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12 days in Peru: Itinerary, budget, guide, advice

There are two places in Peru that we wanted to visit absolutely: Machu Picchu and the lake Titicaca on the Peruvian side. Because of the lack of time, we did not devote the time that it was necessary to visit the surroundings of these two zones.




Sacred Valley

Machu Picchu

Rainbow Mountain

Puno and Lake Titicaca

What we liked

  1. Lake Titicaca
  2. Excursions around Cusco
  3. Machu Picchu

What we didn’t like

  1. The quality/price ratio for Machu Picchu
  2. Driving in Peru, too aggressive


In total : 2760 soles (782€ ) including 1360 soles (385€) dedicated to Machu Picchu – 2 persons, 12 days

  • Hosting

    • 22€-24€ double room in Cusco or Aguas Calientes
    • 14€ per double room in Puno

  • Food

    • At the local market: 6-12 soles/meal/person
    • At the local restaurant: 8-15 soles/meal/person
    • At the tourist restaurant: 25-35 soles/meal/person. There are 15 soles menus too but it is very disappointing

  • Drink

    • 4-5 soles the bottle of water 2,5L at the supermarket
    • Juice: between 4 and 8 soles

  • Transport

    • La paz – copacabana – Cusco: 39$ with Bolivia Hop
    • Cusco – Ollantaytambo: 10 soles per person in colectivo/minivan, 2hrs
    • Ollantaytambo – Aguas calientes: 57$ one way by train (Inca Rail), 57$ return by train (Inca Rail)
    • Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu : 24$ round trip by bus
    • Cusco – Puno : 60 soles in cama class or 45 soles in semi cama class with Tour Peru
    • Puno – Copacabana: 20 soles with Titicaca bus
    • Bus terminal fee: 1-1.5 soles/person

  • Excursions :

    • Sacred Valley: 30 soles/person + 35 soles for lunch + 70 soles for the entrance (boleto parcial) = 135 soles/person
    • Rainbow Mountain: 65 soles/person, meal included
    • Uros Islands + Taquile Island : 25 soles + 5 soles the entrance + 10 soles the traditional boat trip + 20 soles the lunch = 60 soles/person

  • Laundry: 2.5 soles/kg

Recommended addresses

  • Hotel in Cusco: Feel at home ( link Booking), a little noisy but very well located. Copious breakfast. 22€/night double room, shared bathroom. We were able to get the room right away despite the morning arrival at 6am
  • Hotel in Aguas Calientes : Cusi Qoyllor ( link Booking), well located, quiet. Breakfast from 4:30 am. 24€/night double room with private bathroom
  • Hotel in Puno: Posada Percyval ( Booking link), a few minutes from the bus terminal and the port. 14€/night double room with private bathroom. Watch out for the neighbor’s dogs, cross the street right away instead of turning left when leaving the hotel.
  • Massage : Ajna in Cusco
  • Inca Rail : physical store on the Plaza de Armas
  • Tourist agencies in Cusco: none are 100% recommended. Compare prices and services
  • Tour Peru Bus: tickets on sale in tourist agencies (free of charge) or at the bus terminal Terminal Terrestre in Cusco (5 soles by cab from the center)

Practical advice

Machu Picchu

I liked Machu Picchu, but I found the price excessive. And then, there was so much publicity and expectation towards this “wonder of the world” that inevitably, I was a little disappointed.

I have already written two practical guides AND a travel diary here :


Much more decent than in Bolivia (cleaner, better equipped, hot shower) but also more expensive. The economic double room costs between 14€ and 24€. We did not want to test the dormitories.


Avoid fake cabs and take real cabs with the company’s phone number posted on the roof.

Shared cabs (colectivos) are a good means of transportation, especially in the Sacred Valley. The rates and places of departure will be given to you at the tourist office (iPerú or Dircetur).

The buses are of better quality than in Bolivia. If you are touring Peru, choose the bus hop on hop off Peru Hop which is a little bit more expensive than the local bus but which will drop you off directly at the tourist sites and/or in front of your hotel.

I took Tour Peru for the night trip Cusco – Puno. I found the driving a bit aggressive. For Puno – Copacabana, I took Titicaca bus, which I recommend.

Inca Express is a luxurious bus that connects Cusco and Puno in 10 hours with English-speaking guides. There are 5 stops with guided tours on the way. It costs 50$/person. I have seen a lot of negative feedback on this company but it is 2 years old. I did not take it myself.

Attention, before leaving the bus terminal, each passenger must pay a “terminal tasa” tax, ranging from 1 to 1.5 soles/person.


In Cusco, it is very easy to find restaurants, hotels, spas and travel agencies that accept credit cards. Some of them still charge us between 3% and 10% extra for any credit card payment.

Scotiabank allows you to withdraw only small amounts (no more than 400 soles) but dispenses with small bills of 50 soles.

BCP allows you to withdraw large amounts (700 soles) but only dispenses with large bills (100-200 soles) which are a little difficult to sell.


Go to a Claro store. The SIM card costs 5 soles and 700MB for 15 days cost 25 soles. 3G in Peru is very slow.


The best prices can be found at the local market, where the menu of the day costs no more than 8 soles. However, it is in the tourist restaurants that you can taste traditional and new dishes such as alpaca steak or guinea pig. Any Peruvian will yell at you if he learns that you went to Peru without tasting them.

The Peruvian ceviche is the best of all South America. This dish is more expensive than the others, even at the local market. I highly recommend the one from the restaurant Barrio Ceviche in Cusco at 35 soles.


There are only two seasons in Peru: dry season and rainy season. Contrary to Bolivia, Peruvian showers are really hot with a good pressure, don’t be afraid to come to Peru in winter, in the dry season, which is also the high season. It will be cold but you will have sun at least.


In the evening, whatever the season, it will be cold. It is the occasion to crack for alpaca wool at the market (synthetic from 25 soles and authentic in the 350 soles). Of all South America, this is the country where I wanted to go shopping the most. If this is the last country you visit on a world tour, then good shopping!

Crossing borders

The border crossing Bolivia <-> Peru fears a little. The police officers of both countries are corrupt. It is better to pay a Puno – Copacabana trip or the opposite, instead of taking colectivos or cabs, it is the safest way. You will have to get off the bus, and cross a small market. This is the moment when you will be the most vulnerable.

Do not get into a police car. Hide your dollars, in case of a check, you don’t have to empty all the dollars out of your pocket, you know what I mean? If you need to, call the embassy right away.

Have some local currency on you, you may be asked for a little tip or your passport will not be stamped. Change only after you have your stamp.

There is a small piece of paper to keep after having your passport stamped, whether in Bolivia or Peru.

Attention Peru gives you the right to stay up to 90 days, but it is possible that the immigration officer will only allow you to stay for 30 days. Always check the validity of your stamp.

Recommended buses to Copacabana – Puno (or the other way around): Bolivia Hop, Peru Hop. In case of unavailability of these two buses, take Tour Peru or Titicaca.

Do not buy a Puno – La Paz ticket. Instead, buy a ticket to Copacabana and then from Copacabana, watch the buses and buy a ticket to La Paz with the bus you like the look of. If you buy Puno – La Paz via Copacabana, there is always a bus change in Bolivia. You might travel for 5 hours in a crowded local minivan instead of taking a tourist bus.

Mountain sickness

Coming from Bolivia, I suffered from altitude sickness in Bolivia, but I was able to acclimatize before going to Peru. However, on the two excursions made around Cuzco, there were always 1-2 people who felt very bad (headache or vomit). Spend at least 2 days in Cusco to acclimatize. You can buy medicine for this, without a prescription, at the pharmacy.

Coca leaves

Consumed everywhere in South America to counter mountain sickness, get rid of them before taking the plane (coca candies, coca leaves, coca tea etc.). It is still considered as cocaine even if it is very weakly dosed! The risk of addiction is low and all the hotels provide it to you for free.

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