From the wildlife-friendly shores of Río Tambopata to the remote cloud forest city of Chachapoyas, Peru is full of gems best accessed via the open road. Rent some wheels and check out these suggestions for do-it-yourself adventures to mountains, rainforests, empty beaches, and other off-the-grid Peruvian destinations.
Peru Travel Insights
Peru is a fascinating and complex country, full of ancient ruins and monuments, pulsing cities, and natural wonders—not to mention warm and welcoming people eager to share their culture. Here’s some insight into how kimkim can build a Peru itinerary geared just for you.
Cusco is second only to Lima as Peru's culinary capital. It seems as if every arch, arcade, and alleyway of the Plaza de Armas harbors a serendipitous eatery—and the standard of dining is high and ever evolving. From hearty, carb-rich Andean fare to a gamut of international offerings, here are the best places to eat out in Cusco.
Despite the big distances, five days is enough time to do justice to any part of Peru: you just have to carefully pick the places you want to visit. These five 5-day itineraries give a good cross-section of what is on offer in this topographically and culturally diverse country.
The Incan citadel of Machu Picchu is the most popular destination in Peru. But once you're there, it only takes a day or two to explore. What's next on your agenda? Visit a glacial lake, get your culinary fix in Lima, or bike the hills of the Sacred Valley—all within a short distance from Cusco and Aguas Calientes.
Avid traveler Laura Marshall knows the value of local expertise—that's why she enlisted kimkim to plan her dream trip to Peru. Her group decided on the Salkantay Trek, a five-day adventure through remote landscape, ending with Machu Picchu. Check out this interview to learn why she loved it and what it's like to trek with an expert guide.
Peru may be rooted in Incan ingenuity and Spanish colonialism, but it’s a 21st-century destination too. Whether you're looking for adventure, a romantic getaway, a culinary tour, or a family holiday, it's got you covered. Find out the best places to go for every travel interest—including your own.
Trekking to Machu Picchu is a dream for many travelers—but there's more than one way to get there. The classic Inca Trail lets trekkers walk in the steps of the Incas, while the more remote Salkantay route offers solitude and wildlife. Compare your options for getting to Peru's most famous place on foot, from distance and cost to overnight options.
There's more to Peru than Machu Picchu—world-class restaurants, diverse wildlife, and landscapes ranging from Amazonian rainforest to the snow-capped Andes await. Here's everything you need to know when planning your visit.
When the sun goes down in Lima, it's time to celebrate with a cocktail. Peru's national drink, the pisco sour, is a must—and there are plenty of chic and festive spots to try one. Let this list point you to the best spirits in the city.
Peru may be world-renowned for its incredible cuisine, but it's also at the vanguard of the third-wave coffee movement. Today, gourmet beans are harvested in Peru's fertile coffee regions and finding their way to local artisans, who treat them with love—here are some of the best places to score a perfect cup.
Peru is a land of extremes. You'll need layers of clothing for a daytime hike, a swimsuit at the beach, and a thick alpaca blanket on a cold night up in the Andes. Whatever your travel plans, here's a comprehensive list that will have you packing your bags like a pro.
Peace and quiet at Machu Picchu? Yes, it's possible—if you know when to go. Here's how to make the most of your time in Peru during the off-season, whether you're headed to Incan ruins, the rainforest, the mountains, or the beach.
Lima is a majorly underrated destination for travelers with kids in tow. Peru’s capital city has plenty to keep families entertained: hands-on museums, beachfront promenades, a zoo, and a water park popular with locals, to name just a few.
Fun fact: Peruvian culture is incredibly family friendly. Whether you're exploring Incan ruins, visiting museums with hands-on activities, or getting up close and personal with wildlife, a family vacation to Cusco and the Sacred Valley can be enjoyable and educational for parents and kids alike. Here are some ideas to help you plan.
Each year more and more travelers to Peru are discovering the pleasures of its capital city—and bringing their kids along for the ride. It's easy to see why: from world-class gastronomy to great surf beaches and expansive colonial parks, Lima provides the ideal conditions for an epic family vacation. Convinced? Here's where you should stay.
There's no shortage of stunning landscapes in Peru. From Colca Canyon to the Sacred Valley to the wild Amazon, these are some of the country's most jaw-dropping natural highlights — and tips on how and when to visit them.
Get off the beaten path and explore rural communities on this 16-day tour of northern Peru. Discover fascinating archaeological ruins and perfectly preserved mummies as you encounter the pre-Inca Chachapoya, Chimú, and Moche cultures. Stay with host families in remote villages where you'll learn traditional Peruvian handicrafts and farming techniques.
Peru has some of the most stunningly diverse landscapes and ecosystems in the world, and the best time to enjoy them is from May-September. Trekking through Peru's picturesque mountains, sampling ceviche and walking through the rainforest are just a few of the reasons to head south during the summer months.
Explore ancient Incan ruins, charming colonial towns, and the breathtaking Sacred Valley as you make your way through some of Peru's most beloved sights in style. Gourmet meals, five-star hotels, and spa treatments await in between explorations on this tour that perfectly pairs adventure and luxury.
If it's your first time visiting Peru, let this FAQ put your mind at ease concerning the practical considerations of your trip.
Grab some popcorn! Your adventures in Peru will be even more fulfilling if you take the time to watch a film or two before you begin the trip. And these comedies, biopics, and documentaries aren't just educational—they're entertaining, too.
Of course you'll go to Machu Picchu. But what about sipping coffee on the same farm where the beans are grown, or riding the slow train through a gorgeous landscape? Read on for suggestions on how to enjoy Peru from a local perspective.
Sure, you could sleep in a regular hotel—or, you could check into a futuristic glass pod suspended high over the Sacred Valley, spend the night in style on a luxury train, or choose another of these unique accommodation options during your travels in Peru.
Cusco has been a bastion of Peruvian culture since its founding in the 12th century. Today, it's a sophisticated city filled with fabulous museums, galleries, restaurants, and bars. Here's how to make the most of your time if you only have 24 hours in town.
Sleep in a palace, take a ceviche class with a local chef, or indulge in a spa treatment incorporating ancient Inca ingredients. Peru offers countless luxurious experiences to choose from—here are a few favorites.
Experience Peru's rich cultural history and hike through the Andes on this exciting blended trip. Spend several days exploring ancient Inca sites in Cusco, the Sacred Valley, and Machu Picchu. Then continue on foot through the mountains, trekking on and around Ausangate through vast glacial valleys and between herds of wild vicuñas. Spend your nights in cozy mountain lodges operated in collaboration with local communities.
Machu Picchu draws well in excess of one million visitors annually, but hundreds of less-frequented Incan ruins lie scattered in the jungle and mountains around Cusco. Most are surrounded by equally spectacular scenery, and many are reachable via epic hikes. Here's a list of the most impressive Incan ruins to visit while evading the tourist crowds.
Imagine spending two weeks in Peru dedicated to all things delicious. Following this itinerary, you'll visit buzzing food markets in Lima and join in on cooking classes in Cusco. You'll spend a whole day exploring Macchu Picchu, dip into Inca ruins on Amantani Island, and get stuck into some traditional Inca feasts along the way.
Starting a new book is like opening the door to another world. Get in the mood for your trip to Peru by delving into one of these recommended titles: from fiction to history to poetry, they're great introductions to the country and its culture.
All aboard! Trains are a practical solution for traveling in Peru: they transport travelers between key destinations around the country, and they're also a wonderful way to take in the landscape and get a taste of old-world glamour. The following rail journeys are classic adventures you won't want to miss on your trip to South America.
Travelers love Peru for its incredible food scene, stunning landscapes, and mesmerizing ruins of ancient civilizations. It's a place that's well-prepared for tourists, but as the third-largest country in South America, Peru is also vast in size. Read on for tips as you plan your adventure.
Discover Peru's Cordillera Blanca as you trek, climb, and scramble over snow- and ice-covered moraine rock into the high altitudes of the Andes. Not for the faint of heart, this 19-day itinerary is for the somewhat experienced climber and altogether adventurous spirit. This program includes acclimatization hikes and a basic climbing course to practice the skills required to reach the summit of Alpamayo. It's also an excellent trip for photography lovers — the views are simply breathtaking!
Avid hikers, this one's for you! Follow the Camino del Apu Ausangate through the Cordillera Vilcanota mountain range, accompanied by llamas and horses loaded up with gear. You'll overnight in traditional tambo lodges, enjoy authentic Peruvian cuisine, and gain a better understanding of life in Andes.
Lima offers history, world-class museums, an unbeatable foodie scene, and the second-largest cityscape in South America. Not sure where to start? To the rescue: a foolproof plan for a perfect day in the Peruvian capital.
Peru's cuisine has been hitting the headlines in restaurants around the world for a while now, and rightly so: its colorful, spicy takes on meat, fish, and potato dishes are one-of-a-kind. This journey into Peru's fascinating gastronomy identifies the best of the must-try foods and the ideal places to sample them.
Embark on a private, 10-day food and luxury tour of Peru, and discover what makes it the ultimate culinary destination. Explore Lima, home to some of the world's best restaurants. Delight in fine dining, browse markets, sample local fare and learn culinary techniques from leading chefs. Taste an incredible variety of ingredients from the coast to the jungle, and enjoy the country’s impressive scenery — including Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley.
Hike to ancient, off-the-beaten-track Incan sites, trek through breathtaking high-Andes mountain scenery, stay overnight with a charismatic local family, and eventually find yourself among the famous, mysterious ruins of Machu Picchu! Perfect for the adventurous traveler, this tour squeezes a taste of everything into a short, sweet itinerary.
Down in the Amazon basin, off the edge of the tourist map, lies Manu — arguably the most biodiverse area in the world. Trek off the beaten track and into the land of tapirs, parrots, and jungle rivers — a place without luxury hotels, hot showers, or 24/7 WiFi.
Follow in the footsteps of the Incas over 9 days as you hike this ancient trail and explore meticulously preserved ruins. Relax in mineral hot springs and learn traditional coffee roasting techniques with experts at an organic farm. Afterward, lose track of time exploring the narrow, winding streets of Cusco — the historic capital of the Incan Empire.
Grab your gear, pack your bike, and get ready for some serious adrenaline rush as you shred your way through Cusco, the Inca Trails, and the Sacred Valley.
In recent years, a number of alternative treks to the Inca Trail have opened up, offering hikers an off-the-beaten-path experience to reach the famed citadel of Macchu Picchu. Treks have also taken on a new face, targeting travelers who are keen on long adventurous hikes but who want all the comforts of a hotel at night. There are a handful of lodge-to-lodge treks available in the Cusco area, offering travelers the perfect balance between adventure and luxury.
This awesome eight-day trek takes you to the pristine heartlands of the Cordillera Huayhuash, one of the most stunning mountain areas in Peru. Your lungs will be tested as you cross four passes over 14,700 feet - but the challenge is well worth it for the chance to see colorful lakes, glaciers, wildlife and Peruvian mountain culture.
Peru's rich history of the Inca entwined with influences from the Spanish colonial era have combined to create amazing festivals. Some of the festivals are religious and to be respected but are open for the enjoyment of everyone who visits Peru. This article includes some of the best festivals and where to find them.
Spend a week trekking to the last capital of the Inca resistance at Vilcabamba, renamed Espiritu Pampa by the Spanish. This 7-day adventure takes in ruins along historic trails, over high Andean passes, through cloud forest and remote indigenous towns.
While Peru is well-known for its archaeological wonders, the country is also an up-and-coming destination for spotting birds and wildlife in pristine eco-systems. At luxury lakeside lodges, cloud forest escapes and rustic rainforest retreats you can look for everything from poison dart frogs and spectacled bears to magnificent birds such as the Andean cock-of-the-rock. This article covers best places to stay for an up close and personal experience of Peru's phenomenally diverse nature.
With 10 days in Peru, you can explore several regions by taking internal flights or get to know one region in more depth. The highlights of the Cusco and Machu Picchu region can easily be combined with Lake Titicaca or the Amazon jungle. Alternatively, head north to enjoy lesser-known archaeological highlights, spectacular treks and beaches. Another very popular route is to travel south into the desert, then up through the canyons to the high Andean plains. Here are five different itineraries to help you make the most of your trip.
The five-day Lares Trek takes you high up in the Andes, hiking during the day and overnighting in luxurious lodges along the way. Providing impressive views of snow-capped peaks and glacial lakes, it’s a relatively demanding hike that will test your fitness.
Named after the highest peak in the Vilcabamba mountain range, the Salkantay Trek takes you high in the Andes outside Cusco, providing specular views of snow-capped mountains, glacial lakes, and lush cloud forest. It’s an easy to moderate hike, with some sections of challenging terrain. The six-day trek involves comfortable stays at luxurious lodges in remote locations so that you can enjoy the gorgeous Andean scenery without having to give up your comforts.
The Santa Cruz four-day trek takes you high into the Cordillera Blanca in northern Peru, providing spectacular views of glacier-wrapped peaks, turquoise lakes and fields of wildflowers. It's a demanding hike that will test your body and lungs, but well-worth it for the epic scenery. This article will help you make the most of your Peruvian high altitude adventure, and provide information on extending the hike to five or more days.