Make the Most of Your Time in Peru

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Colorful Carnival in Puno, Peru
How Many Days Should You Spend in Peru?

No matter how much time you have in Peru, whether it's just a few days or a few weeks, this country can offer some unforgettable experiences. With just three or four days and good planning, it's even possible to visit the national highlights of Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley. With a week or more the experiences just get better, allowing you time for historic cities and off-the-beaten-path adventures. Use this guide to help you make the most of your visit.

The Colca Canyon near Arequipa is one of the world's most mesmerizing, yet isn't even this area's best...
Map of 5 Days in Peru - 5 Unique Itineraries
5 Days in Peru - 5 Unique Itineraries

For travelers interested in visiting Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley highlights, five days is just enough time to do it. If you've already been to Machu Picchu, consider seeing a different part of Peru on this trip: the Amazon Rainforest, the biodiverse Ballestas Islands, or the lesser-known archeological sites of Northern Peru are all excellent options that showcase more of Peru's outdoor and cultural offerings. Check out more options in the itineraries below.

Lake Titicaca, Peru
Map of 6 Days in Peru - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
6 Days in Peru - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas

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.

Cusco Plaza de Armas
Map of 1 Week in Peru - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
1 Week in Peru - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas

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.

Inca ruins in the neighborhood of Miraflores, Lima
Map of 8 Days in Peru - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
8 Days in Peru - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas

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.

Views over the Peruvian Amazon
Map of 9 Days in Peru - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
9 Days in Peru - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas

With nine days in Peru, you're able to combine adventures in more than one region. Fly over the Nazca Lines before visiting Machu Picchu, hike the Inca Trail before decamping to the Amazon for jungle excursions, or take a cooking class in Lima before cruising around Lake Titicaca on a traditional boat. Find out more about your options with these five unique itinerary ideas for nine days in Peru.

Stone mask on the ancient temple at Chavin de Huantar
Map of 10 Days in Peru - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
10 Days in Peru - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas

With 10 days in Peru, you can explore up to three regions by taking internal flights or focus on one off-the-beaten-path area like Northern Peru. 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. See more ideas in this great list.

Rainbow Mountain, Peru
Map of 11 Days in Peru - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
11 Days in Peru - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas

With 11 days in Peru, it's the perfect amount of time to explore two regions. You can visit Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca or explore the Sacred Valley and the depths of the Amazon rainforest. Whether you're interested in pre-Inca civilizations, Lima's buzzing food scene, hiking the Inca Trail, or seeing exotic birds on a jungle trail, find out how with these five unique itineraries.

The ancient citadel of Machu Picchu
Map of 12 Days in Peru - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
12 Days in Peru - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas

With twelve days in Peru, you have a number of diverse routes to choose from. Whether you want to focus on the Amazon rainforest, pre-Columbian ruins, hiking on the Inca trail to Machu Picchu, cultural and culinary tours in Lima, or off-the-beaten-path adventures in Peru's northern region—you have time to do it all. Read on for five unique itinerary ideas.

Gocta Waterfall in northern Peru
Map of 13 Days in Peru - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
13 Days in Peru - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas

With 13 days in Peru, travelers' options are almost endless. Thanks to frequent domestic flights and quick connections between key destinations, it's possible to visit the Amazon rainforest, Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley, Lake Titicaca and the archaeological wonders of the north on a single trip—or some combination of these. Whether you want to hike, sightsee, boat through the jungle, or learn about indigenous ways of life, find out how with these five unique itineraries.

The vast expanse of the Sacred Valley
Map of 2 Weeks in Peru - 5 Unique Itineraries
2 Weeks in Peru - 5 Unique Itineraries

A two-week visit to Peru allows travelers to comfortably combine Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley with one of the country's more remote regions. Enjoy the culture and history of the ruins and villages surrounding Cusco and take a jungle excursion into the Amazon in the same trip. Or head north to the archeological wonders of Kuelap and Chachapoyas. A trip of this length also means more opportunities for trekking, including multi-day treks on the Inca Trail. See more inspiration for your Peru trip below.

How Many Days Should You Spend in Lima?
How Many Days Should You Spend in Lima?

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.

How Much Time Should You Spend at Machu Picchu?
How Many Days Should You Spend at Machu Picchu?

The vast and fascinating Inca citadel of Machu Picchu is what you make of it. It can be overcrowded if you have limited time and stick to the main site, but if you ascend to surrounding peaks or arrive via one of many beautiful treks, this region can hold your attention for many days. This article breaks down what you can best do here in the holiday time you have, be that a whistlestop half-day tour or an off-the-beaten-track weeklong adventure.