Peru is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful countries in the world with a rich heritage and warm people. It has a wide variety of climates, landscapes, and customs, which are what makes it such an attractive travel destination of people from around the world. It has large snow-capped mountains, arid deserts, and dense jungles which provide exquisite backdrops to any activity. Here’s how you can have a once in a lifetime trip to Peru.
You are most likely aware that Peru is home to some of the tallest mountains in the world. The Andes stretch from the top to bottom of South America and pass from north to south of Peru. These steep peaks are covered with large glaciers and source the Amazon River. If you travel to Peru, you should plan at least one day to hike among these large peaks.
The city of Cusco Peru is a beautiful destination surrounded by these iconic mountains. It is an excellent city to visit due to the mix of cultures that has occurred here. Originally Cuzco was an Inca settlement which was conquered by the Spaniards and later colonized. The city is so interesting because you can see colonial architecture built on the foundations that the Inca built.
A short drive from the city will bring you to dozens of ruins left by the Inca. Just above the town is Sacsayhuamán. Today you can still see walls built in the 13th century with cut stones larger than automobiles. A good way to see some of the ruins inside and around the city is to book a tour with one of the many tour operators in the city. One of the tours starts in the main plaza at the Santo Domingo Convent which was built on the Qoricancha Inca temple. After viewing this stunning church, you’ll be taken by bus to multiple historical sites of the Incas.
You cannot fully appreciate Peru if you don’t visit Machu Picchu. This will require traveling a few hours from Cusco but it is well worth it. In order to get to Machu Picchu, you’ll need to travel through the Sacred Valley. You can take a bus or taxi from Cusco to a town called Ollantaytambo. From there you will take the train to Aguas Calientes.
It is important to note that you will have to buy tickets to Machu Picchu before you leave Cusco. Tickets can be purchased online, or at the Ministry of Culture office in Cusco which is located near the city center. When you purchase your tickets, you’ll need to define what sites you would like to see.
If you visit Machu Picchu you should also consider hiking to Huayna Picchu which is the large peak behind the ruins. This hike will give you another perspective of the ruins plus stunning views of the deep canyon and the Urubamba River below. Since there is a limit on how many people can be in the park, you have to choose a time slot in the morning or the afternoon. It’s recommended to get there early in the day to enjoy a more intimate experience. You should also consider hiring a guide who can give you a detailed description of the area. Most guides speak English and can help you explore more informed.
When most people think about Peru, they probably think about the Andes, llamas, and ancient ruins. However, much of Peru is covered by the Amazon rainforest. The city of Iquitos is located within the jungle and is only accessible by boat or plane. Surrounding the city throughout the jungle are several remote Amazon lodges which give tourists the opportunity to see the jungle first hand.
Keep in mind these are not 5-star resorts, but if you want an adventurous experience you should consider adding Iquitos to your itinerary. Most of the lodges include small bungalows, some of which are in the trees! You will be able to travel through the jungle on foot and by boat where you will see river dolphins, monkeys, sloths, parrots, and more. You can enjoy jungle walks, go fishing for piranhas and meet the locals that live in the area.
Peru is an incredible country with so many things to see and do. In addition to these destinations, you can also see the world-famous Nazca Lines, Lake Titicaca, and more. If you plan on seeing any of these beautiful destinations you are sure to have a trip you will remember for the rest of your life.