Peru is a wonderfully diverse country with everything from the Amazon jungle to soaring Andean peaks. With its wide variety of landscapes, cultures, and demographics, one could easily spend months traveling through this South American country. However, many visitors only have a week or two to travel to Peru. If this is your situation, here is how to make the most of your Peru vacation by allowing you to experience Peru’s two most coveted landscapes: Amazon and Andes. This travel plan can be followed by booking with travel companies that specialize in Peru, but can also be completed independently with some pre-planning.
If you’re arriving to Peru from an international destination, you might want to take your arrival day in Peru to explore Lima. This capital city has both a charming colonial center and a beautiful coastal walkway well worth the visit. This is also a good opportunity to try the seafood dish ceviche, a coastal Peruvian specialty.
On day two, fly to the southern jungle town of Puerto Maldonado. Your plane will make a short stop in Cuzco before carrying on for 40 more minutes into the jungle. If you want, you can visit Cuzco before the jungle, but that would require purchasing additional plane tickets. Therefore, the most economically and quickest option is to bypass the city and head straight to the river to catch a motorized canoe ride to your selected jungle lodge. There are numerous Amazon jungle lodges to choose from with various levels of comfort and price points. On your first day in the jungle you should consider venturing out on a night hike or night boating excursion to look for nocturnal wildlife.
On the third day of your Peru vacation, you’ll want to explore the mysterious and dense Amazon rainforest. Take a canoe ride to one of the small oxbow lakes, a good place to spot wildlife such as caiman and parrots. In the afternoon, consider learning about the diverse plant species found the Amazon by visiting a local natural farm or garden.
On the fourth day, spend another full day in the Amazon. Scale up into the jungle canopy and explore the treetops via a canopy tour. This is an exciting way to view monkeys, sloths, and birds up close rather than from the jungle floor far below.
On the fifth day, you’ve probably seen enough of the Amazon and are ready to move on to the second main part of your Machu Picchu and Amazon tour by catching a plane to Cuzco, the capital city of the once mighty Inca Empire. Because you’ll have to make the journey all the way from the jungle, today will be a transportation and acclimatization day, since many visitors to Cuzco get altitude sickness if they do not take a half day to take it easy and adjust to the new high heights.
On your sixth day you’ll have the opportunity to explore the city of Cuzco in depth, visiting colonial buildings and churches, as well as several Inca ruins within and surrounding the city.
On the seventh day, you visit Machu Picchu, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. This mountain top Inca city is not only set in a very beautiful location, but it also escaped destruction by the Spanish, meaning many of the ruins here are very well intact and impressive. Spend the morning taking a guided tour, and have the afternoon to explore and relax at the site at your leisure.
On your final day, enjoy a morning in Cuzco before flying back to Lima to catch your international departure out of Peru, after seeing much of the country in only eight days. This travel plan is a great way to see two areas of Peru in a limited amount of time. However, if you do happen to have extra time, its recommended to spend a few extra days visiting the Sacred Valley and Cuzco, as both places are very beautiful and many places worth visiting. Those with even more time might be interested in visiting Arequipa, the Colca Canyon, or Lake Titicaca, other popular places in Peru.