A 3-day Peru Trip Itinerary | Machu Picchu, Cusco
Trip to Machu Picchu is a destination almost everyone dreams of in their lifetime. Thus, just try to imagine how excited I was when Peru became our travel itinerary.
Peru has a soul – something which makes this country to stand above the crowd. You can find here a diverse spectrum of landscapes, amazing food as well as extremely rich and horribly poor people who are enthusiastic about sharing their culture with the world.
Peru needs a lifetime to explore; however, we, unfortunately, had very limited time – only 3 days for 3 different cities. So we had our comfortable clothes on, took our oxygen bottle and coca leaves and headed to Peru! Yeap, I mean that – COCA leaves – that very base ingredient for cocaine :))
Coca in Peru is EVERYWHERE, and people chew it to combat altitude sickness or make a tea from it. So, you’ll undoubtedly be offered many times while there. Well, it’s not addictive, but it makes your tongue go kind of numb.
Cusco was the first city of our Peru travel itinerary
It was challenging to get there since we were coming by bus from Chile. I don’t know if you’ve heard or not, but Cusco is about 4000 meters above the sea-level. It means, every breath you take there contains less oxygen, and this might cause altitude sickness. Yet, I was not an exception. The whole road to Cusco I felt like I’ve been on a cloud. However, I was happy that the situation became better and we managed to get adjusted to the higher altitude when we reached Cusco because we literally didn’t have time for that sort of things.
We reached Cusco early in the morning, and on that first day I was able to confirm that Cusco is the feast for the eyes; there’s so much to see, try and learn!!!
We decided to abandon all maps and wander around the streets, visit museums and cathedrals and get lost in the streets.
Here are some places we visited recommend to see in Cusco
We came across cobblestone streets, colorful markets, llamas, saw women dressed in traditional clothes (called Pollera) and were witnesses to how they were weaving those lovely patterns.
The whole day we were surrounded by the strong presence of history and culture. And what excites us is that in spite of the fall of the Inca Empire in the late 1500s, people here still practice their culture, speak Quechua, dress traditional clothing and celebrate traditional festivals.
One day is not even close to enough to explore this city but the day was, and it was time to move to Machu Picchu – the place we were naturally most excited to visit in Peru.
Next destination of our Peru travel itinerary was Machu Picchu
Early the next morning we boarded the train (Peru rail) to head to Machu Picchu. During the 3-hour train ride, there were plenty of things to see! By going deeper into forests, we were passing through green hills, rolling valleys, mountains, and farmlands.
However, when you take the train you don’t arrive directly to Machu Picchu but Aguas Calientes; the small city below on the footsteps of the mountain and an entry point for Machu Picchu.
To get to Machu Picchu you have two choices; either taking a bus or choose the hiking option. We went for the latter to get fascinated by the hills and nature. Of course, after hiking for a couple of meters (it’s about 2400m), we got short of breath (this is the time when you promise yourself to attend gym when you get back to your normal life, and you don’t obviously).
Sweaty, dirty and tired, we eventually reached the main gate of Machu Picchu. We entered, and my breath was taken away…! The view of ancient ruins and being surrounded by huge mountains and clouds were just WOW!! It is something that cannot felt by seeing a photograph, but you need your own eyes to understand it fully.
The issue we had there was the rainy weather; in the beginning, the fog was hanging very thick, but after some time it began to disappear, and we were just fascinated how perfectly the Incas made their bricks. But again it would be better if we had traveled here during the season.
While wandering around the ruins of Machu Picchu, we had a little surprise waiting for us – llamas running around freely.
The last thing we did here before moving to the next city was getting our passports stamped!
Ollantaytambo - the last city of our trip to Peru
The last city of our Peru travel itinerary was visiting a small and charming Inca village called Ollantaytambo where we stayed overnight. The town is picturesque with impressive stonework and narrow cobblestoned streets.
Another part of Peruvian culture we enjoyed was tasting their food which is a culinary world leader and had a huge impact on global cuisine.
You’ll taste so many delicious foods there. But make you sure you don’t miss these dishes; Cuy, Causa, Ceviche Mixto, Alfajor, Papas la Huancaina.
Machu Picchu is just about every traveler’s bucket list. But there is more than just the Incas ruins in Peru, and you need at least 1-2 weeks to explore the whole country. We regret that couldn’t plan a longer trip to be able to visit the Rainbow mountain or Colca Canyon or be physically prepared to hike the Inca trail, but this is a great reason to come back ever since, isn’t it?
I hope my story motivated you enough to visit this fantastic country. I know, I used so many words like “the most,” “the best,” “amazing” and many others but that’s what Peru is.
I’ll leave here some tips and a bucket list. Feel free to steal it 😉
Peru Bucket List
- Wander the Plaza de Armas and around Cusco.
- Find “The Last Supper” painting which features a roast guinea pig
- Get your passport stamped in Machu Picchu (PHOTO)
- Sample local delicacy; Cuy, Ceviche Mixto, Alfajor, Causa
- Learn some history of Incas
- Take a selfie with locals but ask or give some money beforehand
- Taste their traditional cocktail Pisco sour and Inca Cola
- See alpaca and llamas
- Meet the weavers of the region and buy a piece of Peruvian clothing; hat, gloves, scarf -anything
- Get high on coca leaves in Coca museum
- Learn some Quechua (I remember the word “welcome”=haykuykuy!)