Discover the most amazing and breath-taking destination and attractions that Peru offers. From incredible natural landscapes to charming traditional towns and cities.
1. Machu Picchu
The city of Machu Picchu is the most popular tourist attraction in Peru and is one of the new seven wonders of the world. This citadel dates to the time of the Inca Empire in the 15th Century. It is located above the Urubamba River valley between two sharp peaks at 2450 meters above sea level. This historic site provides one of the most spectacular backdrops in the world, with lush vegetation surrounded by cloud-shrouded mountains. It stretches over 8 kilometers and contains nearly three thousand stone steps leading to different levels.
2. Cusco Historic Centre
The city of Cusco is located high in the Andes at 3,400 meters above sea level in south-central Peru. It was once the capital of the famous Inca Empire and today still contains Inca ruins. The Koricancha Temple was the focal point of the Empire and is thought to be the most sacred site in Inca mythology. Plaza de Armas is the central square of the city and is flanked by Cusco Cathedral and La Compania. When visiting Cusco, one must try to experience the San Pedro market and the artisan neighbourhood, San Blas.
3. The Amazon
The Amazon rainforest is the biggest and most important biodiverse ecosystem on planet Earth. This hot and humid jungle is home to flora and fauna of all kinds and can be easily visited by tourists with Puerto Maldonado as the starting point. From here, it is easy to access The Tambopata National Reserve by boat on the Madre de Dios River. The Bahuaja Sonene National Park is the other main tourist attraction. The oxbow lakes, lush vegetation, colours, sounds, and exotic animals provide visitors with an amazing experience. It is possible to do river cruises and rent a lodge within the jungle.
4. Lake Titicaca
The sparkling waters of Lake Titicaca and the rolling hills which surround it is a combination of beautiful scenery and deep-rooted culture. Sitting at nearly 4,000 meters above sea level. Titicaca is a navigable lake, the highest in the world and the largest in South America. The lake consists of several islands which can be visited by boat. Las islas flotantes, or the floating islands, are man-made islands which are home to Uro Indians and offer an insight into the culture. The islands of Taquile and Amantani are the main attraction. Lake Titicaca can be accessed from the city of Puno.
5. Colca Canyon
Colca Canyon is believed to be the deepest in the world. This canyon is the result of a seismic fault line which lies between two volcanos. This valley has strong winds, breath-taking views and is home to a variety of birds, such as eagles, hummingbirds and to the Andean condor, the largest flying bird in the world. The canyons are approximately a four-hour drive from the city of Arequipa. Day trips are available, but it is recommended to visit the canyon over two days given the driving distance involved. In addition to the canyon, there are also villages, churches and Inca remains to be visited.
6. Nazca Lines
The Nazca Lines can be found in the Nazca desert, south of capital city Lima. These geoglyphs, some 7 kilometres long, are carved onto the desert floors and were only discovered in the 1920s by overflying planes. The lines were formed by removing the surface layer of the stones and placing them to the side of the lines, creating a contrast in colours. The theory behind their existence is that the lines and patterns were used by farmers to control the Gregorian cycles. Although it is not clear which civilization created the lines, it is suggested that they were created between 900BC and 600AD.
7. The Sacred Valley
The Sacred Valley and the surrounding towns of Pisac, Urubamba, and Ollantaytambo are located 40 kilometers north of Cusco. Ollantaytambo, which is a popular starting point for many on the Inca trail, is an Inca fortress made of stone walls perched on the highest part of the valley. The town of Pisac is known for its artisan markets in the main square and has an archaeological park which is a former Inca citadel. Urubamba, named after the river upon which it sits, is the largest town in the Sacred Valley and is situated at the foot of the Chicón mountains. The town of Maras is famous for the thousands of salt pans on the terraced mountainside from where salt is extracted. Moray, located just west of Maras, contains old Inca ruins in the form of circular depressions some 30 meters deep.
8. Lima Historic Center
Lima’s historic center was founded in the 1500s and Plaza de Armas, or Plaza Mayor, is the heart of this district. An earthquake hit the city in 1746 and destroyed all the original buildings with the bronze fountain in the center of the square is the only structure which still remains. Since then, the area has been rebuilt and the Plaza is flanked by Government Palace, the Archbishop’s Palace and. Other sites of interest are Casa de Aliaga and Casa del Oidor – colonial mansions – and La Merced Church. Pedestrianized Jirón de la Union is a lively street with shops, bars, and restaurants.
The oasis resort of Huacachina is a natural paradise found in the middle of the Ica desert. The village is built around a lagoon with emerald-green water and lush-green palm trees, surrounded by enormous sand dunes. This area is popular for sandboarding, as some of the towering dunes are 1,000 meters tall. For those wishing to visit the area, rental buggies are the best way to get around, with daily tours available. Temperatures here are consistent, between 77°F and 86°F year-round.
Known as the rainbow mountain, Vinicunca, which is situated to the south east of Cusco, is a magnificent geological feature which attracts tourists for its spectacular colours. This mountain was consistently covered in snow until several years ago the snow melted, revealing this remarkable striped mountain range with hues of gold, lavender, red and turquoise. This rainbow coloration owes to weathering, sedimentary deposits and mineralogy. This painted mountain is considered to be holy and is a site of worship for Quechua pilgrims. Nonetheless, this mountain is extremely different to find as it is deep in the Andes and requires several days of hiking.