South America’s Peru is perhaps most famous for the spectacular Inca Trail, leading to the amazing Machu Picchu, the soaring Andes Mountains, and Paddington Bear! Rich in history and culture, with remnants from ancient civilisations, numerous beautifully scenic areas, vibrant cities, and a rich culinary scene, there are plenty of reasons to visit Peru. With a Pacific coastline, there are also fantastic beaches for when you just want to kick back and relax. Transportation around the country is pretty good, and there are many accommodation options in the main places of interest.
Some main reasons to visit Peru and make it a firm favourite on your travel list include:
The diverse and interesting capital city, Lima offers an enticing selection of things to do and see for all visitors. Grand colonial buildings occupy the streets, and the main square, also known as Plaza de Armas, is a hive of activity surrounded by stunning architecture. Lima Cathedral stands proudly in the city, and is definitely worth a visit. The Archbishops Palace is another top city sight. Condensed areas of nightlife, such as in Mire Flores, make after hours activities fun, and there are many world class restaurants to satisfy all tastes. Close to pristine white sandy beaches, Lima is an easy city to love.
The charming city of Arequipa is home to delights like the Monasterio Santa Catalina, a religious sanctuary for nuns. The paved courtyards are surrounded by quaint buildings, and you can literally feel peace and serenity wash over you upon stepping inside the walls. A volcanic mountain provides a stunning backdrop to the pretty city, and the pace is really laid back and welcoming.
3. Colca Canyon
To reach the spectacular desert you must first drive through a desert and plains, where you will likely spot a range of native wildlife. The canyon itself is simply awesome, and you can take in some of the best views from the high Tapay Viewpoint. Sitting over 3,500 metres above the canyon it can make you feel quite dizzy! Look out for soaring condors in the distance.
4. Lake Titicaca
An incredibly impressive and large body of water, Lake Titicaca also has several ancient sites sitting near to the waters’ edge. It is a great place to spend a few days admiring the area and enjoying the peaceful atmosphere.
A flight over the Nazca Lines is sure to leave you filled with wonder and awe. Fly over the mysterious lines and images in the dry desert beneath and allow yourself to ponder what they mean and how they were created with such precision. Gigantic pictures of various animals can be spotted, as well as something resembling a spaceman! Nearby, there is an ancient burial ground which is also worth a visit.
The picturesque city of Cusco is not only a major starting point for those trekking the renowned Inca Trail, but is also a captivating city in its own right. The main square is surrounded by elegant colonial era buildings, the bustling local markets are filled with various products, and you can also easily visit other splendid Inca sites and the mighty Urubamba River.
7. Machu Picchu
Often called the Lost City of the Incas, Machu Picchu occupies a prime spot on top of a magnificent mountain, with another, steeper, mountain right next to it. Wander around the large complex, seeing temples, homes, a palace, crop terraces, and the intriguing sundial-like stone. Intricate carvings and stonework add to the atmosphere of grandeur. The nearby town of Agues Calientes is quite cute.
8. Manu National Park
Brimming with nature, Manu National Park is loved by locals and visitors alike. Covering several different ecological zones, there is a wide selection of flora and fauna that calls the park home. Amongst the huge diversity of creatures are mountain lions, jaguars, tapirs, hundreds of types of bird, and a great many lizards, other reptiles, and insects. The Manu River runs through the national park.
Cruise along the Amazon River, see the candelabra-esque engraving into the sandy slopes near Pisac, try the national delicacy of guinea pig, let the sounds of panpipes wash over you, and discover your own top reasons to visit Peru.