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The Best 1 Month Peru Itinerary

peru backpacking itinerary
Laguna Humantay

Peru is a favorite among travelers for its food, hiking, and friendly people. It’s an incredibly diverse country with mountains, the Amazon rainforest, beautiful coastline, and a desert oasis. Here is the best 1 month itinerary for Peru!

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Days 1-4: Lima

Your introduction to Peru starts off in the most chaotic city in South America. Lima also happens to be a food paradise and has some of the world’s best restaurants to go along with delicious cheap eats. Seriously, eat all the ceviche you can here.

The capital city has a lot to offer apart from the amazing food. You can visit 3rd-century ruins in the heart of Miraflores and learn about the Shining Path conflict at the Place of Memory, Tolerance, and Social Inclusion. Spend a morning visiting the catacombs and cathedral beside the Plaza de Armas before visiting the chaotic Chinatown. When you need a break from the chaos, take a walk through Barranco to admire the street art and architecture.

Read the complete guide to visiting Lima!

Barranco Street Art
Street Art in Barranco

Days 5-6: Huacachina

After a few days in the big city, a desert oasis is exactly what you’ll be craving. Everyone comes to Huacachina for one activity, sandboarding. Few things are more fun than flying down sand dunes at high speeds. Enjoy the spectacular sunsets from the dunes, and on your second day, you can ride ATVs or go on a pisco & wine tasting tour.

Read the complete guide to visiting Huacachina!

Huacachina Peru
A Huacachina Sunset

Day 7: Paracas

Just a short drive from Huacachina is the small town of Paracas. Here, you can see penguins and sea lions on a boat tour to the poor man’s Galápagos Islands and take in the stunning coastal desert scenery. Paracas is tiny but well worth a day on your Peru itinerary.

Days 8-10: Arequipa

After arriving on the overnight bus from Paracas, take it easy on your first day in the white city. Spend the morning feeding alpacas and have lunch at one of the famous picanterías. On any visit to Arequipa, spending a morning at the Santa Catalina Monastery is a must. Learn about the life of the cloistered nuns who live in this city within a city and take pictures in front of the beautiful red walls.

Visit the Museo Sanctuarios Andinos to learn about the ancient Andean tradition of sacrificing kids on top of mountains. You can even see the preserved body of Juanita, who was sacrificed in the 1500s.

Read the complete guide to visiting Arequipa!

Arequipa peru
Plaza de Armas, Arequipa

Days 11-13: Hike in the Colca Canyon

After spending time in the delightful city of Arequipa, take on a 3-day hike in the world’s second deepest canyon. The Colca Canyon offers spectacular views and a look inside the daily lives of those who still live here. Believe it or not, there are villages in the canyon with cozy hostels where you can relax in a hot tub after a tough day of hiking. You can do the hike with a guide or do it on your own for a lot cheaper.

Read the guide to hiking in the Colca Canyon!

peru backpacking itinerary
Colca Canyon

Days 14-15: Ollantaytambo

You’ve finally made it to the Sacred Valley! Ollantaytambo is a village near Cusco known as “the living city of the Incas” due to its strong indigenous presence. You’ll see plenty of locals dressed in traditional colorful clothing and hats, and it’s not for show.

The village has an impressive archeological site, and it’s also a great base for a hike to ruins and salt pools. Ollantaytambo is a convenient stop on your Peru itinerary because it serves as the departure point to reach Machu Picchu.

Read the complete guide to visiting Ollantaytambo!

Ollantaytambo Peru backpacking itinerary
Maras Salt Pools, Ollantaytambo

Days 16-19: Inca Trail & Machu Picchu

There’s no better way to arrive at Machu Picchu than on the same trails where the Incas made the pilgrimage to their citadel. The views on the hike are spectacular, and you’ll get to see important archeological sites along the way. Arriving at the spectacle that is Machu Picchu is an incredible feeling at the end of this journey.

Bookaway is a great resource that allows you to compare the prices of both buses and flights, and secure your seat in advance!

Days 20-30: Cusco

Cusco is the perfect place to end your travels in Peru. It’s my favorite destination in South America and there’s nothing not to love about it. The former capital of the Inca Empire has colonial architecture, cobblestone streets, rich history, incredible hiking, and fantastic restaurants. You could spend weeks here and see something spectacular every day. There are lagoons, a rainbow mountain, archeological sites, historic churches, and a whole lot more.

Read the complete guide to visiting Cusco!

Cusco Peru backpacking itinerary

Now that you’ve read about the best itinerary, read the most important things to know before visiting Peru!

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