Peru was hands down the most physically and emotionally rewarding trip that I’ve ever taken. There were definitely challenges – altitude sickness and facing my fear of heights (on multiple occasions!) to name a couple – but overcoming these really gave me such a sense of accomplishment. I would do this trip 100 times over if I could.
Tour Company Tip: I cannot recommend our tour company enough, and we used them for both of our treks while in Peru. There’s a reason that Alpaca Expeditions is ranked #1 across the board and has such incredible review. They absolutely made our trip to Peru the best it could possibly be, and I have since recommended them to multiple other people who have had the same outstanding experience that we did. For more info on their specific treks and why they rock, check out my Inca Trail and Choquequirao posts!
Hotel Tip: if you’re looking for an awesome, reasonably priced Cusco hotel within walking distance of all the sights, check out La Morada Suites. They have a family room for up to 6 people as well as separate casitas (they each have a kitchen as well!). The staff was super friendly, they coordinated our transportation to and from the airport, and they even let us store our belongings while we were out on both of our treks. The photo directly below is from the patio at the hotel, overlooking Cusco. I HIGHLY recommend staying here if they have availability!
Plan to give yourself 2-3 weeks for a trip to Peru. Arequipa, Nazca, and Iquitos are all beautiful options if you have the time to extend your trip beyond Cusco and Lima. But if you have two weeks or less, have no fear – an incredible trip to Peru is still possible! We spent 12 days in total (including travel time) and managed two separate treks in that amount of time. Keep reading below for my recommendations on how to spend 10 days in Cusco, and check back soon for Lima recos.
We arrived in Cusco in the morning and immediately checked into our hotel in San Blas. The altitude was immediately felt (despite taking Diamox starting a couple days prior to arrival) – consider yourself warned. All 6 of us are pretty fit, and we were winded after a couple of steps up. We then grabbed lunch at Limo in the Plaza de Armas, and then explored around Cusco.
This was our full acclimation day, so we explored around the town of Cusco. We visited the Museo del Pisco/ChocoMuseo, Mercado de San Pedro, and the Cathedral. I’d recommend checking out the Cathedral in the morning, then heading past the Plaza de Armas to the market for lunch, and then heading to the Museo del Pisco/ChocoMuseo for your afternoon outing. We had to be up early the next morning, so we had an early dinner at a great low key place called Jack’s Cafe. I’d highly recommend it!
We spent the next two days with Alpaca Expeditions on their 2D/1N Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu. For more specifics on the trek, read here.
We spent the day visiting the Museo Inka and getting massages in Plaza de Armas before grabbing some to-go arroz chaufa from Pollos A La Brasa (across from Jack’s Cafe) on our way back to the hotel. I’d highly recommend getting a massage if you’re doing a lot of trekking (heck, even if you aren’t!). There are tons of massage places along Plaza de Armas, and we negotiated the price down to $17 per person for an hour-long massage. It definitely helped prepare us for our second trek!
For our second trek, we chose to explore the lesser-known ruins of Choquequirao, again using Alpaca Expeditions for this 4D/3N adventure. For more info on Choquequirao, and to be easily convinced as to why you should do this trek while in Peru, check this out.
Tip: if you can spare extra time, give yourself another day in Cusco between treks and start the trek to Choquequirao on day 7.
We left for Lima early on day 10. For more specifics on what to do in Lima, check back soon!
Here are some additional tips that you may find helpful when planning your trip:
- US citizens don’t need a visa to visit Peru – you’re granted a 90 day tourist visa upon arrival
- The CDC recommends that you’re up to date on the following vaccines if you plan to visit Peru: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), tetanus/pertussis, chickenpox, polio, yearly flu shot, hepatitis A & B, typhoid, rabies, malaria, and yellow fever
Planning a trip to Peru? Drop me a line if you have any questions!