15 things not to miss in Peru.November 30, 2010
Being South America’s third largest country, it is simply not possible to see and visit everything that Peru has to offer in one visit. Therefore, our travel experts have put together a list of things that you might want to incorporate on your trip to Peru. This simply isn’t a list of historical sites to visit, but rather a summary of the best experiences you can find in Peru.
Where appropriate we have included links to additional information on each topic, which is located in the main pages of our online Peru guide.
Peru potentially boasts the most diverse wildlife of any country in the world. Studies have shown that the Peru has 90 different micro-climates, which is more than recorded by any other country. Alpaca, Llama and Vicuña are perhaps some of the most common and easiest wildlife to see in the Andes.
Experience gastronomy in Lima:
If you like good food, then the gastronomy in Lima will blow you away. Take an evening to visit one of Lima’s many excellent restaurants thathave become famous for taking international cuisine, and combining it with traditional flavors and ingredients from around Peru. See Lima Restaurants.
Sand buggying in Huacachina:
Several hours south of Lima in the Pampa desert is the small oasis of Huacachina. Surrounded by massive sand dunes, Huacachina is full of high-powered sand buggies waiting to take you far out into the timeless golden dunes.
ENTERTAINMENT TIP: If looking for fun at night, or to watch sports during the day, or even a taste of home, visit the Wild Rover Hostels Chain for great food, sports and beer! Entrance to their bars is free even for non-guests
Visit the Uros Islands:
Constructed by native Indians hundreds of years ago, the floating Uros Islands are a truly unique and mystical sight. Weaved by hand from Tortuga reed found on the shores of Lake Titicaca, the Uros Islands feature housing, boats and even a church made from purely reed.
Visit Machu Picchu:
Perched high above the Urubamba Valley this fabled lost city of the Inca’s is truly a spectacular marvel of the world. Any visit to Peru must include a trip to this mystical and spiritual sanctuary, which was brought to the world’s attention in 1911 by the famous American explorer Hiram Bingham. See our Guide to Machu Picchu
This popular spicy, yet health seafood plate is the signature dish of Peru. Made from raw fish cooked in lime juice and served with a spicy rocotto (pepper) sauce, Ceviche is best served at lunch time, next to the beach accompanied with a cold glass of beer.
Situated high above Cusco is the mighty Inca ruins of Saqsayhuaman. Historians are still at odds as to was exactly was the purpose of the site, but some think it was a fortress that defended Cusco, and others believe that it only served as a spiritual place of worship. Whatever the purpose of Saqsayhuaman, you will find the largest carved Inca stones set in a complex of beautifully maintained terraces. More information on Saqsayhuaman
Fly over the Nazca Lines:
Nazca people created a vast tapestry of trapezoids and triangles, creating some 70 strange animal and plant figures which have mystified observers for thousands of years. Take a 30 minute flight over-flight where you can fully appreciate the sheer enormity and mystery of these historic lines.
See Giant Condors:
Take a trip to the stunning region of the Colca Canyon, and see the magnificent native bird of the Andes soar effortlessly around you. The Giant Condor with a wingspan larger than the average family car is a rare and spectacular site, and is a must see for bird and nature lovers.
Take a guided tour of the Santa Catalina Monastery in Arequipa:
Built in 1580 and only open to the public in the last few decades, this ancient Monastery reveals and interesting and rare insight to the closed life and religious beliefs of 450 nuns. With a dowry (entrance fee) equivalent to $50,000 in today’s money, the Monastery of Santa Catalina was one of the wealthiest convents in South America. Check out the Official Arequipa Website for more information.
Hike through the Pisac Ruins:
Take a taxi up to the top of the famous Pisac Ruins, and hike 2 hours down to the village of Pisac. Pass the isolated and sacred Temple of the Sun, and ancient Inca settlements on route, whilst taking in the astonishing and memorable vistas from the picturesque mountains. See more information on the Sacred Valley
Hike down the 17 levels of circular terracing in one of the Sacred Valley less visited Inca sites. Thought to be a kind of scientific testing ground for the development of new crops, the ruins at Moray are considered to have strong and spiritual magnetic forces in the lower levels.
Taste one of Peru’s strangest, yet very traditional highland foods. ‘Cuy’ or guinea pig to you and me, is a popular dish with village communities in the Andes. Cooked in a traditional adobe oven, and served crispy with potatoes and herb sauces this is a dish only for the brave (or slightly mad) travelers.
Hike in The Cordillera Blanca.
Hike through some of the Andes most stunning mountains. Deep azure blue lagoons surrounded by 33 major snow capped peaks, all in an area of less than 120 Km’s (75 miles), is one of the most pristine and scenic regions of Peru.
Hike the Inca Trail:
Walk in the footsteps of Royal Incas, and hike the famous 4 days Inca Trail trek. Hike through high jungle that was once the homeland of the Inca Civilization and visit untouched ruins on the trail, before finally finishing at one of the world’s best attractions – Machu Picchu. See our guide on hiking the Inca Trail
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