In seven days, it's easy to combine Machu Picchu with day trips within the Sacred Valley, or with a visit to another region like the Amazon Rainforest or Lake Titicaca. Trekkers can conquer part of the Inca Trail plus take a hike to the brilliantly-striped Rainbow Mountain, and culturally-minded travelers who don't mind skipping Machu Picchu can head to the lesser-visited ruins of Northern Peru. Learn more about your options below.

Itinerary #1: Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, and Lake Titicaca

Tour the remains of the Inca Empire on this journey to the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu, the floating islands of Lake Titicaca, and the Inca capital of Cusco.

Moray the Incan agricultural laboratory at Sacred Valley of the Incas in Peru
Inca agricultural fields in the Sacred Valley of Peru.
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Lima, Transfer to Hotel Lima
Day 2 Arrival in Cusco, Exploring the City Cusco
Day 3 Exploring the Sacred Valley Ollantaytambo
Day 4 Machu Picchu Excursion: Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Cusco Cusco
Day 5 Cusco - Puno: The Route of the Sun Puno
Day 6 Puno: Uros & Taquile Floating Islands Puno
Day 7 Departing Juliaca  

Start your trip with a night in Lima before the next day’s transfer to Cusco. Tour the Spanish-designed cathedral and the Coricancha, also known as "The Temple of the Sun." Then, on day three, embark on a full tour of the Sacred Valley, featuring stops at archaeological sites, the ruins and marketplace at Pisac, and the salt mines in Maras before overnighting in peaceful Ollantaytambo. Wake up early the next day for the ride to Aguas Calientes and onward to Machu Picchu, where you’ll go on a guided tour of the ancient Inca city. Return to Cusco for the night.

You’ll spend most of day five on a scenic bus ride from Cusco to Puno—the trip lasts about ten hours and includes stops along the way for meals and sightseeing, including a break at Andahuaylillas, the "Sistine Chapel of America."  The dramatic Andean landscape out the window is one of the journey’s main attractions. Stretch your legs in Puno and get some rest before the next day’s excursion to Lake Titicaca. On a motorboat, you’ll zoom over to Uros Island and Taquile Island, where you’ll have the chance to interact with Uros natives and take a spin on an indigenous boat. It’s the perfect end to a week in Peru: you’ll head out of the country the next morning. Learn more

Itinerary #2: Explore Machu Picchu and the Amazon Rainforest

See Peru’s iconic landscapes on this week-long trip plan that takes you to the Amazon rainforest, Inca ruins, the Sacred Valley, and the vibrant cities of Lima and Cusco. 

Salcantay Trail
Puerto Maldonado
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Lima Lima
Day 2 Arrival in Cusco, Exploring the City Cusco
Day 3 Sacred Valley Tour: Cusco - Chinchero - Ollantaytambo Ollantaytambo
Day 4 Machu Picchu Excursion: Ollantaytambo - Machu Picchu - Cusco Cusco
Day 5 Into the Amazon: Lima - Puerto Maldonado - Refugio Amazonas Lodge Puerto Maldonado
Day 6 Jungle Excursions - Tres Chimbadas, Parrot Clay Lick, Botany Tour Puerto Maldonado
Day 7 Depart from Puerto Maldonado & Lima  

Kick off the trip in Lima, where the historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the waterfront neighborhood of Miraflores offers a range of excellent Peruvian restaurants and bars. Continue onto Cusco on day two, taking the afternoon to sip coca tea (it helps with the altitude), wander around the bohemian district of San Blas, and visit the ruins of Puca Pucara. Day three is devoted to a tour of the Sacred Valley, featuring stops at several archaeological sites and Inca ruins along the way. Take it easy in the picturesque riverside village of Ollantaytambo, where you’ll dine on traditional Peruvian cuisine and spend the night.

On day four, venture to Machu Picchu to explore the magnificent ancient city with a knowledgeable guide. Then it’s off to the Amazon the next day: you’ll back-track to Lima and catch a flight to Puerto Maldonado to start, then take a boat from the port at Tambopata. Passing through the Infierno Reserve and eating lunch onboard, you’ll finally arrive at the Refugio Amazonas Lodge, your base for the last few days of the trip.

Spend days five and six on jungle excursions of your choosing, including outings focused on botany and birding, and take a short hike to Parrot Clay Lick to see hundreds of parrots and parakeets in their natural habitat. Sleep in the jungle before returning to Puerto Maldonado, then Lima, to catch a flight out. Learn more

Itinerary #3: Short Inca Trail & Rainbow Mountain Hike

Climb to picturesque Rainbow Mountain, hike along the Inca Trail, and discover the expansive Maras Salt Flats on this outdoorsy itinerary around Peru.

Mount Vinicunca, known as Rainbow Mountain
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Lima Lima
Day 2 Arrival in Cusco, Exploring the City Cusco
Day 3 Sacred Valley Tour: Cusco - Chinchero - Ollantaytambo Ollantaytambo
Day 4 Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu: Ollantaytambo - Aguas Calientes Aguas Calientes
Day 5 Machu Picchu Excursion: Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Cusco Cusco
Day 6 Rainbow Mountain (Mount Vinicunca) Hike Cusco
Day 7 Fly from Cusco to Lima, Depart Peru  

The first days of this itinerary are similar to many other week-long trip plans: starting in Lima, you’ll transfer to Cusco, then spend a day on a tour of the Sacred Valley. Discover the Maras Salt Flats, a system of stone pools built by the Inca to harvest salt, and overnight in pretty Ollantaytambo.

On day four, start hiking along the Inca Trail in the direction of Machu Picchu, stopping at archaeological sites along the way and taking in sweeping views of the famed lost city from Intipunku (Sun Gate). Rest for the evening in Aguas Calientes, where you can sample ceviche and try pisco sours—the national cocktail of Peru—made with a variety of fresh fruits.

Get an early start the next morning: it’s a 25-minute bus ride from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu, and you’ll want to be one of the first visitors at the site to get the best views and quiet time to walk around before the larger crowds arrive. That night, you’ll back-track to Cusco and have an evening on the town before the next day’s hike to Rainbow Mountain (Mount Vinicunca) from high-altitude Chillca. After four hours of trekking, you’ll enjoy views of the surrounding valleys and  Ausangate Glacier Peak. Head back to Cusco at sunset; you’ll catch a flight home the next day. Learn more

Itinerary #4: Peru's Cities, History, & Ecotourism

This well-rounded itinerary, featuring a day trip to Machu Picchu, sightseeing in Lima, sandboarding in the desert, and shopping in traditional textile markets, has something for everyone.

Islas Ballestas
Humbolt penguins of the Ballestas Islands
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Lima Lima
Day 2 Ballestas Islands & Huacachina Adventure Lima
Day 3 Arrival in Cusco, Inca Ruins Tour Cusco
Day 4 Sacred Valley Tour: Cusco - Chinchero - Ollantaytambo Ollantaytambo
Day 5 Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu: Ollantaytambo - Km 104 - Aguas Calientes Aguas Calientes
Day 6 Machu Picchu Excursion: Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Cusco Cusco
Day 7 Departing Cusco  

Start the trip in Lima, getting oriented in Peru with an afternoon and an evening of sightseeing in the historic center and strolling along the clifftop promenade in the neighborhood of Miraflores. On day two, you’ll transfer to the port of Pisco and board a boat to the Ballestas Islands. Look for Humboldt penguins and blue-footed boobies in their natural habitat, then return to Huacachina for a sand-boarding adventure on the dunes in the afternoon. The next day, move along to Cusco for a tour of ancient Inca ruins and a night out on the town in the Inca’s original capital. 

Tour the Sacred Valley on day four, departing Cusco for the Andean village of Chinchero and the incredible stone amphitheaters—built by the Inca, of course, though their function remains unknown to this day—in Moray. Finish the day in the charming village of Ollantaytambo, set on the shores of the Urubamba River, where you’ll spend the night.

Then, take off on the Inca Trail towards Aguas Calientes, passing archaeological sites like Chachabamba and Wiñay Wayna. Spend the last full day of the trip on a day’s excursion to the lost city of Machu Picchu before heading back to Cusco to catch a flight home. Learn more

Itinerary #5: Lima, Paracas, and Nazca Adventure

On this action-packed trip plan, you’ll see penguins in the wild on a boat tour and world-famous geoglyphs from the window of a 12-seater airplane.

Nazca Lines from above
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 Free Day in Lima - History & Museums: Paracas to Lima Lima
Day 7 Departing Lima  

Spend more than just a night in Lima at the start of the journey: on day two, you’ll go on a food tour of the capital, stopping in local markets and taking a cooking class where you’ll learn how to make ceviche and pisco sours. Spend the evening in the oceanside neighborhood of Barranco, filled with cafés, restaurants, and bars. On day three, leave the city on a coastal drive that takes you to the wetland sanctuary at Pantanos de Villa and the Inca ruins at Pachacamac, dating from 200 CE and featuring a network of pyramids, temples, and plazas. You’ll have lunch at a local hacienda (ranch) before heading back to Lima to spend the night. 

Drive four hours along the coast to Paracas on day four, transferring to the airport in Pisco for a 90-minute flight over the Nazca Lines geoglyphs—look for the shapes of a hummingbird, dog, tree, whale, and lizard made with light-colored clay. You’ll sandboard down the dunes at Huacachina in the afternoon.

Boat around the Ballestas Islands, spotting Humboldt penguins and marine life, on day five. You’ll pass a notable landmark along the journey: the Paracas Candelabra, a geoglyph that predates the Inca Empire by around 1600 years. Return to Lima for a night on the town and a full day of exploring museums like Museo Larco (for an overview of Peru’s ancient cultures) and the striking Huaca Pucllana pyramid. Toast your trip with one more pisco sour or two before catching a flight home the next day. Learn more

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Map of 7 Days in Peru - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
Map of 7 Days in Peru - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas