Peru is a very diverse country and is a delight for anyone who likes to travel; so when you travel to Peru you can find several options. From trekking up the Andes Mountains, to exploring the wildlife diversity in the Peruvian Amazon and its indigenous people, to catching some of the best waves in the world along the extensive coastline, to exploring many of the ancient ruins built by the Incan Empire, Peru has so much to offer everyone who has the chance to travel there.
Here is a list of 5 places you must visit when you travel to Peru.
1. Machu Picchu (Cusco – South-Central Andes)
Machu Picchu (‘The Old Mountain’) is a wonderful ancient Andean settlement that is by far the most popular destination for people travelling to Peru. Otherwise known as “The Lost City of the Incas”, Machu Picchu was built in the 15th century by the ancient Incas and is situated over 7,000 feet above sea level, high in the Andes Mountains overlooking the Urabamba Valley. The construction is an amazing feat of engineering and an achievement that the Peruvians are very proud of. In 2007, Machu Picchu was voted as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in a worldwide poll.
There are only 2 ways to reach Machu Picchu, which are by train or by foot, as there are no roads. If you choose for the adventurous way then you elect to walk along one of the world’s greatest treks; the Inca Trail. You can normally choose to do a 2 day, 4 day or 7 day trek depending on how fit you are feeling. Advanced booking is advised to book your place on the Inca Trail as the government has recently put some regulations on the Inca Trail to help preserve it, including that only a maximum of 500 people per day in groups of no more than 40 people can walk along the path. The path closes for maintenance in February and the high season is between April and October. If you choose to go by train, you can go from Cuzco and travel through the Sacred Valley along the Urubamba River to Aguas Calientes, which is located very close the Machu Picchu, at the base of the mountain.
Machu Picchu is a must see for anyone who travels to Peru.
2. Lake Titicaca (Puno – South Andes)
Lake Titicaca is South America’s largest lake by volume and is shared by Peru and Bolivia high in the Andes. It is over 12,500 feet above sea level, which officially makes it the world’s highest navigable lake. Titicaca is well known for its local people that live on the Uros Islands, which consists of around 44 separate islands floating on the lake and made from the lake’s reeds (Totora). Amantani is another small island with around 4,000 inhabitants that speak the local language of Quecha. The island has important archeological remains from the Inca and Tiwankaku’s civilizations that are situated on top of the two mountain peaks of Pachatata (Father Earth) and Pachamama (Mother Earth). There are no roads, cars, hotels or electricity on the island, but tourists are invited by some local families into their homes to have food and stay overnight. Puno and Lake Titicaca is a perfect destination after you travel to Cuzco and Machu Picchu. The magnificent train journey takes you from Cuzco and travels through some of the most spectacular terrain in the Andes Mountains, giving you views that you can only dream of. It ends at Puno, which is the city that lies on the shores of Lake Titicaca.
3. Nazca Lines (Ica – South Coast)
The Nazca Lines are a series of the most outstanding ancient geoglyphs in the world that are located in the Nazca Desert between the towns of Nazca and Palpa in Southern Peru. They are thought to have been created somewhere between 400 AD and 700 AD, but it is not known exactly why the Nazca people constructed them. There are hundreds of figures that range from just simple lines to things such as, lizards, monkeys, spiders, fish and human figures. They are only visible completely from the air due to their impressive size, so to have the full experience you need to go in a plane or helicopter. It is important that you use a reputable airline company.
4. Amazon Rainforest (East Rainforest)
The Peruvian Amazon Rainforest makes up 60% of Peru and is located to the East of the Andes mountain range. Peru’s part of the Amazon contains a more pure and unspoiled version of the Brazilian Amazon. The Peruvian Amazon is split into two ecoregions; Selva Baja (lowland jungle) and Selva Alta (highland jungle). Iquitos is the capital of the Peruvian Amazon and is located in the Selva Baja. It is the largest city in the world that cannot be reached by road. In the jungle you can do activities such as trekking through the dense forest with your own machete, swimming through the numerous waterfalls, watching out for the immensely diverse wildlife, which includes the widest variety of species of birds in the world. You can also encounter mammals such as the Jaguar, Spectacled Bear, Spider Monkey, Ocelot (Dwarf Leopard) and many more.
5. Lord of Sipan (Chiclayo – North Coast)
The Lord of Sipan (El Senor de Sipan) was a lord of the Moche Civilization, one of Peru’s most important pre- Hispanic civilizations who ruled Northern Peru from 1 AD to 700 AD. He died around 1770 years ago, but this mummy and his tomb was only recently discovered in 1987 by a group of Peruvian archeologists, led by Walter Alva and is one of the greatest recent archeological discoveries in South American in the last few decades. The tomb was found largely intact and untouched by thieves in Sipan’s Huaca Rajada, an area in Chiclayo, which is a town in the Northern part of Peru approximately 770km north of Lima.