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5 days in Peru: itinerary for Lima, Cusco and Machu Picchu

5 days in Peru: itinerary for Lima, Cusco and Machu Picchu
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In this article, I’ll share our itinerary for 5 days in Peru, visiting Lima, Cusco and Machu Picchu. It might be interesting for you if you’re planning a trip to Peru and don’t have too many vacation days available!

A lot of people might say that 5 days in Peru are not enough, however, those of us who can’t quit our jobs and embark on a 4-month journey around South America will disagree with you! You might not be able to see all of Peru, but you will see some of the most amazing bucket list destinations in Peru, such as Cusco, Machu Picchu and Lima. Many people skip Lima in favour of other locations in Peru, such as Arequipa, but in my opinion, Lima is just as great! Lima is also a perfect place to discover if you’re a foodie – there are plenty of food tours available in Lima and they will guide you through the evolution of Peruvian cuisine and help you discover some of the best Peruvian dishes. This tour seems to be the best-rated food tour in Lima – check here >>

Before we start with the itinerary, here’s some useful information about Peru

This post's overview:

Some useful information about Peru:

Currency: Soles

Plug type

Same as the US, however, a lot of hotels have sockets that accommodate both US and European plugs. Order a universal travel adaptor here >

What to pack:

A lot of people advise on bringing proper hiking gear to Machu Picchu, however, for this itinerary, you don’t need any. Just bring comfortable shoes like sneakers, a warm jacket (if you have an early entrance) and a rain jacket (just in case). Don’t forget sunscreen, as the sun is pretty strong there. I also found the absolute BEST bag for South America – this bag saved me on so many occasions. Despite the fact that it looks pretty small, it fits so much stuff! It is also water-repellent and has a lot of hidden pockets for your most valuable items!

Can you visit Machu Picchu in less than 5 days?

If you’re wondering whether you can do this itinerary or visit Machu Picchu in less than 5 days, you can, however, it’s going to be pretty tiring. It will also require some proper planning and you can only do it if you’re certain that you don’t suffer from altitude sickness and won’t skip your train to Machu Picchu because you’re not feeling well because of the altitude in Cusco or Ollantaytambo. I have a separate post about visiting Machu Picchu for a weekend.

The itinerary for 5 days in Peru: Lima, Cusco and Machu Picchu 

Before we start with the detailed itinerary, I just wanted to provide a short overview of what’s to come and a day-by-day breakdown of the itinerary. 

Day 1: Arriving in Lima, exploring the city, night at Ibis Styles Miraflores 

Day 2: exploring Lima in the morning, afternoon flight to Cusco, night at Marriott Cusco or Andariego B&B

Day 3: exploring Cusco in the morning, 1pm train/bus to Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu), night at Susanna Inn or Casa Andina Machu Picchu

Day 4: Exploring Machu Picchu, evening train to Cusco, night at Novotel Cusco or Aranwa Cusco

Day 5: Cusco and evening flight back to Lima 

Alright, now let’s start with the detailed itinerary for Peru in 5 days! 

The detailed itinerary for 5 days in Peru: Machu Picchu, Cusco and Lima in one trip 

Day 1: Exploring Lima

Getting from Lima airport to the hotel

Lima airport is located inside the city, so driving there doesn’t take too long. However, Lima is a large city with a lot of traffic, so even on the quietest days, it takes about 30 minutes to get to Miraflores or Barranco (most popular districts among people visiting Lima) from Lima airport. The easiest (hassle-free way) is pre-booking a transfer in advance – then somebody will be waiting for you at the airport. You can use GetTransfer to do it. Alternatively, you can just connect to Wifi in Lima airport (or activate roaming) and ask for an Uber or Cabify – there are generally a few Ubers parked at the airport waiting for tourists. The journey to the airport costs around £10-12 or $13-16 one way. Don’t worry, rides within Lima are way more affordable. 

Where to stay in Lima

Miraflores and Barranco are two areas that tourists love the most. However, some other hotels are located in San Isidro, a very fancy area relatively close to Miraflores. There are plenty of hotels for any budget in Lima. If you’re on a budget and looking for affordable options, try Selina Miraflores or Ibis Styles Miraflores (both in the $30-50 range per night).

If you have a larger budget, try Radisson Red Miraflores or Miraflores Park by Belmond

The first night, we stayed in Ibis Styles and it was pretty good. On a return to Lima on the way back to London, we stayed at Selina Miraflores and we liked the location a bit more. It was full of nice juice bars, coffee shops and other places within 10-minute walking distance. 

Explore Lima City Centre 

Keep in mind, that Uber doesn’t work that great in Lima, it’s almost always way faster to just flag a taxi on the street (and cheaper as well). 

Once in the city centre, head to the Main Square (Plaza de Armas) – the main square in Lima looks stunning! There are plenty of beautiful buildings on different sides of the square, but the most impressive one is the Metropolitan Cathedral of Lima. It’s a working cathedral, so the entrance is free, but make sure to observe the rules and some things are not allowed (e.g. taking videos, especially during a mass). 

It’s nice to just walk around Lima’s historical centre and explore different streets. Another landmark that is definitely worth visiting is located pretty close to Plaza de Armas and it’s the Basílica y Convento de San Francisco de Lima, famous for its underground catacombs. A lot of tourists visit those catacombs, as they are often mentioned as one of the most famous attractions of Lima! 

Eating in a traditional cevicheria & walk the promenade

Once you’re done exploring the Centro Historico of Lima, you can head back to Miraflores and have lunch (or late lunch) in one of Lima’s famous cevicherias (they are often called cebicherias). We picked the most famous one, La Mar Cevichería Peruana, but they often have a long wait – up to 1.5-2 hours. We waited for 45 minutes before we were seated in the bar area and further 45 minutes until a table became available and we could finally eat! There is also a lovely juice bar located just across the street from La Mar Cevicheria – you should definitely try Lucuma smoothie there, it’s heavenly!

If the lane at the La Mar Cevicheria is too long, consider visiting these spots:

Puero Marisko

La Red

Cevicheria Miramar Miraflores

Many sevicherias, including La Mar, are located just minutes from Lima’s most famous promenade! You can start with Parque Maria Grau and walk all the way towards Larcomar. On your way, you’ll visit Parque del Amor, which was inspired by the Guell Park in Spain. The walk to Larcomar from La Mar sevicheria is about 3.5 km long! 

The reason I recommend visiting the Larcomar shopping mall is because of its unique views. I’ve never seen a shopping mall located on a cliffside! Actually, it took us some minutes to just even find the mall – it is not visible from the side of the city, but it’s perfectly visible from the sea (or the road by the sea below). There are plenty of shops (if you’re missing some shopping) and even a large supermarket, where you can buy some edible souvenirs for your friends and family. 

Take a food tour of Lima 

Finally, the best way to finish the day in Lima is to take a food tour! Now, there are plenty of food tours in Lima; some start in the morning, some – in the afternoon and some start in the evening. For this itinerary, it’s easier to take an evening tour that starts at 5pm or later! Most food tours include an expert food guide that will bring you to their favourite food stalls, markets and restaurants. However, there are different tours that also include a cooking masterclass or, more upscale fine dining food tours. 

Here are some food tours I would recommend:

Lima Gourmet Evening Tour

Barranco food tour that includes visiting 5 hidden gem restaurants

Lima cooking masterclass – cook the most popular Peruvian dishes

Day 2: Lima in the morning, flying to Cusco in the afternoon

Exploring Barranco

You can start your second day in Lima with a nice breakfast! We had ours at Pasteleria San Antonio and would definitely recommend it! 

From the San Antonio Pasteleria in Miraflores, it’s very easy to walk all the way to Barranco in about 30-40 minutes. Barranco is a very popular colourful hipster neighbourhood of Lima and it’s located relatively close to Miraflores.

When comparing Barranco and Miraflores, it’s hard to say which one is better, because both of them are lovely! However, Miraflores is generally more popular with tourists and has slightly more upscale places, while Barranco has a lot of hipster places and coffee shops. If you’re planning to stay in Lima and work remotely for some time, Barranco would probably be a great option, as there are so many cafes, where you can work.

The highlights of Barranco

The most famous landmark in Barranco is the bridge of sighs. Next to it, there is a lot of street art – we found it pretty impressive. Barranco is one of the most photogenic places in Lima, so if it’s nice photos you’re looking for, you’ll be able to take a lot of them in Barranco. Read my guide to the most Instarammable places in Lima >

We also came across a street market in Barranco, right next to Plaza Barranco – there are a few stalls with fruits, cosmetics and some crafts, it’s definitely worth visiting for a few minutes.

Finally, we went to Barranco’s most popular tiny street, Bajada de Baños which leads straight to Lima beach. 

Lima Beach 

If it’s a nice day, it’s probably worth spending some time on the beach! In our case, it was a bit chilly (and keep in mind, still early), so we decided to just walk for a short while before taking a taxi back to our hotel to complete checkout. Generally, you can rent some sun beds on the beach, I’m not sure about the cost, but it shouldn’t be too expensive! 

Exploring a market in Lima – Mercado 1 Surquillo 

After taking a taxi back to our hotel for checkout and leaving our bags, we headed to explore a local market and eat something for lunch. Since our flight to Cusco didn’t depart until 5pm, we decided that we have a bit of time. It takes around 30-40 minutes to get to Lima airport from Miraflores outside the rush hour. Since it was a domestic flight, we only needed to be in the airport circa 1 hour 15 minutes before the flight. We had to depart the hotel around 3 pm to be able to make it for the flight! 

So we had 3 full hours to walk to the market, eat something and walk back. Luckily, Mercado 1 Surquillo is a short 17-min walk from Ibis Styles Miraflores, so we had plenty of time to explore the market. Mercado 1 Surquillo is a relatively small market and most of the stalls sell poultry, fish and various cooking supplies. However, there were also some stalls selling juices and smoothies (we had another one made with lucuma) and some stalls selling street food, especially a large variety of soups.

For lunch, we picked a small restaurant located just outside the Surquillo Market called Bam Bam Sebicheria and it was really good. The portions were huge and they were only half price of what we paid in La Mar yesterday. Make sure to try the speciality there – the cockles called Conchas Negras. They are very different from a typical ceviche you might try somewhere else! 

Other lunch options: 

When we came to Lima for 6 hours on the last day of our South American trip, we also tried out another lunch option that was recommended to us by one of the taxi drivers. This place is in Miraflores and is a very popular sandwich bar called La Lucha Sangucheria Criolla. It’s a very typical lunch spot for the Peruvians and everything there was really good!

Heading to the airport

The journey to the airport was pretty smooth this time; however, if you’re going to the airport during the rush hour, it’s worth checking on Google maps how much time it would take to get to the airport, as it will be definitely more than the regular 35 minutes. As I mentioned before, Uber can be a bit unreliable in Lima, so either ask for it at least 15 minutes in advance or ask for a regular taxi at the reception. 

Arriving in Cusco, exploring Cusco at night 

Dealing with high altitude in Cusco

Flying to Cusco only took about 45 minutes and the views from the plane were stunning! We were expected to feel unwell as soon as we landed, but that wasn’t the case. In fact, mountain sickness usually hits in a few hours and not right away (and we found it out based on our own example). Cusco is a very high-altitude city, and it’s among the highest-altitude cities in the world. At 3300, there isn’t as much air as people are normally used to, so a lot of people experience some sort of mountain sickness. It usually goes away by itself, but to ease the symptoms (which we felt the next day when we woke up), you can drink some coca leaf tea. We also had two aspirins each and it helped tremendously! 

Where to stay in Cusco

Over our entire stay in Cusco, we stayed at two hotels, one very affordable and another one slightly more expensive. The first one is called El Andariego B&B and we paid less than £30 per night for it. The second one, Novotel Cusco, was around £60 per night. 

If you’re looking for a cheerful hotel/hostel, where you can meet others, try Selina! Or, if you have a larger budget, try Mariott Cusco, it’s wonderful! Almost as stunning as Belmond

Exploring Cusco at night

Since our flight landed at 6pm and despite waiting a little for the baggage and the taxi and then going to the city centre through the traffic jams, we still had a few hours to spend in Cusco before going to sleep. I recommend heading to the main square of Cusco, Plaza de Armas and then picking a nice place to eat for dinner. Some of the nicest places (e.g. Chicha for Gaston Acurio) you need to book in advance, however, there are plenty of spots, where you can just walk in. There are plenty of restaurants located on the side streets right next to the main square. 

Keep in mind that a lot of B&Bs and smaller hotels lock their doors overnight, so you need to inform them, in case you want to return later than 10pm. 

Day 3: Morning in Cusco, taking a train to Aguas Calientes

Exploring Cusco in the morning

We woke up pretty early, around 7am, crushed by a huge headache. It took us nearly two hours to bring ourselves back to life, so we didn’t leave our room until 9am. We weren’t eager to run around and see as much as we could because we also had another full day in Cusco (the last day of the trip), where we planned to see a bit more. 

We had to be at the Inca rail office around 1pm, so we had almost 4 hours (well, less, around 3 if you count checking out and bringing the bags to another hotel) to spend in Cusco. Cusco isn’t as huge as Lima; nonetheless, as Cusco was the capital of a very rich Incan empire, there are plenty of landmarks to explore in the city.

Here are some of the conveniently located attractions in Cusco, that you can easily visit during a few hours in the city:

  • 12-angled stone – is a famous artefact located inside one of the walls in central Cusco. You can read a bit more about it and its significance here 
  • The main cathedral of Cusco located on the Plaza de Armas – it’s free to enter and it’s absolutely stunning inside
  • Mercado San Pedro – Cusco’s busiest and most popular market, where you can observe the everyday life of the locals as well as buy some food, sweets, fruits and souvenirs
  • Qorikancha museum

Taking a train to Machu Picchu (Aguas Calientes) 

Choosing a train company: Inca Rail vs Peru Rail

Unfortunately for us, the trains were not running from Cusco directly to Machu Picchu and we actually had to take a bi-modal service (a small minibus) to Ollaytantambo first and from there board a train to Aguas Calientes for Machu Picchu. However, since the 1st of May, most of the trains now run directly from Cusco, which saves you a lot of time! The journey directly by train takes around 3.5 hours (+/- the time you spend at the train station for the check-in – most people arrive 45 minutes before the train). The journey by bus and train, however, takes between 5 and 6 hours! The bus takes around 2 hours alone to get to Ollaytantambo, and then you wait for a train for another hour and take circa 2 hours by train.

When picking our train travel company (there are two: Inca Rail and Peru Rail), we picked Inca rail as they had slightly more convenient times for our itinerary. Also, we found some comments that mentioned that the cheapest Peru Rail trains are worse than the cheapest Inca rail trains (can’t confirm or deny this statement, but maybe that’s true). Inca rail asks you to arrive at least 30 minutes before the bus departure, but in case of the train, you will have the time, when you have to be at the station, written on your ticket. Keep in mind that it’s always better to arrive earlier than later, so maybe arriving 40-45 minutes before the departing time is the best for this journey to Machu Picchu. 

The journey to Aguas Calientes by train

The journey to Aguas Calientes is incredibly scenic; however, having completed it now, we found that it’s probably not worth paying for a more expensive train. We were happy we stuck with the basic train, because the windows were huge anyway and we could see everything. One tip if you’re able to choose your seats: choose the seats that are facing the direction of the travel. If you sit backwards – you won’t be able to see as much, and there won’t be a “wow” factor! 

One thing to mention is that the seats in the cheapest Inca Rail train were very small and there is very little leg space. If you’re a tall person, you might suffer a little bit, especially if your neighbours have a lot of luggage and decide to put it where their legs (or your legs) are. The problem is that you share a table with 3 other people (it’s a table for 4) and there isn’t anywhere to stretch your legs. Since the train has panoramic windows, there is also no rack for the bags by the ceiling like in normal trains, so you have to find a space for your backpack. 

And oh, make sure only to bring a small backpack with you, as they are pretty strict with the luggage you can bring (no suitcases were allowed), however, some people still brought them and weren’t rejected! If you have nowhere to leave your bag in Cusco, try going to a hostel – they usually offer bag storage for $5 a day! Or, alternatively, you can leave it at your next hotel in Cusco, if you have it booked! 

Where to stay and what to do in Aguas Calientes

Best hotels in Machu Picchu 

Once you arrive to Aguas Calientes, you’re just one step away from Machu Picchu! We were so surprised to see the “high street” of Aguas Calientes as it looked truly unique. First of all, there were train tracks right in the heart of the street, which trains regularly arriving and departing from there. Then, the street ends abruptly and turns right – and there is the most gorgeous and fast river at the end of the street (well, it runs parallel to the train tracks, but on the main street, it’s covered by the buildings). 

Most of the hotels in Aguas Calientes have a river view and are located right next to the train tracks. However, there are some that are located further in the town. If you’re only staying in Aguas Calientes for one night and don’t mind going to sleep relatively late (9-10pm) and waking up at 4am (or with the first train) and you don’t mind the paper-thin walls and the noise of the river, but you value convenience, price and stunning views from your room, you can opt-in for one of the hotels near the train tracks! 

We stayed at Susanna Inn and it was lovely! However, If you want a quieter place, far away from the train tracks, consider staying at Amakonkay

Finally, if your budget permits, you can stay at Jaya Suite or even directly near the entrance to Machu Picchu, at the stunning Sanctuary Lodge by Belmond

What to do in Aguas Calientes

Since we arrived in Aguas Calientes pretty late in the evening, almost at 7pm, there wasn’t much time left to explore the town. It was already dark and we wanted to go to sleep early. However, the first thing we did was go to the bus ticket office located in the heart of the town (you’ll be able to see it right away when you cross the bridge, turn right and walk for 100 metres) to buy the tickets for the shuttle bus to Machu Picchu. It was definitely a good idea, because even in the evening, it had a queue and we needed to wait for about 10-15 minutes. Imagine how busy it is in the morning when the shuttles start running.

Actually, if you want convenience, you can buy the shuttle bus tickets online in advance – Inca Rail and Peru Rail both sell them as an add-on for the train tickets. Alternatively, you can buy them here and save a lot of time! 

When we were looking for places to eat in Aguas Calientes, there were plenty of options. The prices are quite substantial, on par with the best restaurants in Cusco and that’s because of how difficult it is to get the food to Aguas Calientes (you can only deliver it by train). We tried the restaurants called Full House and it was good, I can definitely recommend it! 

Day 4: Visiting Machu Picchu, going back to Cusco

Buying a ticket for Machu Picchu

I recommend buying a ticket to Machu Picchu well in advance, at least a month in advance during the busy tourist seasons. You can buy it on the official website here. However, if it’s closer to the date and it seems like the official tickets are sold out, you can always try the tourist agencies. Some of them buy a certain number of tickets for every day, which they can sell to tourists later. If you’re looking for some last-moment tickets (less than 10 days in advance), you can buy them here >

The best time to visit Machu Picchu – what to do if it’s foggy?

When coming to Aguas Calientes to visit Machu Picchu, forget about sleep. Even if you’re buying a late entrance ticket and not planning to wake up early, you will most probably wake at 4am anyway because of a very loud train arriving at the station or your neighbours waking up extra early and preparing for their first entrance to Machu Picchu. 

We have found a lot of articles stating that the best entrance to Machu Picchu is probably the first one – at 6am. That’s because Machu Picchu is not crowded yet and the light looks stunning. That’s why we got up at 4:30am, had the quickest breakfast possible at 5am and took a 5:40am shuttle to Machu Picchu. However, we fell into a trap – all the articles didn’t mention that if you’re visiting in March-May, it’s very probable that Machu Picchu will be covered by a thick fog in the morning that will clear around 9-9:30am and it’s absolutely pointless to enter the archaeological site at 6am, just to freeze in the cold & possibly rain for 3-3.5 hours until it gets warmer, sunnier and Machu Picchu is finally visible.

Only a few dozens of people who entered between 6 and 7am remained to see Machu Picchu from the viewpoint. Most people gave up and carried on walking! It’s very important to know that Machu Picchu operates as a one-way site. That means that you can’t turn and go back or re-enter. So in order to see Machu Picchu in its full glory you literally have to sit (or rather stand) and wait!

How much does it take to see Machu Picchu

Since we only bought a ticket to Machu Picchu (no Waynapicchu or Huchuypicchu) and then had to wait for 3.5 hours to see Machu Picchu (totally our fault, though), we were pretty tired, hungry and wanted to use the toilet (keep in mind there are none inside the archaeological site), we completed the rest of Machu Picchu fairly quickly, in about an hour! However, if you’re feeling okay, you can definitely spend longer then, especially if you hire a guide at the entrance or buy a tour!

On average, I would say, it would take 1.5 – 3 hours to complete if you’re only going Machu Picchu, without the montaña! However, some people transform it into a full day trip by hiking all the way to Machu Picchu and skipping the shuttle bus (takes 1.5-2 hours) each way – and the return way is much easier and faster, so sometimes people just get a one-way shuttle. 

Can you visit Machu Picchu in 2 days (on a weekend trip)?

Getting back to Aguas Calientes and learning terrible news 

We got back to Aguas Calientes around 11:30am and we were so hungry that we went to eat right away. We had a few plans before our train at 2:30pm – finishing our early lunch, exploring the rest of Aguas Calientes, visiting the local artisanal market next to the train station and perhaps even going to the Mariposario de Mindo. A lot of people also visit the Hot Springs (the town is named after them, after all), but we decided to skip it this time. In case your trip goes as planned, you can totally visit either some or maybe even all of these places. 

How to get out of Machu Picchu if your train is cancelled

Unfortunately, in our case, we had to quickly figure out what to do, because our return train to Ollantaytambo and then a bus to Cusco were both cancelled. Travelling the next day wouldn’t be an option either because everything has been cancelled for at least 2 days because of protests in Peru. The protests are fairly common and sometimes they happen a couple of times per year depending on the economic situation. However, this was a stroke of a tourism industry and local farmers, so they really wanted all the transport to and from Machu Picchu disrupted, so the government would do something about it. 

Now, we had a flight to catch the next day and the rest of our South America trip depended on this flight, so we had to get out from Machu Picchu. I will write a separate blog post about travelling from Machu Picchu to Cusco on means other than train, but I will briefly mention that we had to walk 11 km to the place called Hidroelectrica, then wait for a bus to get full with other tourists in a situation just like ours, then wait until 6pm when the road to Santa Theresa reopens and travel for about 6.5-7 hours to Cusco making a huge diversion or a detour, not sure how to name it properly! 

Having left Aguas Calientes at 13:30, we arrived to Cusco just shy of 1am, which made it a very long day, but we were so happy to be back, as it meant that the rest of our trip was going ahead!  

Read my full post about our experience getting out of Machu Picchu >>>

Day 5: Full day in Cusco, flying back to Lima

Alright, depending on what time is your flight back to Lima and onwards to your country or your next destination, you can either have another couple of hours in Cusco or maybe almost like a full day like we did. Our flight didn’t depart until 9pm, which meant that we had a lot of time to enjoy the city. We had a lot of plans, including taking a tour and going on a short trip close to Cusco, but the cancellation of our train and the protests really affected our plans. Moreover, a lot of streets in Cusco on our last day in the city were blocked and police had to deliver tourists to the airport. Hence, we decided to take it easy and explore a lot of different souvenir shops in Cusco. 

Shopping for souvenirs in Cusco 

Souvenir shops in Cusco are around every corner and even though most of them sell similar things, surprisingly, the selection and the colours are different in each shop.

For example, we were looking for a pink wool hat, however, we visited more than 20 shops and only found it in the last one. Also, the price was slightly different in all the places, so it’s worth visiting a couple of shops just to understand the pricing better and see the variety of different things sold there. 

Also, the rules are the same as everywhere else – the further away from the main square, the more affordable are the prices for souvenirs. When we went to take a PCR test in the DAM clinic circa 20 minutes walking from the city centre, we passed a market full of souvenir shops and it was way more affordable than most shops near Plaza de Armas. In case you want to buy a lot, it’s worth venturing a little bit outside the city centre.

Where to eat in Cusco: the best restaurants

Cusco, as it turned out, has incredible gastronomy! There are plenty of amazing restaurants in Cusco and, good news, – there aren’t even that expensive. Plus, there are plenty of great cheap restaurants and cafes, where you can eat incredibly well for less. 

Some of the restaurants I would recommend in Cusco:

Chicha – the famous restaurant of Gaston Acurio, you need to book in advance (it’s on Open Table app, so it’s easy to book)

Yaku restaurant 

Papacho’s for amazing burgers

Cucharitas Ice Cream for the best and very unusual ice creams (and they also serve “normal” lunch food there 

Things to do in Cusco if you have a full day: 

If you are full of energy and have at least 8 hours in Cusco, it’s totally worth considering taking one of the best tours of Cusco! You will be able to learn a lot about the history of Cusco and the rise and fall of the Incan empire as well as visit some places that are slightly remote and off-the-beaten-path, where you probably wouldn’t walk yourself.

Here are some of the best-rated tours available in Cusco:

Day trips from Cusco if you have a full day:

Summary of 5 days in Peru: Lima, Cusco and Machu Picchu

To summarise, it’s entirely possible to visit Lima, Cusco and Machu Picchu in just 5 days, especially if you’re visiting Peru as part of your longer South American trip and you don’t have many vacation days to spend on your trip. 5 days in Peru are enough to get to know the country a little bit and visit some of the most popular places and bucket-list destinations. It’s also enough to enjoy Peru without running around too much (even though this itinerary looks packed, it’s actually not very tiring unless you decide to do the trip to the Rainbow mountain on the last day). You will be able to try some of the best Peruvian dishes and compare food in Lima vs Andean cuisine in Cusco!

If we had an opportunity and we worked in a convenient time zone, we would have totally stayed working remotely from Lima, as Lima definitely stole my heart. Lima has such a nice atmosphere and it’s such a pleasant city to be in (plus, you don’t need to battle the high altitude). 

I’m confident that we will return to Peru one day and explore Puno, Arequipa and other amazing locations in this beautiful country! 

If you have any questions, feel free to DM me at @lizatripsget – I might be able to help!

Here are some of our articles you might like:

Instagram guide to Lima, Peru

2 days in Lima: our itinerary

3 days in Bogota, Colombia

The most Instagrammable spots in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Honeymoon in Jamaica – unforgettable 7 days

How to visit Playa del Carmen, Mexico on a budget

Puebla and Oaxaca – Mexico road trip itinerary

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