How We Got There
Points. Duh. I found a one way on United for 20k points a person + $48 taxes from CMH to Lima, Peru. That is THE cheapest I’ve found for an international one way using points on United. So total 40k points for my boyfriend and myself. With that said, United is my favorite airline for international travel.
We bought flights from Lima to Cusco on Avianca for less than $100 a person. There are flights just about every hour.
From Cusco, we flew to Lima, to Bogota to Cartagena. We paid $392 total for two people using Kiwi.com. $392/2= $196 a person.
From Cartagena we paid $1535 for two people. $1535/2=$767.50. including 2 checked bags!
Our trip was a hotel of 10 days and that was the perfect amount of time. Two days in Lima, 5 days in Cusco (the Inca trail is a 4 day hike if you want to do that) and 3 days in Colombia.
Where We Stayed
We only stayed in Lima for 2 nights which was plenty of time. We got there late and stayed a Second Home Peru which was a recommendation from the Chase Sapphire Reserve Facebook group that I’m in. Second Home had THE best breakfast included and it was so cute. Located in Barranco we were able to walk to the parks, beach and sites. We paid $330 total for four nights and stayed in a room with our friends. We ended up paying $30 extra each since breakfast was included so make sure to put the exact amount of people staying in the room when you book. So $330/4 people = $82.50 for two nights… not bad. I’ll total everything at the end so you have an idea of how much I spent.
In Cusco, we stayed at the Esplendor which is a boutique Wydham hotel for 5 nights. It was a pretty central location and we walked to restaurants and shops. We paid a little over $100 per night. The room service we ordered was probably one of my favorite meals. The hotel staff was very helpful and sets you up with tours and gives you coco tea which helps with attitude sickness. Last, breakfast was included and you can set up transportation to and from the airport ahead of time through the hotel.
Pro tip: book on your Capital One Venture Credit Card at hotels.com/venture for 10x the points.
Where We Ate
One of our best meals of the trip was at Isolina in Lima. Literally a 2 minute walk from our hotel this place was very trendy and packed!! We made a reservation the night before. It was definitely one of our pricier meals, but totally worth it.
In Cusco, to be 100% transparent. We didn’t have the best food. There are chicken and pizza places EVERYWHERE. Plus, the food was pretty bland. Don’t expect a lot, but there is a McDonald’s and KFC if all else fails lol. Get drinks at Paddy’s Irish pub which is the highest own pub.
For a healthier option for to Las Frescas for salads and smoothies and avocados are so cheap and beautifully displayed below.
We did a day trip to Machu Picchu. We took an early train out at 6:40am. The recommend getting there 30 mins early so 6:10am. There is a cafe where you can buy breakfast, snacks, coffee and tea. Buy tickets in advance here. They only sell a specific amount per day. You don’t get a confirmation email, so make sure you print everything at the time you book. You can also buy your tickets on Peru Rail ahead of time here. The scenery is so beautiful and you can relax. We bought the cheaper tickets, but you can buy VIP with an open bar. The Peruvians don’t recommend drinking that much at such a high altitude.
Buy bus tickets when you get to Cusco ahead of time. We made the mistake of not and waited 2 hours.. in the rain. We could have bought them at the hotel for $25/person. You can’t buy these online or at Peru Rail. We only had about 2 hours inside Machu Picchu before we
Here are the steps:
- Taxi to Poroy train station from Cusco (less than 30 mins)
- Peru rail (3 hours each way from Poroy aka Cusco)
- Bus from Aguas Calientes up to Machu Picchu (30 mins)
- Bus down (30 mins)
- Peru rail back to Cusco (3 hours)
- Taxi back to hotel (less than 30 mins)
Once you get into the park it’s pretty crowded. Be sure to bring ponchos and portable chargers because it could be a long rainy day like ours. It was pretty clear during our 2 hours spent in the park.
We even found llamas❤️
On the way out of the park, make sure you bring your passport so you can get the Machu Picchu stamp!
Other Day Trips from Cusco
- Salinas aka the salt flats
- Rainbow Mountain
I highlyyy recommend private tours. We didn’t want to spend 18 hours in a car. Split between 4 people both tours were around $30/person. Salinas was about 2.5 hours to get there. Rainbow Mountain was about 3 hours each way. The hike took about 1.5 hours. It is HARD because of the altitude, but so rewarding. I recommend bringing snacks and water. I wore a ton of layers because you do get warm, but at the top it’s pretty cold in late December. I would look at weather ahead of time because during wet season can be hit or miss. I read a ton of blogs how people had horrible weather and it was foggy so you couldn’t even see anything, but we lucked out.
I’ll be posting soon on where we went from Cusco! I hope this was helpful. If you have any questions email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.