In South America, discover a fascinating destination that speaks to travelers’ imaginations: Peru! A true land of contrasts, Peru reveals panoramas as enchanting as they are varied, from the sand dunes to the snow-capped mountains of the Andes Cordilleras, passing through the verdant jungle of the Amazon.
We love traveling through Peru. The landscapes, the people and the history all combine to give the traveler an incredible experience. Imagine climbing the mountain behind Machu Picchu and then heading down the Amazon in a dug-out canoe. You can do all of this and more. Here are the 13 best things to do in Peru.
- Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu is one of the new 7 wonders of the world. This major Inca site can be reached by train from Cuzco or Ollantaytambo, thanks to a several-day hike along the Inca Trail, or by an easy walk from Hidroelectrica.
Very early in the morning, climb the steps in the mist that dissipates and reach the Porte du Soleil. Here, you can enjoy a breathtaking view of these majestic ruins. The emotion is guaranteed! The most interesting thing will be to visit the ascent of Huayna Picchu mountain to discover the site from another angle.
- Vinikunka Colorful Mountain
Those who come to visit Peru to discover its fantastic landscapes will make a detour to the Vinikunka mountain, also nicknamed “the mountain of seven colors.” Admittedly, the trek requires being in good physical shape and not suffering from altitude sickness, but the sight on arrival is really worth it. The amazed travellers discover a fabulous, variegated picture, resulting from the accumulated sediments of different colors in the rock.
Caral is the oldest city on the American continent. Its huge complex was built almost 5,000 years ago, including amphitheaters, pyramids and other adobe structures. You can be reached there in a day from Lima. Treat yourself to the services of a guide to learn more about the Caral civilization.
- Huascaran National Park
At the heart of the Cordillera Blanca, Huascaran National Park has been classified as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO. It is dominated by the mountain of the same name, the highest in Peru, and has an incredible number of glaciers, lagoons, canyons and other high peaks. It thus offers a range of outdoor activities for everyone, from hiking to horseback riding, skiing or mountaineering.
- Lagoon 69
Lagoon 69 is yet another interesting destination in Peru, where you can reach Huaraz in one day.
By public transport or by car chartered by a local agency, you reach Lake Llanganuco, nestled in the heart of Huascaran National Park. It is a 3-hours trail which is easy in the beginning, then it gradually steepens, but the bewitching landscapes will divert your attention. Upon arrival, you discover a lagoon with turquoise waters, bordered by high snow-capped peaks.
It is impossible to visit Peru without passing through the city of Cuzco, the starting point for a host of Inca sites in the surrounding area, which alone is worth the detour. Perched at nearly 3,400 meters above sea level, in the heart of green mountains, it is home to many architectural and historical marvels.
The first stop is the Place d’Armes, the actual nerve center of Cuzco where the inhabitants like to meet, and which is bordered by the Church of the Society of Jesus.
- Lake Titicaca
Straddling Peru and Bolivia, Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world, covers 8,000 square kilometers. Yes, the place is tourist, and worth the detour if you decide to visit Peru. Criss-crossing this immense expanse of water is already a journey in itself, but the lake is also full of a thousand wonders having the Uras floating islands and the village of the community of Paramus, where time seems to have stopped.
- Colca Canyon
3,400 meters deep, the Colca Canyon reveals enchanting landscapes, from terraced crops to typical villages, passing through lagoons and watchtowers. Stop at the Croix de Condor, which offers a breathtaking view of the valley below and from which you may be lucky enough to admire the unsteady flight of the raptors of the same name.
- The Salt Pans of Maras
Famous Attraction to amateur photographers, the salt pans of Maras are undoubtedly one of the most beautiful landscapes in Peru. Located about fifty kilometers from Cuzco, in the heart of the Sacred Valley of the Incas, these ancient salt marshes built on terraces form the most photogenic shades of yellow. Here you can book a guided tour, and they allow you to exchange a few words with the peasants who harvest the salt.
- The Beaches of Punta Sal
Visiting Peru to relax on the beaches is possible! All you have to do is reach the village of Punta Sal, in the north of the country, which nestles with its feet in the sand, on the edge of the Pacific Ocean. You can Sunbathe on the bamboo lounge chairs, swim in the waves and taste freshly caught fish. In the evening, do not forget to watch the sunset while sipping coconut water.
- The Cataract of Gocta
The bucolic atmosphere for this next destination in Peru. Falling from a height of 771 meters, the cataract of Gocta, in the north of the country, deserves a stop. We walk in the heart of a luxuriant jungle where orchids flourish before reaching a watchtower, from where we contemplate the fabulous waterfall.
Those who plan to visit Peru often arrive in Lima, the country’s capital. A former colonial city, it has a certain charm, and we like to stroll along its colorful streets, discovering its cultural heritage.
Look up, the wooden balconies are one of the attractions of Lima! Enjoy a relaxing break in the interior garden of the Church of Santo Domingo before heading to the central market, where you will learn about the treasures of Peruvian gastronomy.
- The Sacred Valley of the Incas
With a tourist ticket, you can visit one of the most beautiful places in Peru, the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Enameled with archaeological remains, it offers several outdoor activities and treks for lovers of nature and old stones. Sacsayhuaman (nicknamed “sexy woman” by guides to make tourists laugh), with its perfectly interlocking blocks of stone, Moray and its terraces in concentric circles and Ollantaytambo, with its ancient, cobbled streets, are worth a detour.
Our Final Word
Peru is an incredible destination to travel, explore and discover. Follow in the footsteps of Hiram Bingham thought to be the inspiration of Indiana Jones in Machu Picchu, or head down the Amazon and experience creatures only found in that part of the world. Leave the first world and modern electronics behind and discover why Peru tops Kati and I’s top 10 destinations in the world.
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