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10-day Peru itinerary: SV-MP-Cusco-Arequipa-Culca-Lima

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I have 10 full days in late May/early June for my first visit to Peru. After extensive research on this board and elsewhere, I am pretty confident that I want to divide my time in the following way: 5 days in the Sacred Valley/Machu Piccu/Cusco, 3 days in Arequipa (including an overnight trip to Culca Canyon) and 2 days in Lima.

The first and most important question is this: Should I go first to Arequipa and hit Arequipa and Colca Canyon or should I visit the Sacred Valley/MP/Cusco first and then fly to Arequipa?

There are two considerations at the forefront of my mind: 1) altitude sickness – I believe that Culca Canyon is higher than Cusco, so that would seem to militate in favor of hitting the SV/MP/Cusco first. 2) I’ve been told by a few people that Arequipa is relatively unspectacular and that I should start here and then hit the SV/MP/Cusco so that I’m not beginning on a high note and then ending with a potentially uninspiring visit to Arequipa. Thoughts?

As for the 10 day itinerary, I’m thinking along these lines:

Day 1: Fly to Arequipa, spend day in Arequipa

Day 2: Head to Culca Canyon, overnight in Colca Canyon

Day 3: Spend half day in Culca Canyon, return to Arequipa, overnight in Arequipa

Day 4: Fly to Cusco, head to the SV, base on Ollantaytambo
- Is visiting Moray, Moras and Chinchero en route from the airport to Olly a smart move? Logistically, it would seem to be a better time to visit these spots than on day 5 (see below)

Day 5: Visit Olly town and ruins, take an evening train to Aguas Calientes and spend the night in AC

Day 6: Machu Piccu, late train to Cusco, overnight in Cusco
- If I can get a ticket for the 10 a.m. hike, what do you recommend I do between the time I get to MP and I take the HP hike? I’d want to get to MP as early as possible to maximize my visit

Day 7: Cusco, tour Cusco, Sacsayhuaman, overnight in Cusco

Day 8: Pisac market and ruins, overnight in Cusco
- Is visiting the Pisac market and ruins as a day trip from Cusco a good move?

Day 9: Early flight to Lima, spend day sightseeing in Lima
- Would I be better off flying to Lima in the evening on Day 8?

Day 10: Lima, late flight home

Costs are not a prinicipal concern, so I can fly everywhere.

Any and all thoughts on the above are greatly appreciated.

Many thanks!

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