For many years now Peru has been established as the ultimate traveling experience.
Whether it’s because of its fascinating landscape or its incredibly romantic history, tourists from all sorts of backgrounds and interests have had an unyielding desire to embark on the various amounts of tours that Peru boasts.
An attractive coastline and a breakthrough mouth-watering cuisine add to the distinctive lure that inspires travelers to track the famous trails of the Incas and retrace one of the most significant cultures of all time.
Out of all the incredible places to visit in Peru it is hard to choose where to travel, however these 10 things to do in Peru stand out for their pure enchantment and diversity:
Regardless of what you hear about Lima you will invariably end up visiting the Capital and furthermore reveling in the eclectic culinary delights on offer.
Peru’s capital and South America’s gastronomic center, Lima has emerged as a Mecca for food-lovers.
Along with the charming architectural gems of religious sites such as La Catedral de Lima and Iglesia de Santo Domingo there are countless museums and historic sites dotted around the city.
Then you reach the pure indulgence of Lima that gives this sprawling metropolis its edge. Award-winning, innovative restaurants are an experience in themselves and it is hard to go wrong in choosing a divine meal on an evening out, particularly if you go for the Peruvian national dish – Ceviche.
All this before you reach Lima’s exquisite range of shopping malls and streets and the electrifying nightlife that, like many capitals, is diverse and thriving.
Peru contains many great stretches of fine beaches but nothing is comparable to the surf town of Mancora.
Mancora, a surfer town in northern Peru, is the perfect break from exploring the culture and history of Peru.
Its relaxed aura and top class surf breaks often induce the hippy crowds, nevertheless the atmosphere in Mancora is a unique experience and the hostels/hotels accommodate for all.
The seafood restaurants, street markets and array of water-activities make Mancora a top destination on your travels through South America.
Exhilarating sand-boarding and dune-buggy rides complete a trip to this romantic destination.
As the sun comes down over this desert oasis tourists sit in awe as the beautiful reflection of the golden sands and red evening sky shimmer of the tranquil lake, surrounded by tropical trees.
Apart from relaxing and enjoying the unique experience of staying in a desert town, Huacachina also draws in the thrill seekers, with sensational opportunities for a bit of fast dune buggy racing and some scintillatting sand-boarding. Recommended by Hannah Vickers of ‘Peru This Week‘, Huacachina is one of Peru’s finest and most unique travel destinations.
The secret ruins of Kuelap along with the breath-taking Gocta Falls display Peru at its finest.
According to Julio Tello, editor of Peru travel blog Karikuy, a hidden gem that is often overlooked is Kuelap, a fortress of the Chachapoya indians, left in ruins, with magnificent scenery and trekking options all around. Nearby you also have one of the biggest waterfalls on earth, the Gocta falls.
Located in Peru’s northern highlands, Kuelap is also never affected by the rain, a factor that often hinders visits to the more famous archaeological site, Machu Picchu.
At the heart of the Inca Empire is the charming capital of Cuzco.
Probably Peru’s most visited destination, Cuzco oozes with Inca charm and an archaeological center that fuses colonial Spanish Architecture with the previous Inca layout.
Views from the rooftops provide incredible views over the city and further afield towards the direction of the mountains and Machu Picchu (not seen unless you book the tour), so it’s the perfect stopover for people visiting the iconic Inca landmark.
With bustling markets, an eclectic range of restaurants and pubs and tons of hostel/hotel options, Cuzco is a happening place that still maintains its otherworldly charms.
5. Nazca Lines
Flying over the Nazca lines encapsulates the bizarre history of Peru.
The Nazca Lines, situated on the Pacific coast, are a group of archaeological drawings that were created hundreds of years ago and still mystify historians today.
The lines, some animals (birds, spiders, lizards etc) so geometric shapes and formations, are best seen from the aerial view of a plane (tours offered in various towns/cities), however there is an observation tower along the Pan-American highway with a view of three of the figures.
4. Explore the Amazon
60% of Peru is covered by the Amazon Rain-forest, meaning travel to Peru should in some way incorporate the beautiful Amazon.
Nature enthusiasts will be pleased to know that the Peruvian Amazon, covering 60% of the country, is the second largest area of the Amazon Rain-forest behind Brazil and offers an incredible range of biodiversity.
With the same amount of wildlife, a little cheaper than and less traversed than Brazil, the untouched Peruvian rain-forest is the authentic South American experience.
Julio Tello proclaims the area of Puerto Maldonado, an area of the Amazon close to Cusco, to be cheap, close by and an area with great lodges. Perfect for the first time adventurer.
3. Colca Canyon
The Colca Canyon is arguably Peru’s greatest trekking destination, offering indescribably beautiful scenery.
The Colca Canyon, located in the Southern Peru Andes region of Arequipa, is a monumental canyon (double the size of the Grand Canyon in Nevada, USA) that follows the river Colca and contains some of the most breath-taking scenery in South America.
Lorena Flores Agüero, Lima resident, social media fanatic and self-proclaimed travel addict, claims that the Colca Canyon is the ultimate traveling experience in Peru
trip.me CEO Andre Kiwitz says that the Colca Canyon is great but also claims that the city of Arequipa (easiest base point to get to the Colca Canyon) is one of Peru’s most attractive and friendliest cities.
2. Lake Titicaca and the Floating Islands
Inhabited by the Uros community, Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world.
Lake Titicaca, sitting at a dizzying 4,000 meters, lays between the Peruvian and Bolivian border and contains the most volume of water in South America.
Lake Titicaca’s top tourist attraction is undoubtedly the artificial islands of Uros, a tribe that pre-dates the Incan civilization, and have the made the islands entirely out of reeds (a process they need to repeat every couple of months or so due to the rotting of the reeds).
The lake is tremendously picturesque, and its tranquility and refreshing air all add to the charm and authenticity of the traditions and history of the area.
1. Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail
One of the most iconic tourist attractions on the planet, Machu Picchu draws in millions each year.
The site of Machu Picchu is a sight of unrivaled beauty and arguably the most iconic location in all of South America.
The charm and mystery of the former Inca settlement only add to the unique splendor of the town, surrounded by spectacular mountains and usually preceded by the dramatic scenery of the world-famous Inca trail.
The enigmatic site of the ‘Lost City of the Incas’ is simply unmissable on your travels to Peru and if you have time you must follow the footsteps of adventurer and Machu Pichhu discoverer – Hiram Bingham, on the invigorating Inca Trail.