Peru is a country located on the west coast of South America, and it's one of the most popular destinations to travel around. Whether someone decides to follow the world-famous Inca Trail to see Machu Picchu, walk through the ancient ruins of the Sacred Valley, hike in the Andes and through the Amazon Jungle, glide between the floating reed islands of the Lake Titicaca, or try the delicious cuisine in the cities of Lima or Cusco, they're bound to have an adventure of their lifetime. Peru is famous for its ancient history, breathtaking beauty, welcoming people, and amazing food - and the pictures you can see online are enough to make you want to leave everything behind and book a plane ticket ASAP.
If you think about going on a trip to Peru, you've come to the right place. In this article, you'll learn about the best places to see in Peru and find out useful tips before you get there. For the best experience in this amazing country, book your trip with Kandoo, the ultimate travel aficionados.
The Best Places to Visit In Peru
Are you looking for unforgettable trips to Peru? Make sure to check out these places:
If anyone is going to Peru, Machu Picchu should be on the top of their bucket list. This ancient Inca city is located 2,430 meters high in the Andes, above the Urubamba River. For centuries, it was hidden in the mist deep in the jungle-covered mountains, and when it was discovered, it got the nickname "the Lost City of the Incas." Machu Picchu is also one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, attracting people to enter Peru just to see it. The name itself means “old peak” in the indigenous Quechua language.
If you want to see Machu Picchu with your own eyes, you can do it by walking the famous Inca Trail (more on that below), or by taking a two-hour train ride from the Sacred Valley town of Ollantaytambo. Either way, visiting this 15th-century archaeological site will be nothing short of amazing and awe-inspiring.
The Inca Trail
Many tourists consider the Inca Trail the ultimate highlight of their Peruvian adventure. This four-day hike will take you through the most scenic landscapes and more than 30 Inca ruins to culminate in Machu Picchu. While entry points and routes vary, this trail is more demanding than it appears at the first glance. However, there are easier, 2-day treks available for tourists, that skip the most difficult portion of the route but still offer some challenge.
Keep in mind that it's only possible to take the Inca Trail with an agency. You should book your pass well in advance, especially during the hot (June to August) season, since the daily number of hikers and porters on the trail is monitored and limited.
The highest navigable lake in the world, Lake Titicaca is surrounded by charming villages and rolling hills. The city of Puno should be your gateway to this natural wonder. In Puno, you'll find hotels, restaurants, and travel agencies. Then, you can glide through the sparkling blue waters of the lake and explore its surrounding areas.
The Uros Floating Islands (Islas Flotantes) are a must-see. These man-made reed islands have sustained small communities of Uros Indians and preserved the traditional way of life since the time of the Incas. You should also visit Isla Taquile and Isla Amantani, and step ashore to discover small villages nestled in the hills.
Lima is Peru's capital city and home to almost 9 million people. Founded in 1535 by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro, it's brimming with culture, history, and amazing architectural examples. Lima is also a great destination for seafood lovers and food buffs - make sure to visit as many restaurants as you can, try the city’s authentic Peruvian delights, and visit colorful local markets.
When in Lima, make sure you go to the must-see locations, such as Plaza de Armas (the main square), Lima Cathedral, Government Palace (Palacio del Gobierno), the Archbishop's Palace, and the Casa del Oidor. Don't forget about the historic Iglesia de La Merced and Jiron de la Union, a pedestrian street with shops and restaurants.
Once the capital of the Incan Empire, Cusco is the archaeological capital of the Americas. Located in the Southern Sierras, it offers easy access to Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley, which is why it's one of Peru’s most-visited destinations. However, Cusco is so much more than a mere starting point of your Peruvian adventure.
Enter this UNESCO World Heritage Site and feel like you're traveling in time to the Pre-Columbian era. Walk the charming streets of Cusco and enjoy the colonial architecture, art galleries, craft markets, and museums. Visit colorful restaurants and timeless churches, get closer to the Quechua culture, and buy Quechua handicrafts on lively local markets. You'll soon regret you can't stay here longer.
The Sacred Valley
The Sacred Valley (Valle Sagrado) is considered the heart of the Inca Empire, as it is the gateway to Machu Picchu. Located than an hour's drive north of Cusco, the valley offers amazing views of nature and Inca ruins, as well as an experience of authentic local culture. If you want, you can admire the Pisac ruins and go to the Sunday market in Pisac (or try your luck shopping locally on Tuesdays and Thursdays), explore the beautiful little town of Ollantaytambo with its ancient fortress and ruins, or relax and meditate in towns like Yucay and Urubamba. You can also try rock climbing, trekking, and downhill biking.
Arequipa is the second-largest city in Peru. It's also known as the "White City" because of white volcanic rocks that were used for building purposes. While you won't see any ancient Inca settlements in Arequipa, you'll definitely enjoy all the scenic views it has to offer. You can see old churches, historic bridges, walk charming streets, and admire other examples of colonial Spanish architecture scattered throughout the city.
You can go to the Catholic University of Santa María’s Museum of Andean Sanctuaries to see Mummy Juanita or the Lady of Ampato - an astonishingly well-preserved (despite being over 600 years old) frozen body of a young Incan girl. You should also visit Arequipa if you want to see the multicolored Colca Canyon, one of the top tourist attractions in Peru and the deepest canyons in the world.
Discover Peru with Kandoo Adventures
If you decide to visit Peru, you can be sure that you're up for an adventure of your lifetime! With Kandoo Adventures, you can trek a variety of fantastic routes to Machu Picchu - if it's mountains you are after, we have the Salkantay trail, for history, it's the classic Inca trail and for culture and local villages, you'll love the Lares trail.
What's more, away from Machu Picchu, we can show you some amazing ways to discover Peru, such as visiting the reed island villages of Lake Titicaca or hiking amongst the wildlife in the truly amazing Amazon Rainforest. With us you can trek to the Rainbow Mountains, fly over the Nazca Lines, and hike Colca Canyon, which is famous for its fertile landscape, Andean Condors... and it's twice as deep as the Grand Canyon.
So, are you ready for a trip to Peru? If it's about to be your first, it certainly won't be the last!