Peru Round Trip – The perfect travel route to enjoy the culture and nature of Peru

Lima
Photo credit: Tatiana Chekryzhova, Shutterstock

Anyone planning a tour of Peru will be spoiled for choice. If you focus only on the wonder of the world Machu Picchu, you are missing out. After all, Peru isn't called “the richest country in the world” by die-hard fans for nothing. Of course, it is not about financial matters, but about the cultural heritage and the stunning landscapes that you as a traveler can discover there. The snow-capped peaks of the Andes, the deep blue waters of the Pacific Ocean, and the dense forests of the Amazon are so close together in Peru that you can experience everything at the same time during a three-week trip. You will quickly understand why Peruvians, with all the nature and scenic beauty, associate Pachamama with their Mother Earth.

I have visited Peru twice. During my trip to South America in 2015, I spent three weeks in the land of the Incas, and in 2018 there were another two weeks in which I visited not only my favorite places, but also, with the Amazon forest, finally areas where unfortunately the first time I had to stay right track. Through my trip, I have now put together what I believe is the perfect three-week Peru tour itinerary, which you can easily follow.

Peru Rondrez: Lima – Amazonas – Cusco

Lima

Almost every Peru tour starts in Lima. Not only is the international airport located here, but the Peruvian capital is also considered the culinary capital of South America. Here you will find the greatest density of exquisite, high-quality restaurants offering a wonderful combination of traditional cuisine and modern gastronomy.

The range of options available to vegetarians is also expanding and goes far beyond the classic quinoa soup (which is of course still incredibly delicious). Be sure to try the vegetarian platter, which is traditionally a fish dish but is often also served in an “animal-free” version. It is also worth visiting Barranco's artists' district with its colorful houses, bars and small restaurants.

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Puerto Maldonado

Once you have acclimatized and enjoyed your way through Lima, you will first take a plane to the Amazon and then to Puerto Maldonado. Unfortunately, the Peruvian Amazon is so remote that you can travel by bus for several days. So flying is the best option at this point. The Amazon lowlands border Bolivia in the far east of the country. The landscape with its wild beauty, lush vegetation and exotic flora and fauna couldn't be more different compared to the deserts and rugged mountains of the rest of Peru.

Puerto Maldonado is often referred to as the jungle city. After all, it is the starting point for many jungle adventures that take you deep into the remote branches of the Amazon River. There are three national parks surrounding the city: Manu National Park, Tambopata National Park and Pahoaga Sunene National Park. There you can experience monkeys, parrots, otters and caimans in the wild on foot or by boat and enjoy the magical evening light in the jungle. I was there myself Cayman Inn In Tambopata National Park.

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Cusco

The best way to get from Puerto Maldonado to Cusco takes about 10-12 hours. Cusco is probably the most touristy city in Peru, but it's also particularly beautiful with its colonial architecture and many great cafes and restaurants. It's definitely worth staying here for a few days to explore the city and its surroundings.

Throughout the city you will also find several Inca ruins such as Choquequirao, Saysayhuamán, Qenko and Tambomacay, which are worth a visit. Of course, a visit to Cusco would not be complete without buying souvenirs and fresh juices at the market.

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Peru Tour: Cusco and Sacred Valley of the Incas including Machu Picchu

Inca Trail or Alternatives?

From Cusco we continue on to the Sacred Valley of the Incas or to Ollantaytambo. Here you can either hike the Inca Trail or one of the alternatives. I chose Lares Trek for my first visit to Peru. This starts in the village of Lares and leads via the Ipsicocha Pass (4450m) to Ollantaytambo. The second time I 1-Tajes-Inca-Trail Hiking, which starts at railway kilometer 104 and leads on foot to Machu Picchu. I found both trips really fascinating and impressive.

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The (undisputed) highlight: Machu Picchu

At the end of all trips, a visit to Machu Picchu is of course on the agenda. I have already published a detailed article about the advantages and disadvantages of different treks and my detailed tips for your visit to Machu Picchu -> Machu Picchu – Best tips for your visit to this wonder of the world

Lares Trek Machu Pico
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More culture and nature in the Sacred Valley

With all the (completely justified!) hype about Machu Picchu, you shouldn't forget about the other impressive places the Sacred Valley of the Incas has to offer. The city alone Ollantaytambo With its impressive Inca ruins and almost Mediterranean feel, it's worth the trip in itself.

Lares Trek Machu Pico

It is also useful to turn to Maras salt pansWhich dates back to pre-Inca times. You can either book a guided tour, which usually also includes a visit to the Inca site Murray It involves, or best of all, sharing a taxi there with several people.

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Peru Rondrez: Cusco – Titicacasi – (Arequipa) – Nazca – Paracas – Lima

Titikasi

The bus from Cusco to Lake Titicaca, at an altitude of about 4,000 metres, takes about 7 hours. Puno is an ideal starting point for exploring the largest lake in the whole of South America, and while the main attraction, the reed islands called Uros, are very popular today, there is still a pleasant silence on Taquile and the centuries-old island. The culture is still alive. There are also really great views of the deep blue lagoon island and the snow-capped Andes in the background. A really beautiful place to enjoy the culture and nature of Peru!

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Arequipa

From Puno it takes about 9 hours by bus to Arequipa. Unfortunately, I haven't gotten there yet, but the city between three volcanoes, often referred to as the “White City of Peru” because of its houses made of white volcanic rock, is definitely worth a visit. If you stop here, you shouldn't miss the impressive Colca Valley.

Nazca

It's another 9-hour bus ride from Arequipa to Nazca. Even if you haven't researched Peru in any detail, you've likely heard about the mysterious Nazca Lines. How the mysterious, straight lines and structures around NASA appeared, some of which are up to 20 kilometers long, remains a mystery to scientists. If you want to see the formations with your own eyes and have a reasonably strong stomach, you can take a scenic flight over the desert lines. Although I personally felt very sick during the winding flight on the small plane, I would do it again and again.

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Paracas and Huacachina

From Nazca to Lima it takes less than 7 hours by bus. But it's worth stopping here too. On the one hand, about halfway down the road is the desert oasis of Huacachina, which is particularly popular for sandboarding and dune buggy riding.

Huacachina

On the other hand, just two hours away from Huacachina, the Paracas Peninsula and the city of the same name are located directly on the Pacific Ocean. Here you can not only relax perfectly and end your trip to Peru. It is also worth visiting Isla Ballestas, Peru's Galapagos Islands, on a boat tour. Here, flocks of Peruvian boobies and Chilean pelicans hover on the rocks, sea lions and fur seals dot the beach, and Humboldt penguins waddle over small hills.

Paracas

Paracas

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From Paracas, you'll arrive in Lima in four hours, where you can spend the last hours or days before saying goodbye, enjoying the last pisco sour and celebrating the last ceviche. After this route, you'll likely also be excited about the country's diversity, wonderful nature and many cultural treasures. Who knows, perhaps in the future you will refer to Peru as “the richest country in the world.”

Have you ever been to Peru, if so, what is your itinerary? Still questions? Go out to the comments with her

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