Because Peru is such a popular destination with so many incredible attractions, picking the right sites to visit is sometimes difficult. Therefore, after much discussion, rumination and reflection, we have put together what we believe are the top 7 sites in Peru that every tourist should visit.
1. Machu Picchu
Iconic among travellers, Machu Picchu is without doubt the most famous and popular attraction in Peru and for good reason. Built on a ridge between two giant peaks with almost vertical slopes diving down on each side, the ancient citadel casts an impressive sight. Over 700 years old, the site consists of roughly 200 buildings constructed with beautiful precision. Experts today are still baffled as to how the citadel was achieved given the location and size of the construction stones involved. The exact function of Machu Picchu is also unknown which only adds to the mysterious lure of the site. Agricultural terraces surround much of the site and some of the main buildings include the Temple of the Sun, the Astronomical Observatory and the Intihuatana. All these structures point to an advanced civilization with understanding of the Sun and it's planetary influences. Hidden by the jungle until its discovery in 1911, Machu Picchu is a truly incredible site and one not to be missed!
2. Amazon Basin
Sweltering, strange, beautiful and seductive, the tract of Amazon Rainforest in Peru is the best-protected of all the Amazon and brings forth a melting pot of biodiversity. Its sheer size and impenetrability has protected many of inhabitants, both human and animal, for hundreds of years. There are more flora types in one hectare of the Amazon than any single country in Europe! The Peruvian Amazon offers the chance to see incredible wildlife, ancient culture and virgin rainforest. Please click here to see information on our Amazon Basin tour.
3. Inca Trail
One of the most popular treks in the world, let alone Peru, the Inca Trail is practically a rite-of-passage for most travellers. the Inca trail combines subtropical jungle, wild beauty, clouded forests and the history of the Inca people themselves to form one of the most jaw-dropping treks on earth. The Inca Trail traces the original pilgrimage path taken by the 15th century Inca leaders and takes its walker over several high passes before descending into the ancient city of Machu Picchu. When you're in the Cusco region, makes sure to also visit the Inca ruins of Saksaywaman and Moray.
4. Nazca Lines
Perhaps created as messages to the gods or as paths to spiritual enlightenment, the Nazca lines defy experts and remain one of Peru's greatest mysteries. What is clear though is that no matter their use, the Nazca Lines are an incredible sight that can only really be fully appreciated from the air. Possibly created by the Nazca Civilization between 500 BC and 500 AD, the Nazca Lines are spread over 450 km, among which is a spider, hummingbird, monkey, two humans and a tree. To see the lines at their best you will need to take a plane over them, alternatively, you can see three drawings from the Pan American Highway observation tower.
5. Lake Titicaca
The largest lake in South America, Andean culture believe Titicaca to be the birthplace of the sun. A shimmering, beautiful deep blue lake, Titicaca is steeped in history and its inhabitants keep to the ancient and austere ways of farming by hand. Make sure to check out the famous floating islands upon which the local Uros people live. The regions capital - Puno, is on the banks of the lake and is great city to explore and immerse yourself in the Andean culture. Please click here for more information on our Lake Titicaca cultural tour.
6. Colca Canyon
Over a kilometer deep, Colca Canyon is one of the deepest canyons in the world and a truly incredible sight. With its fine examples of pre-Inca terracing , traditionally dressed locals, herds of Llamas and circling Condors, Colca Canyon is a truly wonderful site that makes you realise why you still love travelling! Formed by a fault line between two huge volcanoes, Colca Canyon displays, not only deep rock gulleys, but towering mountains that offer fantastic vistas. Make sure to visit the Cruz del Condor view point where you get great views of the surrounding volcanoes and circling Condors above.
Almost wiped out in 1970 by an earthquake, the city of Huaraz is not going to win any beauty contests, however, it makes up for it with its buzzing personality and incredible roof top vistas. Lying next to one of the worlds most impressive mountain ranges, Huaraz is the adventure capital of Peru and offers its visitors literally dozens of Adventure sports from hang-gliding to white water rafting and mountaineering. During the trekking season Huaraz is awash with hikers, creating a great buzz around the centre that makes the city a seriously cool place to visit.