Curious about what places to visit in Peru when you are off on your South American tour? Oh, the wonders you will see. Peru is a magical stretch of land filled with stunning landscapes, warm people, and rich, colorful cultural heritage.
Peru’s geography is a proof of the country’s touristic attractiveness. The Latino nation comprises 11 ecological regions and as much as 84 life zones (the Earth has 117 life zones). Peru’s three main regions are the coast, the mountains, and the jungle, meaning that travelers can enjoy a broad range of tourist activities inside just one country.
Consider spending at least two weeks in Peru because there are so many extraordinary things to see. Otherwise, you will regret spending not enough time to see at least the major attractions.
Here Are the Best Places to Visit in Peru
1. Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu is one of the most recognizable tourist attractions in the whole wide world. This archeological site is an evidence of the Inca Empire at the pinnacle of its power. The temples and homes inside the citadel have been built either as a ceremonial site, a military fortress, or a retreat for rulers of the nation. Machu Picchu sits on a mountain ridge more than 7,900 feet above sea level in the Cusco region, so either one of these purposes is plausible.
To get there, you must take the Inca Trail. This is actually comprised of three overlapping trails that vary in length and difficulty levels. Choose the one most suited for your physical capabilities. Either way, you will be offered breathtaking views. Since the permits are limited by the authorities to 200 hikers per day, it is best to reserve yours prior to your arrival because of the huge number of tourist coming to see the site each day.
Tourists visit Nazca mostly to see the mysterious Nazca Lines in the Nazca desert. The ancient geoglyphs cover about 170 square miles, and number in the thousands. They are believed to have been created between 400 and 650 A.D. by the ancient prehistoric Nazca culture. The geoglyphs depict animals (monkey, pelican, whale, spider, and others), plants, flowers, trees, geometric shapes, and also mystical creatures. The Nazca Lines can be enjoyed either from the ground or, better yet, from a helicopter.
But the Nazca Lines are not the only reason why people visit Nazca, although they sure are one of the top places to visit in Peru. Travelers also enjoy hiking and sandboarding in the region, as well as visiting the Pardeones Ruins and the creepy Chauchilla Cemetery.
3. Lake Titicaca
Lake Titicaca sits at 3,820 meters above sea level, surrounded by small picturesque villages, breathtaking scenery, being an almost unspoiled beauty. It is the largest lake in South America, and also the highest navigable one in the world.
Tourists can take boat trips to the islands. One of the most popular is the Uros Floating Islands that sustain communities of Uros Indians. Their uniqueness lies in the fact that they have been constructed entirely with the reeds that grow on the banks of the lake. The Uros people use reeds not only to build their homes, but also to create boats, make crafts, and even eat them.
The main gateway is the city of Puno. You can take the train from Cusco to Puno, which goes through rural Peru to Lake Titicaca. It is considered to be one of the most scenic train journeys in the world.
Speaking of Cusco, it is among the greatest places to visit in Peru. Walking the streets of the city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is like a visit to a museum. A trip to Cusco takes you back into the world of the ancient Andean culture.
The city is also the gateway to the Sacred Valley, the extraordinary Machu Picchu, and the Andean countryside with its high altitude settlements.
5. Colca Canyon
Colca Canyon is the second deepest canyon in the world, topped by the nearby Cotahuasi Canyon. With a depth of 3,270 meters, it is about twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, which doesn’t seem so grand now, does it? It is one of the most astounding places to visit in Peru in the Arequipa region.
The canyon’s grandeur is best observed from the Cruz del Condor viewpoint, from where you can also spot the majestic Andean Condors. The area also offers a wide range of activities for travelers, from adventure sports to tourist home-stays. You will have the chance embrace the vibrant indigenous culture and buy high-quality handicrafts to take home to your loved ones.
Also in Arequipa region, we have the high altitude city of Arequipa. The settlement is regarded as the country’s most beautiful city. Arequipa’s center is actually a designated UNESCO World Heritage site, famous for its old architecture with buildings constructed of sillar stone. Because of this, it gained the nickname of the “white city”, as the volcanic rock shines a bright color in the daytime.
Lima is the capital and largest city of Peru, founded in 1535 by Francisco Pizarro, a Spanish conquistador. The town is a curious mix of modern infrastructure and pre-Hispanic and colonial architecture. One of the best places to visit in Lima is the Plaza de Armas, the historic heart of the city. In the north, you will see the Government Palace, to the east you have the Cathedral of Lima, and to the west is the Municipalidad de Lima (the town hall).
It is one of the top places to visit in Peru to taste the amazing Peruvian cuisine. If you love seafood, you can find mouthwatering delicacies that are not that expensive. Apart from restaurants, Lima also has a lively nightlife, so make sure you check out the city in the nighttime as well.
Chachapoyas province is located in the selva alta, an isolated region that not many tourists dare to visit. It takes about two days to get there, so it is not an accessible place for those looking just to relax. Backpackers, however, add this area to their Peruvian adventure, as the landscape offers some of the most awe-inspiring views in the county. The lush jungle, the harsh edges of the mountains, the Pre-Incan ruins of Kuelap, or the Gocta Cataracts waterfall, are just some of the region’s wonders.