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Peru Itinerary from Toronto?

Hi! Family of 5, youngest is 13 and travelling first time to Peru. Still debating if we will include Puno to see Lake Titicaca. Here is my working itinerary- please give me your suggestions. Thank you.
July 23 Day 1 Arrive Lima in the evening-overnight in nearby hotel

July 24 Day 2 Fly to Cuzco- afternoon rest day

July 25 Day 3 Cuzco City Tour-half day- to include Sachayuman

July 26 Day 4 Sacred Valley Full Day Tour

July 27 Day 5 Moray Half Day Tour

July 28 Day 6 Inca Trail Day 1- hiking to Sun Gate

July 29 Day 7 Inca Trail Day 2-

July 30 Day 8 Cuzco Rest Day ???

July 31 Day 9 Fly/Tourist Bus?? to Puno- what would you recommend

August 1 Day 10 Puno Full Day Tour-overnight-we want to see Lake Titicaca

August 2 Day 11 Fly to Lima

August 3 Day 12-Lima City Tour

August 4 Day 13 Fly to Toronto

Posted by
5556 posts

Just a note that when we went, on an organized tour, all hotels and airplanes got up VERY early in the morning. Does your family have camping experience? Rail reservations can be hard to get. I was content to buy a package tour, independent will be a lot of prep work and it's getting late.

Posted by
3789 posts

I will preface that I also went to Peru on a tour (GAdventures when it was still GAP), but after a number of solo trips since then, I think it could be done independently.

I think you have a reasonable itinerary planned.
As far as it goes for Day 9, my son went to Peru in October, I went in April. April was after the rainy season, so the drive between the 2 cities was lush and interesting with crops and farming going on. By July, it could be brown (like October) and possibly less interesting. Because it is a long drive with not much to do, what do you think about adding a day to Puno and leaving on Day 8 instead of 9? Use the drive to rest up after the Inca trail.

Puno tourist options are to go to the floating islands (a disappearing way of life so I encourage you to share this with your family) and on to one of the islands in Lake Titicaca to see other communities. Both can be done in a day. The town can be wandered. There is an interesting central market. Given the altitude, you will want to pace yourself, so resting in Puno may have its merits.
Or add a day to Lima. Something your family might enjoy is the Magic water Show one evening. It is really inexpensive to enter and it has laser lights to music and water features where you can get wet. You can do it from an evening bus tour, or just get a taxi to it.
If the kids can manage it, I also recomment the Larco museum for some extensive pottery and gold jewelry collections. Bear in mind, there is a pornographic pottery section - I think they have housed it in a separate building.

Posted by
3 posts

Your itinerary looks good. I will reinforce your day 8 rest, because the trip back to Cuzco is long and you may arrive very late at night. We left on the 5pm train and got back to Cuzco after midnight. (Maybe it felt worse for us because we were up at 4am that morning to hike to the Sun Gate for dawn).
Lake Titicaca is an interesting place, I wouldn’t miss it. The bus ride to Puno has some great scenery and lovely stops, although the ruins along the way will pale in comparison to what you see on the Inca Trail.

Posted by
31 posts

On the first night-would be possibly a 3 star hotel near the airport just to sleep in and fly the next day.

Posted by
1400 posts

Just some things to consider when planning so you are not surprised - ignore if you have already factored this in

  • Cuzco is high - over 11,000 ft - so be ready to be out of breath
  • Not sure if you are independent travelers or not, but sacsayhuaman is a very short taxi ride from Cuzco and can be done on your own (you can even walk there but you may be out of breath)
  • If you are so inclined, you can easily do the sacred valley by yourself. We bought the ticket in town and over two days just hired a taxi to tour most of the sites
  • Ride to Puno - we took the bus - it was about 6 hrs (this is from 10 years ago so things may have improved) - not a bad ride and you get to see the landscape
  • Puno - is v high - over 12,500 ft and gets fairly cold at night - make sure to have warm clothing
  • Boat trip on Lake Titicaca - the ride to the floating islands is only 30 mins away but the ride from the floating islands to Isla del Sol was around 2.5 hours - this is a fairly long ride with not much to do or see. And if you do this as a day trip, you then have a 3 hr ride back in the afternoon sun. Plan accordingly.

Alternatives to possibly consider - if you don't go to Puno, you could consider Arequipa and a side trip to Colca Canyon to see the Andean condors.

Posted by
3789 posts

Arequipa is pretty darned beautiful.
Peru has so many interesting places. There are also the Nazca Lines. Best seen by small plane - which could be pretty cool for your youngsters. Not sure how to do this under your own logistics. It most likely would mean a return to Lima and bus down the coast. Rome2rio says you can fly to Pisco and bus to Nazca. It would actually be a cool and easy road trip with a car rental from Pisco. Paracas has 'the poor man's Galapagos Islands', then Nazca for the lines and near by is the Chauchilla Cemetery where mummies were buried in a sitting position. Seems they didn't cut there hair, so it is often 6 - 10 feet long. Cool in a creepy sort of way.
But, I digress and possibly complicate.

Posted by
1677 posts

As has been mentioned, you should consider more time to acclimate to the elevation change. I did a tour with G Adventures that was somewhat similar to this route (without Puno). I'd suggest instead of staying in Cuzco first, you go straight to Sacred Valley (lower elevation) and work your way back to Cuzco - much easier on your stamina. I'm assuming that your July 29 day includes Machu Picchu? Be sure to allow time to tour the ruins, they're amazing. If you aren't already, I'd suggest you stay overnight on July 29 in Aguas Calientes before taking the train back to Cuzco the next day.

Also, that is a LOT of travel on first two days - if your flight choices are anything like the Canadians in my group, you will be in transit all day July 23 and a big chunk of July 24 - very tiring. Also the last few days of your schedule basically have you traveling nonstop and no time to rest (3 flights in 5 days, I wouldn't do that to myself!). Taking the bus from Cuzco to Puno is a 6 hour ride - no bueno with kiddos. The traffic in Lima is HORRIBLE, so factor in cushion for getting to/from airport. And as was mentioned, outbound Lima flights leave in middle of the night, usually 1 a.m. or so. There are few other options, so plan for that. I ended up staying at a hotel in town and paying for the night I left, even though I didn't stay overnight.

Posted by
5630 posts

Are you going to Machu Picchu?

Suggest reading the book Turn Right at Machu Picchu.

I understand that the hiking on the Inca Trail can be very strenuous.

We have a tour booked in late march with PeruAgency for Cuzco and MP. Cost for tour, including three nights in Hotel $799 pp.

Posted by
31 posts

I am now torn.... do we go to Arequipa /Colca Canyon instead of Puno- Lake Titicaca? If so, how do I adjust my itinerary as I can only choose one. Please help.

Posted by
1400 posts

Did you consider dropping Lima on the return - can you go to Puno - then to Arequipa & Colca Canyon. Fly directly from Arequipa to Lima and connect onto your flight home.

Posted by
2 posts

Between Puno and Arequipa:

I was in both places; late last year.

As towns, Arequipa is a clear winner. There is much more to do, from seeing mummy Juanita to walking through the old nunnery, which is a small walled town in itself.

However, Lake Titicaca has some interest. The floating Islands are like walking on a waterbed. The residents have commercialized the experience somewhat, but give a good explanation of their lifestyle and how to build an island. However, if you go to the solid islands you mainly get a hike, at the expense of 5 hours on a totally boring boat.

Both are about equally easy to get to. Both have airports. The bus rides are about the same length, and share the same route for about half the journey. (You take a bus from Cuzco to a coffee shop in the middle of nowhere, and then jump on a possibly different bus, depending on the destination.) Both trips are scenic but also go through some gritty city areas.

The ruins above Cuzco are a little over 12,000 feet, so you should be prepared for that. You may want to get a prescription for Diamox if you have any worries about altitude sickness. I have generally had problems around 10,000 feet, but Diamox kept me good at 16,000.

If you like art/archeology, the Lorca museum in Lima (and/or its branch in Cuzco) is a must. The pornopots are only in Lima, and have a separate area, but there may be a few in the museum store.

Personally, I found the Nazca lines by overflight the highlight of my trip.

Posted by
312 posts

Maybe consider basing yourselves in Pisac instead of Cuzco? Hope all goes well.
I am done. The end.

Posted by
3789 posts

I wonder if you should just stick with the current plan. If you find love Peru, visiting all the great places on the coast then becomes a new itinerary for a later date.

Posted by
31 posts

Thank you for your helpful responses. We decided to remove Lima and add Colca Canyon/Arequipa in the last leg.Machu Picchu will be on July 29. I will update when we finish the trip. I am now researching on the food/restaurants-any recommendations?