Like Bolivia, I entered and left by land, and I went north to south as well. And inland a bit. I came into Peru from Ecuador. I crossed the border through the Ecuador border town, Huaquillas. This was apparently a place to take real care in. I’d taken the bus from Cuenca in Ecuador to the border, and then transferred to a bus from Huaquilla (still in Ecuador) which crossed the border and went all the way down to Piura.
This really was an incredible part of South America. It was just rolling desert that came all the way up to the ocean and cliffs. What an incredible road to cut a swathe through all that sand! Piura itself is a desert city. I was only there for an hour or so to swap buses again to take the next trip to Lima. From Cuenca to Piura was a little over 12 hours I think, Piura to Lima was a bit longer.
So my first real stop in Peru was the quite incredible, packed, dusty and overwhelming capital of Lima. Lima is not my idea of a great city to live in. It’s in desperate need of decent public transport, and crime is an issue for travelers and locals alike. But having say that, it has flashy districts, amazing locations at the top of a cliff – Miraflores is the swankiest place to visit with stunning views.
There are amazing cathedrals too – the Cathedral de San Francisco certainly is worth visiting, with catacombs and a great tour. And there are also ancient ruins in Lima as well. Huaca Pullana is where you go if you’re looking for an ancient city to explore.
From Lima it was around 15 hours in another bus – but the buses I took in Peru were the best I took anywhere in South America with large reclining seats only three across – and this journey again seemed to be 99% desert via the coast. This journey took me to the city of Arequipa.
This city is manageable mostly by foot, and has an interesting convent to visit and a few other things including the Museum Santuarios Andios, which is home to a famous mummy found in the Andes, Juanita.
From there I took a day trip to the Culco Canyon. Which is not a great idea, I would definitely recommend a night or two in the canyon if time allows.
From there another comfortable night bus ride took me to Cusco, a great town with loads to see. From there it was a three-hour train trip to the Sacred Valley (many will want to do a trek) to Aguas Calientes. This is the town close to Macchu Picchu where people stay to visit it.
After seeing this amazing ancient city I returned to Cusco, and then a bus to the town of Puno which was around 6 hours from Cusco. It looked like it might be interesting and a decent hopping off point for visiting Lake Titicaca. The next day I was off to Bolivia, around 3 hours by bus.
So that was my itinerary in Peru. A summary –
Huaquillas to Piura (around 7 hours)
Piura to Lima (around 15 hours)
Three nights in Lima
Lima to Arequipa (16 hours)
Three nights in Arequipa
Arequipa to Cusco (around 10 hours)
A night in Cusco
Train to Macchu Picchu/Aguas Calientes (3 hours)
Two nights in Aguas Calientes
Return to Cusco
Three nights in Cusco
Cusco to Puno (around 6-7 hours)
One night in Puno
On to Bolivia/Copacabana
Thanks for reading. May the Journey Never End!