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2 weeks in Peru

Trying to shape our trip to Peru this summer. It’ll be hubby and i, plus 16 yr daughter. Whilst we’ve been traveling to Europe since she was 4, this will be our first time in South America. As with all our trips, it’ll be DIY. We won’t be hiking to Machu Picchu (will take train). Our plans are as follows; Arrive Lima (2 nts)—train to Sacred Valley (3 nts)—train to Aguas Calientes (home base for MP, 1 nt)—bus to Cusco (3 nts)—Fly to either Puerto Maldonado (3 nts nature lodge) OR 3-4 nt. Amazon River cruise. We are planning to hire a guide for Nazca. Is it easier to do it from Lima or Cusco? Thank you in advance!

Posted by
3679 posts

I went to Nasca frome Lima but it was on a tour and a counterclockwise country trip. So from a diy perspective, hard to know. Have you looked at Rome2Rio website to see what logistics options you have? It looks easier from Lima, and I am going to suggest you visit Nazca before heading into the mountains. It might not be as wonderful after all you will see east of there. Either way it requires 2 days.
May I ask why you want a guide for that area? It would actually be an interesting rental car road trip from Lima. Paracas is a nice little coastal village enroute. I would strongly recommend you see the Lines from air. Invest your tour money into flights for all.
Then for your final leg, fly from jungle home via Lima.

Posted by
4658 posts

Peru is amazing. We visited Lima while on a cruise back in 2011 and are going back next month to see Machu Picchu.

You need to spend more time in Lima, there is a lot to see there. Also, you are spending a week Cusco and the Machu Picchu area!

I suggest you take a day off that week and spend it in Lima.

By the way, our tour of MP and Cusco is going to cost us $799 pp, with a little more for the airfare from Lima.
It is with PeruAgency, check it out.

They can help you with Nazca, but it will cost more than going to MP.

Posted by
3679 posts

geovagriffith is correct. I didn't look at your number of nights in Lima, but I also recommend more time there and less in Cusco. The Magic Water Show is neat and cheap (4 sol)....even for me as a mature solo woman traveler. I did it as part of the evening bus tour, but you can do it by cab. The Larco museum is pretty amazing and don't forget to try the maricuna (passion fruit) gelato in the sea side mall in MiraFlores.

Posted by
1857 posts

You're probably already aware, but Cuzco is located at an altitude of 11,000 ft., and Machu Pichu is pushing 9,000 ft as I recall. Plan to take it easy at first until you have a chance to acclimate.
Depending upon your age, fitness level, and general sensitivity to altitude sickness you may want to consult with your doctor for suggested remedies to counter the potentially adverse effects.

Posted by
3679 posts

And to add, it is prudent to check for yellow fever vaccinations and requirements for jungle/Amazon. It is now a life time vaccine, so the younger you are the easier it is.

Posted by
85 posts

Thank you for your replies. Will add a night or two in Lima, doing Nazca from there. Maria, i heard Nazca is about 7 hrs from Lima, so we wanted a tour company to handle both land and aerial logistics. For sure we will take heed with adjusting to altitude, as well as getting all the necessary vaccinations. Appreciate all your wonderful advice!

Posted by
41 posts

Two weeks is a limited time. It takes money to compensate for such a short visit; i.e. to see Nazca Lines.
More days in Lima. Two when you arrive, two when you leave. Internal flights can be undependable and interrupted by weather.
Fly Lima-Cuzco. Three-six days in Cuzco area, one to acclimatize and stroll around the city square. [I do not understand the 3 nts in Sacred Valley. Are you referring to the area around Cuzco?} One or two to visit Sacsayhuaman [sp] and other Incan sites close to Cuzco. One day for the train trip to and back from M.P., even better if you can stay overnight in A.C. and visit M.P. on two days and various times of day. M.P. is very popular; you may need to reserve tickets [train and entrance] well in advance. That may also apply to hotels in Cuzco.
If you want the Amazon experience, you will need Yellow Fever vaccination [it used to be a legal requirement, don't know if it still is] Yellow Fever is in short supply, get it ASAP. If you do NOT go to the amazon, you do NOT need YF.
Investigate Iquitos as an alternative to Puerto Moldonado; it is larger and has more established tourism infrastructure.
For travel anywhere, including USA, you should have all the regular up to date vaccinations such as tetanus, plus I recommend Hep A&B,. Hep vacs are two shot, so start it ASAP.
An alternative to Amazon is Arequipa area, easy to fly to or bus to. Or Cordillera Blanca [Huaraz} area, easy to fly to, or bus to from Lima. Or the archaeological areas of northern Peru [Trujillo], easy to fly to.
Peru is wonderful and two weeks will fly by. If possible stretch it to three or four weeks. Then you can start substituting trains and buses for airplanes and reduce your transportation costs and increase your enjoyment of the country and people. Instead of a high cost flight from Lima to fly over and view [maybe land and visit] the Nazca Lines, you could take a comfortable highway bus Lima-Nazca, take a local plane, visit many Lines by land, stay a night, then continue by bus to Arequipa, spend three days visiting the city and huge canyon [as significant as the Grand Canyon]. Then continue by bus to Cuzco, with the option of stopping at Puno, on the shores of Lake Titicaca. The Lima-Cuzco leg is still done best by air since it is a long bus ride without major things to do on the way [other than revel in the beauty of the Andes!]. You could do the above in a clockwise or counterclockwise rotation.
Have a wonderful, re-creational, and immersive trip.
Harvey