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Destinations Take Your Peru Trip To The Next Level

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How To Elevate Your Peru Trip

Venture to western South America and there, nestled between Ecuador and Colombia in the north, Chile in the south, Brazil in the east, Bolivia in the southeast and the Pacific Ocean in the south and west is Peru.

The third largest country in South America after Brazil and Argentina at 496,225 square miles, Peru can be roughly split into three regions, the parched lands of the Costa in the west, the central rugged Sierra or Andes and the tropical forested Amazon Basin in the east. The differing topography and altitude of each region creates not only the diverse climate of Peru but also a country that is both exciting and challenging to explore in equal measures.

Peru, derived from a Quechua word, suggests a land of abundance. This can be associated not only with the country’s natural mineral resources and the fertile lands and waters resulting in agricultural and marine resources, but also the economic wealth the country amassed through the Incas. To this day the name stands true, with the country’s ancient civilisations, there is no arguing that Peru has an abundance of culturally rich and historically significant sites, some of which are only just beginning to unveil their secrets.

Whether it be the Nazca Lines in the Peruvian desert, or the pre-Inca walled jungle fortress Kuelap, one of the largest stone ruins in the Americas, built overlooking the Utcubamba Valley at 3000m by the Chachapoyas people (meaning Cloud Warriors), there is a plethora of once-in-a-lifetime, off-the-beaten-track experiences just waiting for you.

The History of Peru

Delve into the history of Peru and we’re sure you’ll find yourself captivated by a remarkable civilisation, the Andean. Deemed as one of at least 5 ‘pristine’ civilisations who have developed without any external influences, their feats of engineering are something to behold. At the end of the Andean civilisation the Incas, without the use of the wheel, iron or steel or a writing system had created “one of the greatest imperial states in human history” wrote Gordon McEwan, former professor of anthropology/archaeology.

One of the best-known features of the Incas was their ability to build extensive road networks which ran the length of the country and allowed Andeans to traverse Peru. Smaller transversal routes branched off like tributaries of a river over the mountains and lowlands.

The most well-known of these routes is the Inca trail to Machu Picchu, one of the seven wonders of the world. There are many other routes such as the Vilcabamba trail which takes you deep into the Cordillera Vilcabamba mountains, or the treks of Ausangate leading to the Rainbow Mountains, Choquequirao which reaches 4700m through the Andes and connects the ancient cities Machu Picchu and Choquequirao, or Salkantay which makes its way through the remote Salkantay Valley.
Plaza de las armas in Cuzco

Rainbow Mountain

The Andes mountains with their snow-capped peaks, the highest of which being Mount Huascaran standing commandingly at 6,768m, run from the north to the southeast. The lure to explore this rugged, challenging, high altitude landscape is simply too irresistible for many and who could blame them!

If you’re looking for a truly unique experience to add to your Peru adventure, why not add on a trip to Vinicunca, a 5,200m truly unique mountain commonly referred to as Rainbow Mountain. One of the other names for this spectacular mountain is Montana de Siete Colores which literally translates as Mountain of Seven Colours. The colourful striations you see are due to the different mineral compositions in the sedimentary layers and really are a sight to behold.
Rainbow Mountains or Vinicuna - Peru

The Amazon

In the west the lower slopes of the Andes give way to the lowlands of the Amazon basin, this tropical flora and fauna rich area covers more than three fifths of Peru and is known as Amazonia. The Amazon rainforest which covers much of northwestern Brazil and extends into Colombia and Peru as well as other South American countries is the world’s largest tropical rainforest.

A network of thousands of great rivers meander their way through this biodiverse landscape. The greatest of them all, the Amazon, heralded as the largest river in the world based on volume of water discharged and is disputed to be the longest river system in the world, has several headwaters within the Peruvian Andes. If you’re planning an epic adventure to Peru, the Amazon with its howler monkeys, river dolphins and ancient tribes is a not to be missed experience.
Hikers in the Amazon rainforest

Colca Canyon and Lake Titicaca

But not only does Peru have the majestic peaks of the Andes, the Amazon rainforest seemingly lost in time and the ruins of powerful cities built by ancient civilisations to explore, Peru also has the Colca Canyon. Twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the USA, the rugged 4160m high walls of this vast natural structure tower over all those intrepid explorers venturing inside while condors effortlessly soar through the air above.

And just when you thought Peru couldn’t possibly have anything else to offer, we haven’t yet mentioned Lake Titicaca. Not only is it the largest freshwater lake in South America but also the world’s highest navigable lake at over 3800m. They say still waters run deep and this is very apt when it comes to the completely clear waters of Lake Titicaca, known to be as still as a mill pond, the lake depth has been recorded at 280m. The lake is thought to be a million years old and is one of less than 20 ancient lakes in the world. The recent find of a temple structure at the bottom is simply staggering.

The islands of the lake as well as the shoreline are sprinkled with even more ancient ruins to admire and with the Uros, manmade floating islands made from aquatic reeds by their traditional Andean inhabitants, Lake Titicaca is a truly enriching cultural experience. Luckily both the Colca Canyon and Lake Titicaca can easily be added on to any Peru trip, so you don’t have to miss a thing because let’s face it, having to choose between all Peru has to offer is simply impossible.
Hiking in the Titicaca lake region
Peru really does have everything to make your next adventure as epic as they come. Why not get in touch with the adventure travel experts at Kandoo to find out more about the Peru trip extensions they offer and start making those memories of a lifetime!