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1-Week Peru Itinerary

 

A PERFECT 1-WEEK PERU ITINERARY -

(+ Bonus 3-DAY EXTENSION ITINERARY TO PERUVIAN AMAZON RAINFOREST)

 

If you have 7 days in Peru, then I have these great ideas for how you can spend your time.

Check out this 1-week itinerary to Peru that ticks off Peru’s most seductive sights.

Plus, take a look at 3-day extension itinerary to Peruvian Amazon Rainforest.

 

 

OVERVIEW OF 1-WEEK PERU ITINERARY

(+ Bonus 3-DAY EXTENSION ITINERARY TO PERUVIAN RAINFOREST)

 

DAY 1 Arrival in Cusco / Cusco City Tour

DAY 2 Sacred Valley of the Incas: Sacsayhuaman / Qenco / Puka Pukara / Tambomachay / Cochahuasi Animal Sanctuary / Pisaq

DAY 3 Sacred Valley of the Incas: Maras / Moray / Ollantaytambo

DAY 4 Train to Aguas Calientes / Aguas Calientes Tour

DAY 5 Sunrise at Machu Picchu / Tour of Machu Picchu City of the Incas / Train back to Cusco

DAY 6 Flight to Lima / Lima City Tour – Part 1

DAY 7 Lima City Tour – Part 2 / Fight back home

DAY 8 -10 BONUS 3-Day extension itinerary to Peruvian Amazon Rainforest

 

 

DAY 1 ITINERARY –

ARRIVAL IN CUSCO AND CUSCO CITY TOUR

 

ARRIVAL IN CUSCO

The quickest way to get to Cusco is to fly in to Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport (CUZ). It is a small airport that is located about 15 minutes by taxi ride from Cusco’s City center.

The best area to stay is San Blas section of Cusco. It is a well-known artistic area full of shops, galleries and great places to eat. It is very picturesque as well with its cobblestone streets. On top of that you will get great views of Cusco City center and the surrounding areas.

My favorite hotel in San Blas is Antigua Casona San Blas. The rooms are nicely decorated, spacious and clean. I love the alpaca blankets and hot water bottles to warm up the beds. It is just a nice touch to make your stay comfortable.

The breakfast (selection and quality) is great. By the way, breakfast is included with your stay.

 

1-week Peru itinerary
My favorite hotel in San Blas section of Cusco is Antigua Casona San Blas.

 

My top favorite thing at Casona San Blas is that every evening, you can hang out in a beautiful courtyard and enjoy drinks by the fire and listen to live music.

 

1-Week Peru Itinerary
Enjoy evening drinks by the fire and live music in the courtyard of Antigua Casona San Blas.

 

I have to say that the staff at Antigua Casona San Blas is super attentive. They are always willing to help you out and make your stay as comfortable as possible. For example, they will store your luggage if you are planning any trips out of Cusco. They always pick me up and take me back to the airport (and, it is free). They helped me with getting a taxi, and a driver/guide for a couple of day trips that I have done from Cusco.

 

 

  • First of all, my recommendation is to fly in to Cusco and forget the trains or the buses. It takes too long to travel on the train, and buses can be unreliable due to poor road conditions and landslides.
  • Second, stay is San Blas. And, book your room at Antigua Casona San Blas. You will love it! I would go back to Antigua Casona San Blas in a heartbeat. The hotel staff will pick you up from the airport. Make sure to email them all the details pertaining to your arrival.
  • Finally, this is IMPORTANT. You need to be aware of the altitude sickness in Cusco. It is a real thing! Take it seriously. I got very sick just after a few hours after arriving to Cusco. I developed a massive headache and dizziness, which in turn contributed to nausea and vomiting.

Altitude sickness starts affecting people at the elevation of 8,000 feet to higher. Cusco’s altitude is 11,152 feet (3,399 meters).

At high elevations the air is “thinner”. It basically means that there is less pressure. Even though, the oxygen percentage remains the same, the air is less dense. As a result, each breath you take, it contains less oxygen than what you are used to.

Take all the precautions. Do not get sick! Review my post about how to avoid altitude sickness in Cusco.

 



INTREPID SCOUT’S TIP:

READ: How to Avoid Altitude Sickness in Cusco, Peru

CLICK HERE



 

CUSCO CITY TOUR

 

Ok, so after you arrive to Cusco and check in into your favorite hotel, it is time to go and explore Cusco. This is your Cusco City tour.

  • First of all, Cusco is totally walk-able. You can easily do Cusco City tour by walking from one attraction to the next.
  • Second, there are plenty of organized half-day walking tours that cover all the major attractions in Cusco. However, I think, you can do it yourself just fine.

 

Image source: Google Map data ©2020

 

Start your Cusco City tour at Plaza de Armas. It is Cusco’s main square, place of gatherings, and Cusco’s beating heart. At anytime of the day, there are always some celebrations and festivities happening at Plaza de Armas.

 

1-week Peru itinerary
Plaza de Armas is Cusco’s main square, place of gatherings, and Cusco’s beating heart.

 

Here, Francisco Pizarro, the Spanish conquistador declared his conquest of Cusco. And, here the Inca leader, Tupac Amaru, was violently put to death.

Next, walk over to Cusco Cathedral. It is located on the northeastern side of the Plaza de Armas.

 

1-week Peru itinerary
The Cusco Cathedral is located on the northeastern side of the Plaza de Armas.

 

The Cusco Cathedral is connected to two smaller churches: Iglesia del Triunfo (built in 1538) and Sagrada Familia Church (completed in 1723). The entrance to Cusco Cathedral is through the Sagrada Familia Church located on the left-hand side of Cusco Cathedral.

Make sure to check out Marcos Zapata’s “The Last Supper”. It shows Jesus and his disciples dining on traditional Peruvian dishes. Also, do not miss the High Altar embossed in silver.

Cusco Cathedral is open to visitors Monday through Sunday. The opening hours are from 10 am till 6 pm.

Next, continue on to Cusco’s San Pedro Market. It is a fun place to visit. It is popular with the locals as well as the tourists.

 

1-Week Peru Itinerary
Cusco’s San Pedro Market is popular with the locals as well as the tourists.

 

Here, you can basically find almost anything displayed on endless rows of stalls. Starting with fresh fruit, freshly baked breads, cheeses, meat to clothing, shoes and all kinds of souvenirs. In addition, there are numerous eateries serving local delicacies.

 

WHY YOU MUST VISIT SAN PEDRO MARKET IN CUSCO?

Well, first of all, it will give you an insight into the culture of Peru. Second, it is fun to stroll around and look at all the produce and merchandise displayed at each stand. But, above all, I loved the isle with booths selling freshly squeezed fruit juices.

The juices are delicious. They are made with a range of fresh fruit, from common to exotic brought from many parts of Peru.

 

Next is Coricancha – The Temple of the Sun dedicated to Inti, the ancient Incan sun god.

Unfortunately, most of Coricancha was destroyed and gradually disassembled after the 16th-century war with the Spanish conquistadors. Its foundation was used to build the Cathedral and Convent of Santo Domingo.

 

Cusco Peru Bucket List
Coricancha – The Temple of the Sun was dedicated to Inti the ancient Incan sun god.

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

 

What is interesting is that the Inca used ashlar masonry to construct Coricancha.

Spanish reports describing Coricancha tell of an opulence that was “fabulous beyond belief”.

The walls were covered in sheets of gold and the adjacent courtyard was filled with golden statues.

Did you know that when the Spanish in 1533 required the Inca to raise a ransom in gold for the life of their leader Atahualpa, most of the gold was collected from Coricancha.

Coricancha is open Monday through Sunday.The opening hours are from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm Monday through Saturday. On Sundays, it is open from 2 pm to 5 pm.

The entrance ticket (without Cusco Tourist Ticket) is 15 soles for adults and 8 soles for students. However, if you have Cusco Tourist Ticket, then the entrance fee is covered by Cusco Tourist Ticket.

By the way, you should check out Cusco Tourist Ticket to see what option would work the best for you.

 



INTREPID SCOUT’S TIP:

READ: Cusco Tourist Ticket Boleto Turistico – Is It Worth Buying

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Next, check out the famous Twelve-Angled Stone. It is part of a wall of present Palace of Archbishop of Cusco.

The stone’s twelve-angled border is an example of perfectionist Incan architecture.

The stone reaches up to two meters deep and weighs six tons.

 

1-Week Peru Itinerary
The stone’s twelve-angled border is an example of perfectionist Incan architecture.

 

Finally,  head to Barrio de San Blas. It is a short but pretty steep walk from Plaza de Armas.

I honestly have to say that San Blas in Cusco is my favorite area to explore. It is filled with restaurants and bars, hotels, and artists’ studios, workshops and all kinds of stores selling souvenirs.

 

1-Week Peru Itinerary
San Blas in Cusco is my favorite area to explore.

 

While you are exploring San Blas, make sure to stop by the Church of San Blas. It is the oldest church in Cusco.

It looks rather simple on the outside, however, it has the most spectacular baroque-styled interior.

You will be in awe by the incredible gold-leafed altar at the Church of Sun Blas.

 

1 week Peru itinerary
The San Blas Church looks rather plain on the outside. However, you will be amazed by the baroque-style interior.

 

The Church of San Blas has the most elaborate pulpit. It is carved from a single cedar tree. This extremely delicate and intricate piece of art is considered one of the greatest wood carved masterpieces.

 

 

We are done with Cusco City tour and it is time to head back to your hotel to freshen-up.

Now, if you are wondering where to have dinner in Cusco, then, of all the places I have tried in Cusco, I have to say that PIEDRA & SAL Restaurant located at Antigua Casona San Blas is top notch! Check out their extensive menu. I assure you that you will enjoy all their creations and have many memorable meals.

To top it of, the presentation of each plate at PIEDRA & Sal Restaurant is superb!

 

1-Week Peru Itinerary
PIEDRA and SAL Restaurant is my favorite in Cusco.

 

Lastly, if you are looking for things to do at night in Cusco, then I would suggest heading back to Plaza de Armas.

In the evening Plaza de Armas is beautifully lit up and it is perfect for an evening stroll. Also, check out Coricancha and the Cathedral and Convent of Santo Domingo. All the buildings look spectacular in the evening.

 

1-week Peru itinerary
In the evening the plaza is beautifully lit up and it is perfect for an evening stroll.

 

Looking for more things to do in Cusco, then check out my post 10 Best Things to Do in Cusco.

 



INTREPID SCOUT’S TIP:

READ: 10 Best Things to Do in Cusco, Peru (for Every Budget)

CLICK HERE



 

 

DAY 2 ITINERARY –

SACRED VALLEY OF THE INCAS:

SAQSAYHUAMAN, QENCO, PUKA PUKARA, TAMBOMACHAY,

COCHAHUASI ANIMAL SANCTUARY, PISAQ

 

Image source: Google Map data ©2020

Ok, here we go! This is day 2 of 1-week Peru itinerary and it is all about exploring the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

In my opinion the most efficient way to explore the Sacred Valley of the Incas is to hire a private guide and a driver.

However, following are some more options:

 

HOW TO GET AROUND IN SACRED VALLEY OF THE INCAS?

  • With a Private Guide and a Driver

I think that having a private driver and a guide is the best way to go. This option gives you total flexibility. Also, having a knowledgeable guide by your side is simply invaluable. Now, if you are staying in one of the hotels in Cusco, I am sure that your hotel will be more than happy to arrange for you a driver and a guide. Needless to say, this is an expensive option, but it is all worth it.

  • On a Tour

There are plenty of day tours that stop at all major attractions in Sacred Valley. I am positive that your hotel can make all the arraignments for you. It is probably one of the least expensive options. But, it does not give you much flexibility.

  • By Taxi

If you do want to hire a private driver and a guide, or go on an organized tour, then book a taxi and stop at all the major attractions in Sacred Valley of the Incas. You will always be able to hire a guide right at the entrance to all the major attractions.

I would recommend that you ask your hotel to get a taxi for you.

  • By Colectivo

There is a colectivo station on Avenida Grau in Cusco. Now, something to keep in mind that colectivos do not leave until they are full. You would probably need a few days to cover all the major attractions if you are using colectivo.

If your time is limited, then this is not a good option.

 

 

SAQSAYHUAMAN

 

We start off the day with a tour of Saqsayhuaman. Saqsayhuaman sits on a steep hill located just outside of Cusco.

Specifically, it is located 1.4 miles (2 kilometers) north of Cusco’s City center.

To get to Saqsayhuaman, you can hike, which is going to take you about 45 minutes. Keep in mind that it is a steep up the hill hike. Or, you can get a taxi and get there in 15 minutes. You can hire a guide right at the entrance to Saqsayhuaman.

 

 

Saqsayhuaman used to be Cusco’s hilltop citadel consisting of three stone towers and buildings that housed thousands of solders.

Today, what’s left of Saqsayhuaman are three tiered rows of walls. However, you will be amazed by the colossal stones that were used to build the fortress and be in awe of the ingenuity of Incan building capabilities.

Notice, how these massive blocks are locked precisely together without mortar.

 

1-Week Peru Itinerary
You will be amazed by the colossal stones that were used to build the fortress and be in awe of the ingenuity of Incan building capabilities.

 

Some of the blocks are more than 10 feet (3 meters) high and weigh more than 100 tons (91,000 kilograms). The biggest stone is 28 feet (8.5 meters) high.

Today, you can still see the outlines of the stone towers.

 

1-Week Peru Itinerary
You can still see the outlines of the stone towers.

 

In order to enter Saqsayhuaman you need Cusco Tourist Ticket. You can purchase Cusco Tourist Ticket right at the entrance to Saqsayhuaman.

The opening hours of Saqsayhuaman Archaeological Site are Monday through Sunday from 7 am till 6 pm.

 

 

QENCO

 

Next on the list is Qenco. It is one of the largest places that was used for worship and ceremonies in the Cusco Region.

It has numerous ceremonial carvings, holes, labyrinths, and canals and sacrificial room cut into the rock.

What you can still see today is an area called the Amphitheater. It is a semicircular construction with carved niches along the wall. In the center of the amphitheater is a rock that may have been a sculpture.

 

1-Week Peru Itinerary
The area called the Amphitheater s a semicircular construction. In the center of the amphitheater is a rock that may have been a sculpture.

 

Make sure to check out the Underground Chamber carved out of the rock.

Inside the Underground Chamber is room called the Sacrificial Room.

 

1-Week Peru Itinerary
It is said that this underground chamber could have been used to embalm corpses and also as a place of sacrifice.

 

In order to enter Qenco you need Cusco Tourist Ticket. The opening hours are daily from 7 am till 6 pm.

 

 

PUKA PUKARA

 

We are continuing on and the next stop is Puka Pukara.

It is believed that Puka Pukara was a military fortress. It has a strategic location, positioned on a high ground overlooking the Cusco Valley.

 

1-Week Peru Itinerary
Puka Pukara has a strategic location, positioned on a high ground overlooking the Cusco Valley.

 

The name Puka Pukara means Red Fortress. The rocks used to build the fortress have a red hue due to the iron found in the limestone.

To enter Puka Pukara you will need Cusco Tourist Ticket. The opening hours are Monday through Sunday from 7 am till 6 pm.

 

 

TAMBOMACHAY

 

Next, on the itinerary is Tambomachay. 

Tambomachay is known as the “Inca’s Baths”. The precise function of the site is unknown. It may have served as a military outpost, or as imperial baths. However, it is believed that Tambomachay was a center of worship of water.

 

1-Week Peru Itinerary
It is believed that Tambomachay was a center of worship of water.

 

The entire area of Tambomachay consists of aqueducts, canals, waterfalls that run through the terraced rocks, walls and windows which shows the extraordinary ingenuity of architectural talents of Incas and their in-depth knowledge of hydraulics.

Water— and the control of water—had a ceremonial function for the Incas. They were able to control the flow of water with great precision, often bringing the water from springs way up in the mountains via stone channels and aqueducts, and finally to fountains and waterfalls at important points within their religious sites.

The site is open Monday through Sunday from 7 am till 6 pm. The entrance fee is included with the Boleto Turistico de Cusco (Cusco Tourist Ticket),

 

 

COCHAHUASI ANIMAL SANCTUARY

 

Next stop on the itinerary is Cochahuasi Animal Sanctuary. I really enjoyed visiting the sanctuary and I am recommending that you check it out.

Cochahuasi Animal Sanctuary is run be a private organization. It shelters wild species, many of which are endangered.

We (Cochahuasi Animal Sanctuary) are dedicated to rescuing and looking after animals which have suffered mistreatment of any kind from former owners or evil poachers or illegal hunters whom commercialize protected species. These rescued animals are put under the care of C.A.S by The forest Rangers, a dependency of The National Police or by the National Government.

 

1-Week Peru Itinerary
Cochahuasi Animal Sanctuary is dedicated to rescuing and looking after animals which have suffered mistreatment of any kind from former owners or evil poachers or illegal hunters whom commercialize protected species.

 

One of the species at risk of extinction is the Andean Condor. Its population has been decimated. The efforts of Cochahuasi Animal Sanctuary are to encourage its reproduction in captivity and later release the young Condors into their natural habitat.

Now, the feathers are of great value for some craftsmen who later sell them as souvenirs for tourists, this activity stimulates the illegal hunting for this magnificent birds.

Personally, I have never seen a condor up close. And, seeing them during the flight demonstration was breathtaking. The wing span can range from nine to ten and a half feet.

 

The entrance to Cochahuasi Animal Sanctuary is free of charge, however visitors are encouraged to make a donation. The opening hours are Monday through Sunday from 7:30 am till 5:30 pm.

 

 

PISAQ

 

I really enjoyed visiting Pisaq. It is the next stop of the second day of 1-week Peru itinerary

Pisaq is most known for its Incas ruins and large market which takes place every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday.

The Inca ruins are situated atop a hill at the entrance to the valley.

 

1-Week Peru Itinerary
Pisaq is most known for its Incas ruins.

 

The most impressive group of ruins at Pisaq is called Inti Watana. It includes the Temple of the Sun, baths, altars, water fountains, and a ceremonial platform.

 

1-Week Peru Itinerary
The most impressive is a group of ruins called Inti Watana.

 

Make sure to check out impressive agricultural terraces. They cover huge areas of the steep hillsides.

 

1-Week Peru Itinerary
The agricultural terraces at Pisaq Inca ruins.

 

Most people visit Pisaq to see the market on Sunday, but there are smaller markets on both Tuesday and Thursday. However, Pisaq is worth a visit on any day of the week.

 

1-Week Peru Itinerary
Most people visit Pisaq to see the market on Sunday, but Pisaq is worth visiting any day of the week.

 

The entrance to Pisaq Inca ruins is included with the Cusco Tourist Ticket (Boleto Turistico). The opening hours are Monday through Sunday from 7 am till 6 pm.

 

 

  • First of all, day 2 of 1-week Peru itinerary is a busy day. So, start as early as possible. I would say be out of the door and on the road by 7 am.
  • Second, If you can only visit two places from the list above, then I would say Saqsayhuaman and Pisaq are the most impressive.
  • Finally, check out some of my posts about the Sacred Valley of the Incas to learn more and get a few more ideas.

 



INTREPID SCOUT’S TIP:

READ: Sacred Valley, Peru – Top 10 Places to See

CLICK HERE



 

 

DAY 3 ITINERARY –

SACRED VALLEY OF THE INCAS:

MARAS SALT MINES, MORAY, OLLANTAYTAMBO

Image credit: Goggle Map data ©2020

 

This is day 3 of 1-week Peru itinerary. We are continuing to explore Sacred Valley of the Incas. We are going to visit Maras Salt Mines, Moray, and Ollantaytambo.

 

MARAS SALT MINES

 

The first stop is Maras Salt Mines.

You will be absolutely amazed by Maras Salt Mines. These are thousands of individual shallow pools filled with salt water located on a hillside. The view of the glittering pools is absolutely off the charts!

The salt pools were built around 200 AD-900 AD by the Chanapata culture, pre-dating the Incas, and are known in Quechua as Kachi Raqay.

The easiest way to explore the salt ponds is by sticking to the official path that leads along the upper ridge.

 

1-Week Peru Itinerary
The salt pools were built around 200 AD-900 AD by the Chanapata culture, pre-dating the Incas, and are known in Quechua as Kachi Raqay.

 

Incidentally, salt ponds are usually found on coastal plains. They are filled with seawater from the incoming tide. Consequently, the salt is collected by the evaporation process.

In contrast, the Salt Mines of Maras are a long way from the ocean, situated at an altitude of 3,380 meters.

Find out how the sea salt was locked into the rocks. Learn how the Peruvian Pink Salt from Maras is harvested today. Check out my post before you head to Maras Salt Mines!

 



INTREPID SCOUT’S TIP:

READ: Maras Salt Mines – Must-See Attraction in Sacred Valley of the Incas

CLICK HERE



 

 

MORAY

 

Next is Moray. It is an Inca engineering wonder!

It has captivated and puzzled researchers and travelers since it was first photographed during an aerial survey of the Sacred Valley by the American geologist Robert Shippee in 1931.

 

Guide to visiting Moray
Moray has captivated and puzzled researchers and travelers since it was first photographed during an aerial survey of the Sacred Valley.

 

In the 1970’s an Australian physicist John Earls recorded a drastic temperature stratification in the rings, ranging as much as 15 degrees C between the hottest and coldest ring.

So, it is quite possible that Moray was the world’s first agricultural research center. It is feasible that the Incan priest-scientists explored the crossing of plants to create “hybrid” species.

In addition, low-lying aqueduct channels irrigate the terraces. Clearly, that is another indication that Moray was agricultural center. Furthermore, the lowest level remains perfectly drained and never gets flooded even after incessant rains.

 



INTREPID SCOUT’S TIP:

READ: Guide to Visiting Moray in Sacred Valley of the Incas on a Day Trip from Cusco

CLICK HERE



 

 

OLLANTAYTAMBO

 

We are continuing on to Ollantaytambo.

Of all the places that I have visited in Sacred Valley of the Incas, Ollantaytambo is my favorite archaeological site. Needless to say, Ollantaytambo has the most sumptuous construction.

 

1-Week Peru Itinerary
Ollantaytambo was built in the shape of a llama. The llama was considered a sacred animal to the Inca.

 

  • First of all, Ollantaytambo has the Temple Hill on top of which the Incas built a ceremonial center. It is where the impressive Sun Temple is located. The Sun Temple’s main feature is a massive structure called the Wall of the Six Monoliths.
  • Next, Ollantaytambo boasts the incredible stepped agricultural terraces of the very finest stonework that cover the slopes of the Urubamba Valley.
  • And, finally, the village of Ollantaytambo is a must to visit and stroll through. It is a living Inca town unchanged through the centuries.

 



INTREPID SCOUT’S TIP:

READ: 9 Reasons to Visit Ollantaytambo in Sacred Valley of the Incas, Peru

CLICK HERE



 

 

Hands down, it was the best day for me while visiting the Sacred Valley of the Incas. I loved Ollaytantambo, and I thought that Maras Salt Mines was mesmerizing, and I marveled at Moray. Just make sure to read my posts about Ollaytamtambo, Maras, and Moray before you go. If you need more ideas for day trips from Cusco, then make sure to read my post.

 



INTREPID SCOUT’S TIP:

READ: 7 Coolest Day Trips from Cusco (with Maps and Photos)

CLICK HERE



 

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A Perfect 1-week Peru Itinerary

A Perfect 1-Week Peru Itinerary

 

 

DAY 4 ITINERARY –

TRAIN TO MACHU PICCHU (AGUAS CALIENTES) AND

AGUAS CALIENTES TOUR

 

TRAIN TO MACHU PICCHU (AGUAS CALIENTES)

 

Ok, here we go! This is day 4 of 1-week Peru Itinerary.

To start with, I would suggest that you store your luggage at the hotel and take only the daypack with you with some toiletries. Basically, on day 4 of 1-week Peru itinerary, you will be traveling by train to Machu Picchu (Aguas Calientes) and then staying the night in Aguas Calientes, Then, next day, you are going to get up at about 3:30 am, take a bus and head to Machu Picchu for breathing sunrise and tour of the Lost City of the Incas. Here are all the details:

 

 

  • First of all, the most important step while planning this trip is to buy your entrance tickets to Machu Picchu Inca ruins. So before you book your flight, or hotel, or anything else, make sure that you have your entrance tickets to Machu Picchu Inca ruins! The number of visitors is limited to 2,500 per day and the tickets to Machu Picchu City of the Incas sell out well in advance.

The entrance tickets can be bought in advance through Ministerio de Cultura del Peru website.

As a matter of fact, buying the tickets through Ministerio de Cultura del Peru website is the most frustrating process I have ever experienced. I wrote a post about it, so make sure to read it before you purchase the tickets, it will save you a lot of time!

  • Second, you need to keep in mind, that if you are traveling to Machu Picchu from Cusco, then, there is no train station in Cusco.

However, there is Poroy Train Station which is located about than 20 minutes from Cusco. I would recommend that you ask your hotel to arrange a taxi for you.

 

1-Week Peru Itinerary
Poroy Train Station is located about than 20 minutes from Cusco.

 

  • Third, there are two train companies that share the same railroad track that leads to Aguas Calientes: PeruRail Railway and Inca Rail Railway.

My recommendation is to go with PeruRail.

 

1-Week Peru Itinerary
By the way, both train operators share the same railroad track. The railroad track winds along the Urubamba River and offers pretty spectacular mountain views. So, whatever train you are going to go with, have your camera ready to catch some cool pictures.

 

PeruRail offers more departure times, plus, it has three classes of trains aimed at different budgets.

Find out what is the best option for you. Check out my post.

 

  • Finally, there is no train station precisely in the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu. The train will bring you to a small town called Aguas Calientes. Aguas Calientes is situated beneath Machu Picchu.


INTREPID SCOUT’S TIP:

READ: How to Get to Machu Picchu by Train – Everything You Need to Know

CLICK HERE



 

 

THE TOUR OF AGUAS CALIENTES

 

Aguas Calientes is a very small town. However, it is an extremely busy place.

You will notice that it struggles with its growth since it is all crammed into a small area surrounded by mountains and Urubamaba River.

 

1-Week Peru Itinerary
Aguas Calientes is crammed into a small area surrounded by mountains and Urubamaba River.

 

There are no taxis, or Uber, or any kind of public transportation in Aguas Calientes. Needless to say, be prepared to walk!

Once you get off the train, you are stuck in a place that is totally dependent on tourists heading to or returning from Machu Picchu.

 

 

Before you start exploring Aguas Calientes, make sure to buy your bus ticket to Machu Picchu that you are going to need the next morning if you want to see sunrise at Machu Picchu.

 

So, what are the best things to do in Aguas Calientes? To be honest, I was faced with the same dilemma. I needed to spend the night in Aguas Calientes, so that the next day I could take a bus and finally arrive at the City of the Incas.

So, here are my favorite things to do in Aguas Calientes. Check them out and see what you like and then plan your day.

 



INTREPID SCOUT’S TIP:

READ: 7 Best Things to Do in Aguas Calientes (Besides Machu Picchu)

CLICK HERE



 

  • Where to stay in Aguas Calientes?

Check out Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel. It is one of the nicest hotels in Aguas Calientes. It has a great location, a few blocks away from the city center, overlooking Urubamaba River.

 

1-Week Peru Itinerary
Sumaq has a great location, a few blocks away from the city center, overlooking Urubamaba River.

 

The rooms are clean and modern.

My room was good size with 2 queen beds, desk, table and 2 chairs. The bathroom was huge and nicely decorated.

 

1-Week Peru Itinerary

 

Internet is free and you can enjoy free breakfast. I liked all the extra touches, like the welcome drink and a dessert in the room.

Another option is ElMaPi by Inkaterra. It has a great location, right in the city center. The rooms are clean, modern and comfortable.

 

1-Week Peru Itinerary
ElMaPi by Inkaterra has a great location, right in the city center.

 

Breakfast buffet is great and it is included with your stay.

Another nice touch is that the hotel representative met me at the train station and helped me to transport my luggage. In addition, dinner is also included with your stay. Can’t beat all the extra touches!

 

  • Where to eat in Aguas Calientes?

Hands down, head to Cafe Inka for a delicious and memorable meal. Whether,  you want to try traditional Peruvian food, or stick to your regular menu, they will accommodate you.

I have a very sensitive stomach and they made for me a fantastic meal! If you are craving your home food, they got you covered as well.

 

1-Week Peru Itinerary
Whether,  you want to try traditional Peruvian food, or stick to your regular menu, Cafe Inka will accommodate you.

 

In addition, you cannot beat the location. Make sure to ask to be seated on the patio (weather permitting) for great views.

Things to do in Aguas Calientes
Make sure to ask to be seated on the patio (weather permitting) for great views.

 

 

DAY 5 ITINERARY –

SUNRISE AT MACHU PICCHU,

TOUR OF MACHU PICCHU CITY OF THE INCAS AND

TRAIN BACK TO CUSCO

 

SUNRISE AT MACHU PICCHU

 

Here we are! This is day 5 of 1-week Peru itinerary and today you are heading to Machu Picchu. You will start your day with a sunrise at Machu Picchu which is a bucket list experience. So, do not miss it!

 

 

You can get to Machu Picchu for sunrise by either taking a bus or hiking. By the way, buses from Aguas Calientes run every 10-15 minutes starting at 5:30 am. However, keep in mind that the line to board the buses starts forming at about 4 am.

 

1-Week Peru Itinerary
The line to board the buses going to Machu Picchu starts forming at about 4 am.

 

Or, as I said, you can hike. You would be hiking along Camino Peatonal Trail. It takes approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete the hike, if you are in good physical condition.

Now, something to keep in mind, that if you decide to hike and still want to see sunrise at Machu Picchu, you will have to hike in complete darkness. I have seen plenty of people do it. However, make sure you have either headlight or a flashlight so you stick to the trail and do not get lost.

 



INTREPID SCOUT’S TIP:

READ: Hiking to Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes – Step-By-Step Guide

CLICK HERE



 

Once you get to Machu Picchu and brave the crowds, head directly to the Guardian House. It is the best spot to see sunrise at Machu Picchu.

 

1-Week Peru Itinerary
Head directly to the Guardian House. It is the best spot to see sunrise at Machu Picchu.

 

Things to Do at Machu Picchu
Sunrise at Machu Picchu is a bucket list experience.

 

 

TOUR OF MACHU PICCHU CITY OF THE INCAS

 

There is a lot to do at Machu Picchu Inca ruins. And, you need to decide what are the best options for you.

Some people like to hike and there are several hikes that you could do. For example, you can hike to Huayna Picchu (Waynapicchu) or Machu Picchu Mountain. Majority of the visitors stick to the traditional tour of Machu Picchu Inca ruins, which is going to take you pretty much all day. Check out my post: 17 Unmissable Things to Do at Machu Picchu City of the Incas to get some ideas and start planning.

 



INTREPID SCOUT’S TIP:

READ: 17 Unmissable Things to Do at Machu Picchu City of the Incas

CLICK HERE



 

To narrow it down, here are my top 10 absolute must-see things at Machu Picchu City of the Incas:

 

1-Week Peru Itinerary
Machu Picchu – the Guardhouse and the Agricultural Area

 

1. The Guardhouse

The Guardhouse, also known as the Caretaker’s Hut, was an important building for security and defense. Interestingly, it is a three-sided building, with one of its long sides opening onto the Terrace of the Ceremonial Rock. Hands down, hike to the Guardhouse for the most spectacular views of Machu Picchu.

 

2. The Agricultural Area of Machu Picchu

Excavation and soil analyses showed that the terraces were built in layers. The bottom layer consisted of larger stones covered by loose gravel. On top of the gravel was a layer of mixed sand and gravel packed together, with rich topsoil covering all of that.

 

1-Week Peru Itinerary
Machu Picchu, the Lost City of the Incas.

 

3. The Main Gate Leading into the City of the Incas

It is interesting how it was constructed and how majority of the Inca City was built.

A quarry, located near Machu Picchu Inca City, was used to craft the stones. The stones were cut, molded, and then dry polished in such a way that they specifically fit precisely one into the other. Some sections of the structures located at Machu Picchu Inca City are so perfectly constructed that it is almost impossible to get a blade of grass between them.

 

4. The Temple of the Sun at Machu Picchu

It is he only building in Machu Picchu Inca City with a rounded wall.

Inside the temple is a granite slab, carved from the rock beneath. It could have been used as an altar.

Next, find the trapezoid window. It is called the Solstice Window. It is aligned in such a way that the rising sun of the winter solstice casts its rays along the granite slab.

 

5. The Royal Tomb

The Royal Tomb is a cave with beautifully carved step motifs, full of niches with superb stonework. It is an example of the best stonework in Machu Picchu Inca City.

 

6. The Temple of the Three Windows

The Temple of the Three Windows (also known as the Room of the Three Windows) is situated on Machu Picchu’s Sacred Plaza.

The main wall of this sturdy rectangular building contains three windows that overlook the mountains surrounding Machu Picchu. The windows are aligned to the sunrise.

 

1-Week Peru Itinerary
Machu Picchu – The City of the Incas

 

7. The Principal Temple of Machu Picchu City of the Incas

Many archaeologists believe that the Principal Temple was one of the main public temples at Machu Picchu, where large ceremonies would have taken place.

Due to soil movement and sinking, one corner of the temple has been damaged. Its huge stone blocks shifted out of place.

 

8. Intihuatana of Machu Picchu

It is situated on a raised platform that towers above the plaza.

Its purpose is a mystery, with recent research disproving the idea that it acted as a sundial. It may have been used for astronomical observations of some sort.

 

9. The Temple of the Condor

You need to step back a little to see the actual condor. Its head and beak are carved out of the stone positioned on the ground. Behind it are two rocks that resemble the outstretched wings.

The cave inside the temple was likely used for rituals. The condor’s head may have served as an altar.

 

10. The Urban Sector

It is divided into three areas: the Sacred District, the Popular District and the Royalty District.

The Popular District is where the common people or the low class lived. Here, houses are simple and built in groups of up to ten. The narrow streets end in a courtyard or small plaza.

 



INTREPID SCOUT’S TIP:

READ: Machu Picchu – Top Tips for Visiting the City of Incas

CLICK HERE



 

 

TRAIN FROM AGUAS CALIENTES TO CUSCO

 

IMPORTANT:

Allow yourself plenty of time to get back to the train station in Aguas Calientes. The line for the buses returning to Aguas Calientes from Machu Picchu starts forming at around 3 pm. It might take you up to 30-40 minutes to wait to board the bus.

Then, account for the time needed to reach Aguas Calientes (about 20 minutes on a bus), and then a short walk to the train station.

So, plan accordingly, you do not want to miss your train back to Cusco.

 

The train ride from Aguas Calientes back to Cusco takes approximately 3 hours and 15 minutes.

Once you arrive in Cusco, there will be a multitude of taxis waiting at the station. So just hop on and head to your hotel.

 

 

DAY 6 ITINERARY –

FLIGHT TO LIMA AND LIMA CITY TOUR – PART 1

 

This is day 6 of 1-week Peru itinerary. And today you are flying to Lima.

The flight from Cusco to Lima is about 1 hour and 30 minutes. My preferred airline is LATAM. However, there are a few other airline operators that you can check out.

First of all, check out my complete guide to Lima that covers where to stay in Lima, and where to eat, and how to get around in Lima, what to do at night, and what are some fun free things to do in Lima, as well as 15 absolute must-see things in Lima.

 



INTREPID SCOUT’S TIP:

READ: 15 Terrific Things to Do in Lima (+ Bonus – Complete Guide to Lima)

CLICK HERE



 

Once you land in Lima and check into your hotel, grab a taxi and head to Larco Museum.

The museum is housed in a beautiful 18th century viceroyalty former mansion, built on a site of a pre-Columbian temple.

Check out the stunning collection of 5,000 years of ceramic, textile and metal artifacts of ancient Peru.

Do not miss the Gold and Silver Gallery. It is absolutely fascinating. It showcases the largest collection of jewelry used by many notable rulers of pre-Columbian Peru.

 

1-week Peru itinerary
Larco Museum has a stunning collection of 5,000 years of ceramic, textile and metal artifacts of ancient Peru.

 

Next, head to Miraflores for the breathtaking views of the coastline. Take a stroll along the Miraflores Boardwalk (Malecon de Miraflores ) that stretches for 6 miles along the cliffs above the Pacific Ocean. It comprises of several parks.

My recommendation is that you stay for the sunset and linger on a bit longer to see the city of Lima in the evening lights.

 

1-Week Peru Itinerary
Stay for the sunset and linger on a bit longer to see the city of Lima in the evening lights.

 

 

DAY 7 ITINERARY

LIMA CITY TOUR – PART 2  AND FLIGHT BACK HOME

 

Sadly, this is day 7. This is the last day of 1-week Peru Itinearay.

My recommendation is to head to the Historic Center of Lima and start with exploring Plaza de Armas.

Plaza de Armas (Plaza Mayor) is Lima’s colorful main square. It is the birthplace of the city of Lima, as well as Lima’s beating heart. On the north side of Plaza de Armas sits the Government Palace and on the three other sides are Cathedral Of Lima, Archbishops Palace of Lima, the Municipal Palace, and the Palace of the Union.

 

1-Week Peru Itinerary
Plaza de Armas (Plaza Mayor) is Lima’s colorful main square.

 

Make sure to stop by and visit the Cathedral of Lima. Even better, join an organized tour that will take you through the cathedral as well as the religious museum.

Next, head to the Church of San Franciso. First of all, check out the nave and the isles decorated in Mudejar style.

 

Things to do in Lima
The Church of San Francisco has splendid Mudejar decorations and ornamentations which includes stylized calligraphy and intricate geometric and vegetal forms.

 

Next to the Church of San Francisco is the monastery. So, next, head to the monastery and join an organized tour that will take you through beautiful cloisters, library, and the catacombs.

 

Things to do in Lima
Lima did not have graveyard till the 19th century. Nobility and the rich were buried in the floors of churches or in niches in side chapels while the majority of corpses were placed into large pits full of lye within the catacombs.

 

 

There is a lot to do in Lima, so if you have more time, then review my post and get more ideas for things to do in Lima.

 



INTREPID SCOUT’S TIP:

READ: 15 Terrific Things to Do in Lima (+ BONUS: Complete Guide to Lima)

CLICK HERE



 

 

INTREPID SCOUT’S POINTERS FOR 7-DAY PERU ITINERARY

  • First of all, make sure that you buy tickets to Machu Picchu Inca ruins as soon as you finalize the dates of your trip to Peru. The number of visitors is limited to 2,500 per day and tickets sell out months in advance.

 

  • Next, plan your trip during the dry season. Check out my month-by-month guide when is the best time to head to Machu Picchu.

 

  • If you are looking to extend your trip, then, hands down, go and explore Peruvian Amazon Rainforest. It is a bucket list experience!

 

 

BONUS:

3-DAY EXTENSION ITINERARY TO PERUVIAN AMAZON RAINFOREST

 

Peruvian Amazon Rainforest or Peruvian Amazonia is the area of the Amazon rainforest included within Peru. It stretches from east of the Andes to the borders with Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil and Bolivia. Peruvian Amazon Rainforest covers over half of Peru’s land.

3-day extension itinerary to Peruvian Amazon rainforest is perfect addition to 1-week Peru itinerary.

Check out my detailed post The Peruvian Amazon Rainforest – 3-Day Adventure Itinerary and find out which is the best Peruvian Amazon Region to visit, when is the best time to go, what tour company should you select to Peruvian Amazon rainforest, how to get to Peruvian Amazon rainforest, what to see, and what to pack.

 



INTREPID SCOUT’S TIP:

READ: The Peruvian Amazon Rainforest – 3-Day Adventure Itinerary

CLICK HERE



 

In my opinion, if your time allows, you should add this 3-day extension itinerary to your 1-week Peru itinerary. It is a bucket list experience! I loved it!

My favorite activities were: Macaw Clay Lick, Canopy Observation Tower, and Night Walks.

So, check out my post and start planning!

 

1-Week Peru Itinerary
Macaw Clay Lick – Peruvian Amazon

 

 

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A Perfect 1-week Peru Itinerary

A Perfect 1-Week Peru Itinerary

 

 

Now, it is your turn, I would like to hear back from you!

Are you planning your trip to Peru?

Please let me know! Drop me a quick comment right below!

Also, click on any of the images below to get inspired and to help you with the planning process with your trip to Peru!

 

 

 

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