Peru is unlike any place you’ll visit in South America, with the world’s friendliest people and most diverse landscapes; in one week in Peru you’ll travel through dense Amazonian rainforest, arid desert, and snow-capped mountain ranges. Be prepared for adventure in this amazing country.
The county’s modern capital, Lima, is where most tourists will arrive into Peru. The city itself is enormous, and is divided into 43 districts. Depending on your interests you can roam around the historic heart of the city in the Centro de Lima (a UNESCO world heritage site), or sample the local cuisine in one of the many great restaurants located in Miraflores, the city’s party district. For a very upscale stay, visit San Isidro. Once out of the city, you can head to the coast towards Paracas, also known as the alternative Galapagos. For an unforgettable experience, head south to Nazca, where you can book a flight and see the ancient and fascinating Nazca Lines from above.
Wherever you go during your one week in Peru, you’re never more than a stone’s throw away from some ancient archaeological site, so make sure you keep your eyes peeled, as visits these sites are perfectly suited for quick day trips. Definitely stop into anywhere you can in between destinations, and allow time in your itinerary to do this. Peru boasts some of the most quaint and beautiful architecture in South America, and you genuinely never know what treasures you’ll find down the side streets and alleys that wind through the towns. Peru has a vast network of very well put-together museums, with fascinating Inca artefacts and cultural insights that make you appreciate the place so much more. If you can, do a homestay up in the mountains. Not only are the Andeans the most friendly and accommodating people you will have ever met, but getting a genuine insight into the traditional Peruvian and Andean way of life is a once in a lifetime experience and you will not regret it.
Peru is a large country, and so to make the most out of your 7 days in Peru, it will require a certain amount of planning. Further south, explore towns such as Arequipa, also known as the White City. As you get closer to the mountains, visit the hot springs at Lares, said to have healing properties. Once in Cusco, the ancient capital of the Inca empire, wander through its beautiful streets and bring home a few souvenirs, you won’t be short of choice as the textiles industry is booming here and beautiful handmade objects come at a much lower price than back home. Take a day trip to the famous Rainbow Mountains, just a few hours from Cusco, or even take a whack at the Inca Trail if your itinerary allows. If the four day trek isn’t for you, you can do the shorter trek of Huayna Picchu, or even take the train up to Aguas Calientes and hike a few hours up to the ancient mountain-top city from there. Sand boarding and buggying is popular when travelling near the desert, and if you have time to head north, take a boat trip on the Amazon at Tambopata Reserve, or any of the reserves around Iquitos. EAT! The best foods are ceviche, a kid of seafood broth marinated in citrus juice; Cuy, aka, guinea pig, which has been eaten in Peru for centuries; Alpaca, which is gamier than beef and very lean; anything with corn, which is grown in many varieties all around Peru. DRINK! Pisco sours, a local cocktail which is everywhere in Peru, and Inka Cola, a bright yellow sugary drink that is to Peru what Coke is to America.
Peruvian winter - May to September - is the driest season, and the best time to make the trip to Peru if you are planning to visit Cusco or hike the Inca Trail, which is closed annually for maintenance in February. The summer in Peru, November - March, is the wettest season, with frequent heavy showers which can make travelling in certain areas difficult. Be warned that Lima is extremely hot and humid in the summer and is usually covered in a thick fog called La Garua, however, if you are planning on visiting the coast, the weather is much nicer further along, the beaches are warm and sunny and temperatures are great for swimming.