Tag Archives: Lima

Where to Stay in Lima + What to do in Each District

Where to stay in Lima - Miraflores

Peru’s capital Lima is usually the first port of call for visitors travelling into this South American country. Don’t be fooled by the size of the Larcomar area, this city is huge. Just over ten million people reside in the 43 districts, that’s double the population of Scotland! Three main areas boast the most hotels and hostels in Lima, the historic Central Lima, bustling Miraflores and the bohemian Barranco. If using Lima in transit and just staying for one night then Miraflores is your best option. If you are spending 2 days in Lima, we (Gemma and Craig) encourage you to venture out to the laidback Barranco. Here’s your guide on where to stay in Lima and what to do in each district.

Travelling around Peru? Click here to read our extensive itinerary

Where to stay in Lima

There is no shortage of accommodation in Lima. In fact, there are over 70 Lima hostels and 250 hotels with prices ranging from £5 to £500 per night so there really is something to suit every type of budget.

Miraflores accommodation

Miraflores is a built-up area of the city, a little grimy yet packed with backpackers. Here you will find the usual American embassies (McDonald’s, KFC) as well as Peruvian restaurants serving Ceviché (raw fish cooked in lemon acid, served with cold sweet potato, corn and coriander) and Pisco Sours.

There’s a restaurant/bar strip found close to the cat park (John F Kennedy) plating up Western menus as well as Peruvian meals. The most attractive area of Miraflores is the Larcomar (shopping centre) which overlooks the Pacific Ocean and boy those sunsets are wild.

Miraflores Lima Sunset Larcomar

Hostels in Miraflores

Miraflores hostels come in all shapes and sizes. You will find the typical chain hostels (you will stay in one of them at least once during your time in Peru!) such as the always effortlessly cool, Hostel Kokopelli (we stayed with them in Cusco).

Don’t be put off by its lively rooftop (with stonebaked pizzas), Kokopelli designs its rooms with the traveller in mind – hostel dorm beds have curtains for privacy (like the old fashioned trains, romantic!) and some private rooms have balconies. Free breakfast is also included as well as free city walking tours of Lima. Click here to check availability.

Pool Paradise is the new kid on the block, freshly opened for 2018. It’s not just the paint that’s fresh, this Lima hostel has a swimming pool (with bar) which is perfect for the city.

Pool Paradise also offers free tours, cooking classes and breakfast. Dorm rooms come in at around £8-12 and private rooms for just over £30. Click here to check availability.

A more chilled alternative is the B&B Tradiciones in Miraflores, a home away from home hosted by Norma and Angelo. This B&B offers free breakfast and private rooms starting at around £30. Click here to check availability.

Miraflores Hotels

Hotels in Miraflores are surprisingly economical for a capital city. All hotel facilities include WiFi and breakfast unless stated otherwise.

One of the top picks in Lima is Apart Hotel Petit Palace Suites. Holidaymakers like the clean comfortable rooms, fruit and bread continental breakfast and professional staff. WiFi is excellent and flatscreen TV includes English movies.

A nice addon is the use of free bikes, I recommend riding along the Malecón! Standard rooms start around £50, prices go up to suites at £100 (5 people). Click to check availability.

For boutique hotels in Lima check out Ife Boutique Hotel. This uniquely decorated Miraflores hotel offers free toiletries.

Staff go above and beyond for their guests, mention if you are visiting for a special occasion for a nice surprise. Some of Ife’s rooms have a terrace and a spa bath to rest the muscle after a day of sightseeing or cycling.

Airport shuttle and free parking are available. Standard rooms start at just over £50 with suites coming in at around £65. Click to check availability.

The Luxury Inkari Hotel is something else! The heated swimming pool (hello views!) and a well-equipped gym with sauna make it a favourite for those looking to splurge during their trip to Lima.

Visitors like the restaurant and creative cocktails. An airport shuttle is also available. Click to check availability.

The 5-star Hilton Lima Miraflores boasts of a rooftop pool with the best views of the city. The super modern rooms are elegantly decorated, kitted with luxury linen and is a hit even with visitors who don’t normally choose chain hotels.

The restaurant is recommended, some guests even choose to dine in several times during their trip to Lima.

Deluxe rooms start at around £150 with Executive for four people capping at around £320. Click to check availability.

Things to do in Miraflores

Cat Park

One of the strangest Lima points of interest is Kennedy Park, officially known as Parque Kennedy but affectionately called the Cat Park. Sorry, JFK, feline friends are more popular than you in Miraflores – this park is home to triple figure furry kitties.

Jokes aside, it’s quite a sad story as this is the park is where cats are dumped by owners who can’t look after them. Locals, the church and the Feline Protection Volunteer Group take on the role of mum. Help the team feed residents of Cat Park by donating here.

Lover’s Park

A nicer park story and quite a funny one at that is the Park of Love/Parque del Amor in Lima found down by the Larcomar shopping centre.

This park features a huge sculpture of two lovers having a smooch.

El Beso by Peru’s famous sculpture, Víctor Delfín portrays him and his wife in an embrace and represents a local kissing competition apparently.

You will see young couples with tongues down each other’s throats at some point in your adventure around Peru, they are very open about affection.

Lovers Park Miraflores Lima


Nothing quite chases the Pisco Sours cobwebs away like a stroll along the Malecón seafront, the perfect location for people-watching and paragliding spotting in Lima.

This is also the place to be a sunset. If you are into shopping while holidaying check out the Larcomar.

Bike tours of Lima

Why not cover more ground and take a bike tour from Lima to Barranco?

Tours start at 09:45 to avoid the heat and if you are lucky you will get our tour guide, the enthusiastic Miraflorian, José.

During the bike tour, you will be treated to a historical account of natural disasters, the war between Chile and Peru, terrorism, corrupt governments, and stories of migration while you make your way by wheels to the ‘town within the city’ Barranco.

Lunch of sandwiches called Butifarras (ham or vegetarian cheese and olive) is served at a local cafe such as Piselli where you dine over great chat about life in Peru.

I always recommend taking a tour while travelling because you get to speak with a local, usually one that is tuned into politics and current affairs which is a particular interest of mine. I also like the local tips for cheaper eats and things to see!

Love adventure? You will love this guide to sandboarding in Peru

Miraflores Lima Tours

Barranco accommodation

Barranco is the coolest area of Lima. Its chilled out vibes completely contrast with the hustle of Miraflores and it’s easy to see why the area is named the Soho of Lima.

Barranco is an extremely green area of the city covered in colourful sweet-smelling plants.

The plants are not the only aesthetically pleasing thing about Barranco, the architecture is interesting and there are pockets of street art to see too.

Barranco Hostels

Barranco hostels are limited in numbers but they make up for it in variety.

Going against the grain of chilled vibes, The Point Lima is a popular party hostel in Barranco.

The Point bar closes at 1am but the party doesn’t stop, a guide takes you to a club in Barranco!

Meals are available onsite but it’s so close to the cute cafes in Barranco so you will want to dine out. Dorms available from around £8. Click here to check availability.

If you prefer low-key accommodation check out the family-run Casa Estrada which only has 6 bedrooms throughout the two-story 1945 building.

Free breakfast is included in the price and this hostel has a kitchen if you prefer to cook in. Dorms start at under £10. Click here to check availability.

Barranco Hotels

An economical option for hotels in Barranco is the colourful Lima Wari Hotel. Rooms vary in size accommodating 2-7 guests with a private bathroom or shared.

The hotel has a shared common area and use of a microwave. Airport shuttle available on request. Room rates start at £27-£55 – click here to check availability.

A little on the pricier side, Villa Barranco is a boutique hotel based in a 1920s building.

The hotel has a glorious garden and relaxing modern patio. Some rooms are bright and modern, others are rustic.

Rooms start at £152-£330, some have a standalone bath, wow factor. Click here to check availability.

Hotel B is the luxury boutique hotel in Barranco and is famous for its art and striking decor.

Breakfast and afternoon tea is included in the price, the gin bar gets a thumbs up from tourists too.

The patio is a great place to lose an hour or two. Rooms include a flatscreen TV, iPod dock and some have a standalone bath.

They start at around £275 to £500 and include air conditioning. Click here to check availability.

Things to do in Barranco

Craft Beer

Nothing beats a fresh beer, ok a fresh craft beer beats just any old fresh beer and this can be found at Barranco Beer, Lima’s craft beer brewery. Barranco beers serve every type from IPAs to Pilsners and also food such as pizzas while football is on the big screen.

Bridge of Sighs/Puente de Los Suspiros 

Walk the length of this wooden bridge whilst holding your breath then your love will last forever.

Now you can tell your sweetheart that they really do make you breathless!

Art Galleries

You won’t be surprised to hear that Barranco is where the artists live.

The famous photographer, Mario Testino who has captured everyone from the esteemed Kate Moss to the kid, Kendall Jenner and even the Royal Family, is from Barranco.

You can see his work at MATE – Museo Mario Testino. Modern art fans should also swing by the MAC.

Hit the Beach

Get a tan while watching the surfers attempt the wild waves of the Pacific Ocean. Stay to watch the electric sunset over the city.

Read our honest review of Peru Hop, the easiest way to get around Peru

Barranco Lima

Historic Centre of Lima

There’s no surprise that Ciudad de Los Reyes or the City of Kings is where you will find most of the historically important buildings in Lima such as the main square, Cathedral and Government Palace.

This area of Lima is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Historic Centre of Lima Accommodation

Accommodation in Lima’s historic centre really varies in quality so if you decided to make this area your base, choose wisely.

Lima Historic Centre Hotels

Kamana Hotel is centrally located, each room has a safety deposit box and en-suite shower.

Rooms vary – some are modern, others look slightly dated. Prices start at £37-£50. Click here for availability.

Gran Hotel Bolivar Lima is not just a hotel, it’s a national monument and the oldest hotel in Lima.

Since the 1920s royalty and celebrities have graced its floors! This grand, vintage hotel with its large spacious rooms is suitable for couples and families. Request a balcony room as rooms can get hot. Prices start at £42-£130, click here to check availability.

Things to do in Lima’s Historic Centre

Plaza Mayor

Check out the colonial buildings of the Government Palace and the Cathedral of Lima which surround the main square in Lima.

Lima Catacomb

One of the most interesting things to do is see in Lima is the catacomb at the Monastery of San Francisco.

Members of the public can view the skeletons of the brotherhood which have been strategically placed underneath the church.

Walking tours

Let a local guide you through the history of time on this 4-hour walking tour of the city.

This tour stops at the oldest buildings, Central Market to sample some Chicha de jora, Saint Francis Monastery and the Park of the Wall.

One of the best Lima city tours for culture and history. Click here to check availability.

Getting to Lima

Jorge Chávez International Airport is located 10km outside of the city centre. There are six licensed taxi firms which operate, including the Taxi Green firm which we used.

Flat fee rates start at around 50-60 soles and can take around 45 minutes to get to Miraflores, traffic depending. Uber operates in Lima!

Click here to find out more about this transport option, prices similar to taxis.  It is not advised to hail an unofficial taxi in the are of Callao.

Alternatively, there is the Lima Airport Express Bus which has onboard toilets, USB chargers and WiFi. Prices start at $8 single/$15 return and there are 7 stops in Miraflores.

If time is on your side and your budget is against you, check out the local airport bus which leaves around every 30 minutes.

Going to Machu Picchu? Here are 14 ways to get there

Airport accommodation

Lima airport hostels are situated in Los Olivos. Mama Backpackers is a bright, clean hostel suitable for layovers. Dorms start at around £7.50, privates from £19. Click here to check rates.

Lima Airport hotels are fewer in numbers but the Costa del Sol Wyndham Lima Airport is 20 yards from Jorge Chávez International Airport.

This very modern hotel has a restaurant, bar, swimming pool and fitness suite.

Rooms include large TVs with cable and suites have a hot tub. Double room starts £144, click here for availability.

Getting around Lima

We mainly moved around the city by foot or bike. Most tourists use taxis to get from Miraflores to the Historic Centre although microbuses do operate and welcome visitors.

You will hear the bus boys shouting out destinations before they pull over. Traffic is crazy, a member of our bike tour was hit by a taxi driver who mounted the pavement.

Thankfully she was safe and made it home to Portland, Oregan. I still recommend a bike tour of Lima, it was a freak accident and we’ve cycled in various cities since then.

Currency and ATMs in Lima

Peruvian Sol is the main form of currency accepted in Peru although some tours do advertise in USD $ and modern hostels, big hotels and restaurants will accept USD $.

ATMs are widely available and you can withdraw both Soles and USD from them. Credit cards are accepted in most larger restaurants, hotels and by tour companies.

Day trips from Lima

If you are spending 2 or 3 days in Lima you may want to consider taking time out of the city to catch some of Peru’s epic attractions.

One of my favourite days out was the Paracas based boat tour of Islas Ballestas. We nearly skipped this trip to save time but I’m so glad we didn’t because we saw sea lions and baby penguins and a Nazca Lines style design call the Candelabra.

This full day tour from Lima also stops at the stunning Paracas National Reserve (Peru’s Playa Roja/Red Beach) and sand dunes.

Don’t just see the sea lions, swim with them on this half-day tour from Lima to Palomino Islands.

The tour picks you up at your hotel and takes you to Callao Harbor where you board a luxury yacht.

You then sail around El Camotal, San Lorenzo and Palomino before taking a dip in the Pacific Ocean with the sea life (wetsuits and life jackets provided).

If you like wine, Pisco and adventure check out this tour of Ica and Huacachina. Ride the buggies, board down the dunes then sample Peru’s wine and brandy, Pisco. Lunch in Ica is included. Check availability here.

If you are short on time but want to experience the Nazca Lines you can still do so on this full-day all-inclusive tour to Nazca. See the bird’s eye views of Peru’s geoglyphs from the small plane.

Headsets during the journey are provided so you can hear your local English speaking guide.

Visiting Lima, Peru is not stressful. The city is relatively easy to get around by taxi, foot or bike, the locals are accustomed to tourism and there is lots to look at. Hotels/hostels/apartments accommodation exists for every budget and travelling style.

Why not pin to your Peru board?

Where to stay in Lima and things to do in Lima

Have you been to Lima?
Any questions, fire them below and I will get back to you.

Peru Itinerary: 2 Weeks in Peru [Routes, Transport, Accommodation]

Machu Picchu llama lying down

You’ve picked the right country! Peru is safe, developed, and boasts of every type of terrain possible. 2 weeks in this South American country is ample time to soak up the Peruvian culture without feeling rushed. Here is our extensive Peru itinerary, which can be reduced or extended depending on your timescale. It details the top Peru tourist attractions, how to get around, what to eat and drink, where to stay and how to make your budget stretch. Although I have recommended a number of days for each location, you can pick and choose which stops meet your touring Peru needs best.

2 Weeks in Peru Itinerary – The Route

1. Lima

Most travellers fly into the capital, Lima.

If you have one night, stay in Miraflores, it’s very touristy but has everything on your doorstep – food markets (North America’s embassies – McDonalds etc), clothes shops, bars (Tenerife strip style), and an amazing view of the beach.

The Larcomar is a complex of more upmarket shops and restaurants as well as a cinema and bowling alley. The sunset is not to be missed from this spot.

If you have more than one night in Lima, stay in the trendy area of Barranco. Cute coloured buildings, art, and microbreweries! A nice balance of attractions for your Peru itinerary.

  • Recommended nights: 2-3 nights maximum in Lima is required. Taxi Green or Uber from the airport to Miraflores will cost around S/50 (£10 / US$16) or use the new airport bus for $8 US
  • Lima to Paracas: Approximately 3 – 4 hours
  • Lima to Màncora (see below): 17 – 19 hours (1-hour 45-minute flight approximately £225.00 / $322)

Accommodation in Lima

Hotels in Lima

Hotels in Miraflores are surprisingly cheap. Apart Hotel Petit Palace Suites is popular with holidaymakers who like the clean comfortable rooms, fruit and bread continental breakfast and professional staff.

Free bikes are available, take a ride along the Malecón! Standard rooms start at approximately £50/$71, prices go up to suites at £100/$143 (5 people). Click to check availability.

The Luxury Inkari Hotel is spectacular! The heated swimming pool and gym with sauna get a thumbs up from visitors who also enjoy the restaurant and cocktails. An airport shuttle is available. Click to check availability.

For a rooftop pool in Lima check out the 5-star Hilton Lima Miraflores. The super modern rooms are kitted out in luxury linen. Deluxe rooms start at around £150/$215 with the Executive for four people capping at around £320/$459. Click to check availability.

Lima Hostels

Hostels in Lima are your cheapest option and they are pretty economical starting at just over £5/$7 per night for a dorm bed. Most offer a (dry) bread and jam breakfast and social events on rooftops etc – click here to check reviews and best prices for Lima hostels.

Private rooms average at around £25/$35, which is pretty typical for hostels in Peru. I would honestly love to stay in the Barranco area of Lima and there are a few welcoming options for backpackers such as Barranco’s Backpacker’s Inn.
Where to stay in Lima - Miraflores

2. Paracas and Isla Ballestas

Paracas is a small beach town approximately four hours from Lima. It is the gateway to Isla Ballestas,  ‘the poor man’s Galapagos Island.’

By speedboat (not fancy a cabin boat, take layers to wrap up), you can see Humboldt penguins, seals, sea lions, and birds. Isla Ballestas has its very own Nazca Lines called Candelabra Geoglyph, 150m high and 50m wide.

A must-see highlight on your Peru itinerary. It was hot during the boat tour, make sure you pack a hat, sunglasses and factor 50.

Ladies, I like La Roche-Posay factor 60 cream when splurging. Never sacrifice a smooth face for the sun! Check out boat tour availability by clicking here.

  • Recommended nights: 1 night (unless you want some beach and not just boat time)
  • Paracas to Nazca Lines: approximately 1 – 2 hours

Accommodation in Paracas

Paracas Hotels

Hotel Hilton Paracas is the most popular option. This modern hotel is located next to the Paracas National Park.

Many of the rooms have balconies with either a swimming pool or sea view. There are a restaurant and breakfast for an extra fee. The Inca Spa offers massages so if you are after a relaxing break, there’s really no reason to leave the DoubleTree by Hilton Resort. Room prices start at £127-280. This is luxury in Paracas.

A cheaper option is the new Hotel Riviera Inka Paracas. One of the nicest features is the balcony as well as the proximity to the beach and El Chaco Boardwalk. Breakfast is included and rooms start at £40/$57.

Hostels in Paracas

Paracas is a small town so there is not much choice when it comes to accommodation with under 10 hostels available in the area.

However, sometimes size does not matter, Paracas ticks the box for variety – party backpackers tend to flock to the well-known chain Kokopelli Backpackers which has a pool and is directly on the beach (we walked right through it to get to the playa). We stayed in their capsule-style dorms in Cusco and found it private but still sociable, great concept. Breakfast is also included. For rates under £8/$11+ and reviews see here.

For a more chilled stay check out the new 11 rooms with private bathrooms and 12 share of the Paracas Backpackers House. Facilities include a kitchen, three common areas, one with hammocks.  Prices, reviews and availability can be found here.

The most interesting looking to me (which wasn’t there when we visited) is the Paracas 360 Eco Hostel, check out the bedrooms; they are like mini-caravans (there’s a bar and swimming pool too). No breakfast provided. To see if there are rooms available and at what cost, click here.

Budget backpackers, there are dorms available for under £5/$7. See reviews for the full range of hostels in Paracas – read the overview.

Isla Ballestas and Paracas I Three Weeks in Peru Itinerary

Isla Ballestas – Cute Penguins 

3. Nazca Lines

Man-made or aliens?! The burning question that lies with Peru’s Nazca Lines. Budget travellers can see the Lines from the viewing platform for a couple of Peruvian soles. For those who truly believe, there are companies which offer helicopter rides over the twelve Nazca Lines.

Check availability before you head to Peru – these helicopter guides are English speaking and the ride is 45 minutes for just under £300/$430.

  • Recommended nights: In & out unless taking a ‘copter ride, you’ll need to stay overnight
  • Nazca Lines to Ica (Huacachina): 2 – 3 hours
  • You may want to skip the overnight if you only have two weeks in Peru unless it’s a hot one for you

Accommodation in Nazca

If you do decide to take the flight you’ll need somewhere to stay and there are a few options with 9/10 reviews from fellow travellers so you are in safe hands. The small Nanasqa Hostel is close to a supermarket, offers a pick up from the bus station if the car is available and probably most importantly boasts of a selection of local beers.

Dorm rooms are economical, check out the best rates and availability.

Four-bed dorms and private rooms are also available at the Nasca Lodge. This colourful hostel also offers a car pick up from the bus station and towels (do you travel with a towel? I hate the feeling of those travel ones, we ended up just hiring or booking accommodation with them). Prices depend on the type of room, see here for more details.

Check out the full range of hostels in Nazca to see which fits your budget – see the overview here.

4. Huacachina

Ever partied in an oasis? Huacachina is one of the best places to visit in Peru!

A small (party?) town surrounded by large sand dunes, itching for you to board (or ski!) down.

There are a plethora of companies looking to take you to the dunes but for the authentic experience choose one which offers appropriate gear (authentic boards and boots) and the opportunity to ski.

Mode of transport?

Buggies! Huacachina is a fun place to spend a weekend if you want to relax by the pool (Banana’s Adventures Hostel) or have some drinks.

Warning, Huacachina can cause serious headaches, we now swear by these hydration tablets US / UK. Stock up! In fact, it was a British doctor on holiday in Cuba that recommended them (too much rum!)

The next town is Ica, there you will find banks, supermarkets, restaurants, and shops. It’s a short tuk-tuk ride away (approximately 15 minutes, 4-5 soles/£1/$1.43

  • Recommended nights: Max. 3 nights. 1 or 2 nights if only interested in sandboarding Peru
  • Huacachina (Ica) – Arequipa: approximately 12 hours (overnight available)
  • Why we didn’t sandboard in Huacachina…
    Huacachina and Sandboarding and Sand-Skiing in Peru

Accommodation in Huacachina

Hotels in Huacachina

An unusual hotel in Huacachina is Desert Nights Ecocamp. The glampsite is set up on the dunes looking down on the oasis. There’s definitely no sleeping on the floor – tents have double beds. A swimming pool is also available as well as a bar and cafe/restaurant.

A more basic option is the Hotel El Huacachinero which has private bathrooms, a shared common area, swimming pool. This hotel is only a three-minute walk to the restaurants and bars.

Huacachina Hostels

I honestly have such fond memories of our stay at Banana’s Adventure, we ended up staying for three nights instead of one.

There’s such a nice vibe around the pool, they put on BBQ nights, the poolside bar has smoothies and our Peru Hop (see below for more information) tour guide (who was not staying at Bananas) said that they do the best food in the town. The WiFi wasn’t great (non-existent) but that meant I could take a weekend off blogging and actually chill out (and party!)

Like all hostels in Peru, Bananas has dorms and privates, we had no issues sleeping regardless of the rooms being around the pool area, the bar closes and everyone heads around to Huacaf*ckingchinas, including the bar staff. Check out the best option for your trip here.

The rest of our Peru Hop companions stayed at the hostel with the Friday/Saturday nightclub attached, Casa De Arena. Personally, I avoid hostels which are the party place, I like to visit them, drink and dance and then get some rest elsewhere, the decision is yours. Check out more review here.

Huacachina hostels have seen a bit of competition over the last few years and there is certainly more choice, check out the other options at the Huacachina overview.

Huacachina I Three Weeks in Peru Itinerary

5. Arequipa

Arequipa (Are-eh-keepah), The White City and gateway to the Colca Canyon is a city like no other.

Peru’s second most populated city is surrounded by three dormant volcanoes, El Misti, Chachani, and Pichu Pichu.

The ‘free’ walking tour, run by students (pay by tip, which is typical in South American cities) is extensive and recommended. Grab a jugo (juice) from San Camilo Market (The Witches Market) then get a good night’s sleep for your early rise to the Colca Canyon.

  • Recommended nights: 4 nights if hiking the Colca Canyon (1 night before and 1 after). 2 nights if not
  • Arequipa – Colca Canyon: Approximately 3 hours

Accommodation in Arequipa

Hotels in Arequipa

There are over 150 hotels in Arequipa ranging from £20/$29-£160/$229. La Hosteria is an elegant hotel located in a renovated Colonial house only 5 mins from the historic centre. Continental breakfast is offered daily and rooms have TVs. Click here to check availability.

Katari Hotel is located in the prime spot of Plaza de Armas and the panoramic views from its rooftop are incredible. Rooms are elegant and breakfast is included in the price which starts at £77/$110. Click here to check availability.

Hostels in Arequipa

We stayed at the chain hostel, the Flying Dog. It’s peaceful, breakfast is included and you can book your Colca Canyon Tour guide through them.

It is on the quiet side so if you are looking for a party hostel I’d veer towards Wild Rover which has a bar and swimming pool. Breakfast is also included. Arequipa is a big city, there are over 50 hostels to choose from so do check out which suits your needs and cash flow in this guide.

Arequipa I Three Weeks in Peru Itinerary

6. Colca Canyon

You are researching a trip to Peru so it is highly likely that you have either secured your place on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu or you are deciding between one of the alternative treks to the seventh modern wonder of the world.

Stop right there! Consider this – two or three day hike down into the world’s second deepest canyon (3,400m), a sound sleep in the canyon, and then a steep climb out!

The Colca Canyon trek is often overlooked and shouldn’t be. Watch condors swoop overheard, sip soup in a local’s home, and feel self-satisfaction as you make it to the top!

Hiking is great for keeping fit while travelling, add to your Peru trip itinerary to combat the backpacker’s belly.

  • Recommend nights: 1 or 2 nights depending on the trek
  • Arequipa to Cusco: Approximately 10 hours (overnight bus available)
  • Which trek did I prefer, Colca Canyon or Lares Trek to Machu Picchu? Find out here: Colca Canyon Essential Guide and Colca Canyon Packing Guide
  • Although this was one of my highlights, many visitors with only one week in Peru prioritise Machu Picchu hikes 

7. Cusco

Another overnighter to the cobbled streets of Cusco. Many travellers get sucked in by Cusco’s beauty and simplicity.

Everyone that is backpacking Peru ends up in Cusco at some point (the start of their Peru itinerary if coming from Bolivia or near the end if they are starting in Peru). It did rain every day for one week in Cusco!

It also rained every day during our trek to Machu Picchu so think about taking a waterproof jacket with you.

I like my Marmot PreCip US / UK as it is light and folds into its own pocket, small enough to pop into my bag after the downpour.

Cusco I Three Weeks in Peru Itinerary
This is where you will begin the trek to Machu Picchu (Inca, Salkatanky, Lares or Jungle Trek – anywhere from £199-£332+/$285-$475+).

It is vital that you spend some time acclimatising before you begin your trek or you run the risk of suffering from altitude sickness. It is also advised that you select a travel insurer which allows you to climb to the heights stipulated in your trek guidelines (for example, the Lares Trek reaches highs of 4650m15255ft above sea level).

We shopped with True Traveller because of their coverage of these high altitudes, mass importante! See if their rates work for you by clicking here.

Machu Picchu Peru Llamas

Hiking, not your thing? The train to Machu Picchu leaves and returns to Cusco. Do stop in the archaeological site town of Ollantaytambo, if you have time! Machu Picchu is not the only day trip.

Machu Picchu I Three Weeks in Peru Itinerary

It is easy to spend a fortnight in Cusco if you are looking to attend Spanish school (and a homestay to practice what you are taught). For space geeks, Cusco has its own family-run planetarium!

Accommodation in Cusco

Hotels in Cusco

Cusco has some of the loveliest hotels in Peru and prices start from around £23/$33-£450/$645. Why not stay in a former monastery which dates back to 1592? Belmond Hotel Monasterio is a luxury hotel in Cusco, close to the action but set in serene gardens. Rooms are fully equipped and there are dining options on-site. Prices start at £294/$421. Click here to check availability.

Cusco hostels

We played Goldilocks in Cusco over the two weeks we spent in Peru’s cutest city. We tested the beds of three different hostels and dined and partied in a few more. Initially, we stayed with Kokopelli Hostels, their private capsule style dorms are really neat, you just pull a curtain over for privacy. The hostel has a bar which serves food and puts on social events. Free tea is available and coca leaves are in abundance. We left our luggage with these guys when we hiked to Machu Picchu. Check the variety of rooms and rates here.

After Machu Picchu, we tried the ‘other side’ of Cusco, San Blas. This is the more bohemian side of the city. Our first hostel was Casa de la Grinda which is an option for those in Peru to try some of its more ‘natural remedies’ (we didn’t).

We ended our time in Cusco at Thomas Grill and Garden, the views from the top room are incredible. The hostel also has a kitchen. It’s very quiet so not for those looking for a disco. We partied at Loki Hostel which is another popular choice for backpackers throughout Peru. There are over 100 hostels in Cusco! Check out more here.

8. Puno

A small town which is very much a ‘normal town’ in Peru but has a port where boats take travellers to the Floating Islands of Uros. These are reed (also know ask totora) islands inhabited by the Uros people on Lake Titicaca. The half-day trip from Puno is a wonder to behold but may be looked upon as ‘touristy’.

If you are looking for a more authentic experience to add to your Peru travel itinerary, why not stay on Taquile Island with a local Peruvian family?

Many of the women on the island only speak Quechua but some of the men and children can converse in Spanish (even if yours is broken Spanish!)

There are no cars on Taquile Island, life is simple and traditional. Ask about the environmentally friendly, Chukjo! This tour can only be booked through Inka Rest hostel, we stayed there for two nights in a private room, breakfast was extensive and the staff were friendly (a tad mad!) This Peru trip would really only be feasible for those spending 3 weeks in Peru.

For a less authentic but still different experience try a homestay on Amantaní Island. Both islands can be reached by boat, however, this must be booked through an organised tour (approximately 85 soles/£ 18/$27 each).

  • Recommended nights: With homestay: 3 nights (1 night on the island) / without homestay: 1 night
  • Cusco to Puno: Approximately 8 hours
  • Read about our night without WiFi! Puno and Taquile Island
  • 2 week Peru itinerary would probably remove a stay on Taquile Island (especially if you can’t speak any Spanish) 

Uros Floating Island, Peru I Three Weeks in Peru Itinerary

Uros Floating Islands 

9. The Jungle in Peru

Over half of Peru is a jungle! This country really has it all. Peru shares The Amazon with Colombia, Ecuador, and Brazil. There are many indigenous tribes still living in the Peruvian rainforest and a variety of animals call this region home too. The city of Cusco is the best entry point for travellers looking to spend time in the jungle and there are many companies who sell trips.

Please do some research on the ethics of companies, there are stories of mistreatment of animals by some.

If there is a guide holding a snake in an advertisement photo, give that trip a wide berth! There are lots of options depending on budget and wants. Puerto Maldonado is accessed by air and road which is the base for Madre de Dios (Reserva Nacional Tambopata and the Parque Nacional Bahuaja-Sonene) and deemed the best place to go to visit wildlife by Rough Guide.

Cheaper options may include taking a bus from Cusco via Ollantaytambo to Quillabamba where lots of travellers go to do white water rafting on the Río Urubamba.

There are options from Lima too. According to Go2Peru, Iquitos is the world’s largest city that cannot be reached by road! Iquitos can be reached by plane, LAN, Peruvian Airlines, and Star Peru fly daily. There are one-day or multi-day trips to the Amazon to suit every budget and can be booked before you reach Iquitos for whilst you are there.

Naturally, there are lots of scams so choose your company wisely. It is cheaper to go to the rainforest via Bolivia, this is what we intended to do so skipped it in Peru. You will 100% need some form of mosquito repellent.

We initially travelled with a DEET heavy repellent like OFF but moved on to a DEET free product called Avon So Soft US / UK after nothing was working for us and we had the fear about putting DEET on our skin after a year of applying it on and off.

  • Recommended nights stay: Depends on excursions --> unless priority Peru highlights, I’d skip this on a 14 day Peru itinerary
  • Cusco to Puerto Maldonado: Approximately 1-hour flight
  • Cusco to Quillabamba: Approximately3.5-hour bus ride
  • Lima to Iquitos: Approximately 2-hour flight

10. Huaraz Hikes

Huaraz is a small town known as the hotbed for Peruvian hikes. This high altitude town (3000m absl) is a base for many backpackers who are planning 1 day and multi-day treks around Peru’s Andes Mountain Range. The best time to visit is typically June when there is little rainfall or snow.

Popular hikes include the 1-day trek to Laguna 69/ Lake 69 (that Canadian blue!), 1 day Paron Lake, 3-4 day Santa Cruz hike (best views of the peaks of the Cordillera Blanca) or the 12 day Cordillera Huayhuash circuit.

It is advised that you do two 1 day hikes (or more) to help acclimatise before attempting the multi-day Peru treks. Highs can reach 5000m absl. I really wish we had added this to our Peru backpacking itinerary.

Trekking Peru at high altitude can get uncomfortable, make sure you acclimatise well. 

  • Recommended nights stay: this really depends on what treks you are doing
  • Lima to Huaraz – 8 hours by bus (Cruz del SurMovil Tours and Oltursa) 

*If Huaraz is on your Peru itinerary, I would suggest visiting after Lima as it is north of the capital. I am very disappointed that we missed this out. But do check out Jon is Traveling’s experience of his trek to Laguna 60.

Huaraz Accommodation

There are quite a few options for hostels in Huaraz.

You definitely want to get a good night’s sleep before the hike so be sure to check the reviews before you book. La Casa de Zarela is a fair trade hostel only 10 mins walk from the bus station. There are a variety of rooms and kitchen facilities. For reviews, prices and availability click here.

Laguna 69 I Three Weeks in Peru I Image by Jon Is Travelling

Laguna 69 Jon Is Travelling

11. Màncora – Backpacking Peru Itinerary for Surfers

North of Lima you’ll find the Piura Region and a coast of beaches where travellers go to party.

Not a bucket list option for many travellers who have previously spent a month on the Colombian coast but an option for those looking to chill out (in what some critics say, not the cleanest of beaches), surf (South Beach), or dive (Vichayito Beach).

*If Màncora is on your itinerary, I would suggest you visit there before moving further south. I’m not disappointed we missed this, we never actually met anyone who had Màncora on their Peruvian itinerary.

  • Recommended nights stay: Depends on how much partying / beach time you’d like
  • Lima to Màncora: 17 – 19 hours (1 hour 45-minute flight / approximately £225.00/$322)

Màncora Accommodation

There is a mix of chill and party in Màncora hostel wise. Loki makes another appearance (you’ll see the popular party hostels at most stops in Peru) with Loki del Mar, not only is it close the surf breaking point but it also has its own swimming pool.

More laid back options include ocean view bungalows at Misfit Hostel. Vegetarians may want to swing by Marcilia Beach Bungalows (accommodation available as well as a cafe). There’s more! Check out reviews, rates and availability.

Our Three Week Peru Itinerary

Craig and I were spoiled for time so spent one month in Peru in March/April, taking one week out to attend a Spanish school in Cusco.

We flew into Lima from Austin (we are from Scotland but started our long-term travel itinerary from New Orleans then Austin for the music festival South by Southwest).

After three nights in Lima, we took the Peru Hop bus and following this Peru travel itinerary

  • Paracas/Isla Ballestas (nature/one night)
  • Huacachina (sandboarding/three nights) with a trip to the bank in Ica
  • Arequipa and Colca Canyon (stunning hike/5 nights)
  • Cusco (Machu Picchu two weeks including one week at school)
  • Puno and Taquile Island (this island is silent/three nights) then Bolivia (two and a half weeks – check our guide)

Playa Roja Three Weeks in Peru Itinerary

Playa Roja near Ica 

The Best Time to Visit Peru

Peru’s weather is best measured by the ‘dry’ and ‘wet’ season as opposed to summer and winter.

May – October is essentially the dry season which results in more tourists. However, nights can still be cold, especially for those who are in Peru to trek. November through to April fall into the ‘wet’ season.

This is subject to change as Peru is seeing the effects of the weather phenomenon, El Niño.

The Inca Trail is not available in February of each year for annual clean up. It snowed during our trek! I told you the weather could be grim, don’t forget your rain jacket.

Lares Trek Machu Picchu Peru I Three Weeks in Peru Itinerary

Currency in Peru

Peruvians use the Peruvian Nuevo Sol or soles.

ATMs in Cusco have a maximum withdrawal which can be problematic when settling bills for treks to Machu Picchu. Expect a 5.5% charge when using Visa. Bargaining in markets is acceptable but not always successful!

Getting to Peru

Most of the larger city airports have flights to Lima.

UK and U.S citizens do not require a visa to enter Peru and should be granted six months on their ‘little white sheet’ at immigration. This is not always the case when you arrive at immigration. Keep the immigration information (‘little white sheet’) with your passport as you need it to leave the country.

Getting Around Peru + Peru Hop Bus

Cruz del Sur is popular but is simply a bus company, no tours or information offered. Internal flights will connect Lima with Arequipa and Cusco but again, remember to give yourself time to acclimatise when arriving in Cusco. There is an efficient and safe hop on/off bus service called Peru Hop.

It is aimed at travellers (although we did meet people of all ages on the bus, including a 9-month-old baby!)

Peru Hop I Three Weeks in Peru Itinerary

Hop on/off bus – Peru Hop

Accommodation in Peru

For those on a budget in Peru, hostels are your best sleeping option. Prices vary depending on where you are. For examples in Lima, a dorm bed may cost £5.50 to £12 whereas in Huacachina you will find one for £5/6. Homestays are popular in Cusco for those looking to work on their Spanish (although cheaper in Sucre, Bolivia if heading that way).

For those on a more modest Peru vacation, with the exception of the homestay islands, you will find hotels from basic to boutique or uber luxury with spas.

Food and Restaurants in Peru

  • Desayuno (or breakfast to us), typically consists of pan (white bread roll), butter and jam, with hot drinks. If you are lucky you may get huevos (eggs) and / fruit salad. You will be bored of pan by the end of your trip
  • Peru‘s famous cuisine is ceviche – raw white fish, cooked in strong lemon juice served with cold sweet potato, corn, and cilantro (coriander). Locals tend to eat this late morning. I tried it twice, once in Lima and then Paracas (a beach town)
  • You’ll find lots of different types of everyday meats and the addition of alpaca (heavy like lamb), llama (lighter), and cuy – guinea pig! Fish, especially trout, is popular around the Uros Floating Islands region
  • Chifa is Chinese food with a Peruvian fusion, or just Chinese food really!
  • Western food can be found in most towns and cities (including the ‘American embassies’ in the big cities)
  • Set menus are a good way to get your fill cheaply. In Cusco, you can eat a two-course meal for 10-20 soles. The soups are the best in Peru. They make great use of quinoa, my favourite sopa
  • Dulce de leche, the Peruvian Nutella! It’s toffee not chocolate, rico (tasty)!

Restaurant article – from cheap to a bit less cheap: Food in Cusco

Ceviche I Three Weeks in Peru Itinerary

Ceviche – fish, sweet potato, sweetcorn, onion, coriander 

Peruvian Snacks

You’ll get all your normal fruits in Peru, they are just bigger and tastier! New additions include Granadilla which gives you the sensation you are sucking frog spawn but it is delicious and refreshing. Corn is very popular, you’ll find lots of vendors selling popcorn.

Peruvian Drink

Before I get onto the hard stuff let’s talk about drinking water. It is not advisable to drink tap water in Peru. We travelled with a purifying and filtering water bottle and managed to avoid Dehli belly for the full month so I suggest you do it!

Trusted makes include Water To Go [quote TSA15 at checkout for 15% off]  which is slightly cheaper than the most popular, LifeStraw. 

  • Pisco Sour! The Peruvian sweetheart! Pisco is the national drink, add lemon juice, raw egg, and sugar to it then tadah – a Pisco Sour. Fuerty (strong)
  • Each region has local beers for cheap. Cerveza (beer) is very popular and cheap. Pilsen, Cristal, and Arequipeña are a few labels to look out for
  • Chicha! The locally brewed corn drink, not for gringo consumption our tour guide warned us. Still up for it? Look out for the red flag outside people’s houses or shops, this indicates it is on sale
  • Coca tea helps with altitude. You’ll drink heaps of this in either leave form (add sugar) or teabag. Locals chew on it for energy
  • Muna is delicious. Drink with hot water, like a tea, to help with digestion

Please take our point about travel insurance seriously! We met a guy who was sick and when his friend finally dragged him out of the dorm bed to see the doctor it turned out he had dehydration.

Look after yourself and get travel insurance, here is the link to the company we use

Coca Leaves I Three Weeks in Peru Itinerary

Coca Leaves – Altitude relief?

Final Words

It’s easy to see how 2 weeks in Peru can be extended or merged into a quick trip by picking what you feel would be the highlights from above. I hope that you find this Peru 2-4 week itinerary useful. Share your Peru itinerary below. 

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Over to you – any other suggestions/questions?