The main selling point of Peru is visiting Machu Picchu, but there’s a lot more to see than this world wonder. Getting to Machu Picchu isn’t exactly the easiest, but with plenty to do in and around Cusco and Lima, you can make a full trip out of it. Here’s the ultimate 9 day Peru itinerary including Cusco, the Sacred Valley, hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, and visiting Lima.
Day 1: Arrive in Cusco
Your trip starts with an early arrival in Cusco. You will want to spend at least two days here before hiking the Inca Trail to get acclimated. We arrived around 6am so we headed to the JW Marriott Cusco for a nap before starting our sightseeing.
That afternoon, take a free walking tour of Cusco with Inkan Milky Way Tours. Highlights of the tour include the Plaza de Armas, Plaza San Francisco, and San Pedro Market.
If you choose to stay at the JW Marriott Cusco, there’s plenty to do back at the hotel like the hotel tour and Pisco Sour making class.
Day 2: Visit the Sacred Valley
On Day 2, take a private tour of the Sacred Valley. Highlights of the tour include Pisac Ruins, Pisac Market, and Ollantaytambo. You can read more about visiting the Sacred Valley from Cusco here. That evening, you will have a meeting with your Inca Trail tour group to prepare you for your trek.
Days 3-6: Hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
Day 3 starts bright and early with a 4am pick up for the Inca Trail. For the next four days, you’ll hike through the Andes reaching almost 14,000 feet at Dead Woman’s Pass before descending on Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate. The Inca Trail is the most unforgettable way to see Machu Picchu. You can read more about the details of the trek here. Our Inca Trail packing guide is available here.
After the Inca Trail, you’ll take the train from Aguas Calientes to Cusco for one last night at your hotel before departing for Lima.
Days 7-8: Explore Lima
Head to Lima early in the morning so you have most of the day to explore. With Lima’s traffic, you’ll need all the time you can get! Most of the hotels like the Hilton are located in Miraflores, an oceanside district south of downtown. On your first day in Lima, take a free walking tour of downtown with Inkan Milky Way to learn more about the history of the city. If you time it right, you can see the Changing of the Guard at the Presidential Palace.
On your second day in Lima, explore Miraflores by walking the Malecón. This walkway on the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean goes on for miles and has plenty of art installations and green space. Next, stop by Kennedy Park and grab a bite to eat.
After lunch, head south to Lima’s Bohemian neighborhood, Barranco. Be sure to check out the street art and murals.
For dinner, head to Astrid y Gaston for a fancy take on Peruvian classics.
You can read the full 2-day Lima itinerary here.
Day 9: Fly Home
Your last day starts early with a flight home. Nine days in Peru sure goes by fast!