The Ultimate Travel Guide to Peru

If you want to experience South America, Peru is the place to be. A trip through Peru takes you past colonial cities, bustling local markets, the rugged Andes mountains, vast desert landscapes and villages where time seems to have stood still. Add to that famous highlights such as Machu Picchu, Rainbow Mountain and the mysterious Nazca lines and you’ll understand why Peru is on the bucket list of many travelers. We have collected all our experiences to create this ultimate travel guide to Peru. A fantastic journey where you will taste the diversity of Peru every day!

How many weeks do you need to visit Peru?

Unless you have two months, you will have to make choices because Peru is a big country and therefore you can never see everything. The following travel guide to Peru can be covered in 3,5 weeks. If you want to take it a bit easy it can also be nice to take 4 weeks for it.

Don’t make a fool of yourself and don’t try to add more because the distances in Peru are long and even with our route you will be in the bus for many hours. This is inevitable in Peru. Luckily the buses are very luxurious!

Photo: Reisjunk
Photo: Reisjunk


Due to the long distances, it is not recommended to rent a car in Peru. The buses in Peru are very luxurious with large seats, wifi and even a screen like in the airplane. So the bus is the ideal way to get around in Peru. Many blogs recommend the hop-on-hop-off bus company Peru Hop but with this bus will be more expensive. Not all routes are included like the one to Huaraz and the Colca Canyon.

It’s much better to book your bus rides in advance via Here you can easily compare prices and times of bus companies and book your trips. The best bus company that rides almost every route is Cruz del Sur.

Photo: Reisjunk

The Route – Peru in 3 to 4 weeks

Below you will find the map of Peru with the itinerary we can recommend to everyone. To get a good idea of the destinations, you can read more about these places further on, such as what there is to do or see. This will give you a good idea of what to do and you can then decide for yourself how many days you want to stay there.

Photo: Reisjunk


A trip through Peru almost always starts in Lima unless you enter Peru from a neighboring country. Visit the colorful Barranco district during the day to spot the most beautiful street art and in the evening go out for dinner at Panchita. Order a Lomo Saltado and a Pisco Sour – the national cocktail – on your first day. That’s probably the best start of your journey in Peru.


After a day in Lima you jump in the bus to Ica and from there it is 10 minutes by taxi to the oasis of Huacachina. The oasis is surrounded by huge sand dunes and when you leave Lima at 09:00 you can go into the desert that same afternoon to sandboard and tear through the sand dunes in buggies! Book a tour as soon as you arrive at your hotel in Huacachina because at 16:00 the buggies leave for the desert. These futuristic vehicles tear through the desert at high speed and before you know it you are standing on top of a huge sand dune. Then, it’s time to get your board out and slide down on your belly!

If you’re less adventurous you can also climb the sand dune at the edge of the village and watch the sunset from here. The view is fantastic!

Travel time: The bus trip from Lima to Ica takes 4,5 hours and then it’s another 10 minutes by taxi to Huacachina.

Nazca and Paracas

Nazca and Paracas are on the schedule of many travellers. Both are certainly fun to visit during your trip but are not worth staying the night. You can therefore better visit these or one of these places as a day trip from Huacachina.

In Nazca you will find the Nazca lines. These dozens of giant figures of different objects like animals, insects, spirals and triangles are only visible from the air. That is why you can make a flight over the Nazca lines here. But you can also see them from some of the surrounding hills.

At Paracas you can make a boat tour to the Ballestas Islands which are part of Paracas National Park. This protected area is a safe haven for animals like sea lions, penguins, Peruvian cormorants and pelicans. The boats leave at 08:00 and at 10:00.

Travel time: From Huacachina you travel by taxi in 10 minutes to Ica. From Ica you take the bus and it is 1.5 hours to Nazca or 1 hour to Paracas.


The white city of Arequipa is one of the most beautiful cities of Peru. This colonial city is called the ‘white city’ because most of the buildings are made of the silver-white peat rock that was emitted by the volcano Misti. From Arequipa you can see this snowy volcano.

The sun almost always shines in Arequipa, it rarely rains there and it is usually around 23°C during the day. Wonderful because many other destinations in Peru are a lot cooler! It is a nice city to let your body get used to the altitude before you really go into the mountains.

Travel time: Take a taxi to Ica and there the bus to Arequipa. This is a long 13 hour drive and therefore it is nice to take the luxury night bus that leaves between 20:00 and 22:00.

Photo: Reisjunk

Colca Canyon

After a day or two of getting used to the altitude it is time for your first trekking. The Colca Canyon is the second deepest canyon in the world and here you can taste the real Peruvian culture. Life in the villages is wonderfully authentic and it seems as if time has stood still here. During your journey to the Colca Canyon, you will encounter the most beautiful landscapes and you can chill out in the hot springs down in the canyon.

Travel time: From Arequipa it is 6 hours by bus and Reyna, Milagros and Andalucia are the bus companies with a direct connection. Tickets cannot be ordered online but must be bought at the bus station in Arequipa.

Photo: Reisjunk
Photo: Reisjunk


After all that travelling it is time to stay in one place for a while and there is no place in Peru where you can do that better than in Cusco. This old city has a lot of history and has many cozy places. Do you feel like being active then you can make all kinds of cool day trips from here such as to Rainbow Mountain, the salt terraces of Maras or Humantay Lake. Do you just feel like taking it easy and explore the city then there is plenty to do in Cusco itself.

Travel time: The bus trip from the Colca Canyon to Cusco takes 9 hours.

Machu Picchu

When you think of Peru, you think of Machu Picchu. This ancient Inca city is almost 600 years old and lies on top of a huge mountain, in the middle of the jungle. You can get there by making a cool multi-day trekking or travel by train to the village of Aguas Calientes. If you go by train it is recommended to stay one night in Aguas Calientes so you can watch Machu Picchu during sunrise the day after. This is a great experience because there are 10 times less tourists and the light is fantastic.

Find out more about our tours to Machu Picchu.

Travel time: Four day trekking or 1 hour by taxi or bus to Ollantaytambo and another 1.5 hours by train to Aguas Calientes. From here it is another 20 minutes by bus to the entrance of Machu Picchu.


Whether you are an experienced hiker or have never trekked before, there are great hikes for everyone here. You are surrounded by snowy peaks and between the mountains you will find the most blue glacial lakes.

It is just a short detour to get there but that is worth it. A day hike that you should not skip is the Panorama Hike to Laguna 69.

Travel time: The flight from Cusco to Lima takes 1.5 hours. Then you can take a day or night bus to Huaraz. This is an 8 hour ride.

Photo: Reisjunk
Photo: Reisjunk

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That was it! The complete and ultimate travel guide for Peru in 4 weeks. I hope you have enjoyed and are looking forward to your trip!

Article translated and edited from Reisjunk.