How to plan a 3-week trip to Peru?How to plan a 3-week trip to Peru?

How to plan a 3-week trip to Peru?

Like all South American countries, Peru is a huge country! So it's essential to take into account the distance-time ratio in relation to modes of transport (it's not always possible to fly between two destinations).

In any case, if you've got 3 weeks to spare, you can think big!

A 3-week trip to Peru allows you to see as much as you can without running out of time. Where you have to make choices on a 15-day trip, in three weeks you can visit the Pacific coast south of Lima AND the Amazon rainforest, as well as the great classics Arequipa, Lake Titicaca and Cusco.

And why not consider an extension to Bolivia to visit even the Salar d'Uyuni!

Discover our 15-day plus itinerary ideas:

Eco-responsible Peru: 18 days, an itinerary to take your time and reduce your carbon footprint as much as possible.

A l'épreuve du Pérou: 19 days, a sporting journey to discover Peru in a different way.

Todo el Altiplano: 24 days, a complete trip between Peru and Bolivia (beyond just the Salar d'Uyuni).

From desert to jungle: 19 days, Peru in depth, from coastal desert to Amazon rainforest.

What are the highlights of a 21-day trip to Peru?

Stage 1: Lima 

Peru's capital is a bustling metropolis where tradition and modernity meet. You'll be staying in the safe and trendy Miraflores district, ideal for a first immersion. Although Lima is full of attractions such as the Larco Museum, famous restaurants and the Huaca Pucllana archeological site, we'd only recommend a short stay here, as the wonders to come are even more exceptional!

In Miraflores, don't miss a stroll along the coastal cliffs of the Malecón, peaceful parks like Parque Kennedy with its free-roaming cats, and the bohemian Barranco district The historic center offers a compendium of UNESCO-listed colonial splendors.

Stage 2: The Pacific coast

You can choose to follow the coast from Lima to Paracas and its Ballestas Islands to observe the rich marine fauna, before reaching Nazca, the mysterious city of giant lines visible from the sky. Allow 3 to 4 days, depending on your stops, such as the Huacachina oasis. But beware, this detour involves long, uncomfortable bus transfers. Another option is to fly directly from Lima to Arequipa. 

Stage 3: Arequipa and the Colca Canyon

Nicknamed the "White City", the colonial town of Arequipa will charm you with its volcanic sillar architecture. Set at an altitude of 2400m, it's an ideal acclimatization stopover before climbing higher. Stroll through the cobbled streets, enjoy a Pisco Sour and visit the impressive Santa Catalina convent.

From Arequipa, a 2-day excursion takes you to the Colca Canyon, your first immersion in the grandiose Andean landscape. After a night in Chivay, an early morning wake-up call may give you the chance to spot the majestic condors at dawn. 

Stage 4: Visit of the Lake and its islands, night at the inhabitant's home.

Puno is a springboard to discover the mythical Lake Titicaca, a true natural and cultural jewel. Two days are enough to explore its emblematic islands with their enduring traditions: the floating Uros islands, Amantani, where you'll stay with local people, and Taquile, renowned for its handicrafts.

Looking for a more confidential experience? Opt for a stay on the Capachica peninsula or the private island of Suasi, with its breathtaking scenery. 

Stage 5: Cusco and its region

Here you are at last! Cusco, the capital of the Incas, will undoubtedly be the most magical stage of your journey.

The final stop before Machu Picchu, Cusco was the pompous capital of the Inca Empire. Its historic center will immerse you in the unique atmosphere of this mythical city, between imposing ruins like Sacsayhuaman and the bustle of traditional markets.

After discovering the typical villages of the Sacred Valley, you'll head off on an unforgettable excursion: Machu Picchu! One of the most important Inca cities, its architecture is perfectly integrated into a breathtaking natural setting.

Whether you choose to complete your tour with Huayna Picchu or the Montaña for breathtaking views, this is an experience you'll never forget. Back in Cusco, activities such as Vinicunca or hikes to high-altitude lagunas will complete your immersion in the heart of the Peruvian Andes.

And much more in Cusco...

On your return from your expedition to Machu Picchu, the Cusco region abounds with other natural treasures to explore at your leisure. You could opt to hike to the majestic, colorful mountains of Vinicunca or Palccoyo. Or set off to discover crystal-clear high-altitude lagoons such as Humantay, nestled in the heart of the Andes peaks. The Inca site of Wakra Pukara, with its mysterious remains, will also tempt you. In short, enough to fulfill all your dreams of adventure in the land of the Incas!

Stage 6 : Puerto Maldonado and the Amazonian forest.

If you feel like it, a three-week itinerary could include a detour from Cusco into the jungles of the Amazon, in the region of Puerto Maldonado and the Tambopata Reserve. Many lodges offer turnkey tours to discover the flora and fauna of the Amazon. Choose from 3, 4 or 5 days in the jungle. We recommend a minimum of 3 days to really get the most out of your tour.

A stopover in the Amazon completes your knowledge of Peru, a country whose half of the territory, as we often forget, corresponds to the Amazon.

Bonus stage: Salar d'Uyuni in Bolivia

From Lake Titicaca by road, or directly from Cusco by plane, reach La Paz, the Bolivian capital.

Allow a day for transport, then a day to discover La Paz, a bustling capital that offers visitors unique souvenirs. Discover its markets, particularly the witch market, which has no equivalent anywhere in the world, and also the incredible views offered by the city's hills, accessible by cable car.

Then it's on to the Salar d'Uyuni for a 4x4 road trip through the South Lipez region. You can fly directly to Uyuni from La Paz, saving you a considerable amount of time. If you choose to take the bus or train, allow a day (or a night) to get there.

A visit to the famous Salar actually takes 3 days: one day is devoted to the Salar itself, the largest expanse of salt in the world, encircled by volcanoes. The other two days are devoted to the wild and grandiose landscapes of the Altiplano, also known as the Lipez Desert. You'll discover extraordinary sites such as strange-looking geological formations sculpted by erosion, and spectacularly colorful lagoons: the white lagoon, the green lagoon and the "Colorada", an incredible bright red lagoon and home to hundreds of pink flamingos!

All in all, consider 6 days for an extension in Bolivia, which is quite reasonable for a total duration of 3 weeks in the country.

Andes & Wonders, one of our 3-week Peru-Bolivia tours 

Anything's possible in 3 weeks!

In short, as you can see, a wide variety of tours are available if you only have 21 days for your vacation in Peru. The trick is to make the right choices according to what appeals to you and your travel profile.

Open up your horizons!

If you make the right choices - and we're here to help you do just that - it's possible to open up your horizons. Within reason (given the distances involved), why not consider something completely different?

An excursion to Peru's northern circuit: the Cordillera Blanca around Huaraz, the pre-Columbian circuit to Trujillo and Chiclayo or even.... a few days' idleness on the Mancora beaches!

And don't hesitate to plan a different kind of trip: there are many off-the-beaten-track sites that require a little more time... if you've got it, take a look at our selection of off-the-beaten-track sites here, and our suggestions for trips here.

Let's talk money: What's the budget for a 3-week stay in Peru? 

It depends, of course! Your budget will vary greatly depending on the stages you choose (jungle or no jungle? Bolivia?), the range of hotels you choose (standard or luxury?), the services you require (French-speaking guides or not), and the "extras" you allow yourself (an exceptional train?)... 

But as a general rule, apart from your international airfares, 3 weeks in Peru on a two-person basis, for a couple for example, comes to more or less 100 euros (depending on your services) per day and per person, including transport, accommodation, guided service and entrance to sites. 

Bearing in mind that a 3-week itinerary often includes one or more out-of-the-ordinary stages, you should expect to spend around 2,500 US$ for 19 days in Peru (excluding international flights).

Our experienced travel consultants will transform your ideas into a tailor-made holiday. Contact us so that we can co-create together your unforgettable travel experience in Peru, customized to your desires.

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