Peru has always been on my bucket list. In my thirties, I have been super lucky to have been able to branch out to South American travel. My trip to Bolivia in 2022 really opened my eyes to all the region has to offer. My only regret is I didn’t stay longer! I flew right into Cusco through Lima and didn’t stay at all in Lima which is a shame since the food is supposedly amazing in the city by the sea. I spent a week seeing the sights and below is my itinerary and tips!

Day 1- 2 Travel & Acclimate

I flew in early November (the start of rainy season) from DC to Miami, then Lima to Cusco. While it was a long flight, I highly suggest a red eye. Before booking, you should also reserve your Machu Piccu tickets about a year in advance. Since the pandemic, they have split the site into Circuits and only 1 and 2 give you the overlook view. We were actually late and booked a month out. We decided to do a hike since only circuit 3 and 4 were available and the 2 day hike would guarantee a view from the Sun gate. I arrived in Cusco and we stayed in a lovely Air-Bnb. I packed Altitude pills which you should order on Amazon! It takes a day or two to acclimate especially if you’re hiking! All the restaurants in the city are amazing and I suggest you get Peruvian Chicken or Pachapapa: Plazoleta San Blas 120.

Day 3 Rainbow Mountain

The first hike we did was the Rainbow Mountain hike. We had limited days so we only did the small version but it was delightful! One full day and an early wakeup but we were met with great weather. Here is the tour we took! Be sure to pack your hiking boots and a TON of water!

Day 4-6 Machu Piccu

I cannot say enough WONDERFUL things about our tour company and tour guide Wilbur. We did Lorenzo Expeditions and we didn’t have to think about anything while in their excellent care. We decided on the 2 day hike since we didn’t want to camp. We took the train from the city which was MAGICAL. There are performances in the bar cart and you can drink beer or tea to get excited for the hike. I highly suggest you upgrade to the fun train!

We got off outside Agua Clientes and hiked about 7 hours to the peak! We ended up on a private hike since November is the start of slow season due to weather but we had PERFECT sunny and 65 degrees. Wilbur even got us onto Circuit 1 and 2 since he knew all the park rangers. The hike was challenging but rewarding. We took the bus down to sleep in Agua Clientes. The second day, you can hike or bus up. We were able to go down in the ruins which are rumored to be closed to tourism in the coming years. At our last view, Wilbur told us this moving story of a terminally ill tourist before we said our goodbyes to the mountain. Rachel and I both cried before a one armed man told us “you’ll be back”. Magical. We took the train home to our Airbnb to recuperate and get massages.

If you don’t want to hike, you can book a tour and tickets through Belmond. Train right up to your hotel and walk out at sunrise!

Day 7 Relax in Downtown & Fly Home

We were able to relax in town and get some amazing massages, go shopping and check out lovely eats before heading home. Some favorite food options are below!

  • Kusykay (TripAdvisor #2)
  • Organika
  • Aura
  • Mistura Grill (overlooking Plaza de Armas)
  • Inka Grill (Portal de Panes 115, Cusco 08002, Peru)
  • Cafe Dos X 3

I cannot suggest this trip enough! Grab your hiking boots and book ASAP!


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