Land of the Inca’s, a small country boasting an extreme diversity of terrain and climate, is home to exquisite food, beverage and yes, Llamas. Signatures of Spanish invasion and classic Inca engineering are juxtaposed around the country, from the highlands in the middle to either side.
|Lima||Cusco||Sacred Valley||Machu Picchu|
First Glance at Peru: Sample Itinerary
It is borderline punitive to spend a week in a country so diverse in history, geology and culture, and call it a day. Our goal in the first trip to Peru was to experience the culture and dip into the Inca civilization. Traveling with an infant also forced us to keep the pace down in the itinerary. With that in mind, below is the itinerary we followed. We hope to cover Highlands of southern Peru and Amazonian terrains of Northern Peru at a later time for sure.
Be sure to check out our view of the “Essential Tips and Travel hacks for traveling with an infant“.
- Day 1 – Fly in to Lima (LIM), connect to Cusco (CUS)
- Get refreshed at the Airport Lounges. Read about our experience in LIM lounges.
- Day 2 – Drive to Sacred Valley for an early Check-in to the hotel
- Taxidatum pick up from airport
- Stay in Tambo del Inka
- Explore Urubamba valley and town
- Day 3 – Explore Sacred Valley all day
- Chincheros, Maras salt mines, Moray, Pisac ruins and Pisac markets with Taxidatum Sacred Valley Tour
- Day 4 – Machu Picchu (All day including transit)
- Train to Aguas Calientes
- Bus to Machu Picchu
- Guided tour of Machu Picchu
- Return to Tambo del Inka in Vista Dome Train
- Day 5 – Return to Cusco
- Taxidatum service from Tambo del Inka to JW Mariott Cusco
- Explore the city by foot
- Day 6 – All day in Cusco
- Central square, cathedrals, local market, ruins, Sun temple
- Day 7 – Fly back to Lima
- Recovery period, including exploring Miraflores
- Day 8 – Explore Lima
- Cityscape, travel by public transport, guided walking tour
- Day 9 – Return back home with sweet memories
Visa and Travel Documents:
As Indian citizens with US visa, we did not require separate visas. US Citizens do not need a visa either for tourism purposes. For information on tourists from other countries, and additional information, we found this website (LimaEasy.com) extremely helpful with succinct and articulated info.
Miscellaneous but handy pointers:
Standard operating procedures for all trips outside your home country applies; check out our ideas on essential travel hacks and tips for traveling with infant/baby. Specifically for Peru, especially for the above destinations, please see the list below for a worry free travel experience:
- Currency: Soles (PEN – Peruvian Nueva Soles). Conversion rate for USD is roughly 3.3 PEN. PEN 10 up to PEN 100 bills are accepted everywhere. Bills of $20 and below are also welcome in most places. We typically use a travel credit card (e.g. BofA Blue Travel Credit card) without a problem. But it is advisable to carry some cash (~PEN 200) with you if venturing into the city.
- Expenses: In our opinion, purchasing parity is about 25-30% of a tier 2 US city. For example, typical uber ride within a city (~5 mile) will cost an equivalent of $4-$5, lunch for two at a decent restaurant in the city for $5-$8, and souvenirs like magnets at ~$1.
- Public transport in Lima is mind blowing. The bus systems that run like a train, with dedicated lanes, frequent service, comfortable seating/standing room and automated stations appeared to be an envy to other first world cities. Although during the day time, we saw the buses to be absolutely packed.
- Rideshare services like Uber is available in Lima and Cusco, but not quite available in smaller cities like Urubamba.
- Taxi: While it is not difficult to arrange transportation from hotels and airports, it is much cheaper to use local cabs albeit you’d have to be conversant in Spanish. Traveling with an infant, we decided to arrange pick up and drop services from a third party (Taxidatum). Their service was impeccable and 50%+ cheaper than those arranged by hotels. Read full review here.
- Food and Beverage: Well well! This in itself is worthy of a full post; so we did a full post on it (check out 13 things you cannot miss eating in Peru). But in a nutshell, Peru is foodies paradise. Beverage wise Pisco drinks are omnipresent, yet you may get tired of the Piscos. In terms of food, however, there is so much variety that it will take a month for a traveler to explore in depth. 2,000 types of potatoes, umpteen varieties of corn and meat preparations will surely mesmerize your taste buds.