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What would be the best itinerary for 11 days in Peru?

London, United...
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What would be the best itinerary for 11 days in Peru?

My mind is blown over all the advice dispensed to me from several friends.

I honestly don't know the best itinerary for a duration of 11 days in Peru or the best towns/cities to visit.

I'll be staying in hostels mostly and travelling into Lima airport from London. I've heard it's best to start at a lower altitude town (Arequipua?) before heading to Cusco but I do intend to fly from Lima so the start off point would have to have an airport. I've also been advised to avoid Lima with the limited time I have in Peru.

Obviously want to do MP and was considering staying a couple of nights in Aquas Calientes.

I want to do The Sacred Valley/Colco Canyon. Any other places worth visiting?

Thanks

Charlene.

Cusco, Peru
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1. Re: What would be the best itinerary for 11 days in Peru?

Considering the Cusco region could easily take a week or more, I would recommend just choosing 2 locations to visit, like the Cusco region and Arequipa or Lake Titicaca, you could fit in a third place if you do a short trip of the Cusco region, but you would end up missing a bit. Here is a list of places in the Cusco region you could see tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g294314-i3023-k802…

I think what I would recommend would be a Cusco - Puno combination and would look something like this

Day 1 – Arrive in Lima, Night in Lima

Day 2 – Flight Lima to Cusco, Arrive in Cusco, day to relax and acclimate

Day 3 – Cusco ruins tour by private car (Saqsaywaman, Quenqo, Pukapukara, & Tambomachay), Explore Cusco City

Day 4 – Sacred Valley by Private car (Ollantaytambo, Inkariy Museum, Pisac Ruins, Cochahuasi Animal Sanctuary)

Day 5 – Southern Valley tour by private car (Tipon, Pikillacta & Church of San Pedro in Andahuaylillas)

Day 6 – Hill top tour by private car (Chinchero, Salineras de Maras & Moray) after tour drop-off in Ollantaytambo, late afternoon train to Aguas Calientes, Evening in AC

Day 7 – Machu Picchu, evening train back to Olly, Transport back to Cusco

Day 8 – Morning tourist Bus to Puno

Day 9 – Visit Lake Titicaca and Islands

Day 10 – Flight Puno (Juliaca) to Lima

Day 11– Flight out of Lima

You could also do a round trip flight Lima - Cusco - Lima, returning to Cusco from Puno by bus, but this would work best if you shortened the Cusco region by one day. Additionally if you were to prefer Arequipa over Puno, then do Arequipa first and again you may have to shorten the Cusco region by one or two days depending on your plans in Arequipa.

Cusco, Peru
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2. Re: What would be the best itinerary for 11 days in Peru?

Hi Charlene

Need to know more about your personal interests to suggest an itinerary - are you more into archaeology than nature, or would you like a balance, for example? Budget is an issue too.

fro altitude acclimatisation I would normally suggest Lima-Arequipa-Cusco-Lima or Lima-Arequipa-Cusco-Puerto Maldonado-Lima depending on interests. also, could you stretch a couple more days or are you fixed at 11 days? i am a bit biased towards the rainforest, so always advise a visit if it is your ''cup of tea'', even if only for 3 days...so if you have say 14 days then it could be included, or you could compact the Cusco city-based part more than what Lyle has done above & tightly squeeze it in. You could arrive in Cusco & do an afternoon city & 4 ruins tour for example with a full-day Sacred Valley the next day & a night in Aguas Calientes or Ollantaytambo before/during your Machu Picchu section. Private car tours as suggested by Lyle are the way to go, but make sure you get a good English-speaking driver, driver & guide or driver/guide.

Port Orange, Florida
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3. Re: What would be the best itinerary for 11 days in Peru?

That is basically the itinerary we just did with Gate 1. It was 10 days and they offered a pretty good value with an excellent guide to all those places. We landed Lima, spent the day, then flew to Cusco and stayed in Urabamba for a couple days, visiting Ollantaytambo and Chinchero. After visiting Machu Picchu, we bused to Puno, saw Titicaca and floating islands and flew back. You can use the extra day in the Cusco area to acclimate to the altitude and see more of the local ruins as was suggested. Enjoy your trip!

Cusco, Peru
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4. Re: What would be the best itinerary for 11 days in Peru?

Considering the OP mentioned staying in hostels, I doubt very much that a group tour package like the one through Gate1 is going to be within her Budget.

It is likely even my recommendation of private car tours would be a bit much as well as this can run between $75 and $125 a day (it was late and I missed that). So for reference most of what I indicated above could also be done (in the same order) through tour agencies with a group, this would save some money but won’t hit as many places. The sites they don’t hit could then be done from Cusco by bus.

Here is another option that could be done by public transportation and would cover most of the sites above if that fits the budget better, but this would require more moving around.

Day 1 – Arrive in Lima, Night in Lima

Day 2 – Flight Lima to Cusco, Take bus to Pisac stopping at Cochahuasi Animal Sanctuary on the way, After visiting Pisac you can take a bus to Ollantaytambo and time permitting visit the Inkariy Museum on the way, night in Ollantaytambo.

Day 3 – Morning visit Ollantaytambo, take bus up to visit Moray and the Salt mines of Maras, time permitting you can also visit Chinchero, return to Ollantaytambo, evening train to Aguas Calientes, night in Aguas Calientes.

Day 4- Machu Picchu, evening train back to Olly, Transport back to Cusco

Day 5 - Cusco ruins by bus (Saqsaywaman, Quenqo, Pukapukara, & Tambomachay), Explore Cusco City, night in Cusco

Day 6 – Odds are good you won’t fit in everything above; this day can be used to visit any sites above that you may not have visited previously. If you have covered all the sites above you can spend the day in Cusco or visit sites in the Southern Valley.

Day 7 – Morning tourist Bus to Puno

Day 8 – Visit Lake Titicaca and Islands

Day 9 – Flight Puno (Juliaca) to Lima

Day 10 – Lima

Day 11– Flight out of Lima

Due to the fact that the public transportation tends to be slower, it is not likely that you will cover all of the sites above, but you will be able to visit all of the main sites. If Mike has peaked your interest in the Jungle you could fit it in and it could be done something like this

Day 1 – Arrive in Lima, Night in Lima

Day 2 – Flight Lima to Cusco, Take bus to Ollantaytambo Visit site, time permitting take bus up to visit Moray and the Salt mines of Maras return to Ollantaytambo, evening train to Aguas Calientes, night in Aguas Calientes.

Day 3 – Machu Picchu, evening train back to Olly, Transport back to Cusco

Day 4- Depart for Jungle

Day 5 - Jungle

Day 6 – Jungle

Day 7 – Return from Jungle, Night in Cusco

Day 8 – Morning tourist bus to Puno

Day 9 – Visit Lake Titicaca and Islands

Day 10 – Flight Puno (Juliaca) to Lima

Day 11– Flight out of Lima

Now throwing the jungle into the mix really increases the number of options, as you will have 2 options for location and 2 for travel. If budget is your biggest concern then I would recommend a Manu tour as this tour includes transportation from and back to Cusco, it would be 4 days and fit into the days above, the down side of Manu is that you don’t get as deep into unspoiled jungle as you would from Puerto Maldonado.

Puerto Maldonado is also another option that can be done from Cusco, but will generally cost you a bit more as the 3 day tours are usually the same price as the 4 day Manu, but do not include transportation. So some advantages of doing Puerto Maldonado would be you would be able to get further into the jungle, and if you fly in and out, you could either do a 3day and save one day, or still do 4 days as mentioned above, the main disadvantage as I mentioned above is cost, as it is farther away the best way to get there is by flying, which will be costly, yes you can take a bus which I believe takes about 10 hours, as I also believe the buses only run during the day, taking a bus would turn the 3 day tour into 5 days, which would eliminate the option of Lake Titicaca.

Puerto Maldonado also opens up a lot of options if your budget can handle the flights as having the airport would allow you to fly Cusco – PM – Puno (Juliaca) – Lima which can actually save some time, but at a cost.

So as you can see there are a lot of options as to things to do and see, as well as how to get around, so if you let us know what you like, or don’t like on the above itineraries, I am sure we will be able to help you put together something that you will enjoy.

London, United...
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5. Re: What would be the best itinerary for 11 days in Peru?

Thank you so much for all the helpful advice.

At the risk of sounding like a princess (i'm not!) I don't want to over exert myself or experience too much discomfort after such a long flight from UK-Miami-Lima-Cusco.

I think i'm going to fly straight to Cusco first and spend a few nights there...relaxing, acclimating, meeting other travelers etc, taking in some sights. And then on to AC where i'll spend maybe 2 nights? Get there in the evening, relax before a very early start at MP (as soon as it opens!) then another night in AC (i'm sure i'll be too tired to faff about with trains after a day at MP).. Then perhaps back to Cusco and then onward to The Sacred Valley?? Unless it's reachable from AC.

Re the Rainforest. I would definitely like to give that a go, but if it involves flying i'm not so sure.....

Thank you for your patience! My Lonely Planet guide is due to arrive any day! :-D

Cusco, Peru
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6. Re: What would be the best itinerary for 11 days in Peru?

The Sacred Valley will be easier to visit from Cusco then Aguas Calientes and you could do either of the Jungle tours by bus, although Manu would be a shorter trip.

Cusco, Peru
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7. Re: What would be the best itinerary for 11 days in Peru?

Yes, combine Sacred Valley from Cusco with maybe an overnight in Ollantaytambo & a full or half-day SV tour from there befoer going to Machu Picchu. Rainforest for a short stay like you have will involve flying - 30 minutes form Cusco - to save time & maximise your stay.

Great Barrington...
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8. Re: What would be the best itinerary for 11 days in Peru?

Try this: travelingprofessor.com/Tours/TourstoPeruandM…

Canberra, Australia
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9. Re: What would be the best itinerary for 11 days in Peru?

We agree with Mike - don't miss Ollyantaytambo - it was one of our fav places while in Peru for 3 weeks. We flew into Cuzco via Lima (overnight at airport after a long flight) - had a driver pick us up & on the way to Olly he showed us many great sites (hotel in Olly organised driver/guide) so the trip took most of the day. However, if you're on a tight budget, think there would be a bus. We were advised by a doctor in Australia who specialises in travel that it's best to spend more time in lower altitudes first before you get to Cuzco (many people have altitude sickness in Cuzco & need meds - ask your Dr). From Olly we took train to AC & stayed in a hotel for 2 nights (could have cut it back to 1) & next morning went up to MP. We needed to leave our bags at hotel in Olly as can't take large bags into AC (pedestrian town). From there we came to Cuzco - lots to see/eat/do so staying here for 3 nights. Only thing I would have changed is transfer from MP/AC to Cuzco - I think the train right through would have been better (we had a driver pick us up + our big bags from Olly hotel where they were stored while in MP). The drive was a bit rough/winding & lots of traffic/buses overtaking etc but driver was good - took about 2 hours. If you're travelling lighter than us & can take train right through to Cuzco, you could ask hotel or hostel where you're staying to pick you up from the station - to make life a bit easier. After Cuzco we're going inland to see lakes, canyon etc. we've seen lots of jungles in Asia! Safe travels!

Canberra, Australia
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10. Re: What would be the best itinerary for 11 days in Peru?

Here's info from Net...Cuzco is 3400 m so that's why we just landed at airport & then travelled straight to Ollyantaytambo.

"People planning to ascend over 3,000 metres (10,000 feet) should spend a night at an intermediate elevation below 3,000 metres before they start to ascend.

Above 3,000 metres ascend only 300-500 metres (1,000-1,500 feet) a day to each next new sleep height.

If more than 500 metres (1,500 feet) of ascent is required in the day, descend back to 500 metres to sleep (climb high, sleep low).

For every 1,000 metres (3,000 feet) of ascent stop for 2 nights sleep before going higher."

We met up with some people who had 3 nights in Cuzco at start of their trip - they had headaches, fatigue etc

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