From ancient civilizations and colonial heritage to striking natural scenery, wildlife and high-adrenalin sports, Peru has an astounding variety of attractions. You can retrace the footsteps of the Incas, cruise the world’s highest navigable lake, hike across the Andes and surf at glorious beaches. Peru sits on the west coast of South America, nestled between Amazonian rainforests and the Pacific Ocean.
See astounding remnants of Peru’s millennia-old civilizations. The most famous is the mystical Machu Picchu, a mountain-top citadel that was once the center of Incan culture. Arrive here by hiking along the sacred Inca Trail. Visit the archaeological ruins of Chan Chan, the former home of the Chimú Kingdom, or the pre-Incan adobe pyramids in the Lambayaque Valley, better known as Valley of the Pyramids. Gaze in wonder at the mysterious Nazca Lines geoglyphs in the southern Peruvian desert.
Peru’s towns and cities showcase a fusion of colonial history, Peruvian heritage and modernity. Peru’s capital, Lima, has remarkable architecture, a dynamic nightlife and an excellent culinary scene. Wander the narrow streets of Cuzco to find hidden Inca ruins and indigenous markets. Admire the legacy of Spanish-era monuments in Arequipa. Don’t miss Puerto Belen, a floating village on the Amazon River.
Visit small island communities while you cruise Lake Titicaca, the highest sailable lake on earth. Watch condors glide high up in the mountains that surround Colca Canyon. See colorful butterflies, monkeys and jaguars in Manu National Park. Spot sea lions and flamingos at Paracas National Reservation and the stunning Ballestas Islands.
For adventurous visitors, there’s excellent hiking in the Cordillera Blanca and Cordillera Huayhuash. Join kayaking and white-water rafting excursions on the Apurimac and Urubamba rivers. Try sand-boarding or ride in a dune buggy over the huge dunes at Huacachina Oasis. Surf at palm-fringed beaches such as Puerto Chicama and Máncora Beach.
Explore this large country easily with Peru’s extensive network of cheap and reliable buses and affordable domestic flights. Peru’s fascinating culture, mesmerizing ancient ruins, breathtaking landscapes and wildlife make it an exciting vacation destination.