Peru: How to Travel, What to Pack, Where to Stay, & What to do

Over the last few weeks, I have been sharing my trip to Peru city by city. Here is a full recap on Peru!

Our Route:

Lima -> Cusco then directly to Ollantaytambo -> Machu Picchu -> Ollayntaytambo then directly to Cusco -> Puno -> Arequipa -> Lima

Lima- 348 feet

Ollantaytambo- 9,160 feet

Machu Picchu- 7,972 feet

Cusco- 11,152 feet

Puno- 12,500 feet

Arequipa- 7,710 feet

1. I flew into Lima International airport

Sleep: Stay in Miraflores area. We stayed at Pucllana Lodge. It was a good hotel, not the best one we stayed at but good enough to sleep and shower. Breakfast was included and WiFi service was good. 

Eat: Tanta by Larcomar, coffee at News Cafe Coffee Shop located on the main street Avenue Larco, and drink at Nuevo Mundo Draft Bar. This bar is known for their locally crafted Peruvian brews.

Pack: A light jacket, jeans and comfortable clothes, walking shoes/ sneakers, sunglasses, sun block, and a camera.

Things to do: Walk down to the main triangle and go to alley named Calle Manuel Bonilla. It's filled with great restaurants and bars! Go to Larcomar which is a big shopping/ dining outdoor area right by the beach. Walk along the beach and go visit Park of Love. 

TIP: Schedule a taxi for pickup at the airport with your hotel. It will be cheaper and easier. 

TIP: You can see the best parts of Lima in 1-2 days. You don't need to spend more time then that.

TIP: Apply sunscreen even if it cloudy! I got burned my last day in Peru. 

Read more about Lima HERE

2. Flew from LIM to Cusco. Then took a taxi straight to Ollantaytambo

Sleep: Sleep at Hotel Samanapaq. The hotel was beautiful and the service was outstanding! The breakfast buffet is included and the WiFi worked great! The views from the hotel of the old Incan ruins were great. Our stay here was incredibly relaxing!

Eat: At the local Plaza de Armas. There are a lot of restaurants here but it is hard to find traditional Peruvian food. 

Pack: Hiking boots, comfortable clothes, sunblock, sunglasses, camera, and medication. 

Things to do: Go to the Las as Salineras in Maras, walk down old Incan streets/ alleys in Ollantaytambo,  and visit the Incan ruins.

TIP: Work your way up to high altitude to prevent getting altitude sickness and get medication to help you adjust in advance. I was prescribed Acetazolamide by my doctor and it really helped me! I didn't have any trouble adjusting to the high altitude. Since my friend and I were jumping to such a high altitude, from Lima to Cusco, we decided to travel straight to Ollantaytambo. 

TIP: Take the Peru Rail to Machu Picchu station in Aguas Calientes. Make sure you buy the ticket before hand online. You need to pick up tickets before entering the train. Only 1 carry on size luggage allowed per passenger. No big luggages!! However, they will store luggage for you free of charge. 

TIP: Drink cocoa tea!

Read more about Ollantaytambo HERE

3. Took the Peru Rail from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu/ Aguas Calientes 

Sleep: There are a lot of hotels in Machu Picchu. It is a very touristy place. We stayed at Gringo Bills. Hotel was pretty good and WiFi was okay. 

Eat: I definitely recommend trying the alpaca burger at Treehouse. Also go have a 3-course meal at El Indio Feliz. Both restaurants were AMAZING!!

Pack: Bug repellent (there are a LOT of mosquitos here), hiking boots, camera, lots of water, cocoa tea, granola bar, suncreen, sunglasses, tickets printed, passport, and wear layers. It is chilly in the morning but warms up by midday. 

Things to do: Climb Machu Picchu and Wayna Picchu!!!

TIP: Buy your tickets to Machu Picchu and Wayna Picchu a couple months in advance to secure a spot.

TIP: Buy your bus ticket to take you up to Machu Picchu a day in advance to save a lot of time and hassle!! If you don't, you will have to wait in an incredibly long line the next day for buses. Place to buy tickets is right by the water by the bus station. It is a little wooden booth. Cost about $25 roundtrip.

TIP: Drink cocoa tea!

Read more about Machu Picchu HERE

4. Took the Peru Rail Back to Ollantaytambo then a taxi to Cusco

Sleep: We stayed at a hotel in Cusco called Rumi Punku. It was located just 5 minute walk from the Plaza de Armas. This hotel was gorgeous!! Breakfast was included!

Eat: We had dinner at Morena Peruvian Kitchen. OMG!! One of the most delicious meals I have ever had! Also try burgers at Papacho's right by the Plaza de Armas.

Pack: Walking shoes, comfortable clothes, camera, sunblock, sunglasses. If you are planning on climbing Rainbow Mountain: warm clothes, layers because it is very cold, hat, gloves, hiking boots, and medication. Cusco's elevation is very high!

Things to do: Visit the Plaza de Armas and walk around the city. Take a tour to Pisac Market to go shopping. Stop along the way to see alpacas and learn how Peruvian blankets/ yarns are made. Climb Rainbow Mountain!!

TIP: I recommend going around the Sacred Valley with a taxi driver so you can make as many stops as you would like and not be on a time schedule. 

TIP: Carry bottles of water with you because the restaurants in Cusco are on the pricier side. Or buy it from the side street where the waters only cost $1.

TIP: Drink cocoa tea! Elevation is very high here in Cusco!

TIP: When traveling from Ollantaytambo to Cusco, it is much easier to share a taxi and the cost is much lower. Sharing a taxi cost about $7 each.

TIP: Don't miss the sunset and the view of the valleys from Plaza De Armas at night! 

Read more about Cusco & Rainbow Mountain HERE

5. Took an overnight bus (Transzela) from Cusco to Puno. Then took a boat in Puno to island Isla Suasi

Sleep: On the bus. It was nice to save money on the hotel. If you are a light sleeper, I don't recommend this. It only costs $16. In Puno we stayed at the most beautiful hotel ever Isla Suasi!!! They stay at this hotel has been one of the best in my entire life! Highly recommend it. 

Eat: At the Hotel Isla Suasi. They serve a great buffet breakfast. Then for lunch and dinner, you get 3-course meals! All of it is included in the stay at the hotel. 

Pack: Warmer clothes because it is cold in Puno, heavy jacket and lots of layers!

Things to do: Take a tour of the floating islands! Our hotel provided a tour which was included in the package. 

TIP: Dress warm because the temperatures in Puno are much colder! It was about 40 degrees Fahrenheit in the middle of October.

TIP: Take sunscreen if you have sensitive skin. The sun on the island is very powerful! It gets really warm during the day.

TIP: Take your passport so you can get it stamped at Taquille Island for 1 sol! 

TIP: If you are prone to sea sickness, take motion sickness medication. The waves got pretty choppy a few times.

Read more about Puno HERE

6. Took an overnight bus from Puno to Arequipa

Sleep: We stayed at an amazing hotel right by the Plaza de Armas called La Plaza Arequipa Hotel Boutique. I highly recommend staying right in the center because you get a great view at night time.

Eat: There are tons of great little restaurants off of the little streets by Plaza de Armas.

Pack: Light clothes/ spring clothing and Light jacket for the night.

Things to do: Walk around the city and Plaza de Armas. I heard the Colca canyons were amazing but we didn't have enough time to visit

TIP: Arequipa was the warmest city we visited so take lighter weight clothes!

7. Flew from Arequipa to back Lima

8. Flew from Lima to NYC

Photography by Ashley Gallerani