Peru and Bolivia in 3 Weeks - Our Unforgettable Journey to Peru and Bolivia


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Are you planning to visit Peru or Bolivia in the near future? If yes, then scroll down a find some great ideas of what to do and see in Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks!

We've prepared a short overview of our unforgettable journey to these amazing countries with its stunning landscapes and friendly people. Enjoy and feel free to ask some questions regarding the route!

Questions and answers

How did you travel to Peru?

From Stuttgart via Amsterdam to Lima and the same way back

How much did you pay for the flight?

KLM Airlines: 820 EUR for the return flight; LAN Airlines: Flight from Cusco to Lima: 180 EUR

What was your route? Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - travel itinerary

Lima - Paracas - Islas Ballestas - Arequipa - Chivay - Canon del Colca - Puno - Lake Titicaca - Copacabana - La Paz - Uyuni - La Paz - Puno - Cuzco - Machu Picchu - Cusco - Lima

How did you travel within Peru and Bolivia?

Travelling by bus - most of the time with Cruz del Sur and flying from Cusco to Lima

How long did you stay in Peru and Bolivia?

3 weeks, sunny almost every day, except 1 hour of rain in Cusco

Is it possible to see Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks?

Yes, it is possible. However, if you do the route we did, you can stay max. 2 to 3 days in one place

Peru and Bolivia in 3 Weeks

Peru

1st stop: Lima, Miraflores

After 22 hours of travelling by car, plane and taxi we've finally arrived to our hostel in Lima. First we've travelled by car from Zurich to Stuttgart (2 hours). Then we flew from Stuttgart to Amsterdam, followed by the flight from Amsterdam to Lima (12 hours).

Flying with KLM was - if you ask me - a very shaky, turbulent flight - whereas if you ask Jerry  - a very pleasant flight :P

 

Once we arrived in Lima, we wanted to see the lovely part of the capital city - Miraflores.

Miraflores is a calm district, a good 30 min drive from the airport. It is located at the coastline. We enjoyed the long strolls along the coast, with nice views of the surfers' paradise and palm trees. 

 

TAKE A STROLL ALONG THE COASTLINE

GO PARAGLIDING

CYCLE ALONG THE COAST

SURF

Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Lima - District Miraflores
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Lima - District Miraflores

We were impressed by how many local people were doing sports - running, cycling, inline skating, fitness, aerobics.. They all looked very sporty and healthy. Respect!

Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Lima - District Miraflores
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Lima - District Miraflores

Once we walked the stairs down to the beach, we saw many surfing schools. Unfortunately, we didn't have the time to try out surfing.. but hey, maybe you can do it!?

What I really liked seeing is people coming from their jobs and going straight to the beach to surf. I've also got the impression that people have a good work-life balance here. For a second I thought, it would be nice to stay here longer and experience that. 

Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Lima, District Barranco
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Lima, District Barranco

2nd stop: Paracas

Paracas was probably one of my favourite stops in Peru! Nice beaches, palm trees, bars, restaurants, hammocks everywhere! :) ooohh..I loved it! oh and nice sunsets!!

 

LAY IN A HAMMOCK

ENJOY THE SUNSET

TRY OUT QUINOA SOUP

ORDER A FISH PLATE

Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Paracas
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Paracas
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Paracas
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Paracas

3rd stop: Islas Ballestas

We booked our trip to the "poor man's Galapagos islands aka. Islas Ballestas" from our hostel Backpackers Paracas House. By the way, a hostel worth to visit (and meet the owner Alberto!).

A trip worth to do if you like sea lions, penguins, dolphins and birds!

TAKE A BOAT TRIP TO THE ISLANDS

ENJOY THE VARIOUS BIRD SPECIES 

TAKE A PHOTO OF A SEA LION

BE IMPRESSED BY THE DOLPHINS

SEE PENGUINS

Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Islas Ballestas
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Islas Ballestas
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Islas Ballestas
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Islas Ballestas
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Sea lions, Islas Ballestas
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Sea lions, Islas Ballestas
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Dolphins, Islas Ballestas
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Dolphins, Islas Ballestas

4th stop: Paracas National Reserve

Some people are saying it's not really worth it, but sorry guys, I don't agree with you! 

Here is why:

 

ENJOY THE VIEW OF THE TURQUISE WATER

TAKE A PHOTO OF THE RED COAST

FEEL LIKE IN A DESERT

Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Paracas National Reserve
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Paracas National Reserve
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Paracas National Reserve
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Paracas National Reserve
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Red coast, Paracas National Reserve
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Red coast, Paracas National Reserve

5th stop: Huacachina

Worth visiting is also Huacachina. However, 1-2 days are enough to explore the amazing oasis in the middle of the dunes. One of the most memorable moments was climbing up the sand dune and watching the sunset. It was so romantic! :) I wouldn't recommend swimming in the lake! Please don't do that... 

 

CLIMB A DUNE AND ENJOY THE SUNSET

TAKE A BUGGY RIDE

GO SANDBOARDING

Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Huacachina
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Huacachina
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Buggy ride, Huacachina
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Buggy ride, Huacachina
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Sandboarding, Huacachina
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Sandboarding, Huacachina

6th stop: Arequipa

Arequipa (2300 meters above sea level) is the second largest city in Peru. Fresh air, cold mornings and evenings. The view of the vulcano El Misti was fantastic. We were so happy with the hostel we chose. It was called Bothy Hostel Arequipa. It had a nice terrace with hammocks and tasty breakfast with fresh juices. In addition, the staff was very friendly and helpful. 

TRY OUT COCA TEA

CHEW COCA LEAVES

BOOK A HIKING TOUR

Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Arequipa
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Arequipa

7th stop: Chivay

We made just a short stop in Chivay (3600 m above sea level), which is a nice little town in the Colca canyon. You can see typical locals and try the tasty Tuna fruit or juice. The landscape is trully breathtaking.

TRY A FRUIT CALLED TUNA

Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Chivay
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Chivay

8th stop: Trekking Cañon del Colca

We've booked the 2-day tour to Canon del Colca via our hostel. The price was about 70 USD (entrance to the Colca canyon included) per person. Quite expensive but worth it! And here is my suggestion - book a 3-day tour! Not only because of the great tour itself but also due to the difficulty of the route. The 2-day tour started with 8 hours of hiking down and a bit up on the first day and on the second day 3 hours of hiking UP (!) at 4 am. It was steam and exhausting. However, it was one of the most beautiful hiking tours I've ever been on. Our guide, Carlos, was a great man, had many good stories to tell and had answers to all our questions!

ENJOY THE VIEWS

TEST YOUR LIMITS

SOAK YOUR FEET INTO THE POOL

TAKE A PHOTO OF LAMAS AND ALPACAS

Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Trekking Cañon del Colca
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Trekking Cañon del Colca
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Trekking Cañon del Colca
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Trekking Cañon del Colca
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Trekking Cañon del Colca
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Trekking Cañon del Colca
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Trekking
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Trekking
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Trekking Cañon del Colca
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Trekking Cañon del Colca
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Trekking Cañon del Colca
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Alpacas and llamas

9th stop: Puno

When we stepped out of the bus, we felt a bit dizzy. Since Puno lies at 3800 metres above sea level, dizziness is not uncommon. A lovely city with almost 120 000 inhabitants, can be pretty cold in the mornings and evenings. Luckily, we had a great hostel with a heating oven! :) 

Once we checked-in at the hostel, we went on the market, where we bought fresh vegetables from a friendly local. It was the first time we've cooked a dinner on our trip! To mention its ingredients - pasta with onions, tomatoes, avocado and carrots! And why is this special? Because it tasted soooo good - a lot better than it does in Europe!! The vegetables had 1000 times more taste than here in Europe. Sorry, but it's the truth..

CLIMB UP TO HAVE A BETTER VIEW

BUY FRUITS AND VEGETABLES ON THE MARKET

Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Trekking Cañon del Colca
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Puno
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Puno
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Puno

10th stop: Lake Titicaca

HAVE A LOOK INTO PEOPLE'S HOMES

TRY OUT THEIR CLOTHES

Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Lake Titicaca, Puno
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Lake Titicaca, Puno
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Lake Titicaca, Puno
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Lake Titicaca, Puno
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Lake Titicaca, Puno
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Lake Titicaca, Puno
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Lake Titicaca, Puno
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Lake Titicaca, Puno
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Peru
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Peru

Bolivia

Crossing the border between Peru and Bolivia was actually quite a cool experience. All you have to do is fill out a form and show your documents (unless you're from the US, in which case, you have to buy a visa). The police and customs officers were really nice to us and we had absolutely no issues coming across. 

PREPARE YOUR PASSPORT

DON'T LOSE THE IMMIGRATION PAPER

Crossing the border to Peru
Crossing the border to Peru

11th stop: Copacabana, Bolivia

Not to be confused with the brasilian Copacabana, the Bolivian one is a fun little town at the coast of lake Titicaca. It's a bit touristy, but there are nice restaurant or bars with nice views just waiting to be visited. What I would really recommed is take a few hours and climb the hill above the city and just enjoy the breathtaking views of the lake and the city.

SIP A FRESH JUICE AT THE BEACH

CLIMB UP THE NEAREST HILL AND ENJOY THE VIEWS

BOOK A TRIP TO ISLA DEL SOL

Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Uyuni salt flats
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Uyuni salt flats
Copacabana, Bolivia
Copacabana, Bolivia

12th stop: Uyuni salt flats

Pictures don't do justice to the amazingness of the view. It's just breathtaking and unique. Definetely one of the highlights of the trip. 

TAKE FUNNY PHOTOS AT THE SALT FLATS

FEEL LOST

ENJOY THE ISLAND FULL OF CACTUS

Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Uyuni salt flats
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Uyuni salt flats
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Uyuni salt flats
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Uyuni salt flats
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Uyuni salt flats
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Uyuni salt flats
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Uyuni salt flats
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Uyuni salt flats

13th stop: La Paz

La Paz lies at 3600 m above sea level and has about 2 million inhabitants (just like the country I come from). We just spent a day there and quite frankly it was enough. The panorama of the city is worth seeing, other than that, it's a large crowded city, just like many others (or maybe it was just us being tired after two straight nights on the bus).

VISIT THE PARK

TAKE A PANORAMA PHOTO

La Paz, Bolivia
La Paz, Bolivia
La Paz, Bolivia
La Paz, Bolivia

Back to Peru

14th stop: 3-day Inca jungle trek

1st day: Cycling down from 4900 m.

2nd day: Zip lining.

3rd day: Climbing the Machu Picchu mountain.

 

Cost of this tour: 170 dollars

 

First, I had my concerns about the toughness of the tour. But it turned out to be an unforgettable tour with lots of fun, great people and nice hiking.

BIKE DOWN FROM 4900 METRES

GO ZIP LINING

ENJOY RAFTING

FEEL MISTIC

WALK 1720 STAIRS AT 5 PM

Cycling down from 4900 m - Day 1 of the Inca Jungle Trek
Cycling down from 4900 m - Day 1 of the Inca Jungle Trek

Cycling down from this altitude offers you stunning views of the valley, some adrenaline and a good training for your body.

Cycling down from 4900 m - Day 1 of the Inca Jungle Trek
Cycling down from 4900 m - Day 1 of the Inca Jungle Trek

Zip lining was lots of fun ...except of some people in the group who were screeming all the time (I don't like this at all..). However, everyone should try zip lining some day! 

Zip lining - Day 2 of the Inca Jungle Trek
Zip lining - Day 2 of the Inca Jungle Trek
Zip lining - Day 2 of the Inca Jungle Trek
Zip lining - Day 2 of the Inca Jungle Trek
Crossing this bridge was really funny
Crossing this bridge was really funny
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Avocado
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Avocado
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - The route to Machu Picchu
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - The route to Machu Picchu

Here is where the climbing to Machu Picchu starts - at Agua Calientes. The door to the Machu Picchu mountain opened at 5 am. and then? 1720 stairs. Yep. Don't ask. 

If you don't feel walking the stairs, you can take the bus!

Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Agua Calientes
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Agua Calientes
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Machu Picchu
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Machu Picchu
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Machu Picchu
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Machu Picchu
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Machu Picchu
Peru and Bolivia in 3 weeks - Machu Picchu

And why we'll come back?

There is no need to ask if we are planning to come back. The question is when would it be and what is our next destination in Peru and Bolivia. I don't have an answer yet to the first question but we do know what are the places we still wanna see. We would love to see the northern part of Peru - the Huaraz mountains, the beautiful Mancora beach and the Amazon Jungle!

 

To sum up, Peru is suitable for adventurers who love hiking, climbing, mountainbiking, rafting, zip lining, swimming and surfing. Except for the expensive tours, it is an affordable destination, the local people are friendly and willing to help, the food is fantastic - not only for meat lovers, also for vegetarians. The landscape changes all the time - from mountains, lakes, ocean, flatlands to deserts and oasis. A destination worth visiting!

 

In Bolivia, due to lack of time, we had to skip the famous Yungas Road also know as "Road of Death". Places like Isla del Sol, Tiwanaku, Sorata, Potosi and the Amazon Jungle will be also on our list when coming back. South America, see you soon. You're lovely!


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About the author

Is this section really necessary? Well, it seems so as many bloggers do that... So let's try it. I'm Sonja, I don't have a nickname. I'm here to give you some useful tips on your next travels. You can use them or not. In 2012 I moved abroad to change my life a bit. But hey, I'm repeating myself as I've already written about it here


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Comments: 10
  • #1

    Neja (Saturday, 14 June 2014 21:55)

    Amazing! That's definitely my next travel destination.

  • #2

    Sonja (Saturday, 14 June 2014 23:03)

    Hello Neja :) Great! I'm happy to hear that! I can only emphasize that travelling to these two countries is a must do. You won't regret it..

  • #3

    Artem (Tuesday, 17 June 2014 09:48)

    Must be exciting trip! Inspirational blog! I like it a lot!

  • #4

    Sonja (Tuesday, 17 June 2014 12:49)

    Thank you Artem. It's always nice to hear a positive feedback!
    And yes, the trip was amazing! Are you thinking of going there too?

  • #5

    Sidney (Saturday, 05 July 2014 20:20)

    Hi, I was wondering if you could talk more about your 3 day tour up to machu picchu? How difficult was it, did you camp out? where did you keep your belongings? How big was the group?

    Thanks!

  • #6

    Sonja (Saturday, 05 July 2014 21:52)

    Hello Sidney!
    We started our tour in Cuzco with 8 other guys. After 4 hours of driving we finally arrived to the top of the mountain where our biking tour started. First I thought I'm not gonna bike down. It seemed to be difficult and I was quite scared... However, the tour guide encouraged me to go and promised me to stop the van whenever I want to quit biking. So I went and it wasn't difficult at all.. I was really enjoying the views and the 3-hours of biking. And I did the whole route. It is 3 hours of biking but we didn't go fast and we stopped twice. After biking we continued our trip to a small village where we had lunch. There, our group split to people who went on a 3-day tour and people who payed for a 4-day tour (the 4-day tour includes an additional day of 7-hours walking). So the next 2 days we were a group of 7 people. We slept in a small mountain village in a hotel which was clean but nothing special. On the next day after breakfast we did some zip lining (nothing to be scared of..just go!) and then walked for about 3 hours along the tracks to reach our hotel in Agua Calientes. This walk isn't difficult at all. It's neither going down or up.. But be prepared for the next, last day where you either walk the 1720 stairs up to Machu Picchu at 5 am or you take the bus at 5:30 am. Climbing up is pretty exhausting, it is managable though. It is a 1 hour and 15 min hike with some short stops. However, when you arrive to the main entrance of Machu Picchu expect another 10 min of walking up to reach the highest point of the Machu Picchu ruines. I recommend going in the early mornings as the ruines are not crowded with tourists yet and seeing the sunrise is awesome! In the middle of the day it can get very hot. Have a lot of water with you but drink it before entering the Machu Picchu ruines. It is not allowed to drink or eat once you are there. After you have seen it all, please be smart and take the bus down to the base of Machu Picchu! Don't walk because your legs will most likely to start hurting and the buses will poison you with dust while passing you.. :) After this, we has to walk the same 3 hours back as in our package the train ride back wasn't included. Our feet hurt but it was a great feeling when we finally conquered it! So, to sum up, we stayed at hotels (no luxury!), take a lot of water and food with you, take the bus down to Agua Calientes, ask the agency if the train ticket back is included and have a bigger backpack with you 'cause of all the clothes, food and drinks. We carried our stuff all the time with us but there is a possibility to leave your bags at the hotel in Agua Calientes.
    Sidney, let me know if any questions are still unanswered! When are you planning to visit Machu Picchu?

  • #7

    Sidney (Tuesday, 08 July 2014 19:17)

    Thanks for the info! I'm thinking about going late April/early may of 2015. You mentioned a 3hr walk back, was that back to your hotel or down the mountain? Can does a ticket down have to be purchased before hand? did you book this whole tour before you left or while you where there?

  • #8

    Sonja (Tuesday, 08 July 2014 22:01)

    Hi Sidney

    I think late April, early May is the best time to go! Great, you can look forward to it!
    I've written some useful information regarding the Machu Picchu tour here - please have a look: http://www.myhammocktime.com/2014/04/12/all-about-travelling-in-peru/
    The 3-hour walk was from the hotel in Agua Calientes (the base of Machu Picchu) back to the point where the van picks you up.
    The Inca Jungle Trek can be booked upon arrival in Cuzco. We've booked it only 1 day in advance. Since you are not going in the peak season, there shouldn't be a problem with booking it last minute.
    If you thinking of doing the classic 4-day Inca Tour, be sure to book it at least half a year before travelling to Peru! This tour is very popular. However, the Inca Jungle Trek is pretty awesome.

  • #9

    Michaela (Saturday, 20 February 2016 11:56)

    Hi Sonja, amazing overview! I went to those two countries 3 months ago and I loved both. I did more of less the same, except Puno - we did only the Bolivian side of Titicaca.

  • #10

    Qing (Friday, 02 September 2016 21:04)

    HI!

    Your trips look amazing!
    Whic tourgroup did u go with for the 3-day Inca jungle trek in Peru?