Home to the ancient Incan city, Machu Picchu, part of the Andes mountains and llamas, Peru attracts visitors from all over the world. It offers travelers a closer look at their indegious history, natural wonders of the world and a diverse metropolis. These ten must see destinations are the best places to visit while on your Peruvian adventure.
Located about 50 miles northwest of Cusco, the Incan citadel, Machu Picchu, attracts visitors from all over the world. Many believe that this national treasure was constructed in the 15th century for the emperor Pachacuti. This historic landmark is often confused for the “the lost city of Inca» was declared a UNESCO site in 1983.
While visiting the landmark, to learn about the historic citadel, it would be a good idea to go to the hidden museum, Museo de Sitio Manuel Chávez Ballón ($7 entry, displays are in English and Spanish). It can be tricky to find, it’s located at the base of the Machu Picchu, at the end of a long dirt road.
The enchanting city of Cusco will transport you in time, the historic buildings and monuments are surrounded by Urubamba Valley of the Andes mountain range. This former Incan capital captures the hearts of travelers with its Baroque architecture from the Spanish colonization and the vibrant colors of its indeginous roots.
Walk through the city to visit the Plaza de Armas, the basilica and stop to snap a picture at the wall of the palace of the Archbishop of Cusco, known as the 12 angled stone. Roam through the Mercado Central de San Pedro for a taste of the local cuisine at great prices.
The diverse and growing metropolis of Lima is situated in the center of Peru, right on the Pacific ocean. Beaches range from calm waters to big waves suited perfectly for surfers looking for a wave to catch. Visitors who enjoy eating their way through a city will love Lima, it is known as being the gastro capital of Latin America.
Search for a place that serves the Peruvian cuisine of novoandina, which combines the flavors of the Peruvian heritage and modern techniques. This city will capture you through your stomach and eyes, from the colonial architecture, to the unforgettable sunsets on the beach and savory food.
Arequipa & Colca Canyon
The Colca Canyon is in the southern region of Peru, in Arequipa. This canyon is one of the deepest in the world. The varying hiking paths and trips you can take may make it more difficult to decide what to do and for how long.
Regardless, it is a must see on your Peruvian adventure. To begin this adventure you will start in the city of Arequipa, one of Peru’s most beautiful cities. The city is known for its baroque architecture and the three volcanoes that surround it.
Puno & Lake Titicaca
Lake Titicaca divides Peru from their western neighbors of Bolivia, the highest navigable lake in Latin America, the lake sits at 12,000 ft above sea level. On the southern banks of the lake there is a little town of Puno. The town is an escape from the hustle and bustle of the big cities, which provides a relaxing oasis for those looking to enjoy some natural scenery.
Puno is known as the birthplace for the Inca Empire and the center for Peruvian folklore. It’s wise to look at the local calendar to see when festivals and events take place, to soak in some of its culture.
In modern day Cusco, you can find the Sacred Valley, which is the valley of the Andes Mountains. This serene valley offers peaceful hikes through it or adrenaline rushes, such as rafting and rock climbing. You definitely should carve out a day or two to explore the area, while lodging in the center of Cusco.
Although the Amazon Rainforest spans across several Latin American countries, there are several reasons alone to visit the rainforest from Peru. First, you can see where the Amazon river is born, although the length of the river is debatable its origin is not.
Although many may think it will take a plane, a car and a train to get there, from Peru it is one of the easiest ways, there is a direct two hour flight from Lima to Iquitos. Finally, the Amazon may be smaller on the Peruvian side, but there are still animals to see, adventures to take such as kayaking, canoeing or swimming in the river.
The famous Inca trail leads you down a four day and three night adventure, starting outside of Ollantaytambo the path leads you straight to Machu Picchu. It is recommended to look into camping sites, permits needed and possible accommodations, this is the “one and only” classic Inca trail that you can live just like the Incas did. Prepare yourself for the picturesque moment of seeing the Machu Picchu in the distance through the Sun Gate, it makes the long hike completely worth the wait.
Huaraz & Huascarán National Park
Huaraz is in the northern part of Peru, the city is a hidden gem, captivating tourists with its archeological museum, craft beer and stunning look out points, such as Rataquenua and Pukaventana. Travel outside the city to see the Huascarán National Park, where the snow capped mountains melt into the waters of the turquoise lake.
The diverse flora and fauna found in this national park will take your breath away. Those looking for adventure can go rock climbing, hiking, mountain biking or even skiing.
In the mouth of the Moche Valley, you will travel back to pre-Columbian days, in the city of Chan Chan. The city is known for its ten walled ciudadelas, which date back to the Chimú empire. The city was recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site in 1986. This arid city is famous for its ancient ruins dating back to the 9th century were all constructed in adobe.