Peru is known to be a country with incredible places to see stretched over the whole country. It would take months to explore all the great things there are to see, some more popular like Machu Picchu and some more hidden treasures like Pozuzo or Oxampampa. But what really are the best Peru destinations? That is what we ask ourselves once we are in the middle of planning a trip to Peru with only a certain amount of time.
Select a destination
In the starting process of your travel plans it is always good to think first about where you want to go. Peru is divided in three main regions: The coast, the Andes and the Jungle. Each area has different and incredible things to offer, and of course you can combine them. But especially if you only have a short amount of time it is necessary to set priorities.
Type of vacation
The next step that can help a lot is think of the kind of Peru vacation that you are looking for. Luxury holiday, backpacking, adventure travel or just sightseeing? Each above mentioned region covers all of the choices. Once you have decided there are plenty of destinations you could go.
Lima, the energetic capital of Peru, is great for anyone who is interested in colonial history, sightseeing or just relax in the beautiful parks. It is said that Lima is home to the best museums of Peru and its coastal location provides the restaurant with fresh food every day. Lima´s restaurants are with good reason under the top 50 restaurants in the world, Peruvian cuisine is delicious.
Lima’s surroundings are full of great places to go as well. For example, Paracas with its national park and the Ballestas Islands. A treasure for any nature and wildlife lover. Next the Nazca Lines, impressive lines in the forms of a monkey, hummingbird, llama and more that can be seen from high up in the air. Only a short drive from Paracas lies the small town of Ica with the magnificent oasis Huacachina. Ideal for any adventure seeker, there you can cruise in a sand buggy through the highest dunes of South America and later hop on your sandboard to glide down the dunes.
Farther in the north are Trujillo and Chiclayo, both with amazing archeological sites like the pyramids of Túcume and even a town made out of only mud, Chan Chan. Trujillo is also known as the “city of eternal spring” and hosts several festivities that are definitely worth joining.
Arequipa, also known as the “white city”, is a beautiful colonial city surrounded by volcanoes. But not only this, only a 4-hour drive away is one of the world’s deepest canyons: The Colca Canyon. There are tours by car but you can also hike through the canyon and witness condors at the famous “Cruz del Condor” viewpoint. Please note that the hike through the canyon is a bit strenuous and it is recommendable to be well acclimatized.
Cusco was once the Inca capital with plenty of important temples, among them the most precious one Qoricancha, the Temple of the Sun. Unfortunately, when the Spaniards arrived they have built their colonial churches on top of some of them. Cusco is surrounded by numerous interesting Inca remains. In only a 40-minute drive you arrive at the Sacred Valley, the lush vegetation surrounded by the Andes makes it a great Peru destination to relax. You can also visit the most popular and impressive Inca complexes in Pisac, Ollantaytambo, Chinchero, Maras and Moray. From Cusco you can also book plenty of great hikes, many of them with destination Machu Picchu.
A popular destination as well is the Lake Titicaca next to Puno. From there you can start daily tours cruising on the lake and visiting the floating islands Uros. They are made out of totora reed, as well as the boats, houses and many more things of its inhabitants. If you have time also make a stop at Taquile Island.
For any nature fans the jungle is the top destination to go. From cruises to lodges, you can experience the rich flora and fauna of the amazing rainforest in different ways. Most lodges offer daily excursions to get to know the local wildlife and to teach you the properties of the plants. Main and most known destinations are Iquitos, only accessible by boat or plane, and Puerto Maldonado with the Tambopata National Reserve.
Especially for those adventure fans out there the Andes are the place to be. Amazing Peru destinations are Huaraz in the north with the Santa Cruz Trek through the Cordillera Blanca mountain range or the famous Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and the Inca Jungle Trail where you can do zip lining, canoeing or even bungee jumping (depending on the operator).
Traveling with family
Sometimes, planning vacation with the whole family can be stressful, especially when there are a lot of people and / or the children are still very young. There need to be activities that are suitable for the whole family. Especially Lima, Cusco and the Sacred Valley or good places to go. Lima is huge and has lots of fun parks and museums. Cusco with the chocolate museum where you can even make your own chocolate and the Valley with smaller hikes are ideal if you want to plan a Peru family tour.
Peru has many wonders waiting for you to be discovered. Here in Cusco Travel Peru our specialty is to make your trip an outstanding experience, fill-in this form and let your taylor-made luxury Peru vacation begin.