1 Week in Peru Itinerary

1 Week in Peru Itinerary

1 Week in Peru Itinerary

Peru is one of those places I encourage everyone to visit once in their life, it is for sure a bucket-list destination. The country is rich with culture, history, great food, and great people. I originally planned to spend two weeks to be able to explore all the things I wanted to do. However, during the time with work and school, I was only able to take off about a week. If you have time constraints and can only go for a week as well, this 1 week in Peru itinerary is great for a first time visit that covers all the major attractions that draw people to Peru!

For my first visit, it was a little daunting the amount of planning that went in to make sure we hit the major sites and of course visiting Machu Picchu. This post will help you plan out how to visit the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. In my itinerary I’ll show you what we did each day, and any tips I have for planning out your activities!

Ready for an adventure? See below how to spend 1 week in Peru!

Day 1 - Arrive in Urubamba or Ollanta

First photo in Cusco Peru
The first photo I took after landing in Cusco!

We took a red eye flight from Tampa to Cusco; you will most likely need to stop in Lima. From Cusco we grabbed our taxi and headed for Urubamba which was about an hour and a half. 

We used Taxidatum for all our transportation needs. We were able to prebook all our taxi’s and they were very flexible with changes and adjustments.

While it seems like a lot of traveling, I think it is worth driving down to Urubamba or Ollantaytambo for your first few days. As the elevation in Cusco can take some time for you to adjust, and cause altitude sickness.

Urubamba is the perfect place to stay if you’re looking to have a more luxurious stay.  The boutique hotels are lavish and peaceful. 

We chose to stay at Sol Y Luna in Urubamba, a great resort if you’re willing to splurge. Once we got in, we took it easy, enjoyed a nice dinner at our resort, and got a good night of sleep as the next day was a full day of activities.

Ollantatayambo is another great base to stay at upon your arrival to Peru. Unlike Urubamba, you have more options for restaurants and walking around. You’ll also get to stay right next to one of the Sacred Valley sites.

Day 2 - Sacred Valley

Pisac Ruins in Peru
Walking the Pisac Ruins
Chinchero Church in Peru
Chinchero Church

For our Sacred Valley exploring, we also booked all our transport through Taxidatum. They were great and flexible with picking us up from our hotel, as well as taking us to the sites that we wanted to see that day.

For our first real day of exploring, we did a Half Day Sacred Valley Tour and visited Pisac Ruins and the Pisac Market. We did the Pisac Ruins first where we walked around and built up our appetite. Then, we headed to the Pisac Market where grabbed a small snack and bought all our souvenirs.

The market is a great place to try out your bargaining skills!

After the market, we then headed to Chinchero to see the ruins, which did not take as long as Pisac. There is also a beautiful church you can check out, though it closes after a certain time. 

If time permits, it is also a great place to see the Textile Demonstrations.

Even though it’s labeled as a Half Day Sacred Valley Tour, we took our time to see everything which took us most of the day!

Day 3 - Sacred Valley

Maras in Peru
Taking in the salt mines at Maras
Moray in Peru
Moray
Ollanta Ruins in Peru
Ollantatayambo Ruins

While it is possible to do a Sacred Valley Tour in one day, I enjoyed breaking it up into two days which gave us more time to explore the sites. 

To start off the day, we visited Maras first. Here, there wasn’t much walking around, rather grabbing cool pictures. Then, we headed to Moray to walk around the ruins there.

Another option is viewing these two sites through ATV riding. We didn’t get to do that this time, however, if you are able to get a tour, I think it’s a fun way to see both sites! 

After, we headed to Ollanta for a quick bite. From there, we visited the Ollantatayambo Ruins. Make sure to make enough time to walk the ruins as it can take a while.

If you are staying in Ollanta as your base instead of Urubamba, you can see Ollanta and the ruins on Day 1. This will allow you more time to either ATV in Maras or Moray or head to Aguas Calientes earlier on Day 3.

We had Day 4 set for Machu Picchu. We chose to take the train that night from Ollanta to Aguas Calientes, the town you must travel to if visiting Machu Picchu. This gave us a little more time to sleep in by being right in town before our big day.

Day 4 - Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu in Peru
Machu Picchu
Views from Waynapicchu in Peru
Top of Waynapicchu

Machu Picchu was one of the highlights of our trip. I often tell those planning for this to plan Machu Picchu first, and then plan the rest of your Peru trip around it. We checked into Taypikala Boutique Machupicchu the night before, this allowed us more time in the morning to prepare for Machu Picchu.

With 1 Week in Peru, I think 1 day is good enough to explore Machu Picchu. However, if you have more time, you can certainly spend two days exploring, especially if you tackle one of the additional hikes one day and Machu Picchu another day.

After an early morning start, we lined up for our bus and headed up to Machu Picchu.

We purchased our bus tickets in advance based on the time entrance for Machu Picchu.

Once we got to Machu Picchu, we jumped in with one of the guides there. With a guide we were able to understand the history of the ruins, I highly recommend using a guide to go through this magnificent wonder. 

Our ticket also included the Waynapicchu hike, which we hiked after touring Machu Picchu. Waynapicchu is an amazing experience, and a hard hike with fantastic views.

If you’re able to get tickets for Waynapicchu, I highly encourage it. However, it is a more advanced hike, and you will need to prepare to be physically able to take it on comfortably.

Once we got back to the town Aguas Calientes we grabbed some food before taking our train to our next destination, Cusco!

The trains do not allow for large luggage. It is easier to get around with small carry-on bags when traveling in and out of Machu Picchu. However, if you do have large bags, the train stations can hold your items. If you do so, remember to catch your train back to that station to get your luggage before moving on to your next destination.

Day 5 - Cusco

Views of Cusco in Peru

We had arrived to Cusco the night before and checked in at Sonesta Hotel Cusco.

After a few jam-packed days, we took a leisurely morning to explore Cusco. It was nice to walk around, and people watch in Plaza De Americas while sipping on some coffee. 

We opted to do an afternoon Cusco City Tour that we booked through our hotel which took us to visit some more Incan ruin sites. 

For dinner we popped into Morena Peruvian Kitchen, we luckily got a spot at the bar and ate one of the best Peruvian meals we had this trip.

If you can make reservations in advance, this is a beautiful restaurant with delicious food!

Day 6 - Rainbow Mountain or Humantay Lake

Hike to Rainbow Mountain in Peru
The trail to Rainbow Mountain
Rainbow Mountain in Peru
Rainbow Mountain

We booked the Rainbow Mountain tour through our hotel as well. The day started super early with a bus towards Rainbow Mountain, with a stop for some breakfast. 

Once we reached, we had an option to take a horse to a certain distance or walk. We chose to walk as the horse cannot go up the hardest part at the end anyway. Climbing to the top can be a bit of a challenge with the altitude and crowds of people. We went slowly and made sure to have altitude medicine as well.

 Some people say that Rainbow Mountain does not live up to the hype that Instagram pictures may show. However, while it is not a splitting image of what you might see online, I did find the view quite amazing.

Another option, if you don’t want to visit Rainbow Mountain, is to take a tour to Humantay Lake. If I had the extra day, I would’ve loved to have done this tour as well!

Day 7 - Cusco or Lima

As coming into Cusco, you will most likely need to stop over in Lima as well when leaving Peru. While you can easily spend a week in Lima, and do much sightseeing, with time constraints, we only had one day. 

After leaving the Sacred Valley, we caught a quick flight to Lima and checked into Atrium Miraflores. We opted to do one night and do the Lima Gourmet Company food tour. Not only did this tour offer delicious food but we got to check out some neighborhoods that allowed us to sightsee some places in Lima before we headed home. 

While I was on the fence about visiting Lima based on other posts, I’m glad I did. Find something that interests you and I think it’s worth taking a day to explore! The food scene in Peru is popular, and as a huge foodie, it’s what I wanted to do in Lima. If you’re interested in historical sites, or beaches, you can take the day to explore those as well!

Another option is to spend your last day by staying in Cusco. If I were to do it over, I think I would have rather stayed in Cusco. There is so much to do and see, and I would’ve taken advantage of an extra day there. From food tours, cooking classes, excursions, and night life, I would’ve like to experience these in Cusco and do Lima on another visit.

I know I need to visit Peru again to visit the North and hope to see more of Lima then! For 1 Week in Peru, I think this itinerary hits some of the major highlights of Peru.

I hope this inspired you to start planning your 1 Week in Peru trip!
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1 Week in Peru Itineray
1 Week in Peru Itinerary

5 Comments

  • Laura
    Posted April 13, 2022 5:26 pm 0Likes

    I’m heading to Peru tomorrow and I’m definitely going to check out your transportation and food recommendations! Your photos are making me even more excited for the trip!

  • anthomas717
    Posted April 13, 2022 5:37 pm 0Likes

    I was actually in Peru for a week a couple of years ago. I visited Machu Picchu, Rainbow Mountain, Cusco, and Lima. But I missed the sacred valley – will have to add it to the list for next time.

  • At Lifestyle Crossroads
    Posted April 14, 2022 2:10 pm 0Likes

    Great plan for a week trip to Peru! Machu Picchu is on my travel bucket list, but as it only takes 1-2 days, it’s so handy to learn more about other sights in Peru.

  • Ashlee Fechino
    Posted April 14, 2022 8:10 pm 0Likes

    This is the perfect 1 week guide to Peru! Exactly what I need to plan our trip there. I really want to visit Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley.

  • ildikomdd463b962f
    Posted April 15, 2022 1:08 am 0Likes

    Peru is On my list to visit soon. Of course would want to hike Machu Picchu and also see the Rainbow mountain. The resort you stayed at in Machu Picchu looked fabulous. I’m curious about Humantay Lake.

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