Our Peru trip was a whirlwind! We stayed a bit longer to celebrate and photograph Luciana and Pablo’s wedding, but in between the wedding events we squeezed in as much as we could! Here are a few photos and recommendations from the trip on what to do in Peru in 5 days!
We landed in Lima after a red eye flight, met up with our friends/cousins and headed out to Paracas!
So the first stop on your destination list:
Paracas is a small coastal town on Peru’s west coast in the Ica region. Its known for its beaches, the sand dunes close by, and the quick access to the Ballestas Islands – home to sea lions, pelicans, and Humboldt penguins!
That first night, we checked into our airbnb and got ready to head out for rad adventure session with Luciana and Pablo at the Ica sand dunes. Be sure to check out Huacachina (a desert oasis) and rent dune buggies to explore the sand dunes! You can go sand boarding, tubing and more on the tours and they are such a blast! Luciana and Pablo and I explored the dunes and it was the most amazing way to kick off the week!
The next day we took a boat to the Ballestas Islands! We saw so many sea lions and the Humboldt penguins (a tropical penguin!)! We then had some of the best seafood I’ve ever had! Luciana took us to in the national preserve called Intimar – we were the only ones eating on the beach and the food was so fresh!
Cusco sits deep in the Sacred Valley at 11,000ft in elevation and was once known as the capital of the Incan Empire! This city is nothing short of amazing. But altitude sickness is no joke, so be sure to drink plenty of water!! There is SO much to see in Cusco and this was definitely our recon trip! We only got to do a taste of what we hope to see next time, but here are some must sees!
We flew in first thing and checked in to our hotel and booked a private tour with a local driver to see some of the main Incan Ruins around the city. I definitely recommend booking a private tour vs the tour buses because you get to go at your own pace and without the crowds of other tourists.
We first saw the incredible ruins of Sacsayhuaman, Tambomachay, and Puka Pukara. And then we stopped at Manos de la Comunidad and saw Alpacas and Llamas as well as demonstrations on the weaving process! I LOVED seeing all the baby Alpacas!
That afternoon in Cusco – we explored the markets and the plaza, had amazing pizza for a quick bite at La Bodega and later that night dined one of the restaurants by famous chef Gaston Acurio – Chicha! Definitely a must do when in Cusco!
The next day we had a driver take us to the Sacred Valley. The drive into the Sacred Valley is breathtaking. Take your time, take it in. This is where we rented the most amazing Airbnb in a tiny town called Huaran! Here is the link to the Airbnb! We grabbed lunch at a fabulous local cafe called Viva Peru Cafe! We hiked around the area and that night had a fabulous dinner at Aulita at Andenia Hotel! If you had a group bigger than 2 people – I’d highly recommend this hotel! It’s absolutely stunning!
The next day – bright an early – our host arranged for a driver to take us to the train station at Ollantaytambo – where we could take the train to Machu Pichu. There are so many incredible hikes along the Inca Trail (a 6 day, 4 day, and 2 day option) to Machu Pichu, but due to time we only had 1 day to explore it. So we can’t wait to return to do part of the Inca Trail!
Note: When buying tickets for Machu Pichu – be aware most tickets do not let you re-enter once you walk through the ruins, so once you go through the guided walk ways you can’t re-enter to go back through. We weren’t aware of this and would have stayed and enjoyed certain views a bit longer if we had known we wouldn’t get the chance to see them again. While we appreciated having a guide, we both agreed we may consider going without a guide next time so we can take in the sites at our own pace. There is also a ticket called ” Machu Pichu y La Montana “- which includes access to a hike with amazing views (4 hours round trip) just above Machu Pichu and that ticket does let you re-enter the park, so when we come back we’ll purchase that ticket and that hike is on the list!
But Machu Pichu is amazing wonder of the world for good reason! It truly is breath taking and worth the trek!!
We finished with a fun packed weekend celebrating Luciana and Pablo’s marriage! Luciana’s uncle is Gaston Acurio – the world renowned famous Peruvian chef, so they had their welcome dinner at his restaurant La Mar and the wedding was held at the flagship restaurant Astrid y Gaston and to say the food was phenomenal is an understatement! The wedding was such a joy filled day and it was an honor and joy to photograph!
Our last day we explored Lima and went to Tomo – a Japanese Peruvian fusion restaurant that was incredible!!
We have so much more to see when we return, but it was a beautiful trip in an incredible country and a wonderful way to celebrate 2 people we love so dearly! Hopefully this was a helpful recap on what to do in Peru in 5 days!