How to Spend 12 Days in Peru

“EXPLORE. DREAM. DISCOVER” – MARK TWAIN

Sometimes you wonder why do people visit Peru?!?!?!?! …. And YES the answer is to visit an Amazing Placed known as Machu Picchu– And let me just say you will not be disappointed— It is a M@gic@l Place that gives you a feeling of peace and makes the trip complete worth it!!

I will start with a small descriptions of some of the sites I visited while in Peru and move on to the Itinerary with some tips for your trip! I will start with the grand event, here we go…. 

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Macchu Picchu

Machu Picchu A long-lost ceremonial site that sits in the Peruvian Andes (1,500 ft above the Urubamba River) and  lies 8,000 ft above sea level.

Very little is known about the purpose of the this amazing site, but most people would say that it was a place of gardens.

Machu Picchu has about 200 buildings, including residences, temples and store houses that cover about 5 acres.

Cuzco 

the historic capital of the Inca Empire from the 13th century to the 16th- century Spanish conquest. Cuzco was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1983.

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Town of Cuzco 
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Scarlet Macaw

Tambopata
National Reserve Is a nature reserve in the Peruvian Amazon Basin south of the Madre de dios River in the Tambopata district.

It has two important eco-systems that are known for its biodiversity, representing native flora and fauna with over 1,700 species of plants, 103 species of mammals and over 1,300 species of butterflies. Access to the Reserve is done from Puerto Maldonado by River or by car (we traveled by River —which was about 45 minutes on the boat).
And then we did ……

The Sacred Valley of the Incas

Also knows as “Valle Sagrado” or Urubamba Valley. In the Sacred Valley you will find places like the PISAC Market, the Salinares and Moray (Incan ruins).

Now that you know a little bit about some key points in PERU—- I will share the Itinerary created for the Trip…

(You will see Lima on here, but I didn’t make it to  Lima —- BECAUSE—-I missed my flight from the States to Lima — WHICH I then had to missed out on the first day and all of the second day as I got to Lima in the evening— but It was still one of the most amazing trips I have done)

DAY- BY- DAY-  ITINERARY 

Keep in mind most of the transportation in Peru will be done by Plane or personal transportation services as Lima is the HUB to get to other amazing places in Peru. 

Day 1; Arrive to Lima

  • Arrive in Lima, as it is the Hub for traveling through out Peru
  • Check into Hotel/Airbnb around 8:00 p.m.
  • Take a walk/tour of Lima at night & enjoy the area/dinner
    Note: I didn’t do this as I missed my flight 

Day 2; Explore Lima

  • Local guide on the city’s colonial heritage, starting at Plaza de Armas to see the Government Palace and the Cathedral. Stroll to the venerable San Francisco Monastery with its Splendid 17th Century cloister murals.
  • Visit the Local Peruvian Food Market to get a real taste of life for the local people.
  • This evening enjoy a dinner at one of Lima’s restaurants
    Note: I came in late at night, I was unsuccessful at accomplishing this  portion of the itinerary but I thought I would share either way, Now I will be following the Itinerary according to Plan…. 

Day 3; Lima to Tambopata, Amazon

  • We had Breakfast in Lima (walking distance from our Airbnb located in the Neighborhoods of Miraflores — where there is a lot of attractions as well
  • Flight to Puerto Maldonado Airport (Take an early flight if possible  –we took the 2:30 p.m. flight and arrived there around 4 p.m.—REMEMBER — you have a 45 minute boat ride to the rainforest after you arrive)
    NOTES: (Transportation to Hotel is needed and you should looked for a hotel that includes transportation because you will need to travel about 45 minutes an a boat and its best to have arrange ahead of time)
  • Check into Monte Amazonico Lodge and have dinner (REMEMBER— you are in the Rainforest– and — Electricity is limited)
  • Explore the Amazon – (Due to the timing we were able to go looking for caimans at the night and grab dinner at the lodge)
    NOTE: Electricity is only available from 7:30 p.m. -9:30 p.m. – for dinner and charging your camera or phone— REMEMBER you are in the Rainforest — 

 

Day 4; Tambopata, Amazon Rainforest

  • Outdoor activities in the rainforest & conservatories
    WE EXPLORE LAKE SANDOVAL  On the way there if you’re lucky, you might see parrots, macaws and some other species from the rain forest. The lake is also known for having black caimans and giant otters.
    –  WALK THROUGH THE RAINFOREST  we were able to see Macaws and various bird species.
  • DINNER- After all that walking you will need some good dinner & some beers that we had available at our lodge! For being the rainforest the food was good!
    NOTE: We bought the tours once we arrived to the Lodge- and — it’s an additional cost to your stay as none of them are included 

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Day 5; Tambopata, Amazon- Cuzco

  • Eat Breakfast at Tambopata resort & take a flight at 12:55 p.m. to Cusco.
    NOTE: In Peru you must arrived at least 3 hours before your flight, if you arrive an hour before you will not be allowed on the plane.  In this case -it meant we had to be up leaving the rainforest about 5 a.m.
  • Fly to Cusco. Arrive at Cusco at 1:45 p.m. (REMEMBER— Cuzco is over 10,000 ft above sea level & you can get altitude sickness- there is no Rhyme or Reason of who gets it) 
    NOTE: I CAN NOT EXPRESS THE IMPORTANCE OF TAKING HIGH ALTITUDE MEDICATION—- its a hit or miss and if you get altitude sickness it can and will ruin the rest of your trip— Nothing— absolutely nothing—- gets rid of it but the altitude medication.
    Note: We had the Airbnb host send someone pick us up- I highly recommended it- Otherwise you will find yourself looking for a taxi–
  • Check In to Airbnb — My Airbnb experience in cuzco was amazing–
    – The host had two extremely helpful folks there, Alex (who helped arranged the rest of the transportation for the trip & Maria who was available for any questions we had)
  • Relax— Take a Deep Breath– and Book your dinner for that night
  • Dinner Time — We had dinner at the historic city center  @ a great restaurant called #PachaMamaRestaurant

Day 6;  Cuzco

  • Explore Cusco; 
    * Walking around Cuzco itself its pretty amazing but they have other ruins around Cuzco you can visit
  • We bought the “Boleto Turistico Del Cuzco”-– Which is an official tourist pass that will provide entrance for some the ruins around Cuzco as well as the sacred valley. If you buy this ticket, don’t lose it because you will have to pay all the entrances again—
  • Points of Interest; 
    * Saqsayhuaman
    * Q’enqo
    * Tamboachay

Day 7;  Cusco- Machu Picchu

  • Alex our host in Cuzco arranged transportation to the train station in Cusco which is Poroy (Cusco) – It’s about 15 minute drive–
  • NOTE: Going to Machu Picchu- we had to leave our big luggage behind and just take what we needed for Machu Picchu- I advise taking a small luggage that you can use to travel around Machu Picchu & the Sacred Valley on the train.
  • We took the train up to Machu Picchu & Stay two nights at Machu Picchu.
    * We took the Peru Rail  and bought the tickets in cuzco the day we arrived but you can also buy online.
    * The train ride is about 1 hour and 50 minutes to get to Machu Picchu; Train to Machu Picchu leaves at  about 6:10 a.m. (One way cost us approximately $83 US dollars)
    * The Train Station in Aguscalientes (Machu Picchu) was walking distance to our hotel
  • we stay at Tierra Viva Hotelwhich was a nice hotel in the town of Aguascalientes (the closest you will be to Machu Picchu) 

Day 8;  Machu Picchu

  • Explore Machu Picchu; ( YOU SHOULD BUY YOUR TICKETS AHEAD OF TIME) — here is the website we used– Machu Picchu Tickets  & If you wait last-minute you can try to purchase them  on this other site Machu Picchu Tickets (Last Minute)
    * There are different types of tickets——
    ——- One—— to get into the Ruins–
    ——–Two —– with the option to get into the ruins and access to one of the mountains– the famous one is Huayna Picchu  & there is also Machu Picchu — we climbed Machu Picchu because we couln’t get tickes for Huayna Picchu.
  • Going to Machu Picchu will take you all or most of the day– the Line for the bus up to Machu Picchu starts at 3:00 a.m. in the morning- if you get there after 5 a.m. the line will wrap around for couple of blocks
  • Make sure you buy your bus ticket ahead of time (the day before was fine for us)– the Hotel you stay at can guide you on where to buy them.

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Day 9;   Machu Picchu- Sacred Valley

  • Take the train from Machu Picchu at 8:20 a.m.  to Sacred Valley area (Train stop is Ollantaytambo)
    * from Ollantaytambo we had the driver from Cuzco pick us to take us to Calca in the cusco district were we stayed and was a very local town
  • We had dinner at the local restaurant & walked around this town no tourist and mostly local — it wasn’t intentional but it worked out

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Day 10; Sacred Valley –PISAC-  Moray 

  • Explore the area; Have dinner at one of the locations (The ticket you buy in Cuzco will work for some of these attractions)
  • Points of Interest; — you will need transportation to all these places– If you can find a local driver through a tour agency to take you— I would recommend doing that
    • PISAC Market; Its held every day but its bigger on Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday – —- Was able to visit 
      Ruins of PISAC; — Was able to visit 
      Salinares; — Was able to visit 
      Ollantaytambo;
      Moray;  —- Was able to visit
      Chinchero;

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Day 11; Cusco – Lima

  • We took a taxi from Calca to Cusco— then pick up our luggage — and—  Flew from Cusco to Lima in the afternoon
  • Arrived to Lima.
  • Our AIRBNB host Raymond, had someone pick us at the airport in Lima
    * Our Airbnb was located in the San Miguel Neighborhood
  • We didn’t do much sightseeing in Lima but we had a great dinner to end our trip!

Day 12;  Lima – Chicago

  • (You should schedule the transportation from Hotel to Airport ahead of time)
  • Take 1:48 p.m. flight from Lima to Panama City – Chicago O’hare International Airport. Arrive at Chicago at 12:15 a.m.

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******Tips ****** 

FOR THE RAINFOREST; 

  • If you can take a SOLAR BATTERY PACK that will recharge with the sun, it will help you ensure you have enough battery in your phone for pictures and videos
  • Take a FLASHLIGHT
  • Take HIKING SHOES that will help in the rainforest and if you would like to Hike Machu Picchu (TOTALLY WORTH DOING IT)
  • Always drink bottled water and plenty of it

CUZCO, MACHU PICCHU & SACRED VALLEY; 

  • Always drink bottle water & stay hydrated
  • If you get altitude sickness (like me) which I HOPE YOU DONT— don’t drink alcohol it will make it worst….
  • BUY YOUR TICKETS TO MACHU PICCHU AHEAD OF TIME!!!!   we bought them while in Cuzco (only 2 days before) and we almost panic that we wouldn’t be able to get them. 
  • Get someone who can drive your group around so you don’t have multiple drivers— Everything is far from each other

*******

AND MOST IMPORTANTLY

HAVE AN AMAZING TIME 

*******

 

 

 

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