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Although most travelers only visit the south of Peru, we are a big fan of Northern Peru! The north is a lot less touristy than the south. That’s why we recommend that you leave Peru for a minimum of three to four weeks and that you take part of both Northern Peru and Southern Peru. Do you have less time? Then check the second itinerary with which you only visit the south. Of course we take the Machu Picchu in both travel routes because you can’t leave Peru before you have visited this world wonder.
Itinerary Northern and Southern Peru (3 to 4 weeks)
Start your tour in the capital Lima and travel from there to the authentic north first. Start with a nice hike in Huaraz, travel to the cultural capital of Trujillo and spend a few days on the beach in Huanchaco. From there, take the (night) bus to Cajamarca and continue to Chachapoyas. From here you can visit Kuelap (the Machu Picchu of the north) and the Gocta waterfall. Then it is time to fly on to the south. Fly on Cusco and visit the highlight of Peru; the Machu Picchu. Then travel on to the Colca Canyon and Arequipa and then travel back to Lima via the sand dunes near the village of Huacachina.
Itinerary Northern Peru
Itinerary Southern Peru
South Peru itinerary (2 to 3 weeks)
Do you have too little time to visit both northern and southern Peru? Then I can imagine that you only choose the south. There is plenty to do in the Cusco area to keep you entertained for a week. Combine this with a visit to the Colca Canyon, Arequipa and the sand dunes near the village of Huacachina.
Do not plan your route too tight because in Peru you have to deal with a lot of height differences. From 2500 meters altitude you can suffer from altitude sickness. That is why it is important to acclimatize in higher places for a few days and not immediately plan an intensive hike.
The distances in Peru are large. There are good night buses from, for example, Linea and Cruz del Sur and you can easily book the tickets online via Busbud. We usually did this one or two days in advance. Keep in mind that you often sleep less well in a night bus and therefore do not do too much the next day. Especially if you don’t have that much time, I recommend booking some domestic flights as well. Prices usually add up, so book the tickets as early as possible.