Peru is home to many archaeological and cultural sites, many of which are surrounded by spectacular natural beauty and will undoubtedly exceed your expectations. Then there’s the food: many consider Peru’s gastronomic scene to be among the best in the world.
Whether you’re in Peru for a week, two weeks, or longer, there’s plenty of time to visit the beach, tour the country’s legendary ancient sites, or travel into the rainforest, all while sampling the country’s distinct variety of traditional Andean and coastal dishes.
Look here for aid in exploring Peru’s most renowned attractions and getting off the beaten path, which might tempt you into moving to the country.
Things to Do and See in Peru
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Check Out Lima
Lima is a lovely, though chaotic, introduction to the country. The Aliaga House has Peruvian art and antiquities, the Larco Museum has pre-Colombian relics, and Plaza Mayor has colonial beauty.
Head to the Barranco neighborhood for an evening on the town at nighttime. It’s also a gourmet hotspot!
Check Out Rainbow Mountain
You’ve probably seen these vibrant mountains on social media. Rainbow Mountain has grown in popularity as a tourist destination in recent years. Just bear in mind that the colors aren’t as vibrant in person, and the area is extremely congested due to its popularity.
Cusco offers both day outings and multi-day hikes. If you wish to evade the crowds, there is also an “Alternative” Rainbow Mountain (albeit it is still quite crowded these days).
Hike the Colca Canyon
Colca Canyon is the world’s deepest canyon, considered twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in some places. Although the Colca Canyon is habitable, Andean condors can be seen here, unlike the Grand Canyon.
Hike the Salkantay Trail
Hiking the Salkantay is a great alternative to the popular Inca Trail. It sees a quarter of the tourists and costs half as much as the Inca Trail – but it’s just as beautiful! There aren’t as many ruins here, although there are summits of up to 5,200 meters and breathtaking mountain vistas!
Hikes range in duration, but the 7-day hike provides the greatest vistas. You will, however, need to be in good physical condition!
After hiking through Machu Picchu, this small village is a nice oasis in the desert. It’s fairly cheap, and the hostels here have special rates on sand buggy rides and sandboarding in the neighboring dunes. Two-hour tours include the rental of a sandboard and a sand buggy driver.
Most tours depart around 4 p.m. in hopes of catching the sunset on the dunes. In Huacachina, there is also a lagoon bordered by palm trees that you can paddle about in a rowboat.
Pay a Visit to El Parque de la Reserva
El Circuito Mágico del Agua, located in downtown Lima, is the world’s largest water fountain complex. The Children’s Fountain, the Tunnel Fountain of Surprises, and the Fantasia Fountain, whose water jets are linked to music during the evening laser light shows, are among the 13 different fountains.
The park is open every day from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., with spectacular, multicolored light shows at 6:30, 7:30, 8:30, and 9:30 in the evening. The park also holds various events and is popular among dog owners.
Receive Your Amazon Fix in Iquitos
The Peruvian rainforest’s largest metropolis, Iquitos, is only accessible by plane or boat. The settlement is located near the mouth of the Amazon and is ideal for eco-tourism.
The adjacent Pacaya Samiria National Reserve is Peru’s largest reserve with two million hectares. It is home to around 1,000 birds, reptiles, fish, mammals, and other animals.
Relax on the Shores of Lake Titicaca
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This lake has a surface area of almost 3,000 square miles and is 12,500 feet above sea level, rendering it the world’s largest high-altitude lake. The cities that surround the lake are renowned tourist destinations with bustling markets and colonial architecture.
See Penguins in Paracas
Paracas is located in southern Peru and is known as the “Poor Man’s Galapagos” due to its remarkable fauna, including over 400 different species. The area is home to thousands of birds and substantial penguin and sea lion populations.
An organized boat cruise can take you to the Paracas National Reserve. Make sure to arrive early (around 8 a.m.). A full-day excursion of Paracas includes a boat journey to the Islas Ballestas in the morning and an afternoon bus tour of the national reserve.
Surf at Máncora Beach
At this renowned seaside resort, seafood, horseback riding, watersports, and leisure are the order of the day. Máncora is one of South America’s best beaches, and its enormous waves and year-round weather make it Peru’s surfing Mecca. Lodging prices might be high from December to March, so it’s better to reserve ahead of time.
Take a Flight Above the Nazca Lines
The Nazca Lines are a collection of prehistoric geoglyphs that dominate the San José desert and Nazca Valley. There are almost 10,000 lines shown and 300 different animal and plant forms. Nobody knows how they got there. You have the choice of taking a helicopter or a plane excursion.
Take a Stroll in the White City
Arequipa is a picturesque city with a historical center made mostly of volcanic rock. Come to see a frozen Inca mummy, the beautiful Santa Catalina Monastery, or enjoy the city’s architecture while sipping a glass of wine in the main square. It’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, and everyone who comes here enjoys themselves.
Trujillo is Peru’s second-oldest Spanish city. Explore the archaeological site of Chan Chan, the world’s largest pre-Columbian city and the largest adobe city ever built. It was constructed by the Chimu, a civilization that lived in the region until 1470 when the Incas overpowered them. Visit Huanchaco, a little fishing village directly on the shore.
Travel Back in Time at Batán Grande
Batán Grande, also recognized as the Sicán Archaeological Complex, is an archaeological site with 50 tombs and pyramids dating from 100 to 1000 CE. This site, near Chiclayo, was originally the ancient Sicán capital and has provided numerous remarkable pre-Columbian items. A gold Tumi weighing over seven pounds, for example, was recovered from one of the royal graves!
Trek the Inca Trail
The famous Inca Trail is the finest way to get to Machu Picchu. This multi-day 43-kilometer (26-mile) trip allows you to see the mountains and rainforests following the Inca trail. It is a wonderfully gorgeous climb, but it is difficult, and you may get altitude sickness.
There are two options for this hike: joining an organized tour or hiring your private guide. You can’t hike the trek on your own. The latter section of the trip can get quite crowded, so if you can take a longer 7-day hike, you’ll be able to beat the masses and enjoy the amazing scenery before you arrive.
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The Chachapoya culture lived in this region of the Andes highlands between 500 and 1432. Today, you may explore Kuelap, sometimes known as “The Machu Picchu of the North,” through a four-hour hike, guided tour, or cable car from the neighboring village of Nuevo Tingo.
Visit Gocta, a stunning waterfall among the tallest globally at 770 meters (2,526 ft). You can take a trip from Chachapoyas to go there.
Visit the Islas Flotantes de los Uros
The Floating Islands of the Uros may seem like a title from an Indiana Jones film, but it is the name of a series of artificial islands in Lake Titicaca. The indigenous Uros people live on the islands and have built their islands, dwellings, and boats out of the Tortora reeds that grow along the lake’s borders. This is a pretty touristy landmark, and it is somewhat abused as such, so it is not for everyone.
Discover the Incan Empire’s Wonders
For many people, Peru is a land of wonder. Its history spans back more than four millennia, rendering it one of the world’s oldest civilizations.
The Incas reigned throughout the mid-15th and 16th centuries. They are a monument to pre-Columbian culture, and any visit to Peru will captivate you with its past. The Incas also ruled sections of Argentina, Colombia, Chile, and even the Amazonian region and Bolivia. Join us on an incredible tour of Peru as we trek through Incan culture.
The Lost City of the Incas is positioned near Cusco and is approximately 7,000 meters above sea level. Machu Pichu will be the pinnacle of their trip for many visitors to Peru. It routinely appears at the top of lists of must-see destinations.
There’s enough to see here to fill a whole day. The Historical Sanctuary should be the first stop; t his is Machu Pichu’s top archaeological site. As a result, it is frequently busy with visitors, and entry is limited; thus, it is critical to reserve your tickets in advance.
As you cross the ruins, you’ll notice the Inca route and Intipunku, the entrance to Machu Pichu. The game is roughly an hour’s walk away from the ruins. When planning your vacation to Peru, keep in mind that you might want to spend over one day at the place.
Intihuatana can also be accessed from the main site. This is a big pillar, sometimes known as a sundial. The Incans used the pillar to foretell solstices, but its actual purpose is unknown. This tower is one of Machu Pichu’s trademarks and should not be overlooked.
If you plan on staying in Machu Pichu for an extended time, Phuyupatamarka is a good place to tent. This translates to “Town Above the Clouds,” and at 11,000 feet, it is. The remains include ceremonial baths with running water.
No vacation to Peru is complete without seeing the sunrise over Machu Pichu, and this is a great place to start. Many travelers utilize this landmark as a starting point for their journey to the Sun Gate. It is, nevertheless, stunning in its own right and needs to be seen.
The Sacristy, Sacred Plaza, and the Museo de Sitio Manuel Chávez Ballón are among must-sees at Machu Pichu. To truly appreciate Machu Pichu, you may need to schedule your trip to Peru around the site. There are, however, numerous additional Incan ruins worth visiting.
Cusco and Surrounding Areas
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Another impressive Incan ruin is located near Cusco. Pisac hamlet exemplifies Incan agriculture and irrigation. It also has one of the only intihuatanas in Peru. These were carved rocks used to study local astronomy. The community provides a stunning perspective of the Sacred Valley, a must-see on any trip to Peru.
Concentric terraces can also be seen in the Sacred Valley, most notably at Moray. Again, the actual purpose is unknown, but many historians assume the terraces are associated with cultivation. A vacation to Peru is full of mystery and intrigue.
If you have time on your vacation to Peru, you should visit the town of Ollantaytambo. The old Inca street design and walls are still present. The town is among the few in Peru that has retained its original form.
The ruins above the town are also a great place to stop on your vacation to Peru. The town was the site of the Incas’ most decisive military triumph over the Spanish troops. It is a remarkable tribute to the Incas and their civilization’s grandeur. Like any other to Peru, this journey is rich in history, people, and culture.
If you’re bunking in Cusco, you should also visit the village of Sacsayhuaman. This stronghold still has the historic Incan walls that overlook Cusco. The village is linked to Cusco by underground corridors.
The walls themselves are the most enjoyable aspect. They are magnificent examples of Inca architecture. To stand for so many years without collapsing is a feat of engineering that we can only dream of these days.
There are numerous sites to view along Peru’s Inca Trail. Peru is a tour full of history, mystery, culture, and, of course, wonder. Being able to touch such relics of the past is eye-opening and will be with you for the rest of your life. We discover ourselves by exploring the ancient world. Also be sure to check out other great places to visit like magical Tibet.