Peru is, like all South American countries, a huge country! It is thus essential to take into account the distance - time ratio in connection with the modes of transport (it is not always possible to take the plane between two destinations).
15 days is indeed the ideal duration to visit Peru. It allows you to see the maximum of it without weighing too much on your budget. You thus have the possibility of passing by Arequipa and the Canyon of Colca, and by the Lake Titicaca before joining the area of Cusco. If you don't mind taking the bus, you can go through the coast at the beginning of the itinerary: Paracas and the Ballestas Islands then Nazca before reaching Arequipa.
It is preferable to make your loop in this direction for three reasons:
First because this route is coherent. These different stages follow one another logically in what is called the southern loop. Second because this route respects a progressive rise in altitude. Finally, because you arrive at the end of the loop at Machu Picchu, a way to end in beauty your circuit, like a high point for guaranteed memories !
Secret Peru (Without the Pacific coast and with the Amazon)
The Peruvian Capital is a modern and bustling city. You will be accommodated in the safe and modern Miraflores district.
If you don't like the big urban centers, continue on your way. In fact, we offer you only a short time in Lima. Not that the city lacks interest, but that what awaits you afterwards is even more so!
But if you consider that Lima, as the capital of all Peruvians, deserves a stage, you will have then only the choice of the embarrassment.... it is indeed in Lima that are the biggest museums of the country, such as Larco, the most famous restaurants, and the city is not deprived of some archaeological sites of interests such as Huaca Pucllana.
The ultra-modern Miraflores neighborhood, where you will be accommodated, offers a nice stroll along the Pacific coast, Le Malecon. This walk goes along the cliffs that plunge into the ocean and mark the limits of the city. In the center of Miraflores, Kennedy Park is home to dozens of cats that live in the wild and hide in the flower beds to take their naps.
The Barranco neighborhood, the oldest, reveals the colonial past of the city. It is the fashionable district, animated by its numerous bars and restaurants, also known as the bohemian artists' district.
Finally, you will be able to visit the Historic Center of Lima where the places of political and religious power are located. Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, imposing colonial buildings rival the Cathedral or Monastery of San Francisco known for its catacombs.
If you wish, it is possible to make a detour from Lima to Paracas and Nazca before reaching Arequipa along the Panamerican Highway. This allows you to spend more time on the Pacific coast and to discover Paracas and the Ballestas Islands and the marine fauna they shelter.
This detour then takes you to Nazca, famous for its "lines" left by ancient civilizations and observable from the sky.
Count at least 3 days for this passage through the Pacific coast. Why not an extra day if you want to stop at the Huacachina oasis, between Paracas and Nazca.
But be careful, this trip can only be done by bus (lima - Paracas 4h, Paracas-Nazca 4h, Nazca-Arequipa 10h). If this does not scare you then take the time to know more about Peru. If on the contrary you prefer to avoid long bus trips, we advise you to go directly to Arequipa from Lima by plane.
Second city of the country, you will be charmed by the ancient and colonial aspect of Arequipa. Located at 2400 meters, this stopover in Arequipa allows you a progressive rise in altitude. Take the time to stroll in the historical center of Arequipa and don't miss a Pisco Sour on the terrace, the national drink!
A must see: the Santa Catalina convent, a marvel of religious and colonial architecture.
From Arequipa, you have access to the Colca Canyon. Natural site, it will be your first contact with the Andean landscapes. You will continue your progressive ascent in altitude.
Two days are necessary to visit this canyon. The first day you will cross this gigantic park until your accommodation in the small villages of Chivay or Yanke. The presence of easily accessible thermal waters adds to the interest of the site.
The next day, after a morning devoted to the observation of the Condors, emblematic animal of the Andes, you will take the direction of Puno, on the banks of Lake Titicaca. This stage will be the culmination of your stay at 3800 meters.
Let's be frank, the city of Puno is not very interesting in itself. But it is the access point to discover Lake Titicaca.
In general, two days are enough to discover the lake and its communities. If you are in a hurry, it is quite possible to visit the lake in a single day.
The first day is usually devoted to visits to the Uros Islands, floating islands made of reeds and to the meeting of an Andean community of the Lake on the island of Amantani. A family will be in charge of receiving you and giving you hospitality on the island. A second day on the Lake is dedicated to the discovery of another island, Taquile. Another island, another community, other traditions.
But it is possible, and recommended, to get off the beaten track by spending time on the Capachica peninsula in the community of Llachon.
In yet another style, go spend two days on the island of Suasi! A real nugget, the hotel, owner of the island, offers you comfort, privacy, and breathtaking views of the lake.
Your path then pushes you to cross the Altiplano by the road from Puno: a day is necessary for this crossing. You will discover the mountains of the Andes Cordillera in all their splendor! Stages are planned to make the most of this extraordinary scenery. The final goal is to arrive in Cusco.
For the amateurs of railroads and trains like no other, know that you can make this crossing with the Titicaca Tren, train of exception for an experience like no other.
Here you are at last! Cusco, the capital of the Incas, will be without any hesitation the most magic stage of your journey.
The city has preserved an ancient historical center that plunges you directly into the universe of the Inca civilization. Cusco abounds in nuggets: its streets, its museums, its lively squares, its typical Peruvian markets.... Don't hesitate to take a day or two off to soak up the Cusqueño atmosphere.
Especially since the immediate surroundings of the city offer you something to occupy you: on the heights of Cusco, easily accessible on foot or by cab, the site of the 4 ruins, of which the most known Sacsayhuaman exposes you the greatness of the Inca know-how without waiting. Highly recommended!
But Cusco, it is also and especially the starting point for Machu Picchu!
To arrive there, obligatory passage by the Sacred Valley, by where the famous Inca's way passes, which connected the capital to the citadel of Machu Picchu. Since you pass there, make stages.
This valley is marked out by many old sites all very different: the Saltworks of Maras, the experimental agricultural site of Moray, the fortress of Ollantaytambo.... It is besides from this last village with the name Quechua difficult to pronounce that the train takes you to Aguas Calientes, back base for the visit of Machu Picchu.
Know that several ranges of train exist for this journey, do not hesitate to consult us on this point.
Inca architectural jewel and among the 7 wonders of the world, Machu Picchu comes to close in beauty your discovery of Peru.
Obligatory stage for any traveler in Peru, you generally have one morning to discover the citadel. The strict visit lasts approximately 2 hours. You must necessarily be accompanied by a guide, the site being particularly protected.
You wish to add spice during your visit of Machu Picchu? Know that two small steps are possible (optional). With the choice, what one calls "la montaña" and the "huayna Picchu" bring you two advantages: to walk (and to climb!) on this incredible place and to have a different and complementary view on the site (view from above).
On your return to Cusco, there are many options if you have an extra day: the ascent of Mount Vinicunca (rainbow mountain) or its alternative Palccoyo, Wakra pukara, the Humantay Lagoon.... In short, there's enough to satisfy all your desires.
If you have the possibility, it is possible to make, in a 15 days trip, a trip from Cusco to the Amazon jungle in the region of Puerto Maldonado and the Tambopata Reserve.
Many lodges offer turnkey tours to discover the fauna and flora of the Amazon. You can choose between 3, 4 or 5 days in the jungle. We recommend a minimum of 3 days to really enjoy it.
An Amazonian stage allows you to complete your knowledge of Peru, a country where half of the territory, we often forget, corresponds to the Amazon.
In short, you will have understood it, a great variety of circuits are offered to you if you have 15 days for your vacations in Peru. The whole thing is to make the good choices according to what attracts you and your travel profile. This "Southern Loop" has the advantage of regrouping the great classics of Peru through a logical and coherent route.
If you make the right choices, and we are here to help you make them, it is possible to open your horizons. By staying within the realm of the reasonable (considering the distances), why not consider something else altogether!
Another style, another scenery, Bolivia: a little more difficult to achieve in 15 days, it is nevertheless possible. A short passage to allow you to visit the Salar of Uyuni and the deserts of the South Lipez. Count at least 6 days in your itinerary for a passage in Bolivia. This choice of stage implies many air trips, plan a budget higher than that of a trip centered on a single country.
You are one of those passionate travelers and can't make a choice among all the possibilities Peru has to offer? You want to see the Pacific coast and the Amazonian forest? Do you like the North as much as the South? Discover here our ideas for a 3 weeks stay.
It depends of course! Your budget will be very variable according to the stages that you choose (jungle or not jungle?), the range of hotels which interests you (standard or luxury hotels?), the services that you wish (bilingual-speaking guides or not), and the "extras" that you grant yourself (an exceptional train?)...
But as a general rule, apart from your international plane tickets, 15 days in Peru on a basis of two, for a couple for example, costs more or less 100 euros (depending on your services) per day and per person, including transportation, hotel accommodation, guided service and entrance fees.
Count a total budget between 1200 and 1800 euros for 15 days in Peru (excluding international flight).
Peru essential (passing by the Pacific coast)
Andean landscapes (without going through the Pacific coast)
Secret Peru (more comfortable without the Pacific coast and with the Amazonian forest)
These proposals are of course only ideas, all our stays are customizable and modular as you wish. Contact us and be co-creators of your trip!