Folkloristic local dances, traditional vivid costumes, engaging music and a really tasty, foodie-proof gastronomy: all you need to pack for your Peru getaway is a huge amount of curiosity and excitement.

Ten thousand years of history and the prestigious legacy of the Inca empire magically blend in a country that’s also world-renowned for its astonishing naturalistic heritage, boasting a spectacular, ultra-diverse landscape: the huge undulated dunes of the coastal deserts stretch out into immense regions of cultivated land; colorful fishermen’s villages show up among buzzy colonial cities; and from the depths of tropical rainforests to the very peaks of snowy mountains, all you need to pack for your Peru getaway is a huge amount of curiosity and excitement.

There are populations that speak more than 50 native languages eclectically expressed through folkloristic local dances, traditional vivid costumes, engaging music and a really tasty, foodie-proof gastronomy. Wondering why Lima was named Gastronomic Capital of America by Peru National Institute of Culture? Go check out the authentic Peruvian ceviche in one of the city’s best restaurants (scroll down a little to discover more). Then get a taste of Peru’s unique mix of Latin vibes and colonial background by sipping an iconic Pisco Sour. You won’t need to stay long to realize the “New World” was home of a very charming, rich culture much earlier than when Pizarro came along.


They call it the City of Kings, since Francisco Pizarro founded it in 1535: it’s Lima, one of the most fascinating art centers of South America and a lively, dynamic city that makes the perfect starting point for your journey across Peru’s immense variety.

Everything started out in Plaza de Armas, also known as Plaza Mayor: surrounded by majestic historical buildings such as the Cathedral, Palacio de Gobierno and Palacio Arzobispal, the oldest square of the city became its economic and cultural core during the colonial period and it’s still a major gathering point today, hosting various celebrations, markets and bullfights. It also shows a beautiful bronze fountain where locals go to cool off during the hottest sunny days.

Not far from here, Museo Convento de Santo Domingo will surprise you with its paintings and sculptures, leaving you absolutely breathless in front of an incredible coffered ceiling masterfully made of hand-carved wood.

Lima, though, deserves more than a stroll around the city center: go down to Barranco and Miraflores neighborhoods to get involved in a truly unique, legendary experience.

Barrio Barranco went from being a posh bourgeois seaside retreat at the beginning of the twentieth century to becoming the true bohemian soul of the city. Home to artists, musicians and poets, the district is filled with buzzy bars and restaurants, inspiring art galleries and cool craft shops. The MATE by Mario Testino is surely something you can’t miss here: located in an elegant building dating back to the late nineteenth century, it hosts temporary exhibitions and a stunning permanent collection including gorgeous pictures of Lady D. If you feel like jumping a little back farther in time, head to Learco Museum and admire one of the largest collections of pre-Columbian art in South America.

Miraflores is the modern heart of the city. Located in the south of Lima, it boasts a very strategic position: overlooking the Pacific Ocean from tall, jagged cliffs, Miraflores offers astonishing views at any time of day. Known for its long beaches, the stunning "Costa Verde" and the energetic, challenging waves, it’s an authentic surfers’ paradise. The less adventurous won’t feel disappointed either, as Miraflores is a truly cool destination for foodies and shopping addicts too.

Those who are searching for more of an oriental twist should head to Maido, the very temple of Nikkei cuisine: you won’t only find great food here but also a very lively – and for sure lovely – festive atmosphere.

Moving towards Barrio Barranco, Central Restaurante is chef Virgilio Martinez’s stage: get seated and let him guide you through a sensory journey of discovery across the country’s typical flavors, scents and colors.

Try to ask someone from Lima what’s their favorite thing about their hometown and they’ll surely answer ceviche. If you are wandering around Miraflores neighborhood and you experience a sudden craving, then head to Restaurante Alfresco: order ceviche and you’ll probably end up reserving a table for the next day too.

Rafael restaurant by Rafael Osterling is another delicious destination also located in the chic Miraflores area. The menu draws on Peru's diverse culinary heritage and combines local ingredients with Italian, Asian and Nikkei influences. The grilled octopus with pimento chimichurri, Kalamata olives and garlic confit is definitely a must try.

Shopping in Lima deserves a mention. Located within the buzzy Barranco district, Dédalo offers a huge collection of works made by local artists who display and sell their many creations, from crafts to jewelry and luxury items.

For more handicrafts, go down to Mercados Inca and Lamaland, a precious hidden gem often recommend by locals themselves. You’ll most likely end up finding the best gifts and souvenirs to bring back home with you: driving to work in the morning traffic will probably feel much less depressing if you wear a bright orange Peruvian shawl.

Talking about hotels in Lima, belle Époque style encounters a contemporary flair at Hotel B, in the heart of the vibrant Barranco district. It’s a very elegant Relais & Chateaux with only 20 rooms dedicated to guests who wish to enjoy elegance and tranquility in a very artsy space that also houses its own private collection.

Hotel de Autor is a top choice too: conveniently located in Miraflores neighborhood and surrounded by the coolest bars, restaurants, cafes and shops, the hotel is furnished with unique taste and characterized by a cozy, homely atmosphere.

Atemporal Hotel is also nestled in the chic Miraflores area. Housed in a beautiful 1940s revamped mansion, the property is renowned for the remarkably efficient concierge service that pays impeccable attention to fully satisfy – and actually anticipate – each guests’ needs and desires.

Day 2

From Lima, make your way southbound to reach Paracas National Reserve, known as one of the richest marine ecosystems in the world. Thanks to the cold, clean waters, plankton, fish and algae are able to proliferate freely, encouraging sea lions, penguins and over 200 varieties of birds to come over, feed and rest here. Somewhere you should consider stopping by, especially if you are a fan of wildlife more than people watching. If you’re more of a sporty type, hit the waves and go surfing in the Ocean or experience horse riding by the beach for a truly exciting adventure.


The second city of Peru by population, Arequipa is where the sun shines for more than 300 days a year. Known as the Ciudad Blanca, it owes its nickname to the many buildings built in sillar, a local white stone similar to tufa. Three majestic volcanoes make of Arequipa’s skyline a perfect photographic set.

Arequipa is also an important center for alpaca breeding, which explains its long-lasting partnership with the Italian town of Biella, historical textile district located in Piedmont and home to many world-renowned fashion houses such as Ermenegildo Zegna.

Santa Catalina Monastery looks like a colorful village within the city: the walls are painted blue and red, kaleidoscopic plants and flowers are placed at each corner and creaking wooden doors embellish the rooms. Make sure you take at least half a day to visit the monastery, as its surface its huge and you may end up getting lost among the beautiful, labyrinthine cloisters and courtyards: a thrilling experience you should really not miss.

Head to Plaza de Armas to see the great white Cathedral, the only one in Peru that stretches out as much as a whole square. The Cathedral also owns a distinctly international flair: columns are made of Italian marble, the huge Byzantine-style brass lamp comes from Spain and the pulpit was artfully carved in France. Chill out with a restoring cup of mate de coca after your tour and enjoy the view of the city’s rooftops at sunset.

If you really want to make the most of these sunny days, head to Mirador viewpoint in Carmen Alto village. Take a taxi from the city center and in less than 30 minutes you’ll be impressed by a really spectacular view over the surrounding green valleys, the snowy peaks and the three volcanoes.

For shopping, just a few blocks northern than Plaza de Armas, Fundo el Fierro artisan’s market opens up mid-morning and offers a huge selection of crafts, jewelry, trinkets and souvenirs. Enough for you to make your suitcase full and your friends satisfied.

For food, locals love La Nueva Palomino restaurant, a long-running picantería that serves Arequipan specialties in a cozy, friendly environment characterized by great atmosphere and good service. Sip chica de jora (fermented corn beer) in the courtyard and get a taste of a truly excellent ricoto ralleno, a traditional recipe of delicious meat-stuffed peppers.

Day 4
Lake Titicaca

If you believe sky is the limit, then fill up your bottle with mate the coca and keep going uphill towards Lake Titicaca: tucked in between mountains, the huge, blue basin – located at 3812 m above the sea – is the highest navigable lake in the world.

According to the Inca, this deep, vast and cold lake, nestled in the Andes between Bolivia and Peru was the birthplace of god Sun and of the world itself. Curious fact, the location was also chosen by Walt Disney for the first episode of his famous movie Saludos Amigos, a classic masterpiece released back in 1942.

One of the major highlights of the Titicaca experience is a trip to the Uros Floating Islands: get to know one of the most fascinating cultures of the continent by spending one night as a guest of a local family. Surrounded by a spectacularly peaceful landscape and the lovely company of a truly welcoming community, you’ll magically end up forgetting about the stresses and concerns of modern life. Surely a must do.

If you have enough time, arrange a two-day tour that will take you from the floating lands to the larger natural islands of Amanataní and Taquile, where you’ll be able to catch one of the most memorable sunsets of a lifetime.

Day 5
Belmond Express

Depart on a luxury journey along one of the world’s highest train routes. The extraordinary travel experience will take you from Puno, Lake Titicaca, to Cuzco, across lake and mountains, from countryside to villages: a very stylish train ride that’s absolutely worth taking.

Day 6

Most travelers are likely to use Cuzco as a launching point for Machu Picchu, but the city itself and its surroundings definitely deserves a visit. Former capital on the Inca Empire, Cuzco lies high up in the Peruvian Andes. Spend a couple of days to explore Cuzco and the surrounding as a deep dive into the Inca civilization/history.

Just a short walk away from the main Plaza de Armas with its wonderful Cathedral, the artisan district of San Blas is renowned for its architecture and peculiar shops where you’ll love to spend time searching for pretty souvenirs. After taking a couple snaps in front of the picturesque Iglesia San Blas, move towards San Pedro Market to continue your shopping spree and stop for a refreshing, re-energizing vitamin-filled fruit juice. Go in the morning to see locals eating by the stalls and make the most of a truly authentic moment.

Worried you gained weight after your gastronomic Lima tour? Go up in the mountains for some fresh air and you’ll be back on track for more. Head to Cuzco and reserve a table at Uchu, a Peruvian steakhouse that serves traditional dishes in an ultra sophisticated and glamorous environment with an international flair.

Wonderfully located in the heart of Cuzco, opposite San Blas Square and its famous church, Pachapapa is a cozy, homely restaurant with a very pretty patio. Specialties here include roasted beef tenderloin and guinea pig traditionally cooked in a huge wood oven that surely calls for unique Instagram stories.

Have you started feeling dizzy because of the altitude? Try moving a step closer to the coast without leaving the Andes: at Ceviche Seafood Kitchen you’ll recognize the vibes of an authentic Peruvian cevicheria right in the center of Cuzco. We swear it’ll feel like eating by the Ocean; well, maybe bring a woolen Peruvian sweater with you…go on and read where to find a good one!

For shopping, San Blas has a bohemian soul: get down to San Pedro Market and enjoy a really folkloristic experience in the coolest district of the city. Wander across the many colorful stands filled with fruit, vegetable and meat and stop by one of the over 30 juice stalls to grab some freshly squeezed refreshment.

Day 7
The Sacred Valley

Now you’re ready to leave Cuzco town and go explore its incredible surroundings. Before you head to Machu Picchu, take some time to visit the Sacred Valley: located just 15 km north of Cuzco, it’s a lush green stretch of land characterized by favorable climatic conditions. On your adventure, do not miss a trip to the Salinas de Maras, one of the main attractions of the Sacred Valley together with Morey archeological site and Pisac village (make sure you check out the artisans’ market here for some more high-altitude shopping).

Day 8
The Rainbow Mountain

The Rainbow Mountain, or Vinicunca Mountain, is, according to the National Geographic, one of the 100 places you should visit at least once in a lifetime. The tour leaving from Cuzco can be completed in one day and, though quite strenuous due to the extremely high altitude of the whole trail, is absolutely worthwhile: sediments of stones and minerals of many different colors have created an incredibly beautiful scenery you will never forget. An alternative to hiking, horse riding is a great way to complete the path: it’ll also give you more chance to enjoy the landscape without risking to trip over!

The Inca Trail

The Inca Trail heading to Machu Picchu is an extraordinary adventure. Ideally, you should plan it in the summer (from June to August) to get the driest weather possible; though, with the right equipment and appropriate guidance you may choose to go anytime. Make sure you choose a four-day tour including the hike to Huayna Picchu in order to make the most of your audacious climb towards the Sun. It’s something truly incredible that will – literally – take your breath away.

If you worry your legs may complain a little bit too much during the trek, it doesn’t mean you should forget about it: the train journey from Cuzco to Machu Picchu will fill your eyes in with the same level of magnificence, without putting too much stress on your poor muscles.

Day 10

Vast and impenetrable, Peru Amazon rainforest is a world apart: here, there are populations that never got in contact with any others and an incredible, super various mix of flora and fauna. Step into the wild and experience how it feels to live by the Jungle in Iquitos and Puerto Maldonado.

The Jungle has never felt cozier: Posada Amazonas offers a rustic yet luxurious shelter to the most adventurous travelers wanting to make the most of their rainforest experience. Located right on the banks of river Tambopata, it’s a 45-minute boat ride from the town of Puerto Maldonado. Enjoy bird watching and make friends with monkeys while sipping the wildest Pisco Sour you’ve ever tasted right at the local bar.