17 Unforgettable Things To Do in Peru │Touring Highlights

17 Unforgettable Things To Do in Peru

Peru

A visit to Peru will leave you with more questions than answers. Home to one of the 7 Wonders of the World, as well as a dozen more enigmas, are you prepared to be left digging for an explanation? 

A haven for nature and history enthusiasts, there is no better place to explore the wonders of the world. 

From hiking alpaca-lined rainbow mountains to exploring the Amazon rainforest, allow plenty of time for glorious Peru… 

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu Peru

Almost certainly at the top of everyone’s checklist, Machu Picchu is the pride and joy of Peru.

Discovered just a century ago, this infamous attraction is one of the New 7 Wonders of The World. No one is sure of its purpose, so you can come to your own conclusion.

Uncover the Lost City of the Incan Empire on the steep facade of the Andes mountain range. The site is reachable by bus, but also on foot within two to three days along the ancient Inca Trail.

You will be met with mysterious llamas, temples and agricultural areas, all balancing precariously on the cliff edge.

Amazon Jungle

Amazon Jungle Peru

One visit everyone must do is to visit the Peruvian section of the Amazon Jungle. 

This is home to some of the most diverse nature on the planet and is the only part of the rainforest you can visit whilst in South America. 

Don’t miss the Manu National Park which boasts more than a thousand species of birds and 200 mammals. They orchestrate a refreshing soundscape that will bring you to your senses of the world again. 

We suggest heading to the Amazon Rescue Centre to get a better understanding of the nature here and how it should be taken care of.  Their work is an inspiration and they even let you feed the baby manatees!

Vinicunca (Rainbow Mountain)

Vinicunca (Rainbow Mountain) Peru

You might already recognise the iconic rainbow slopes of Montaña de Siete Colores, in the Cordillera Vilcanota mountain range. 

One of the best things you can do during your visit to Peru is to hike its brightly coloured slopes. All in all, it takes about a day to complete the hike. And its glittering swirls of soil are something you will never forget. 

This magical destination lies southeast of Cusco and passes over Peruvian villages. It looks even better during sunset. 

Lima

Lima Peru

Without a doubt, a visit to the capital city of Lima is in-store during your visit to Peru. 

Its historic centre has been added to the UNESCO list and beckons a generous chunk of your day to see its infamous sites. 

Pass through the Plaza Mayor for your fill of Colonial architecture. meanwhile, Tarma will whisk you through excellently preserved pre-Columbian history. 

And don’t miss the harrowing Catacombs at the Basilica and Convent of Saint Francisco, which are the largest on the continent. 

Museo Larco, Lima 

Museo Larco Lima Peru
Editorial credit: badahos / Shutterstock.com

For the biggest collection of ancient Peruvian artefacts, head to Museo Larco in the capital. 

This is the best way to kickstart your visit as it tells you everything you need to know about the culture, even pre-Inca age. Don’t miss the famous Erotic Collection of pre-Columbian erotic art. 

Cool off in the brightly flowered courtyard and fill up on traditional Peruvian cuisine. 

Open from 9 am to 10 pm daily, you will have all the time you need to get to grips with Peru’s extensive history. 

Lima Cathedral 

Lima Cathedral Peru

To see the tomb of Francisco Pizzaro, who notoriously ended the Inca Empire, head to Lima Cathedral. 

Not only will you see the grave of the famous conquistador, who also helped discover the Pacific Ocean, but the Cathedral itself is also a sight to behold. 

Check out its phenomenally bold pillars and chequered tile flooring that can be spotted from a mile away.

Choquequirao

Choquequirao Peru

Head to the lost city of Choquequirao, one of the most sought-after archaeological sites in Peru. 

Still being uncovered today, keep your eyes peeled for an ancient discovery of your own. This is the cousin of the archaic phenomenon, of Machu Picchu. 

Though alluring, wedged between two halves of a jungle, on top of a towering mountain in the south, it is far less of a tourist attraction. This means fewer queues and far more time to investigate the ruins!

There are plans for a cable car to take you up to the top, so don’t rule this out if you don’t think you can handle the 4-day hike!

Nazca Lines 

Nazca Lines Peru

Another ancient wonder is a visit to the Nazca Lines. The series of ancient line drawings have baffled archaeologists for centuries. 

Many believe it was a communication from aliens, which might bring shivers down your spine. It’s no wonder it secured a place on the UNESCO World Heritage list. 

Best seen from above, but equally fascinating to walk, enjoy the most bewildering 370 metres you have ever walked.

Lake Titicaca

Lake Titicaca Peru
Editorial credit: saiko3p / Shutterstock.com

Thought to be the birthplace of the sun, and for many the highlight of the entire trip to Peru, there are many reasons to visit Lake Titicaca.

Not just a pretty face, Titicaca is recognised as the largest river in South America and the highest in the world navigable by boat. 

On the border with Bolivia, Lake Titicaca is infamous for its floating houses built onto manmade islands made of reeds. Sailing through its notoriously calm water will bless you with a glimpse of the Uros’ way of life.  

Mummies

Mummies Peru
Editorial credit: Ricardo Barata / Shutterstock.com

A harrowing visit, not for the faint of heart. Did you know that Peru actually invented mummification, way before the Ancient Egyptians began? To learn about the ancient Peruvian practice, you should head to a mummy museum. 

Leymebamba Museum, in the north, showcases a disturbing collection of over 200 mummies discovered in the late 90s. Wander around to see the various styles and ages of the embalmed bodies, many with painted expressions. 

In the southern historic centre of Arequipa, you can find the Santa Catalina Museum, dedicated to young human sacrifices. See the main event: the frozen Incan female, Juanita. 

Chachapoyan

Chachapoyan Peru

To see the mummies in their original habitats, head to Chachapoyan. 

Referred to by the Incas as the “People of the Clouds”, this is another spot to leave you piecing together the puzzle. 

Spot the mummified residents in the most confusing places. On vertical cliff faces in La Laguna de Los Condorers and underground vaults, this is by far the highlight of the entire visit. 

It has left even the most knowledgeable archaeologists scratching their heads. 

Deserts

Deserts Peru

It may come as a surprise that this land of mountains and rainforests is also home to multiple stifling desert plains. 

During your stay, you will be honoured with a stampede of sunrises and sunsets that will take your breath away. But, nothing compares to watching the red sun setting over the golden dunes after a buggy race. 

While Sechura is the main event, blanketing Peru’s northern coastline, De Ica is worth a visit for the healing Huacachina Lagoon. It is one of the best places in Peru to kick back in, nestled in the pit of enormous dunes. 

Colca Canyon

Colca Canyon Peru

In the deep south, not far from the capital, is South America’s deepest canyon. The Colca is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon and should not be missed! 

The bottom of the canyon is an ecosystem home to an extensive amount of wildlife. It almost feels like a magic garden. See everything from llamas, to pumas. 

But most impressive are the enormous Condors that glide into the pit. Watch the from the Cruz del Condor viewpoint at the top, before braving the 4-day descent into what feels like the earth’s core. 

Cusco

Cusco Peru

The historical heart of South America lies at the bottom of astonishing scrapes of mountains. 

The UNESCO World Heritage town is at a high altitude and might make you feel uneasy. And that isn’t just due to the amount to take in! Be sure to fuel your body with plenty of cocoa tea. 

There are dozens of religious sites to visit, amongst the brightly coloured thrice-weekly market at Pisaq and the dozens of authentic restaurants. 

The very first church in America can be found here, so don’t refuse a visit to the Cathedral of Santo Domingo! And be sure not to miss the ritzy Church of the Society of Jesus with its stunningly embellished interior. 

And a short half-hour hike will lead you up to the city’s very own Christ the Redeemer statue and some fantastic views of the life below. 

Brave the Food

Brave the Food Peru

Experimental foodies will adore the courageous feat of Peruvian cuisine.

Face a lip-smacking Cuy (roast guinea pig), said to taste like a more flavourful and fattier version of chicken. Brave BBQ alpaca meat is considered a delicacy here and is found at many restaurants.  

You will find seafood is immensely popular, and best eaten in coastal towns for optimal freshness. Look out for traditional ceviche (a selection of raw fish flavoured with chopped onions and citrus juices). 

Head away from the busy areas for an authentic experience. And do not avoid any offer to try a Pisco Sour! This is their national drink and bursts with tangy juice of limes. 

Hiking

Hiking Peru

In such a scenic destination, it would be a pity not to make the most of the unimaginable walking trails on offer. 

Of course, the Inca Trail is the most popular, ending at the ancient ruins and consisting of jaw-dropping scenery which amplifies its mystery. 

And Rainbow Mountain cannot go amiss for some glorious photos. 

For the experienced climber, El Misti supplies a sight for sore eyes – or is that the smoke from its bubbling core? 

It is essential to tackle it with a climbing group and a pair of ski poles since this can be a dangerously steep climb. Though the panoramic views from the top make it more than worth the struggle! 

With so many options to choose from, go at your own pace and you will be bound to encounter otherworldly views, regardless of the climb. 

Ballestas Islands 

Ballestas Islands Peru

Peru’s very own Galápagos Islands, where the cold meets the warm. It is worth catching a boat ride to see the curious crowds of penguins and sea lions enjoying their private island nature reserve. 

Pelicans are among the 1500 species of bird, so be sure to pack your binoculars to get a good glimpse! 

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