Peru is one of the most magical countries of South-America, dubbed ‘the land of the Incas’, and has so many things to see, from the glorious Machu Picchu – the jewel in the crown of the Inca empire – to the mystical Colca Canyon, the rich history and art of Arequipa and the endless Rio Amazonas.
Where we went
If you have limited time and plan to visit Peru on its own this itinerary allows you to visit all the essentials but will also give you a flavor of the Amazon jungle, which is an absolutely incredible experience. Most international flights will land in Lima, which is very well connected with the rest of the country with internal flights. We suggest not spending more than a day in Lima as there is not much to do except for great culinary experiences. You have direct flights from Lima to Iquitos, Arequipa, Juliaca (1 hour from Puno and the Titicaca lake), Cuzco (from where you visit the Machu Picchu) and many more. There are also many bus routes in Peru, which are very comfortable and a cheaper way to travel. E.g. you can take the bus from Puno to Copacabana (Bolivia), from where you can catch a boat to Isla del Sol. There are also many buses going from Puno to Arequipa (from where you explore the Colca Canyon) and even to Cuzco. Flying into Cuzco is a great scenic experience however because the landing strip is between the mountains – very impressive upon arrival.
If you are planning to go to Iquitos to explore the Amazon, the only option is flying as this town is not accessible by road. From Iquitos you can catch a boat to go deeper into the Amazon and explore the very remote villages like Buenos Aires Peru!
Peru in between Boliva and Brazil / Colombia
The itinerary below is a great way to see Peru as part of a larger trip, when you are coming from Bolivia and/or want to continue with Brazil or Colombia. There are direct buses from La Paz in Bolivia to Copacabana at the Titicaca lake (around 4 hours). This is a great experience as the bus travels on a “raft” over the water when arriving at the Titicaca lake.
If you want to combine Peru with Colombia or Brazil, a great way to do this is to travel to the intersection of the three countries by boat on the Rio Amazonas. You have a direct fast boat going from Iquitos to the town of Santa Rosa (operates only a couple of times a week), from where you can enter Colombia (town of Leticia) and Brazil (town of Tabitanga). There is a small airport in Tabitanga which is super usefull if you want to continue to explore Brazil (direct flights to Manaus from where you can catch a flight to any place on the North Eastern coast of Brazil) – perfect if you want to finish your trip with some beach time! See our posts on Brazil for recommendations.