Have you ever heard of a country so diverse a month seems far from enough to see it all? Yes? Well, then chances are high it was Peru! Beautiful beaches, ancient culture, high mountains, sweeping deserts, and the dense foliage of the Amazon Rainforest – it’s all there and so much more. To be quite honest with you, the country’s diversity can even be a bit overwhelming. Therefore, I decided to compile a list of 5 unmissable experiences in Peru to instill your wanderlust!
1. Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu really is a no-brainer. The New World Wonder inspires millions of tourists to visit Peru each year. And you know what? It’s totally worth it! I have never heard of anyone being disappointed after their first trip to Machu Picchu. The hype around the Inca ruins is truly justified! If you want to have a super special experience, you should stay at the unique Belmond Sanctuary Lodge right at the gates of Machu Picchu. Why? Because it is the only hotel within the ruins – all other tourists have to stay 400 meters below in a town called Aguas Calientes.
But please don’t reduce Peru to Machu Picchu. There are so many other beautiful Inca ruins in the Sacred Valley and you really should take your time to explore them as well! Plan at least 3 days.
2. Amazon Rainforest
Most people talking about the Amazon Rainforest will probably think of Brazil. Few may realize that Peru has access to the extended river system as well. But it gets better yet: The upper Amazon River is the region with the highest biodiversity on this planet. You really don’t want to miss this! Book a stay at one of the jungle lodges or take a river cruise – the incredible wildlife will leave you speechless either way.
If there is one place in Peru you really must visit, then it’s Cusco. The city was once the capital of the Inca kingdom and tells a compelling story of 1,000 years of history. Cusco will take your breath away. Quite literally, as it is located at 3,400 meters above sea level. But don’t be afraid of the altitude sickness. Rather take your time to explore the many famous Inca ruins, the sprawling markets and of course the amazing restaurants and bars.
There are just so many things to do in Cusco. The food, however, was really what impressed me the most. You might doubt me now, but tasting the unbelievably delicious corn or potatoes of the Incas will make you believe you’ve been eating a whole different plant all your life!
4. Lake Titicaca & Floating reed islands
Lake Titicaca is the highest commercially navigable lake in the world – 3,812 meters above sea level to be quite precise. Why should you visit? Lake Titicaca is home to the amazing floating reed islands of the Uros people. These artificial islands are constructed from reeds and reeds alone.
But there is more: Around Lake Titicaca, you will also find a couple of other UNESCO World Heritage sites. Names like Taquile (where a community of male knitters produces the finest hats you’ve ever seen) or Tiwanaku instantly come to my mind. You don’t care about antiquity? Then take a boat trip around the glittering lake or bike along its beautiful shores!
Every journey has to start somewhere, and for your trip to Peru, Lima might be the ideal place. Nature, history, and wildlife are all essential ingredients of a perfect trip. But to take the true measure of any country, you have to get in contact with the present and not just ancient ruins.
Many say Lima is one giant Moloch. And in a way, that’s certainly true. Unemployment, water scarcity, and a high crime rate are only the very tip of an iceberg of problems. At the same time, the city of 8,5 million inhabitants is the ideal melting pot for a new kind of Peruvian art, fashion & cuisine. Stroll around the amazing district of Miraflores or explore the unbelievable Water Park at night – Lima will certainly not disappoint you. And for you, history lovers: Lima also has a couple of excellent museums and in fact many ancient ruins as well! 😉
So, that’s it. These were my unmissable tourist attractions in Peru. Got any questions or would like to share your personal highlights in Peru? Drop me a line in the comments below!
This article is a guest post contribution from Norman of Années de Pèlerinage. Norman has visited more than 50 countries and looks back on over 30 years of travel experience. When he is not reclining in the pool of a fantastic luxury hotel or exploring one of the most remote corners of this planet, you will find him writing about his experience on his blog. You can also connect with him on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.