Best Things To Do In Peru
Peru is a country of history, culture, beauty, and adventure, with a full spectrum of possibilities for travelers. The ancient Inca City of Machu Picchu is one of the highlights of any trip to South America, but there is much more to discover throughout Peru. The diversity of the landscape, the people, and the experiences here make Peru one of the most unique destinations on the continent. Find the best things to do in Peru with our below list.
5 Best Things To Do In Peru
1. Explore the real Amazon
Peru is where the Amazon gets its start in life, in Carhuasanta, before winding its way down the Andes and into the Amazon basin on the other side. So Peru is the only South American country where you can experience each of its different forms.
The Peruvian part of the Amazon jungle is possibly the most diverse and prolific section of all. And Manu National Park is one of the most bio-diverse areas in the whole world, boasting at least 1,000 birds and over 200 mammal species.
Meet caiman and paddle canoes along tranquil waterways, lulled by the all-encompassing ‘symphony of green’. Here you can explore the river by boat or get a deeper understanding of the jungle and it’s people by helping out on a volunteering project.
2. Find a way to Machu Picchu
You don’t need convincing to drop by the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu. A trek along an ancient path between soaring mountains to get to a secret city – the Inca Trail is the stuff of travel legends. But you are probably bewildered by the choice of ways to get there.
You could hike the Inca Trail. This unforgettable four-day walk is one of the world’s greatest, using stone Inca stairways to pass deserted villages and fields terraced onto sheer Andean slopes. But be warned: numbers are limited.
If you’re too late to book a place try the most popular alternative, the Choquequirao Trail. Or walk the Lares Trek, commonly the ‘people’s trail’.
For something completely different, why not ride the Salkantay Trek? Higher and longer, it lacks the Inca ruins that the ‘Classic’ trail is known for, but it has jaw-dropping scenery, crosses 15 ecosystems and isn’t as busy. Try it on horse-back. Trot to the top of the alternative Inca Trail for a view of Machu Picchu that the crowds don’t see.
3. Get the most out of Lima
With most travellers drawn irresistibly to the tourist hubs Cusco and Arequipa, the charms of the capital, Lima, are often overlooked. With coastline, mountains and jungle mere hours from the capital, Lima offers respite and exciting alternatives to the stifling crowds and bus travel that await you along the Gringo Trail.
Lunahuana offers white water rafting and vineyards. The adobe buildings of Tarma hark back to pre-Colombian times, with jungle and South America’s deepest cave nearby.
If you get stuck in the capital, don’t despair. There are lots of things to do, many for free. Every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 12.30pm you can join a 90-minute tour of the UNESCO-listed colonial town. No booking required, just show up at Plaza Peru by the small fountain.
4. Spend a day with the Condors
The far-south of Peru is a land of ice mummies, misty volcanoes and the Amazon’s source. You’ll also find one of the world’s deepest canyons, Colca, where mighty condors rule the roost.
Head to the Cruz del Condor viewpoint. This is the best spot to watch these majestic birds riding on the morning’s thermals. Watch as they glide, turn, dive and climb, soaring above your head before gradually making their way down the length of the canyon, disappearing out of sight.
5. The Sacred Valley
Less than an hour’s drive north of Cusco is the beautiful Sacred Valley and the towns of Pisac, Urubamba, and Ollantaytambo. This fertile valley has many Inca ruins worth exploring but is also a peaceful area to spend some time wandering through markets or soaking up local culture.
Main highlights in the valley are the Pisac Ruins, the Sunday Market in Pisac (smaller market days are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays), and the ruins and fortress at the beautiful little town of Ollantaytambo. A little out of the way but worth the trip is the town of Moray with circular terracing used as an agricultural testing area by the Incas, and the salt mines at Salinas, which have been in use since the time of the Incas.
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