What are the top ten things to do in Peru?
Mystical ruins, indigenous communities and floating islands – Peru in South America is brimming with treasures. The highlight of any Peru tour is a visit to Machu Picchu, and rightly so. The scenic beauty of Machu Picchu, together with the air of mystery and the Inca legends that surround it make Machu Picchu the great place that it is. But the wonders of Machu Picchu aside, there are many more unmissable things to do in, which is what makes Peru such a great country to travel to.
From the natural wonders of the Amazon Basin to the beauty of Lake Titicaca and the ancient history and traditions of the Incas, Peru is a treasure trove of delightful experiences. There is so much to see and explore in Peru: there are the ancient geoglyphs of the Nazca Lines, the desert oasis of Huacachina, the Inca Trail to follow, the colonial sights of Cusco, the natural splendor of the Colca Canyon, the penguins of Ballestas island, the Ollantaytambo fortress in the Sacred Valley…the list is endless!
And did we forget to mention a culinary tour of Lima – the city whose restaurants regularly feature in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list?
What are the best things to do in Peru? When is the best time to visit Peru? If these are the questions in your mind, then let us help you craft your trip to this amazing country. Here is a list of the top ten things to do in Peru, curated by our Enchanting Travels specialists, which should definitely be part of your Peru travel guide!
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1Explore Machu Pichhu and Wayna Picchu
The ruins of Machu Picchu are one of the most beautiful and enigmatic ancient historic sites in the world and definitely one of the top attractions of South America. Learn about the human ingenuity that was required to construct the site and ponder Machu Pichu’s many mysteries, hidden amongst the green summits of the high Andean cloud forest.
Machu Picchu is set 2000 feet above the rumbling Urubamba river. And a plethora of sights await you in the cloud-shrouded ruins of Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu is home to ruins of palaces, baths, temples, storage rooms and around 150 houses. All these are in a remarkable state of preservation in this World Heritage Site. A trip to Machu Picchu is truly one of the most enriching experiences!
What is the best way to explore the delights of Machu Picchu? You can the footsteps of its creators on the famous Inca Trail, through the Peruvian Andes! The Inca Trail hike will take you through high Andean tundra and lush green cloud forests. Not only can you see stunning examples of the flora and fauna of the Andes, you will also be able to witness several Incan and pre-Incan archaeological sites. Finally, at the end of the Inca Trail, you will come across the breathtaking panorama of Machu Picchu, seen through the Intipunku ‘Sun Gate’. Descend down to marvel at the wonders of the lost city of Machu Picchu and its amazing scenery.
You could also opt to explore the mountain opposite the ruins, Wayna Picchu. Truly one of the top-rated attractions of Peru!
2Relish a Culinary Tour of Lima
Sample unique flavors and visit famous gourmet restaurants in the capital city of Peru, probably one of South America’s most visited foodie destinations! Most famous in its iconic ceviche – raw fish, cured in lime juice, with a smattering of chilies, served with raw onions and fresh coriander, bursting with flavors of the sea.
Then, of course, you have its globally renowned restaurants such as Central, Astrid & Gastón, La Picanteria and Osso among others.
3Discover the Colonial Delights of Cusco
Cusco is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and combines the diverse strands of the Inca capital it was and the colonial city it transformed into. Inca ruler Pachacutec developed Cusco in the 1400s into a complex urban center. Baroque churches and a palace were then added by the Spanish during their time, leaving Cusco rich with cultural and architectural delights.
Cusco is situated at 3,400 m above sea level in a fertile river-fed valley. Important sites that you can visit in and around Cusco include Koricancha, Tambomachay, Qenko, Puca, Pucara and Sacsayhuaman. From Cusco, you can also drive to Manu National Park, especially popular for its rich birdlife!
4Sample Local Culture at Sacred Valley
Experience spectacular landscapes such as fabulous mountain slopes, ruins dating back to the Inca period, and hazy valleys in order to reach the Sacred Valley of Valle Sagrado. This is an ideal place to unwind and enjoy a relaxing vacation. Sample flavors of local life at Pisac Market and the Ollantaytambo village. One of the best things to do in Peru to truly get a taste of the local culture!
The Sacred Valley lies en route to Machu Picchu, so the best way to visit it would be to plan a trip before or after you experience the delights of Machu Picchu. Be prepared to experience spectacular landscapes such as fabulous mountain slopes, Incan ruins, and beautiful valleys in order to reach Valle Sagrado!
5Explore the ‘White City’ of Arequipa
For a spiritual experience, visit the Santa Catalina Monastery in Arequipa, or ‘the white city’, which is built of volcanic stone. Arequipa is located at the foot of three volcanoes: Misti, Chachani and Pichu Pichu, which rises to a height of 2,400m above sea level. Dating from 1579, the monastery was enlarged over the centuries to become a city within a city and an excellent example of Spanish Colonial architecture.
Other attractions of Arequipa is well known for its colonial charm and delicious cuisine. Go hiking in the surrounding countryside from here.
6Embark on a Trek in the Colca Canyon
Spend a full day trekking, beginning your day bright and early in order to see the sunrise over the stunning Colca Canyon, with its magnificent natural masterpieces. During your trek view several Incan tombs and take in the stunning landscape of the mountains, small villages and mighty rivers.
Who knows, you might also view a condor soaring above you during your hike! Trekking in Colca Canyon is of the best things to do in Peru to enjoy the pristine beauty of nature!
7Marvel at the Floating Islands of the Uros
Head to Puno, which lies directly on the banks of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. The native inhabitants of the area, the Uros people live on man-made floating islands in Lake Titicaca and welcome visitors.
The Uros first fled from the Incans and then from the Spaniards, seeking refuge in the lake and creating their own islands made out of reeds. Enjoy insights into the native traditions and find out how they adapted to their living conditions in the lake.
8Relax on a Beach in Mancora
The idyllic coastal town of Mancora is ideal for a relaxing beach holiday, as you soak up the rays of the sun!
While the town is popular for its bustling, party vibe, its beaches beckon with its tranquil air.
9Explore the Amazon Rainforest
Catch pink dolphins swimming or experience the Amazon Rainforest from suspension bridges, canopy walks, and boat cruises on the mighty river. Stay in a charming tranquil lodge in Puerto Maldonado, the southern doorway to the rainforest and marvel at the spectacularly rich biodiversity in the jungle.
There’s great natural diversity in Perúrquote- birdlife to orchid jungles, several treasures await!
10Discover the Delights of Northern Peru
There’s much to see and discover in the north of Peru. Explore the mystical fortress of Kuelap with its cloud forest and ancient structures, the magnificent Gocta Waterfalls and the Cordillera Blanca – its glaciers, scenic lakes and dramatic snow-capped mountains, make the Cordillera Blanca an outdoor enthusiasts dream!
The region is ideal for those searching for an active adventure or a relaxing getaway in the mountains. Here you can hike, go horseriding, visit the archaeological site of Chavin de Huantar or get to know the local communities in the surrounding remote villages.
Discover all the best things to do in Peru by booking your vacation with our experts at Enchanting Travels. Contact us for your tailor-made and obligation-free tour itinerary.
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