Peru is a perfect destination because it has it all. Absolutely everything. You want culture and history, Peru awaits you with its more than 5,000 years of living history. If you are impressed by the great landscapes, Los Andes are a natural monument that leaves no one indifferent. If what you are looking for is a beach, Peru has them all and all beautiful. But if what interests you are the animals and the jungle, then without a doubt to the Amazon. If you are thinking of lively and beautiful cities, your destination will be Lima, Cuzco or Arequipa. And how to forget Lake Titicaca, the Nazca Lines or the desert.
For all this and for many more things that you can’t even imagine, traveling to Peru is something you will have to do sooner or later.
The truth is that there is so much to see and do in Peru that, unless you have a lot of time, the only really complicated thing on this trip is choosing what to visit among all the options.
With the intention of making it easy for the traveler, we have made a selection with 7 essential places that must be visited no matter what.
Peru: 7 essential places
1. Machu Picchu
It is one of the seven wonders of the world and as soon as you see it you will understand why. This city, before the 15th century, is a miracle of architecture and engineering. It is located 2,500 meters above sea level, surrounded by beautiful mountains and lush vegetation, and joins the top of Machu Picchu with Huayna Pichhu. Even today it is difficult to understand how the Incas could do something similar more than 600 years ago. It was a remarkable civilization and Machu Picchu is one of the great proofs of this.
If you have time and you like to walk, you have the possibility to follow the Inca Trail. It is the route that the Incas used to climb up to Machu Picchu. It is a really beautiful path that crosses a mountainous jungle. The landscapes will thrill you and the fauna and flora will accompany you throughout the ascent. It must be appreciated that it is 40 kilometers and many slopes. It is not necessary to be an athlete, but to fully enjoy the road you do need to have an acceptable physical shape. You have to walk for several days. If you are not used to walking, this beautiful trail may seem like hell to you. In this case, do not hesitate and use public transport. There are trains and buses to take you almost to the door of the city.
2. Cusco, a city in the sky
The city of Cusco is the door to Machu Picchu and for that alone it is essential. But whoever believes that it is a city of passage is very, very, wrong.
Cusco is in the Andes, at 3,400 meters of altitude, and it is so special, that it will cost you to say goodbye after having enjoyed its charms. The legacy left in this city by history is palpable in all its corners, churches, houses, convents … the architecture of Cusco makes it one of the most beautiful cities in South America. And if to this you add the color, the gastronomy and the sympathy of its people, this city will have conquered you.
3. Iquitos, the Peruvian Amazon
Getting to Iquitos, the heart of the Peruvian Amazon, is an adventure that you must live by air or by sea, since it has no road. In return, one of the most magical places in this fantastic country awaits you and the door to the fabulous and overwhelming Amazon Rainforest. The fauna, flora, people and customs will make this jewel, forgotten by some, one of the most memorable moments of your trip to Peru.
4. Lake Titicaca
Traveling to the city of Puno to contemplate the immense Lake Titicaca is a pleasure for the senses. If you add to this that the lake is at a whopping 4,000 meters above sea level, you can’t wait to see it. Surely you are already dreaming of a boat trip to get closer to some of its islands or of lying on a natural beach in the middle of the mountain.
5. Arequipa, the white city
To the south of the country and more than 2,300 meters, is Arequipa, the white city. In the shadow of the Misti volcano, this amazing city is home to the Monastery of Santa Catalina de Siena. This monastery alone is well worth crossing the ocean. If you also accompany it with impressive architecture, impressive surroundings, a meal to die for and the sympathy of its people, you already have it all.
6. Rainbow Mountain, an almost unreal landscape
A little over 160 kilometers from Cusco we are going to visit a landscape taken from a science fiction movie. More than 5,000 meters high and an impressive variety of minerals give this mountain its name: rainbow. It is a miracle of geology and a treat for your eyes. If you decide to visit it, you will not be able to stop talking about it.
7. The beaches of Peru.
Peru has many miles of coastline. There are beaches for all tastes. The idyllic beaches in the north of the country, such as those of Tumbes or Piura. The beaches for lovers of water sports, with good winds and good waves such as La Libertad. Beautiful city beaches in the capital, Lima. Include a few days at the beach in your trip to Peru, you will not regret it.
And if you have time …
To all this we have to add the national parks and reserves that, of course, have a lot to offer the traveler. The incredible biodiversity of the Manu National Park ; the more than 600 glaciers and 300 lakes of the Huascaran National Park ; or the deserts close to the sea in the Paracas National Reserve.
We are still missing the mysterious Nazca Lines . Nor have we talked about the historic, monumental and cosmopolitan Lima . Not from Huaraz , the door to the Cordillera Blanca. And we cannot forget the flight of the majestic condor in the Culca Canyon .
But it is so big and so beautiful, it has so much to offer the visitor, that it is impossible not to travel to this country and end up completely haunted by its charms. Whatever you like, Peru is waiting for you and never disappoints.