7 best places to visit in PERU
Curious about the best places to visit in Peru? With a length of 2500 km, Peru is known for its extensive coastline and archaeological wonders, especially the legendary Inca ruins of Machu Picchu.
But that is not all. Peru boasts vibrant cities, lush Amazon jungle, scorched coastal desert, fascinating ancient cultures and colonial towns.
Sounds enticing? So, do you want to come and explore Peru?
But what to see in Peru?
To help you prepare for your trip, we have created this list of some of the best places to visit in Peru.
7 best places to visit in Peru
Machu Picchu & The Inca Trail
Machu Picchu, the iconic mountain-top Inca citadel, is one of the best places to visit in Peru, and the reason why so many tourists come to visit the country.
The popular Inca citadel is known for its impressive ruins and a stunning view of the mountains surrounding the Temple of the Sun.
Perched on a 2430-metre mountain ridge, Machu Picchu was built in the classical Inca style, with polished dry-stone walls, without the use of mortar.
It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 2007, Machu Picchu was voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in a worldwide Internet poll.
How to get to Machu Picchu?
Getting to the 15-century Inca citadel is rather easy. Take a train from Cusco to Aguas Calientes, and then take a bus to Machu Picchu. Also, you can hike from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu.
If you are feeling adventurous, consider hiking to Machu Picchu. The famous Inca Trail is a four-day hike, which starts at the Cusco – Aguas Calientes rail line, and terminates at Machu Picchu. Despite being quite demanding, the trail is regarded by many as the highlight of their trip to Peru.
To acclimatise, it is advised to spend at least a day in Cusco before travelling to Machu Picchu.
Explore the elegant squares and cobbled streets of UNESCO-listed Cusco’s historic town. Architecture and culture enthusiasts will love extravagant mansions and impressive churches of Cusco.
There are several amazing places to visit nor too far from Cusco.
Visit Pisac and explore its famed artisans’ market.
Maras Salt Mines features thousands of individual salt pools on a hillside, dating back to Incan times.
Also, do not miss Moray, an archaeological site on a high plateau at about 3500 metres and its ancient Incan terraces.
You can book day-trips to the salt mines and Moray at a local travel agency or via https://www.getyourguide.com.
Rainbow Mountain (Montaña de Colores) is an amazing natural wonder located approximately 140 km away from Cusco.
Since a few years ago the mountain became a social media sensation, and it attracts tourists ever since.
The mountain is known for the series of stripes of various colours. It is due to the mineralogical composition of the mountain.
You have to be fit to trek to the 5200 m summit.
The mountain is a great full-day trip from Cusco. Book a tour from a local travel agency, or book online using https://www.getyourguide.com.
Puno & Lake Titicaca
Lake Titicaca is a lake in the Andes on the border of Bolivia and Peru. It’s the largest lake in South America and, with the surface elevation of 3812 m, it’s the highest commercially navigable lake in the world.
Mirador de Kuntur Wasi viewing platform offers a great view over Puno and Lake Titicaca.
However, the highlight of the trip to Puno is a visit to Lake Titicaca’s Uros islands where indigenous tribe (Uru people) lives. Uros consist of some 120 artificial floating islands — they are hatched together from the totora reeds.
The trip around the islands itself is a real adventure — tourists are transported on a regal barge woven entirely from totora.
If you are visiting Puno and Lake Titicaca, do not miss Chucuito. It once was an important colonial town, but now it’s known for its Templo de la Fertilidad, an archaeological site with 86 stone phalluses in rows.
Most travellers fly into the capital, Lima.
Overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the city is situated on cliffside edges of the Pacific coast. With a population of more than 9 million, Lima is the most populous metropolitan area of Peru and the seventh-largest metropolitan area in the Americas.
Lima is one of the best places to enjoy delicious Peruvian food.
The city hosts several of the world’s top restaurants.
Lima’s nightlife is a mix of modern and traditional. Soak up authentic live folk music in peñas — authentic bars popular in the cities of Peru.
Do not miss Spanish colonial centre and Malecón de Miraflores, a cliff-side path with manicured parks and plenty of benches. A couple of ancient ruins are located in the Miraflores neighbourhood, too.
Huacachina is a desert oasis and small village in Ica district, in southwestern Peru.
Huacachina is located just a few kilometres from the city of Ica.
The little village is a splendid green lagoon amid towering dunes. At its centre are the green waters of the Huacachina Lagoon, ringed by palm trees. The lagoon’s shores are dotted with bars and clubs.
Sand-boarding or riding buggies in the dunes are the most popular attractions in Huacachina.
With a depth of 3270 metres, Colca Canyon is the world’s second deepest canyon in the world. With the abundance of trails, Colca Canyon is a well-known trekking destination in Peru.
There are two and three-day hiking routes.
Also, Colca Canyon is home to 2000-year-old pre-Inca agricultural terraces and traditional Andean villages.
In this region, travellers can spot the national bird: the Andean condor.
Peru travel tips
- You don’t need a visa to travel to Peru. Citizens of Schengen Area countries may stay up to 90 days within 180 days without a visa.
- Peru is a large country. Fly to save time. But be prepared for high fares — flights within the country are expensive.
- Book train tickets to Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu) as far in advance as possible as tickets sell out weeks ahead. Reserve your Machu Picchu tickets ahead of time too.
- If you are planning on hiking to Machu Picchu, book the trek in advance. As it’s very popular, it sells out fast. Also, a limited number of people are allowed to hike to the popular Incan citadel.
- A lot of popular tourist attractions are high in the mountains, so it is advisable to acclimatize before visiting them. Otherwise, you will suffer from altitude sickness.
- The weather in Peru is unpredictable. Be prepared for rain, wind, hot sunny days and cool nights. Bring a sweater and a rain jacket, as well as durable water-resistant hiking shoes.
- Use Uber in Lima to save some money on taxi fares.