Vacation coming up and thinking about visiting Cusco, Peru? We’d recommend booking at least 1 week in Cusco to make sure you fit in time for all the key sites without feeling rushed. One week is just enough time for acclimatization, free time to explore the Historic Center of Cusco, visiting Machu Picchu, and trying a local hike.
Here’s a potential itinerary for one week in Cusco:
- Day 1: All international flights arrive in Lima, so you’ll need to plan in around a day of travel from Lima to Cusco. The domestic flight from Lima to Cusco is a short one (around 1.5 hours), but factor in the fact that flight times don’t always line up perfectly, your connection time, and the time to get to your hotel in Cusco.
- Days 2-3: If possible, we always recommend at least 1 to 2 days at the beginning of your time in Cusco to acclimatize to the high altitude. Cusco is at the very high altitude of around 3,400 meters (11,150 feet), which causes altitude sickness in many of our travelers. See how you feel and get used to the environment by avoiding tours on the first couple of days. If you book a hotel in or near the historic center of Cusco, there’s plenty to see and do just walking around there.
- Days 4-5: Standard Machu Picchu tours require a minimum of 2 days. As an example, our most popular Machu Picchu tour is the Machu Picchu-Sacred Valley Tour, which involves taking advantage of the first day to visit tourist sites in the Sacred Valley along the way to Machupicchu Town, an overnight stay in Machupicchu Town, then the much-awaited Machu Picchu tour itself early on the 2nd day before heading back to Cusco.
- Day 6: Having spent various days at high altitude, you’re ready for a day hike. The second most popular tour in Cusco after Machu Picchu tours is the Rainbow Mountain 1-Day Tour, which involves around 1.5 hours of hiking. Other popular day trips from Cusco include the Humantay Lake Tour and the 7 Lakes Tour.
- Day 7: After having seen all the highlights of Cusco, Peru, you’re ready to head back home today. Retracing your steps, you’ll take a domestic flight from Cusco to Lima, Peru so that you can take an international flight back to your home country.