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Our Guide to the Very Best of Peru

We offer insights into our favourite travel destinations within this historic and breathtaking country, as well as must see and do experiences…

Cusco

Commonly seen as the gateway to experiences such as the Inca Trail and sites such as the Sacred Valley, it can be easy to overlook Cusco as a destination of its own! However, both within and just outside the city’s walls lie many sites to be discovered. Wander through the Plaza de Armas, where locals and tourists alike gather for coffee. See the sacred site of Sacsayhuaman or visit the sobering Coricancha, which was once the centre of Inca worship. Enjoy a fresh breakfast from San Pedro Market and at night, sample Peru’s finest cuisine before dancing the night away. Cusco combines the best of it all; history, nightlife, stunning architecture- just to name a few!

The Sacred Valley

Just a hop, skip and a jump away, the Sacred Valley begins. Also known as the Urubamba Valley, the area is home to countless Inca relics and sites. You can also find some of the most breathtaking trails in the world here. If ruins are your thing (if not, they will be after this!), then you will love this area. Explore the abandoned fortress of Pisac once used to defend Cusco and see the Maras salt mines. Marvel at the ingenuity and scale of the agricultural systems used by the Inca at Maras and Ollantaytambo. But the pièce de résistance of the Sacred Valley- and the likely reason you are considering visiting, is Machu Picchu. Accessible from both Cusco and from other towns within the Sacred Valley, this is an absolute must see on your South American adventure…

Amazon

An adventure in the Amazon is on many a bucket list and a childhood dream of many. Explore the best of this captivating rainforest from eco-lodges that don’t compromise on luxury, all whilst situated deep within the jungle. Get lost in the wilds of the incredible Peruvian Amazon with an incredible array of activities. Visit local villages, swim with pink river dolphins, or go bird watching- the choice is yours! The Amazon is particularly accessible in Peru. Take a flight from Lima to Iquitos, the gateway of the Peruvian Amazon.

Huacachina

For those looking for to get the adrenaline pumping and their own little slice of paradise, adding a day or two in Huacachina is an absolute must. The area boasts some truly impressive dunes- perfect for dune surfing, tackling in a dune buggy, or for the fainter of heart, enjoying the sunset from! It is also home to some incredible pisco vineyards. A small desert oasis town, Huacachina is a haven for both thrill seekers and those looking to unwind.

Nazca Lines

Stretched across kilometres of arid desert and best seen from above are the mysterious Nazca lines. Forming geometric shapes such as lines, waves and rectangles, and more intricate figures like hummingbirds and spiders, the lines are the subject of much debate. They are thought to have been created in early Nazca society, which flourished between 1 AD and 700 AD. These giant geoglyphs range from as big as 48 km long and to as small as a few metres. The purpose of the lines remains only theorised.

Lake Titicaca & The Uros Islands

An icon of both Peru and Bolivia, this spectacular lake is nothing short of otherworldly. Both the biggest lake in Peru and situated at the highest altitude, it is also home to the Uros Islands, a fascinating example of architectural ingenuity. The islands were originally built as a refuge for the Inca people in a time of political uncertainty. Each island is made of ingenousiously crafted woven totora reeds. Today they are home to approximately 1,200 Uros people and act as an incredible gateway in a rich cultural history…

Chachapoyas

Get off the beaten track and into the beautiful northern Peru with a visit to Chachapoyas. Meaning ‘cloud forest’ in Quecha, the region lives up to its name. Delve into the dense tropical rainforest of this area and and back in history. Here, you can visit some of the most captivating and more untouched sites in Peru. Visit Kuelap, a fortress consisting of over 500 structures and dating back as far as 500 AD. The site has been integral in the understanding of Inca ritual practices, with many burial sites being uncovered there.

Arequipa

Surrounded on three sides by towering mountains and boasting original charm is the city of Arequipa. Known as the ‘white city’ for its buildings made of sillar stone, Arequipa boasts everything from gastronomic delights to historical scandals. Visit the Santa Catalina Monastery, where nuns once held wild parties and lived raucous lives. See the ‘Ice Maiden’ in person, a 15th century mummy called Juanita. Relax in the lush gardens of the many plazas and enjoy evenings sampling each of the local picanterias.

Colca Canyon

The second deepest canyon in the world (deeper than the Grand Canyon!), the Colca Canyon is as beautiful as it is seemingly bottomless. Discover towns that have flourished in the bottom of the canyon, and see condors soaring at impossible heights. If you’re a fan of trekking, the canyon is an absolute ‘must-trek’, with options for 1, 2 or 3 day hikes. However, no matter how long you stay we promise you it will never be enough!

Resources: The Culture Trip, Scratch My Pack, Along Dusty Roads, Laidback Trip, Aqua Expeditions, Be My Travel Muse, National Geographic, History, Washington Post, Peru Hop, How To Peru, Intrepid Travel, Chimu Adventures
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