With eight days in Peru, you can achieve a comprehensive tour of the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu, plus a couple of days enjoying the cuisine and culture of Lima. Or skip the capital city in favor of another point of interest: add a short Inca Trail trek, cruise around Lake Titicaca, or hike to colorful Rainbow Mountain. You can even pair a quick Machu Picchu adventure with a few days in the Peruvian Amazon. Learn more below.
Peru Travel Insights
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.
This diverse itinerary starts with culture and cuisine in Lima, heading next to Cusco and the Sacred Valley. Explore the area's markets and ruins before spending four days trekking the Inca Trail. Walk on the same stone steps that Inca engineers built in the 15th century, and relax in camp at night with sweeping vistas of the Andes Mountains. Finish your trek at the famed Machu Picchu ruins, and cap off your trip with three days in the Amazon Rainforest.
On this 13-day itinerary, take in the sights and flavors of Lima and head east to Puerto Maldonado, your launch point for your Amazon journey. Spend three days viewing wildlife while enjoying a comfortable stay at an eco-lodge. Next, travel to Cusco and the Sacred Valley, with a visit to Rainbow Mountain and a short trek on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
Experience the best-loved highlights of Peru in just six days with this efficient tour. Start with sightseeing in Lima, before getting whisked away to the ancient Inca capital of Cusco. Here, you'll enjoy a tour of the city, along with the important towns and archeological sites of the Sacred Valley. Spend a full day exploring Machu Picchu with an expert guide, and finish your trip marveling at the floating islands of Lake Titicaca.
Get a taste of Peru's metropolitan capital of Lima, then head south to Paracas for a marine wildlife tour. Next, head to Nazca and get an aerial view of some of the world's most impressive geoglyphs. Top it all off by trying your hand at sandboarding in the desert oasis of Huacachina.
With this short itinerary, you'll experience two distinct sides of Peru: metropolitan Lima and the remote rainforest. Start with a city and food tour in the capital, and make your way to Puerto Maldonado, your jumping-off point for the Amazon. Here, you'll stay in a charming jungle lodge, spot wildlife on a number of river cruises, and learn about the native Amazonian flora and fauna from experienced guides.
Explore the essential highlights of Peru's Sacred Valley with this short itinerary. Begin with two days in Cusco, touring the textile markets and ancient ruins that the ancient Inca capital is famous for. Take a guided excursion to the top sites of the Sacred Valley, and enjoy a one-day trek on the Inca Trail, ending in Aguas Calientes. Complete your trip with a full day of exploration in the Machu Picchu citadel complex, the perfect grand finale.
Explore Peru's cities, Machu Picchu, and the largest lake in South America on this 8-day exploration of local Peruvian culture. Start in metropolitan Lima and explore the vibrant food scene and history. Continue to Cusco, the capital of the Inca empire, and visit ancient ruins and colorful textile markets. Next, spend a day visiting the iconic Machu Picchu ruins. Finally, venture to Lake Titicaca to see its floating islands and intricate hand-made crafts.
On this Peruvian highlights itinerary, you'll explore Colca Canyon, one of the world's deepest canyons, then head out to Lake Titicaca - a place rich with history, culture, and natural beauty. Next, travel to Cusco and explore colorful textile markets and small towns of the Sacred Valley before hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. End your trip among the wildlife and jungle lodges of the Amazon.
From the Amazon to Machu Picchu, this itinerary takes you to Peru's major highlights. Fly over the Nazca Lines, then spend some time exploring the wildlife-rich Ballestas Islands and metropolitan city of Lima. Next, journey into the Amazon to spot wildlife from the comfort of an eco-lodge. Finally, head to the Inca capital of Cusco and explore the Sacred Valley before your short Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu.
From bustling cities to remote jungles, this tour of Peru's highlights is perfect for adventurous travelers. Discover Peruvian cuisine and culture in Lima, and continue to Cusco and the Sacred Valley. Explore Inca ruins and colorful textile markets before embarking on a short Inca Trail trek, ending at the famed Machu Picchu ruins. Top it all off with a visit the Amazon, spotting wildlife like macaws, cayman, anaconda, and tapir.
From the flavors of Lima’s food scene, to the colors of the Sacred Valley’s handwoven textiles, to the sounds of the Amazon’s many residents, this expedition will take you through the many facets of Peru. You'll work with partners selected specifically for their social responsibility and minimal environmental impact as you explore.
Lima's international airport makes it the most common entry point for travelers heading to Peru's many cultural and adventure destinations, including Machu Picchu. Due to flight schedules, most travelers spend at least one evening in the metropolitan capital—but with so much to do here, it's easy to extend your stay. Enjoy the art galleries and ocean views of lively Miraflores, dine at Michelin-starred restaurants and local food stands, or visit Incan ruins within city limits: read on for more about what to do in Lima, whether you have a few hours or a few days to spend.
This wonderful trip will bring you to the archaeological highlights of Northern Peru. You will visit exceptional sites, hike to one of the world’s highest waterfalls, and learn about pre-Incan history.
This ten-day tour of Peru crafts the perfect balance between culture and nature. Begin with cultural experiences in Cusco, the ancient capital city of the Incas. Enjoy a tour of the Sacred Valley, including the amphitheaters of Moray and the Maras Salt Flats, and spend a day exploring the famed Machu Picchu citadel. End your trip with five days in Manu National Park, where you'll observe wildlife and enjoy guided nature walks, including a nocturnal expedition.
Venture into the Peruvian Amazon, a jewel of biodiversity in South America. This tour focuses on the natural side of Peru, giving you a refreshing perspective away from the more popular Incan sites and ruins. Travel by boat to see a variety of colorful wildlife, along with a visit to the Tambopata Research Center. Away from the crowds, you’ll be able to spend days observing the flora and fauna with your own English-speaking guide.
This quick trip through the highlights of Northern Peru includes the impressive ruins of Kuelap, the incredible sarcophagi of Karajia, and the Museum of Leymebamba with over 200 mummies on display. You'll also head deep into the Amazonas region to find the waterfalls of Gocta (considered being the third highest in the world) and the rare spatuletail hummingbird, found nowhere else on the planet.
Explore the essential highlights of Peru, including visits to Cusco, Machu Picchu, and Rainbow Mountain, on this weeklong adventure. Begin with a night in Lima and head to the Sacred Valley, where you'll enjoy cultural experiences and a tour of the Maras Salt Flats. Hike part of the famed Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, where you'll spend a day immersed in Inca history. End your trip with a special hike to the brilliantly-hued Rainbow Mountain.
On this weeklong journey through Peru, you'll get a taste of metropolitan Lima before heading south to Paracas for a marine wildlife tour. Next, head to Nazca and get an aerial view of some of the world's most impressive geoglyphs. Top it all off by trying your hand at sandboarding in the desert oasis of Huacachina.
From bustling cities to remote Inca ruins, this 10-day tour of Peru's highlights is perfect for adventurous travelers. Discover Peru's metropolitan culture in Lima, then continue to the Incan capital of Cusco. Tour the Sacred Valley before embarking on the Inca Trail, finish your trek in Machu Picchu. Finally, head to Lake Titicaca for cultural experiences among the lake's islands.
From the Nazca Lines to Colca Canyon, Lake Titicaca, and Machu Picchu, this 14-day itinerary takes you to Peru's major highlights. Spend some time exploring Lima before heading to the colonial city of Arequipa to explore one of the world's deepest canyons. Depart for Lake Titicaca, a place rich with history, culture, and natural beauty. Finally, head to the Inca capital of Cusco and explore colorful textile markets and small towns of the Sacred Valley, ending at Machu Picchu.
This tour of Peru's awe-inspiring landscapes is the perfect fit for adventurous travelers. Discover the capital city of Lima, then continue to Cusco for a tour of the Sacred Valley. Explore Inca ruins and colorful textile markets before embarking on the Inca Trail, finishing your trek at the famed Machu Picchu ruins. Finally, head east to Manu National Park to spot Amazonian wildlife in the jungle.
From Lima to the Amazon, this 14-day itinerary has it all. Take in the sights, aromas, and tastes of Lima, then head east to Puerto Maldonado, your launch point for your journey to the rainforest. Spend three days viewing wildlife, like the giant river otter, river cayman, and vibrant parrot species, while enjoying a comfortable stay at an eco-lodge. Next, travel to Cusco and the Sacred Valley to learn about its culture and ancient ruins, including visits to Rainbow Mountain as well as Machu Picchu. Finally, travel to Lake Titicaca to explore the region's history and beautiful Islands.
If you enjoy observing animals and birds in their natural environment–along with spending time on the water–this four-day Tambopata trip was designed with you in mind. Explore the incredible Amazon, go fishing for piranha, enjoy a kayaking excursion, and embark on a nighttime nature hike on this action-packed adventure.
You'll be hiking the Inca Trail in dry, sunny weather this month, and the Sacred Valley resounds with the color and clamor of near-constant festivities. No wonder July is such a popular time of year to visit the region—this is when the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu regularly meet their maximum visitor capacity. Read on for more about weather, crowds, and activities.
August is the final month of high season and a popular time for North American and European holiday-makers to converge on the Inca Trail (and all Sacred Valley sights, for that matter). The Inca Trail will still likely be at capacity for much of August. If you want to escape the crowds, there are plenty of hikes apart from the Inca Trail to enjoy the great weather and beautiful landscapes in solitude.
The end of the dry season is a great month for hiking: crowds in the Sacred Valley and on the Inca Trail are down, while bright, sunny weather predominates. Although the chances of rain are increasing, temperatures are sneaking up, too. Altogether, this is one of the best months for outdoor activities in the Sacred Valley before the rains commence in earnest next month.
October is still officially dry season, and sunny weather persists despite more frequent bursts of rain as the month wears on. Trekkers still descend on the region to make the most of the last spells of dry weather before the wet season kicks off at the end of the month. There are also, as always, important festivities in Cusco—read on for more on October events, weather, and more.
Wet season is here—but the rain does not stick around all day in the Sacred Valley. If you're one of the relatively few travelers coming to the region this month, you will enjoy sightseeing at the least-crowded time of year and probably still see the sun quite a bit. Trekking is wetter and muddier than usual, but flora is thriving and rising water levels increase the appeal of rafting. An activity that combines both, such as the Inca Jungle Trek, is ideal around now.
December is a mixed bag on the Inca Trail. The rain is coming down on an almost daily basis, but the flowers and plants are thriving, beautifying the trail views. Crowds can be very low (at the beginning of the month) or very high (over Christmas and New Year). A few memorable festivities take place this month to spice things up pre- and post-hike, too: read on for more about what to expect.
June is high season in every sense on the Inca Trail and in the Sacred valley surrounding it. Weather is at its best for hiking (sunny and dry, although chilly at night) and the daily trekkers on the trail are at their maximum levels. In addition to this, it is big party time as the Sacred Valley celebrates Inti Raymi, the ancient Incan festival of the sun.
Shoulder season segues into high season as May goes on, which means higher numbers of trekkers on the Inca Trail. But trail conditions are improved dramatically: it is largely dry underfoot and generally sunny during the day, although camping out at night is colder than it has been in recent months. Overall May is one of the best months for hiking the trail, though, and interesting festivals throughout the Sacred Valley add to the color of the experience this month.
It is hard to envisage a better time to hike the Inca Trail than April. Wet season is over by the middle of the month, and crowds are nowhere near the levels they will be in high season. Flora is thriving across the region after the rains, brightening almost every view, and communities of the Sacred Valley put on colorful Semana Santa celebrations (should Easter fall after the first week of April).
The Inca Trail reopens this month, seeing a surge of visitors to the hike and to Machu Picchu not seen since the previous October. This is still wet season in the Sacred Valley, but the rains are beginning to subside as the month wears on, bringing better hiking weather. If Easter falls this month, Semana Santa (Holy Week) celebrations bring even more visitors to the region.
The Inca Trail is closed this month for maintenance, but the good news is that Machu Picchu is still open, as are some of the other classic Inca Trail alternative treks, such as the Salkantay trek. The year's heaviest rain this month makes hiking muddier and less appealing that at other times of the year: time, perhaps, to divert to some of the Sacred Valley's indoors attractions.
Despite rainy season being here in earnest, January can be a surprisingly good month to hike the Inca Trail. Once Christmas and New Year crowds have dispersed, there will be fewer hikers on the trail or sightseers in the Sacred Valley than at almost any other time of year. And the sun still comes out between the showers to capture the region in all its beauty, sometimes all the more dazzling for being part-covered in mist and cloud.
Experience the best of Peru with this comprehensive tour. Spend three days at an ecolodge in the Amazon Rainforest, where you'll view wildlife like the giant river otter and multiple parrot species. Next, travel to Cusco and the Sacred Valley to learn about its ancient ruins and take short treks to Rainbow Mountain and Machu Picchu. End your trip at Lake Titicaca, immersing in the culture of this region's famous Islands.
This 15-day itinerary starts in Lima before heading east to Puerto Maldonado, gateway to the Amazon Rainforest. Spend three days viewing wildlife while enjoying a comfortable stay at an eco-lodge. From there, head to Cusco and the Sacred Valley, where you'll visit Rainbow Mountain and spend a day trekking to Machu Picchu via the Inca Trail. Finally, travel to Lake Titicaca to explore the region's history and beautiful islands.
December is a strange month in Cusco and the Sacred Valley: both quiet (at the beginning of the month) and hectic (over Christmas and New Year). Then again, the famous Christmas and New Year festivities in Cusco pull in a lot of Peruvian visitors as well as a fair few from overseas, and one of the biggest handicrafts fairs anywhere in the Andes takes place in Cusco too.
The two intriguing festivals of Día de Todos Santos (November 1) and Día de los Muertos (November 2) make this a very interesting month to visit Cusco and the Sacred Valley. Rainy season is here in earnest, however, and at Machu Picchu the cloud cover is often heavy. Trekking is harder in the rain this month, as is cycling, but rafting is more popular because of the higher water levels in the rivers.
If you want the same sunny weather as the high season without high season crowds, September is the month to visit Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley. As this is officially shoulder season, expect to get better deals on hotels and tours this month too.
This is the very end of dry season in the Andes, even though rain will get more frequent as the month wears on. Still, compared to the five months that follow it, October has little wet weather and is still shoulder season, with tourists taking advantage of the last decent month for trekking and many other outdoor activities until the following April comes around.
It's the last month of high season in and around Machu Picchu this month. Visitor numbers overall remain very high, temperature highs are creeping up again and some ultra-traditional Andean festivals are celebrated.
Sunny days with little rain and a series of great festivals ensure that July is a popular month for visiting the region. Expect festivities to be happening wherever you are staying as the aftermath of one festival or the build-up to another make this a lively and atmospheric time of high season.
Hands down the most lively month to visit Machu Picchu and its surroundings, June is also the busiest month and the height of high season here. Plenty of sunshine combines with the most important celebration of the Andean calendar, Inti Raymi, to make for a very special and atmospheric (if busy) time to visit.
Interesting festivals start popping up across the Sacred Valley during May, as dry season continues and shoulder season approaches high season towards the end of the month. May is a great month to experience Machu Picchu in some of the year's best weather conditions without those high season crowds.
The start of dry season in the Andes makes April perhaps the best time to visit South America's most famous historic site. Machu Picchu's weather is more often sunny and rain-free than not, carpets of flowers brighten almost every vista and the communities of the Sacred Valley have colorful Semana Santa celebrations, should Easter fall after the first week of April. Yet this is still shoulder season, with crowds far less than in June, July and August.
The Inca Trail reopens, the wet weather starts to subside and, should Easter fall this month, Semana Santa brings in the crowds to Machu Picchu at levels not seen since the end of last season's shoulder period. Read on for more advice on traveling to Peru's most beloved attraction in March.
The big heads-up for Machu Picchu-bound travelers this month is that the Inca Trail is closed for maintenance, but Machu Picchu itself remains open. The heaviest rain of the year and the trail closure keep crowds away, but you will never see the ruins so refreshingly empty of tourists. A few interesting festivals take place across the Cusco region too, notably carnival.