The “Gringo Trail” is the name given to the classic and well-trodden tourist route in Peru, an understandably popular itinerary that takes in all of Peru’s most famous attractions. Most backpackers will find themselves traveling along this route, at least in part, at one time or another. And for anyone planning a trip to Peru with limited time but wanting to see most of the major sights, a trip along the Gringo Trail is a good way to cram in as much as possible.
So what exactly is the Peruvian Gringo Trail? Where does it go and what are the main attractions along the route?
Well, let’s say you’re flying into Lima, the standard starting point for anyone arriving in Peru by air. From Lima, the classic Gringo Trail is a roughly U-shape route (easily turned into a circle) that lies entirely in the southern half of Peru. Major attractions along the Gringo Trail include:
Congratulations, you’ve now completed the Peruvian Gringo Trail (well, kind of: plenty of other interesting attractions lie along the route — the ones mentioned above are just the most popular). You can return from Cusco to Lima by bus via the above route or take a shorter, more direct route to the west. If you’re short on time, you can quickly fly back to Lima from Cusco.
Two weeks is enough time to pack everything in, especially if you don’t stop off at all the above destinations (some people just do Lima, Nazca Lines, Arequipa, Titicaca, and Machu Picchu). One week is just about enough if you only do a day or two in, for example, Lima, Arequipa, Cusco, and Machu Picchu (no Inca Trail).
But, in a perfect world, you’ll be able to set aside a month so that you can really explore each destination along the route, as well as having the option to stray off the Gringo Trail when you feel like it. While the classic Gringo Trail is great for a whirlwind tour of Peru’s major attractions, Peru obviously has much more to offer and the Gringo Trail only scratches the surface.
It is, however, a popular Peru itinerary for good reason. The sites are fascinating, the tourist infrastructure is good, the route is relatively easy to navigate and importantly it allows you time to acclimatize before Machu Picchu.
We always recommend this route to our friends coming to visit we strongly suggest they check out Peru Hop. They are a relatively new hop on hop off bus company that have about a zillion passes that go down along the coast and up to Cusco. The passes are completely flexible and are valid for over a year giving you plenty of time to acclimatise to the thinner air and help prevent any issues upon arriving to Cusco. They have hotel and hostel pick ups and drop offs included too which helps when you have a heap of luggage and some new Alpaca scarves! If you want to read a little more from others, you can check out their reviews page here.
If this has attracted your attention, and you intend to make plans for a trip to this trail we suggest you check out FindLocalTrips.com a tour comparison website with heaps of info and all the different options for taking that trip of a lifetime.