Discover Peru | What to Visit in Peru

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Peru is a country in South America that, in the world of tourism, is probably most famous for the remnants of the Inca Empire.

The Peruvian culture and history are fascinating and it offers so much more than what people commonly know about it.

In this article, I’ll show you some of the best things to see in Peru and hopefully enrich your travel experience with sites you probably didn’t even know about.

Where is Peru located on the map?

Peru is a country in the western part of South America. It borders Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia, and Chile. The western side of the Republic of Peru has a wide opening to the Pacific Ocean with a coastline of around 1500 miles. 

Because of its position on the map, it has great geographical diversity, making it a spectacular tourist destination for those who want to experience variety. The coastline region is one of the most arid places in the world, however, it’s the location of Lima, Nazca, Trujillo, with lots of beaches, and archeological sites.

The Andes Mountains used to be dominated by the late Inca Empire, and they hide the most famous tourist destination in Peru: Machu Picchu. The longest mountain range in the world is accessible for a variety of activities such as hiking, climbing, canyon rafting, and camping, and stargazing away from civilization, where the Milky Way reveals itself in all its splendor. 

Most of the country, however, is part of Amazonia, the Peruvian jungle being inhabited by some of the rarest animals in the world. It’s an unforgettable experience for every visitor. Despite covering more than half of Peru, the jungle is mostly uninhabited. 

Peru’s location on the map of South America causes it to be affected by the phenomenon called El Niño which mostly happens around December every few years. If you’re planning to travel off-season we recommend checking the weather predictions for the winter months when the rainy season usually takes place.

Who built Machu Picchu?

It was built by the Inca civilization.

When was Machu Picchu built?

This 15th century Inca citadel was abandoned by its inhabitants only a few decades after it was completed and is probably the most famous Peruvian destination. A UNESCO World Heritage location attracts over 1.500.000 visitors every year.

Starting with 2019 hiring a guide became mandatory. Guides are available at the entrance and a few new regulations require visitors to buy one of the two sets of tickets (6 AM – 12 PM or 12 PM – 5:30 PM). Tickets must be bought in advance for climbing the Machu Picchu Mountain or Huayna Picchu after the tour.

You can follow the Inca Trail, which takes 4 days and during which you can visit over 30 Inca locations before reaching the Sun Gate at Machu Picchu.

What is Machu Picchu?

The entire site consists of over 200 buildings with different purposes for their former inhabitants, but the three biggest structures, which were dedicated to the Sun God are The temple of the Sun, The Itihuata, and The Temple of the Three Windows. 

At the base of Machu Picchu, there’s a museum called Museo de Sitio Manuel Chávez Ballón where visitors can learn the history of this place through artifacts.

A few things to remember when visiting this wonderful location:

-> There are no toilets.

-> Food is not allowed.

-> Water is overpriced so bring your own.

The Amazon

Nothing can be better for nature lovers than to experience the most diverse ecosystem in the world. Even though there are different ways to explore the Amazon, those who focus their visit on observing wildlife get the best chance at it by traveling to Manu National Park. A tour guide is required when visiting this protected part of the Amazonian Rainforest and only 2 sections out of 3 can be visited, the 3rd one being inhabited by indigenous tribes and is off-limits. 

During your trip, you’ll be able to go down the river with a canoe and if you have a special interest in certain species the guide can help you find the best places to spot them.

During this unique experience, you’ll have the chance to observe the day-to-day life of jungle villages, or, if you head over to the National Park, species such as anacondas, various species of monkeys, tapirs, capibaras, flocks of macaws, otters, pumas, jaguars and much more. 

How old are the Nazca Lines?

The 300 geoglyphs are 2000 years older than the Inca Empire.

Where are the Nazca Lines?

One of the great mysteries of humankind, this top location to see in Peru is located 250 miles south of Lima.

Some figures can be seen from an observation tower that was raised on the edge of the highway, but the best experience can be achieved by booking a flight. The 30-minute flight costs around $100 and allows you to observe the whole area and have the best view. 

Two museums nearby, Casa-Museo Maria Reiche and the Museo Antonini, will help you to better understand the Nazca history. 

Chauchilla Cemetery

18 miles from the city of Nazca you can find this unique cemetery filled with mummies and archeological artifacts from the Nazca culture. A two-hour tour costs $7 and will teach you a great deal about these mummies that are over 1000 years old. 

Where is Rainbow Mountain?

Mountain Vinicunca is located 3 hours away from Cusco, Peru. Visitors will have to take a hike of six miles to reach it. Because the colors are given by a mix of minerals in the soil it’s best to visit it when there’s no rain and during a time of the day when there’s not too much light.

How old is Lake Titicaca?

This 3 million years old lake is the perfect spot for travelers who want to experience authentic Peruvian culture. Island Amatami is a remote location on Titicaca lake where locals offer rustic accommodations and let you experience their day-to-day life.

Santuarios Andinos Museum

Located in the city of Arequipa, this museum is the hotspot for travelers fascinated by mummies. Peruvian mummies are much older than the Egyptian ones because this part of the world started practicing mummification thousands of years earlier. 

This particular museum is home to one of the most famous mummies in the world, Juanita, an Inca teenager sacrificed in the 15th century. 

Colca Canyon Peru

If you visit Arequipa, you can take a drive to this natural Peruvian wonder located about 99 miles away. This popular destination to see in Peru offers various experiences such as hiking in the canyon, spotting Andean condors, or spending time with local villagers. There are several camping sites for tourists who prefer to take their tent and enjoy time outdoors. 

What is the capital of Peru?

The capital of Peru, Lima is a destination you must discover if you visit the country. The historic center of Lima is home to Plaza Saint Martin, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The district of Miraflores is packed with historical locations, among which is the Huaca Pucllana pyramid. At sunset, this district turns into a hotspot for nightlife.

Lima is also one of the best locations to try Peruvian cuisine, with dishes such as Ceviche, Aji De Gallina, Anticuchos, La Causa, and Pisco Sour.

Visiting the catacombs under the Cathedral of Lima is a unique, but strange experience that you shouldn’t miss. After emerging back to the surface you can head to the Witch Market and shop for the most unusual items and remedies. If you prefer uniquely handcrafted souvenirs, the flea market in the Central Park of Miraflores is the way to go. 

Other great things to see in Lima are the room of 10.000 ancient skulls, Pizzaro’s Tomb, Kennedy Park (with its over 100 cats), the Olive Grove, and the Mario Testino Museum.

No matter what you choose to see in Peru, you’ll be amazed by its culture, history, and nature. Because this country is massive, seeing everything will be difficult, so I recommend making an itinerary before your trip. 

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