Would you like to travel for one month in Peru? This is the perfect 1 month Peru itinerary, with incredible mountains, historical cities, and many Inca ruins.
Peru is known for its iconic sights, including the mysterious Machu Picchu, the picturesque Sacred Valley, and the bustling city of Cusco. But there is so much more to explore in this diverse country than just these famous spots.
In this 1 month Peru itinerary, I share several lesser-known places in this beautiful country in addition to the famous highlights. It is a diverse route, with beautiful historic cities, but also plenty of nature, outdoor adventure, and gorgeous hiking trails. Don’t forget also that Peru is a paradise for foodies, its gastronomy is known worldwide. Make sure to try ceviche, lomo saltado, and the cocktail pisco sour.
So, put on your hiking boots, get ready for an adventure at a high altitude, and discover the charming country of Peru. This trip will not only excite your senses but will also touch your soul as we explore the most fascinating and authentic sides of this beautiful country.
This is why one month in Peru is the perfect length of trip
One month in Peru offers the ideal balance between exploring the diverse landscapes and absorbing the rich culture. This length of time gives you the flexibility to have adventures in lesser-known places, as well as to avoid altitude sickness through gradual acclimatization. In the process, you will get to know the special culture even better. A month in Peru is perfect for an unforgettable trip!
1 month Peru itinerary
Are you ready? This is the perfect 1 month Peru itinerary.
Day 1 to 3: Lima
Lima is the capital of Peru and here you’ll find the main international airport. Many travelers skip Lima, but I myself found it well worth visiting. In the city, you’ll find a mix of history, modernity and great flavors that you won’t want to miss.
As the capital city, Lima is an important place to learn more about Peru’s history. Make sure to explore the historic city center with its colonial architecture and fascinating museums. There are also colorful markets, cool street art, and a vibrant music scene.
What makes Lima really interesting is the food. Here you can enjoy famous dishes such as ceviche, lomo saltado and pisco sour in fantastic restaurants and local food stalls.
These are some fun things to do in Lima:
- A free walking tour of the historic city center – I did this myself on my first morning in Lima and it was really great to start the trip this way. You will immediately learn something about the history of the country, which is useful for the next places you will visit.
- Stroll along the promenade in Miraflores – Miraflores is a modern neighborhood on the coast and the best place to stay in Lima.
Go in search of colorful street art in the lively Barranco neighborhood (this too can be done with a free walking tour!).
- Discover the flavors of Lima during this Peruvian food tour.
Read more: The best things to do in Lima
These are great places to stay in Lima:
- Hostel tip: KACCLA, The Healing Dog Hostel – This is the place where I stayed during my first nights in Peru. The hostel is very centrally located in the Miraflores neighborhood and nicely decorated. There are dormitories, as well as private rooms.
- Hotel tip: Belma Boutique Bed and Breakfast – a highly rated B&B with a cozy decor. It is in a good central location in Miraflores
Day 4 to 7: Explore the Andes and Huaraz
If you don’t like encountering lots of tourists, I recommend traveling from Lima to the town of Huaraz. Here mass tourism is not yet as present as in southern Peru. In addition, it’s a beautiful place!
Huaraz is at an altitude of 3,000 meters (10,000 feet!), so take it easy on the first day to get used to the altitude. From Huaraz, you can see many high peaks of the Cordillera Blanca, and it is a good base for beautiful hikes in the Andes.
Are you traveling alone in Peru? The hiking tours make Huaraz a great destination for solo travelers. It’s really easy to meet people here.
There are many hiking trails and treks to choose from, so be sure to ask your accommodation about them. These are some hikes I can recommend:
- Hike to Laguna Wilcacocha. You can do this hike by yourself and it will take you about half a day.
Paramount trek at Laguna Páron with a tour.
Santa Cruz trek (four days). You can do this amazing trek yourself, and you can rent camping gear in town. Ask your accommodation about the possibilities.
- Trek to Laguna 69, this is one of the most beautiful lakes in the Andes.
Be aware on the hikes that you will be going up quite a bit in altitude and may suffer from altitude sickness as a result. Take time to acclimate and take it easy.
And these are great places to stay in Huaraz:
- Hostel tip: Krusty Hostel B&B – private rooms for little money in downtown Huaraz.
- Hotel tip: Hotel Turístico Everest – rooms with nice views of the city.
Day 8 & 9: Discover Paracas
After the altitude, it’s nice to go back to sea level for a few days, so the next stop is the village of Paracas. A sleepy village with a promenade full of restaurants (where it is not very crowded), many boats, and a lot of birds.
This place is best known for Isla Ballestas, which are also called the poor man’s Galapagos. These are islands full of animals. Go on a boat tour around the islands, where you will see penguins, pelicans, and sea lions.
To be honest, I found the boat tour to be too crowded and touristy. At some point, there were four boats surrounding a sea lion, so I personally wouldn’t do this tour again unless I find a more environmentally friendly one. But the islands are an interesting sight for sure.
You can also do a tour to the Reserva Nacional de Paracas nature reserve, but it’s even more fun to explore this area on a rental bike. There are plenty of places where you can rent a bike, so just go on a stroll around the village and pick one.
In the national park, you can bike a round trip of about 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) and you will hardly meet anyone else along the way. For me, cycling through the desert, was an amazing experience. You pass the beautiful cliffs, and might even spot some penguins. There is a little bay with a restaurant and to top it all off, you have a chance to see flamingos. Highly recommended!
These are great places to stay in Paracas:
- Hostel tip: Viajero-Kokopelli Paracas Hostel – Kokopelli is a hostel chain in Peru and these are pretty good and social hostels. Personally, I found this a great place. It is in a nice central location on the coast and has a swimming pool and a cozy bar.
- Hotel tip: La Hacienda Bahia Paracas (4⭐) – a perfect place if you’re in the mood for a little more luxury. In Peru, luxury hotels are usually very affordable. Located near the entrance to the national park, this hotel has comfortable rooms and a beautiful swimming pool.
Day 10: Climb the huge sand dunes at Huacachina
The oasis of Huacachina is your destination. Huachachina is a village next to Ica and is known as an oasis in the desert. There is a lake and around it is the village with palm trees. It lies amid gigantic sand dunes. Most of the time, it’s warm and sunny and pretty much every hostel or hotel has a pool.
You can climb the dunes for a great view of Huacachina. In addition, there are many buggy tours that take you through the dunes and go sandboarding. This is a great thing to do during sunset. The views are amazing!
These are great places to stay in Huacachina:
Hostel tip: The Upcycled Hostel – This is one of the best hostels I stayed at during my trip in Peru. There are both private rooms and dormitories, and in the middle is a large garden with a pool and bar.
Hotel tip: Hostal Curasi – A nice hotel in the oasis with a pool.
Day 11 to 17: Arequipa and the Colca Canyon
From Huacachina, it’s time to head back into the mountains! Travel to Ica and from there take an overnight bus to Arequipa. This beautiful city sits at an altitude of 2,300 meters (7,600 feet), making it a good place to acclimate because you’re really going up into the altitude after Arequipa.
Arequipa has a beautiful historic city center and is located and is surrounded by volcanoes. There are an awful lot of great things to see and do.
- Visit the monastery of Santa Catalina. This is in the middle of the city and it looks like you are walking through a small (and colorful) village.
- Learn about the rituals of the Incas at Museo Santuarios Andinos. Here you can also see the famous Inca mummy Juanita (a bit sinister, but very special).
- Discover the most beautiful places in the historic center of Arequipa on a free walking tour.
From Arequipa, it is easy to visit the incredible Colca Canyon on a multi-day tour. The Colca Canyon is no less than twice as deep as the famous Grand Canyon, and chances are you will see the enormous Andean condors. I myself, due to circumstances, did a Colca Canyon day tour from Arequipa. This was doable, but a bit rushed and it was a very long day. If you have the time, I would definitely opt for the multi-day tour.
- Fancy an adrenaline rush? You can also go rafting on the Chili River!
Read more: The most beautiful Arequipa sights
These are a few great places to stay in Arequipa:
- Hostel tip: Pusary hostel – colorful hostel in the historic city center of Arequipa. There are dormitories as well as private rooms.
- Hotel tip: Plaza Central (3⭐) – nicely decorated hotel right in the center of Arequipa. From some rooms, you have views of Plaza de Armas and the impressive Misti volcano.
Day 18 and 19: Island hopping on Lake Titicaca
Puno is the next stop of this amazing 1 month Peru itinerary. There is not much to do in the town itself, although it’s a good place to go souvenir shopping. However, Puno is the perfect base to explore the world-famous Lake Titicaca. Not only is this one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, but it is also the highest navigable lake in the world. It is located at an altitude of 3,812 meters (12,510 feet)!
There are several fun boat tours to explore the lake:
- A 3-hour Uros floating islands tour. I have to be honest with you, the Uros islands feel a bit like a tourist trap and I had a hard time believing if it’s “real.” It is very beautiful though, and you can take some amazing pictures.
- You can also do a full-day tour. Here you will first visit the Uros Islands and then visit Amantaní Island or Taquile Island. I did this tour and really loved it. The hike and lunch (overlooking the lake) on Taquile Island is one of the best things I have done in Peru.
- Perhaps the best of all: a multi-day tour. You then visit several islands and stay the night at one of them. I will definitely go for this option the next time I am in Peru, this seems like such an amazing experience!
These are great places to stay in Puno:
- Spending the night in the Uros Islands: Lucsay Titicaca Lodge (3⭐) is a unique place to sleep. In fact, you will sleep on the reed islands in Lake Titicaca!
- Hotel tip Puno: Tierra Viva Puno Plaza (3⭐) – a fine hotel in downtown Puno. The rooms are beautifully decorated and have large windows.
Day 20 to 28: Cusco and the Sacred Valley
Are you ready for the highlight of this 1 month Peru itinerary? Welcome to Cusco! For me personally, this is the most beautiful city in Peru and many would agree with me. Not only is the city itself beautiful to see, but also the surrounding area with the Sacred Valley. Most importantly, Cusco is the starting point for a trip to Machu Picchu, one of the seven wonders of the world.
You will always be short of time for Cusco and the Sacred Valley, there is so much to see and do here! Here are a few suggestions of the best things to do in Cusco.
- A multi-day trek to Machu Picchu is an incredible experience. I myself hiked the famous Inca Trail. Keep in mind that you have to book it a year in advance.
- Make sure to visit the Sacred Valley. This is an incredible landscape filled with ancient Inca ruins and cute villages like Pisac. There are also many amazing hiking trails, a good warm-up when you plan to do a multi-day trek to Machu Picchu.
- Hike to one of the most colorful mountains in the world: Rainbow Mountain. Do check the weather before booking this. I found myself in a snowstorm on a mountain and didn’t see any of the colors. It was a very scary and unpleasant experience. But I heard from people who did have good weather that it was an amazing experience.
- Cusco itself is also a great city to explore with a beautiful historic city center, lively markets, and the fun district of San Blas. It is highly recommended to do a free walking tour here as well, this way you will discover some nice hidden places and learn more about the Inca culture.
Read more: The best thigns to do in Cusco
These are great places to stay in Cusco:
- Hostel tip: Nao Victoria Hostel (3⭐) – This is the most luxurious hostel I stayed in during my trip to Peru. It is in a great location in downtown Cusco and has both dormitories (beds with curtains for extra privacy) and private rooms.
- Hotel tip: Hotel San Francisco Plaza (3⭐) – I also stayed a night at this hotel and I would highly recommend it. It is in a great location and the rooms are very comfortable. Housed in a historic colonial building, the central courtyard (breakfast room) is a picture to behold!
Day 29 & 30 Back to Lima
Unfortunately, it is already time to go home. From Cusco, you will fly back to Lima. You will have some time in Lima to explore some more places in the city and you have time to buy some souvenirs. This was an incredible adventure!
- Hotel tip Lima: Best Western Plus Urban Larco Hotel (3⭐) – This is the hotel where I stayed during my last night in Peru. It is very comfortable and centrally located in Miraflores. The bus to the airport leaves around the corner from the hotel.
- Hotel tip Lima Airport: Costa del Sol Wyndham Lima Airport (4⭐) – A perfect hotel if you have an early flight, or if you prefer to stay as close to the airport.
Map Peru 1 month itinerary
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Adjustments for this Peru itinerary
Do you have more or less time in Peru? These are a few adjustments you can make to this Peru itinerary.
Less time in Peru
If you don’t have time to travel for a month in Peru, but for example only have three weeks in Peru? You can shorten this Peru itinerary as follows:
- Huaraz is gorgeous, but also quite far from all the other stops. It saves you a few days to take Huaraz off your itinerary and visit this gem on another trip.
- Don’t feel like hiking much? Then you don’t need that much time in Cuzco. For example, you can also visit Machu Picchu on a day trip from Cuzco, you don’t need to do a multi-day trek to get there.
More time in Peru
Do you plan to travel on night buses, have a fast travel pace, or have more than a month in Peru? You can also add these destinations:
- Between Huacachina and Arequipa, you can make a stop at the Nazca lines. These are best seen with a sightseeing flight in a small plane. I skipped this because I’m scared of small planes and heard from other travelers that there is not much else to do in Nazca.
- Explore the Amazon near Puerto Maldonado. This is a great option if you have a week to spare at Cuzco. From there you can take a one-hour flight to Puerto Maldonado and there are several multi-day tours that go into the Amazon. I had to skip this due to lack of time, but it’s definitely on my list for next time!
Book your trip to Peru!
This is my Peru itinerary! For me, it was perfect, fun and diverse. Would you like to explore Peru as well? Use these websites to book your trip.
✈️ Plane tickets – Lima has a major international airport. Check WayAway to find the best deals and get cashback on plane tickets.
🚍 Bus tickets – To get from A to B in Peru it is best to use long-distance buses. These are very comfortable and often include a meal. I often booked first class (which was not very expensive at all) and the seats were amazing! This is especially a good idea when traveling on night buses. You can book bus tickets via Busbud.
🚘 Rental Car – You can also discover Peru with a rental car. Then you are flexible and can stop wherever you want. Check Rental Cars to find the best deals.
🛏️ Accommodation – At each of the beautiful stops of this itinerary, you will find recommendations for great places to spend the night. If you’d like to explore the options yourself, check out Booking.com.
📱 E-SIM – Do you prefer having cell service during your trip? Get an e-SIM via Airalo, so you can use mobile internet to navigate and keep in touch with family and friends.
💊 Travel insurance – Don’t forget your travel insurance, as it will give you peace of mind during your trip. Check out Insubuy to find the travel insurance that fits your needs.
Read more about Peru
Would you like to read more about all those beautiful places in Peru? Get one of these great travel guides for more tips and information.
You can also read more about Peru on this website. You might like to read these articles as well:
- 20 unforgettable experiences and beautiful places in Peru
- Travel tips Peru: everything you need to know before you go
- The best hostels in Peru
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This article was published in August 2018. Last update with more tips: September 2023.
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