Travel to Peru for 1 month: the ultimate travel itinerary
Updated: Sep 21, 2022
Are you planning to travel to Peru for 1 month? We put together the ultimate Peru travel itinerary for 1 month, highlighting the best places in Peru. Being home to the Pacific Coast, the Andes mountains, a section of the Amazon rainforest, the sacred Incan city of Machu Picchu, and the desert, Peru is extremely diverse in terms of landscapes, culture, history, and beauty. It is no wonder that this country attracts more than four million international travelers yearly. With such great diversity, it can be hard to decide where to go. What makes it even harder is the vast distances between travel destinations. This 1-month itinerary is perfect if you want to explore the highlights of Peru combined with hidden gems and the wealth of diversity the country has to offer.
Legend: (1) Cusco, (2) Sacred Valley, (3) Machu Picchu, (4) Arequipa, (5) Huacachina, (6) Lima, (7) Marcahuasi, (8) Huaraz, (9) Cajamarca, (10) Chachapoyas
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Day 1-2: Discover historic Cusco
Located in the south-east of Peru, Cusco is the ideal start of your trip across Peru. Not only does it have historical importance but it is also the gateway to some of the most impressive sights in the country. These are what makes this city an absolute must-visit. Receiving about 1.5 million tourists yearly, Cusco relies greatly on tourism. This implies that there are numerous travel agencies, souvenir stores, hotels, hostels, and other tourism facilities scattered around the city. Allow yourself at least two to three days to acclimatize to the altitude (the elevation is 3,350 meters!) and explore this Incan hub.
These are our favorite things to do in Cusco:
Stroll around the Historic Center
The best way to get to know Cusco is to stroll around the historic downtown area. The impressive colonial buildings, built on walls of ancient Inca palaces and temples, are mostly within walking distance. Here you can truly feel the fusion of the Andean and Spanish cultures, who have unique customs and traditions. The most impressive sights include:
Plaza de Armas: the most central and beautiful square in Cusco. Here you can find the massive cathedral as well as a well-maintained garden and numerous restaurants (a little expensive) and souvenir stores.
San Pedro market: filled with juice stalls and food vendors, this is the place to go for a cheap local lunch. Try the empanadas, juices, and tamales!
San Blas neighborhood: this particular district has a certain charm with its architecture and quaint shops.
If you are keen to learn about the history of Cusco (very interesting!), you should embark on one of the many free walking tours that are offered by various companies. Walking tours are a great introduction to the city. You will walk around the main attractions of Cusco while hearing intriguing facts and myths from a local guide. Most tours depart daily in the morning (around 10 am) from the Plaza de Armas. Even though they are called “free”, you are expected to give a generous tip at the end of the tour. For more information about free walking tours, browse the internet and compare, or simply ask the staff at your accommodation!
Visit Paddy’s Irish Pub
Get a beer or lunch at the highest Irish-owned pub in the world and get rewarded with a spectacular panoramic view of the city!
Learn about the Incan history at the Golden Temple of the Sun & Convento
Located in the center of Cusco, this site is probably most worth visiting (and paying for!). The Golden Temple, also called Koricancha, is one of the most important Incan sites that still remain in Cusco today. If you are interested in Incan history, this holiest site in Incan mythology is the perfect opportunity to learn more.
Entrance fee: 15 soles for adults (US$ 5).
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How to get to Cusco
If you are flying to Peru, you will most likely arrive in the city of Lima. From Lima, flights depart to all corners of the country. The most convenient is to book a plane to Cusco a few hours later. The flight only takes about an hour, which is significantly less than the alternative option (ie. the bus) which takes around 20 hours of travel time in total. There are a bunch of (local) airlines to choose from, which are all reliable and relatively cheap. These include Star Peru, Peruvian Airlines, Viva Air, and LATAM. Browse Skyscanner for the best deals!