Are you in the planning process of a trip to Peru? Well you are one smart cookie because Peru is absolutely stunning. There is so much to do and see, from some of the most impressive mountain ranges in the world to incredible ancient Incan civilizations and ruins. I was incredibly impressed by my 10 days in Peru; there’s just so much beauty in this country. So if you’re the type of traveler who digs a jam-packed schedule full of action, hiking, and natural beauty, this 10 day Peru itinerary is going to be great for you.
10 Days in Peru: The Short Version
You might be asking yourself, “How much time should I spend in Peru?” and that is an excellent question. This is obviously a Peru itinerary of 10 days, but if you have more time, definitely use it and add more to your Peru adventure itinerary! I would say 10 days is the absolute minimum I would spend in Peru, especially having been there. So knowing that, here is the breakdown of my 10 day Peru itinerary:
- Day 1 – Explore Cusco and visit Sacsayhuaman
- Day 2 – Sacred Valley tour
- Day 3 – Hike the shortened version of the Inca Trail
- Day 4 – Explore Machu Picchu
- Day 5 – Hike the lesser known of Peru’s famous rainbow mountains Palccoyo
- Day 6 – Early morning flight from Cusco to Lima, spend the day in Lima, take the night bus to Huaraz
- Day 7 – Visit Laguna Parón
- Day 8 – Hike Laguna 69
- Day 9 – Check out Pastoruri Glacier, take the night bus back to Lima
- Day 10 – One last day in Lima OR day tour to Huacachina
The Long Version of My 10 Day Peru Itinerary
Day 1 – Explore Cusco and Visit Sacsayhuaman
We spent our one not-already-planned-with-excursions day wandering around the city near our hotel and then hopping a quick ride up to Sacsayhuaman for some Incan ruins. You could probably add a couple more days exploring Cusco to your Peru itinerary if you wanted, but I’m less of a city explorer traveler and more of a “trying to see as much natural beauty as possible” gal so we pared this down to one day.
Plaza De Armas – Cusco
In Cusco, we stayed at the Hotel Cusco Plaza Saphi and definitely enjoyed ourselves, as it was very close to the Plaza De Armas where we spent our day exploring. We walked around, preemptively got some altitude meds from a farmacia just in case, and enjoyed the gorgeous architecture and mountain views. Exploring the Plaza De Armas of Cusco is definitely a must for any 10 day Peru itinerary.
After we walked around a bit, we returned to the hotel to grab a taxi up to Sacsayhuaman. This was our first foray into Incan ruins during our 10 day Peru itinerary, and it was super cool. This was about a 30-45 minute drive up, which was one of the shorter car rides from our whole Peru trip. Sacsayhuaman is often considered a top thing to do in Peru, and I can see why. You can explore the ruins, check out incredible views of Cusco from above, visit the small village nearby with lots of merchants, and so many alpacas roaming around. This is a really cool and really worth it stop for a few hours during your Cusco exploration day. We found a guide when we arrived and he gave us a ton of awesome information. So you can either tour yourself or find a guide on arrival, either way.
Dinner in Cusco
After arriving back in Cusco, we headed back out to find somewhere to eat. After Googling and getting recommendations for dinner, we walked back to the Plaza De Armas and found a restaurant nearby called Mistura Grill Cusco. I 15/10 recommend this, holy wow. This was the best meal I had in Peru, and that’s saying something because everything was amazing. I got the trucha panchamanquera and my brother got the medallions; both were so incredible. Also, we had an amazing view of the Plaza while we ate, and there was a rooftop terrace if you wanted to sit there and watch the sunset as well. If I was going to add any single restaurant to my 10 day Peru itinerary, it’s this one.
Where to Stay in Cusco
Like I mentioned previously, I stayed at the Hotel Cusco Plaza Saphi and it was great; inexpensive, easy to navigate to, and had what I needed (including coca tea every morning in the lobby). However, if you want to poke around at any of the MANY Cusco hotel options and maybe upgrade to something a little nicer or stay in another part of town, take a look at your options:
Day 2 – Sacred Valley Tour
On day two of our 10 day Peru itinerary, we did even more amazing Incan ruins exploration, while still maintaining our home base in Cusco. We visited three towns – Pisac, Ollantaytambo, and Chinchero – and got just as much history as we got jaw-dropping beauty. There are lots of Sacred Valley tour options with many stop options, but we chose this particular Sacred Valley itinerary because a friend recommended these three towns specifically. They were phenomenal and this was definitely a history/culture-driven day that I really enjoyed. Here are a couple of tour options for you to choose from that hit these three spots:
It took about 45 minutes or so to get here from our hotel. This was a small but mighty set of Incan ruins with an amazing view of Cusco. There was also a market here with lots of incredible little shops.
About an hour and a half from Pisac, this city was an incredible combination of cute mountain town and a massive Incan fortress. The history of this city is so cool, and it’s truly magical to walk around both the ruins and the town itself. A must for any 10 day Peru itinerary in my opinion.
Surprisingly, I think this ended up being the highlight of this day for me which I did not expect. And not because Pisac and Ollantaytambo weren’t stunning, or that Chinchero’s old church was more beautiful than the other buildings/ruins of the day. It’s more that we went to the little market in town where a local woman demonstrated how they turned alpaca hair into goods, and her young son helped her in this demo for us. I just loved this, it was so sweet, so authentic, and I bought all of my goods/souvenirs here for the entire trip.
Days 3 & 4: Hike the Shortened Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu
I wrote about my amazing experience on the shortened Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu and couldn’t recommend it enough. You get a full day on the Inca Trail and a full day exploring the wonder of the world, Machu Picchu. Magical beyond belief, an absolute best thing to do in Peru, and a must on any 10 day Peru itinerary.
Day 5: Hike Palccoyo, Peru’s Alternate Rainbow Mountain
Day five of the 10 day Peru itinerary is hiking a famous rainbow mountain! Rainbow mountains are on many “what to do in Peru” lists, and for good reason. But you usually see Vivicunca – the official “Rainbow Mountain” – being recommended vs. Palccoyo, which is what I did and am recommending. It is definitely the less famous of Peru’s rainbow mountains, but not because it’s any less beautiful. In fact, there are three rainbow mountains found at Palccoyo, as well as incredible views of other nearby mountain ranges. Also, a forever bonus, is so, so many alpacas and llamas. Always an adorable win!
But overall, it was an absolutely incredible day hiking in Palccoyo; so incredible I wrote a whole blog about my tips for your day there! It may have taken about three hours of driving each way (with stops for meals in some incredible scenery, which was a lovely break each direction) but I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
Day 6: Spend a Day in Lima Before Heading Up to Huaraz
We took the earliest possible flight from Cusco to Lima in order to spend a full day in Lima before heading up to Huaraz for the rest of our 10 days in Lima. There was no direct way to go from Cusco to Huaraz, and we still needed to see Lima, so it was an easy way to spend a day there and also be in transit between the two cities.
We spent our day in the Historic Center of the Plaza De Armas, taking tours of the cathedral, the convent, and other historical buildings in the area. We found a guide waiting outside the cathedral and spent hours with her as she let us know the history of the city and of each building. The absolute highlight of my day in Lima was going to the top of the bell tower at the Convento Santo Domingo for truly incredible views of the city. If you’re going to be spending any time of your 10 day Peru itinerary in Lima, that is a must.
After grabbing dinner at Embarcadero 41 Fusion, we headed to the bus station to take an overnight bus up to Huaraz. Make sure to take a bus that will get you to Huaraz early enough for whatever your pickup time is for your next day’s activity.
Day 7: Visit Laguna Parón
Out of our entire 10 day Peru itinerary, this was maybe the day I was looking forward to the most. This mountain and lake vista is seriously the stuff of paintings. This gorgeous alpine lake, the picture perfect peak in the background, and the many options to view them both made for such a fun afternoon exploring what has to be one of the most beautiful places in Peru. We took the short but steep hike up to the lookout for ultimate views, which I do recommend if you’re willing and able. You can also rent a kayak or take a boat ride on the beautiful turquoise lake. If you’re into mountains and insanely blue lakes, this is a must-add for your 10 day Peru itinerary.
Day 8: Hike to Laguna 69
Is Laguna 69 some of the bluest water in the world? It has to be. I wrote a whole blog on what to expect when hiking Laguna 69. If you’re a hiker, this is an absolute must-add to your 10 day Peru itinerary.
Day 9: Pastoruri Glacier
One final day of hiking to add to your itinerary for 10 days in Peru! The hike to the glacier is incredibly high up, but short in distance. You can get very close to the glacier if you want, but do consider the weather when deciding if you want to stray from the paved path. Our day was rainy, snowy, and everything in between, so we stayed safe on the trail. This drive from Huaraz is another long one, probably about two hours each way, but the drive through the park is truly stunning.
Once back in Huaraz, take the overnight bus back to Lima for one final day in the capital city.
Tours for Days 7, 8, & 9:
Where to Stay in Huaraz, Peru
Huaraz was our home base for days 7, 8, and 9; so pretty much anything done in Huascarán National Park. It had lots of inexpensive hotel options and many tours leave from here.
Day 10: Lima OR Huacachina
To round out your 10 days in Peru, I think it’s up to you to decide the level of energy you think you’ll have left. Do you just want to nap for a little bit, eat at delicious restaurants, and maybe hit the beach? Lima will be a perfect day hang. Do you have some adventure left in you and want to explore a terrain you haven’t seen yet? Take a day tour out to Huacachina, a real life oasis in the desert! I wish I had done Huacachina to be honest, but I’ll just have to go back and see it myself.
So there you have it, 10 days in Peru! This 10 day Peru itinerary has a ton of hiking and adventure, and while it’s not necessarily a relaxing vacation it’s truly such a blast. As always, if you have any questions, definitely reach out. Also make sure to follow me on TikTok and Instagram for more Peru content, as well as all of the other adventures I’ve been on!