free day in the City Cusco
Day 2 Cusco City Tour Cusco
Day 3 Sacred Valley Tour: Cusco - Chinchero - Ollantaytambo Ollantaytambo
Day 4 Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Aguas Calientes
Day 5 Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Cusco Cusco
Day 6 Fly from Cusco to Lima, Depart Peru  

You'll spend the first two days of the trip in Cusco, wandering around the ancient Inca capital, stopping into the Coricancha, the Spanish colonial cathedral, and the bohemian quarter of San Blas, stopping for coffee, fresh fruit, and pisco sours along the way. On a guided tour, you'll visit the religious site of Sacsayhuaman and see the busy San Pedro market, where you'll take a break for a smoothie made with native fruits. Get out of town for a tour of the Sacred Valley on day three: highlights along the journey include the Inca-built terraces at Chinchero and the impressive ruins at Ollantaytambo.

The second half of the trip features a long hike along a segment of the Inca Trail. You'll take breaks at key sites on the path, including the ruins at Chachabamba and the ancient "rest stop" at Wiñay Wayna. Spend the night in Aguas Calientes: from there, you'll get an early start on day five to be one of the first visitors inside the gates at Machu Picchu. Spend the day exploring the 15th-century citadel before heading back to Ollantaytambo and then onto Cusco, where you'll spend the final evening of the trip before flying out on day six. Learn more

Plan your trip to Peru
Customize your trip with help from a local travel specialist.

Itinerary #3: Explore the City & the Peruvian Amazon

On this colorful trip plan, you'll experience the best of both worlds, visiting the busy seaside city of Lima and the steamy jungles of the Peruvian Amazon.

A scarlet macaw in the Peruvian Amazon
A scarlet macaw in the Peruvian Amazon
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Lima, Transfer to Hotel Lima
Day 2 Lima City & Food Tour Lima
Day 3 Into the Amazon: Lima - Puerto Maldonado - Reserva Amazonica Puerto Maldonado
Day 4 Reserva Amazonica Jungle Excursions Puerto Maldonado
Day 5 Reserva Amazonica Jungle Excursions Puerto Maldonado
Day 6 Fly from Puerto Maldonado back to Lima, Depart from Peru  

Kick off the trip in Lima. Go for a walk in Miraflores, known for its oceanfront clifftop promenade, and visit the UNESCO-honored historic center. On day two, you'll go on a guided food tour of the city's food markets and hole-in-the-wall eateries, then take a cooking class to learn how to make ceviche and pisco sours.

On day three, you'll get up early to catch a flight to Puerto Maldonado. Take a 45-minute boat ride along the Madre de Dios River to Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica lodge, your temporary home in the Amazon. Go hiking on nearby trails in the afternoon, spotting exotic trees and birds as you go, and enjoy the Twilight River excursion: this guided boat ride takes you past owls and other creatures of the night in their natural habitats. For the next few days, you'll be able to choose from a variety of different excursions, including riding in a wooden canoe on Lake Sandoval, walking high over the treetops on the Inkaterra Canopy Walkway, and spotting piranhas on Gamitana Creek. By night, you'll dine in style at the lodge and fall asleep to the sounds of the jungle. On day six, you'll head back to civilization and catch a flight home from Lima. Learn more

Itinerary #4: Explore Cusco, Machu Picchu & Lake Titicaca

Why choose between Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca? This quick trip takes you to both destinations, with a stop in Cusco along the way.

The lost city of Machu Picchu
The lost city of Machu Picchu
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Lima Lima
Day 2 Arrival in Cusco & Sacred Valley Tour: Cusco - Pisac - Ollantaytambo Ollantaytambo
Day 3 Machu Picchu Excursion: Ollantaytambo - Machu Picchu - Cusco Cusco
Day 4 Arriving in Puno: Cusco - Puno Puno
Day 5 Lake Titicaca Tour: Uros Floating Islands & Taquile Island Puno
Day 6 Fly from Puno to Lima, Depart Peru  

Spend the first day in Lima, and on day two, you'll fly to Cusco and spend the morning sightseeing in the colonial plazas, Inca ruins, and Spanish-built cathedral of the onetime Inca capital. In the afternoon, embark on a tour of the Sacred Valley, stopping to shop for handicrafts in Pisac and to see Inca ruins on the way to Ollantaytambo, where you'll spend the night. On day three, after breakfast, take the train to Aguas Calientes, riding through the cloud forest. From there, you'll catch a bus uphill to Machu Picchu.

The famed 15th-century Inca citadel was a sanctuary and retreat for the Incan Emperor Pachacutec and his royal court. Machu Picchu, which means "Old Mountain," is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. Spend the day getting to know the place before heading back to Cusco for dinner and an overnight. On day four, travel by plane to Puno. From here, on the shores of Lake Titicaca, you'll go on a boat tour of the Uros Floating Islands and Taquile Island, where you'll have the chance to learn about the daily lifestyle of the island's native inhabitants. Cruise back to Puno to spend the night before catching a flight out the next morning. Learn more

Itinerary #5: Lima, Paracas & Nazca

Fly high over the Nazca Lines and delve into Lima's exciting food scene on this eclectic adventure through a few of Peru's top attractions.

Flying over the Nazca Lines
Flying over the Nazca Lines
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Lima Lima
Day 2 Lima City & Food Tour Lima
Day 3 Excursion to Pachacamac temple & Peruvian Paso horse show Lima
Day 4 Nazca Lines & Huacachina Adventure: Lima - Nazca Lines - Huacachina - Paracas Paracas
Day 5 Ballestas Islands & Paracas National Reserve: Paracas - Ballestas Islands - Lima Lima
Day 6 Depart from Lima  

On this short trip, you'll base yourself primarily in Lima. Begin the trip there with a guided food tour, a stroll around the historic center, and a walk at sunset in the stylish waterfront neighborhoods of Miraflores and Barranco. On day three, you'll head out of the city for a side trip to the coastal region of Chorrillos. Visit the Inca ruins at Pachacamac and the coastal wetland sanctuary at Pantanos de Villa before taking a break for lunch at a local hacienda (ranch), where you'll try traditional Peruvian cuisine and see folkloric dancing and a horse show.

Day four is action-packed. You'll get up early for a scenic drive along the coast to the town of Paracas, then transfer to Pisco where you'll board a 12-passenger plane to view the massive Nazca Lines from overhead. Measuring as wide as 1,200 feet, these geoglyphs—depicting birds, dogs, trees, and other flora and fauna—are some of the world's largest and most famous. In the afternoon, try sandboarding on the towering dunes at Huacachina. On the last full day of the trip, take a boat tour to the Ballestas Islands to see Humboldt penguins and blue-footed boobies in their natural habitats. You'll head back to Lima for one last evening before flying out the next day. Learn more

More Great 6-Day Peru Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your Peru trip? Check out these other 6-day Peru itineraries, ranging from active, to cultural, to luxury, or family-friendly trips.

Or, describe your ideal trip and we will connect you with a local specialist to make it happen.


Map of 6 Days in Peru - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
Map of 6 Days in Peru - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas