Peru

Overview

Located on the west side of the South American subcontinent is the Republic of Peru. Officially one of the world’s 17 megadiverse countries, Peru’s natural habitats and climates are so varied that, from the Andes mountains to the tropical Amazon rainforest, the country harbours a truly astonishing abundance of biodiversity. On the Pacific coast, the capital city, Lima, is well-known for its colourful colonial architecture and hospitable inhabitants. Venturing inland, the lost city of Machu Picchu greets curious visitors with its iconic Incan stone structures and captivating charm. Not far from this World Heritage Site is another jewel in the Peruvian crown: the City of Cuzco. As the historic capital of the Incan Empire, Cuzco is a town with Spanish colonial influence that, nevertheless, proudly celebrates its Incan heritage. Back on the coast, the beaches of Peru are guaranteed to give satisfactory repose and relaxation to even the most burnt out of travellers. The Peruvian coast stretches out for miles and miles (more than 2,400 km!) so there is absolutely no shortage of seaside destinations where layer upon layer of golden sand meets the gleaming waters of the Pacific.

Top Attractions

  • Explore the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, with its stunning Inca citadel, terraced hillsides, and panoramic views of the Andes Mountains.
  • Discover the historic city of Cusco, the former capital of the Inca Empire, with its well-preserved colonial architecture, ancient Inca ruins like Sacsayhuamán and Qorikancha, and cultural attractions like the Cathedral of Santo Domingo and the Plaza de Armas.
  • Visit the Sacred Valley of the Incas, with its picturesque villages, Inca ruins, and traditional markets, as well as opportunities for hiking, horseback riding, and visiting indigenous communities.
  • Experience the natural beauty of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world, with its pristine waters, floating islands of the Uros people, and traditional villages like Taquile and Amantani, as well as opportunities for boat tours, kayaking, and homestays.
  • Explore the Amazon rainforest in the Peruvian Amazon, with its diverse flora and fauna, indigenous communities, and opportunities for wildlife watching, birdwatching, and jungle treks.

Local Cuisine

  • Indulge in the flavors of Peruvian cuisine, known for its diverse influences, fresh ingredients, and bold flavors.
  • Sample iconic dishes like ceviche (marinated raw fish or seafood), lomo saltado (stir-fried beef with onions and tomatoes), and causa (a layered potato dish), as well as traditional side dishes like tacu tacu (a rice and bean dish) and yuca fries.
  • Try Peruvian specialties like anticuchos (grilled skewers of marinated meat), rocoto relleno (stuffed spicy peppers), and ají de gallina (a creamy chicken stew), as well as traditional desserts like picarones (sweet potato and pumpkin fritters) and suspiro a la limeña (a caramel and meringue dessert).
  • Savor refreshing beverages like pisco sour (a cocktail made with pisco, lime juice, syrup, and egg white), chicha morada (a sweet purple corn drink), and Inca Kola (a popular soft drink), as well as traditional herbal teas like coca tea and muña tea.
  • Don’t forget to try Peruvian street food like empanadas (deep-fried pastries filled with meat, cheese, or vegetables), salchipapas (fried sausages and french fries), and anticuchos (grilled skewers of marinated meat), as well as snacks like roasted corn, fried plantains, and chifles (plantain chips).

Outdoor Activities

  • Go hiking and trekking in Peru’s Andes Mountains, with opportunities for exploring scenic trails, high-altitude passes, and ancient Inca pathways in destinations like the Inca Trail, the Salkantay Trek, and the Huayhuash Circuit.
  • Visit the Colca Canyon, one of the deepest canyons in the world, with opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, and visiting traditional villages like Chivay and Yanque, as well as opportunities for spotting Andean condors.
  • Experience adventure activities like white-water rafting on the Urubamba River, mountain biking in the Sacred Valley, and zip-lining in the Amazon rainforest, as well as opportunities for paragliding, rock climbing, and bungee jumping in destinations like Lima and Huaraz.
  • Explore the rivers and waterways of Peru, with opportunities for kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and wildlife watching on destinations like the Tambopata River, the Madre de Dios River, and the Amazon River, as well as opportunities for fishing and boat tours to explore oxbow lakes and tributaries.
  • Discover the biodiversity of Peru’s national parks and protected areas, with opportunities for birdwatching, wildlife spotting, and nature photography in destinations like Manu National Park, Tambopata National Reserve, and the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve.

Cultural Experiences

  • Immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of Peru with visits to museums, galleries, and cultural institutions like the Larco Museum in Lima, the National Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology, and History in Cusco, and the Museum of Pre-Columbian Art in Arequipa, which showcase the history, art, and culture of the country.
  • Explore the vibrant arts scene of Peru, with opportunities to attend music festivals, dance performances, and art exhibitions showcasing Peruvian and international talent, as well as workshops and classes in traditional crafts like weaving, pottery, and sculpture.
  • Experience traditional Peruvian music and dance performances, such as marinera, huayno, and huaylash, as well as contemporary styles like salsa, reggaeton, and rock music, which reflect the diverse cultural traditions of the country.
  • Discover the history and legacy of Peru’s indigenous peoples with visits to historic sites like the Nazca Lines, the Chavín de Huántar archaeological site, and the Raqchi archaeological site, which showcase the art, culture, and traditions of Peru’s indigenous communities.
  • Participate in local festivals and celebrations, such as Inti Raymi (the Festival of the Sun), the Feast of Corpus Christi, and the Qoyllur Rit’i pilgrimage, to experience the vibrant culture and spirit of Peru firsthand.

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