Things to do in Peru
Things to do in Peru
Peru is a country of stunning natural beauty, ancient cultures and colonial cities. With a range of worthy places to explore, we’ve collated this guide to Peru to help you decide where to go first.
Founded by the Spanish conquistadores on the Pacific coast, Lima was the wealthiest city in the Americas for more than 300 years. Today, this bustling modern city retains a large colonial heritage of fine churches, plazas and beautiful mansions.
Cuzco is a charming Andean city that was once a capital of the mighty Inca empire. Overlooking the city are the impressive ruins of Sacsayhuama´n, a former ceremonial centre with enormous stones carved and fitted to incredible precision. Cuzco is also the gateway to Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley, an area of outstanding natural beauty set against the backdrop of the Andes mountains.
Lying at the foot of the snow-capped El Misti volcano, Arequipa is perhaps the most strikingly beautiful city in Peru. It is often referred to as the ‘white city’, with leafy squares, fine colonial architecture and many old and interesting churches built of sillar, a pearly white volcanic stone.
One of the new Seven Wonders of the World, this spectacular Inca citadel has remarkably well-preserved terraces, temples and dwellings. Situated on a mountain high above the Urubamba river, Machu Picchu can only be reached by train and a bus up a serpentine road, or via a guided trek.
The Nazca Lines
Discover the mysterious Nazca lines, etched into the dry desert more than 1,500 years ago. There are many theories about the exact origin and purpose of these bizarre lines that form geometric shapes and the outlines of animals such as a condors, monkeys and hummingbirds.
Back to nature
One of the world’s highest navigable lakes, the serene and vast Lake Titicaca straddles the border between Bolivia and Peru. Its dark blue waters are home to traditional indigenous communities and islands such as the floating Uros, made entirely from totora reed. It is possible to visit the Sillustani stone burial towers or take a boat to Taquile island, where fishermen and weavers maintain their customs and ancestral values.
The Colca Canyon is an area of outstanding scenic beauty with huge patchworks of pre-Inca terracing set against the backdrop of distant snow-capped volcanoes. Unspoiled Andean villages lie on both sides of the canyon, inhabited by the Cabana and Collagua people. Colca is one of the best places to spot the majestic Andean condor at very close range, with a number of scenic lookouts on the rim of the canyon.
The Peruvian Amazon
Some of the most biologically diverse and pristine areas of the Amazon basin lie in Peru. Covering more than half the country, the sprawling carpet of rainforest stretches into the horizon with meandering coffee-coloured rivers weaving their way through the green expanse. Giant ceiba trees emerge from the tree canopy and an incredible variety of wildlife hides beneath. It is possible to explore the jungle’s flora and fauna while staying in comfortable eco-lodges near Puerto Maldonado in the south, or take a cruise along the upper reaches of the Amazon river from Iquitos in the north