Best Places to Visit in Peru
Peru is probably one of the best-known destinations in South America, and the mysterious settlement of Machu Picchu has graced many travel postcards. But while the country is certainly famous for its Inca Trail and ancient archaeological sites, Peru offers more than just crumbling ruins.
From pre-Columbian settlements to modern and traditional cities in Peru’s southern tourist corridor, take some time to explore these Peruvian delicacies. Explore Lima’s museums, soak in high-altitude Cusco’s hot springs, and fly over the breathtaking Nazca Lines.
Have a look at our list of the Best Places to Visit in Peru and make your trip enjoyable.
10 Best Places to Visit in Peru
Let’s explore the top 10 Most Beautiful and Best Places to Visit in Peru:
Located in the southern mountains, colorful Cusco was once the capital of the Inca Empire. Today, it holds the title of Archaeological Capital of America. It’s one of Peru’s most visited destinations, and for good reason: It offers easy access to Machu Picchu and the incredible Sacred Valley of the Incas.
Built by the Spanish on the ruins of ancient Inca temples and palaces, the center of the city is the Plaza de Armas, the main square surrounded by restaurants, cafes and churches. The colorful San Pedro Market is nearby, with vendors selling fresh produce and beverages, as well as Quechua handicrafts such as alpaca weaves, dyed pottery, ceramics and Peruvian dolls.
Just outside the city is an important Inca site known as Sacsayhuaman, a massive walled complex built from large limestone boulders. The area is an ancient engineering marvel because it aligns exactly with the annual solstice and is earthquake resistant.
The city is full of culture – it’s the center of Quechua culture in the Andes – and its mountains have hiking trails and hot springs. Wander the streets of the city with its colonial buildings, craft markets, museums and art galleries for a timeless feel.
Due to its high altitude of 3400 meters, Cusco is at risk of altitude sickness, so be sure to give it time to acclimate before heading here.
Located in a lush valley 8 hours north of Lima, Trujillo is known for its photogenic colonial center filled with colorful Spanish mansions, quirky churches, and friendly locals.
Not far from the Pacific coast, this relatively large city was built in the 1500s near the abandoned ruins of Chan Chan, one of the largest pre-Inca empires in ancient Peru. In the remnants of its impressive once-walled walls, this mud city of Chimo is America’s largest adobe city and is home to a number of religious temples, burial grounds, and royal residences.
But that’s not the only history of Trujillo worth exploring. See the 19th-century National University of Trujillo, one of the largest of its kind in South America, with the world’s tallest mosaic, and marvel at the incredible frescoes of the hapless Huaca de la Luna (Temple of the Moon). showcase of human sacrifice If you want to unwind after a few days of exploration, you can’t go wrong with the beaches of the resort town of Huanchaco – remember to bring sunscreen!
3. Nazca Desert
The inexplicable Nazca Lines that crisscross the Palpa and Nazca Valleys put this part of Peru’s otherwise uninteresting desert on the map. These huge inscriptions, animals, and other geometric patterns were carved into the sand by the Nazca people and are believed to be part of the Millennium Sacred Way. The dry, windless, stable climate of the Nazca Desert has kept these lines in place to this day.
The best way to understand the size of these geometric lines and shapes is to fly from the sky over the Nazca Lines. If you’re hesitant to fly (it’s not cheap!) or just want to see them up close, there’s an observation tower along the Pan American Highway where you can see the three main characters.
Other Nazca sites worth seeing in the desert are the ancient aqueducts known as the Nazca Strait. These underpasses allow cotton, potato and fruit fields in the desert to thrive in this otherwise habitable place.
Iquitos is the capital of the Loreto region in Peru, which includes most of the northern Amazon River. Interestingly, Iquitos was originally founded by a hunter-gatherer tribe and is now the largest corrupt city in the world.
While getting to Iquitos is a little tricky – you have to get on by plane or boat – the rewards are definitely worth it. Despite its remote location, there is a mix of traditional and modern architecture: the historic buildings of the central square and wooden houses built on stilts by the river.
Offering an unforgettable escape in the Amazon jungle that feels authentic, visitors can browse the Belém Floating Market for everything from bananas to crocodile meat. If souvenirs are what you’re looking for, the San Juan Craft Market is a better option.
Iquitos is in isolation to its advantage; The surrounding forest offers some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities in the country. It is the home base for boat trips along the Amazon River to visit monkeys, crocodiles and the notorious boa constrictor. A visit to the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve near Lagunas is one of the best places to spot some unusual Amazonian wildlife.
The picturesque hillside port city of Puno is the natural gateway to Lake Titicaca and more than 85 floating islands of Uros, with boats departing from the marina every 40 minutes. Located at 3,800 meters above sea level, Puno is above sea level and offers stunning views of the lake and island chain.
Puno is a popular tourist trap thanks to its easy access to neighboring Bolivia and Chile, but it offers a more laid-back option than the luxury lake island it overlooks. For one thing, souvenirs at the lake market are much cheaper than what you can get in Cusco or Lima!
Its biggest attraction is the departure point to the famous floating island of Uros, where a boat leaves from the pier every 40 minutes. It is also a great place to experience Aymara and Quechua culture. Some of the most popular activities include visits to camel farms and overnight stays with local families. Most of the people living in Puno are Andean, so there is an interesting mix of modern and Andean traditions, and you will still find many women in brightly colored traditional dress.
Lima, the capital and largest city of Peru, is a sprawling metropolis with a population of approximately 9 million. Founded in 1535 by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro, the city has a rich history, unique cuisine and a strong sense of culture.
You’ll find modern architecture in stark contrast to traditional and colonial architecture, well-organized slums and noisy nightclubs and bars. Ruled by the Spanish for three centuries, Lima boasts fascinating Spanish colonial churches, monasteries and monasteries – a true feast for history buffs.
Due to its location close to the beach, Lima is a great culinary destination for seafood lovers. The Lima Food Tour is a great way to sample the city’s authentic Peruvian flavors like ceviche and visit some of the city’s most authentic markets and restaurants.
Whether you’re strolling through Lima’s historic center and craft markets or exploring the greener, a more tourist-friendly suburb of Miraflores filled with antique shops and bars, you’ll find something special in Lima.
7. Colca Canyon
Colca Canyon is located in the mountainous southern mountain range and is one of Peru’s most popular tourist destinations. Spanning more than 70 kilometers, the world’s second deepest canyon offers stunning scenery and stunning Andean culture and nature.
While the size and scale of the canyon are staggering, what is most impressive about Colca is the diversity of its many landscapes. It covers everything from barren meadows and stepped terraces to craggy cliffs and towering peaks. Wherever you go, the scenery is spectacular, with breathtaking views of Andean vultures flying over the 3,140-metre deep canyon.
While archaeological sites and ruins are found around the canyon, locals continue their ancestral traditions in their small villages and towns. Many people who visit Colca Canyon start in Chivay and then take a hike along the scenic rim, past steep canyons and deadly water droplets, enjoying the breathtaking scenery and scenery.
8. Sacred Valley
Once the heart of the Inca Empire, the Sacred Valley of the Incas is a valley in the Andes near the ancient cities of Cusco and Machu Picchu. The valley was appreciated by the Incas for its special geographical and climatic features.
Set in the mountains of southern Peru, some of the most popular activities here are adventure-based – from hiking and rafting to rock climbing. In contrast, the towns of Yucai and Urubamba are fast becoming centers of spiritual relaxation and meditation.
Whichever route you choose, there is a lot to discover along the way. Along this mysterious route are magnificent colonial towns, remote villages, colorful markets and fascinating Inca ruins such as Pisac Castle, Chinchero Castle and Ollantaytambo Castle.
Take time to explore the terraced fields above Pisac and visit the village’s famous handicraft market. Check out Choquequirao, some delightfully uncrowded ruins that are considered a competitive advantage for Machu Picchu.
9. Inca Trail
The Inca Trail in Peru is one of the most famous hikes in the world, passing through breathtakingly scenic mountains, gorges and valleys. The trek takes about four days, starting just outside of Cusco, the former capital of the Inca Empire, and ending in the legendary Machu Picchu, the lost city of the Incas.
Using ancient stone roads and paths paved by the Incas centuries ago, the route passes through various ecosystems and landscapes. Some sections are adjacent to stepped terraces, others pass through alpine tundra and cloud forests, and there are steep valleys and towering mountains in the distance. You will also encounter ancient ruins along the way, as the Inca civilization was built on plateaus.
Due to the popularity of the Inca Trail, tourists now need to book with a travel agent and can choose from several different routes that vary in distance and altitude. Walking the historical trails in the footsteps of the Incas is an unforgettable experience that makes going to the majestic Machu Picchu even more special.
Arequipa, at 2,380 meters above sea level, is Peru’s second largest city. Surrounded by volcanoes, including El Misti, it is known as the “white city” as its buildings are made of white volcanic rocks from neighboring mountains called sillar.
Unlike many other cities in Peru, Arequipa has no Inca reputation – at least not in the form of an ancient settlement. The most famous Inca sighting is the mummified Juanita, also known as Madame Apato, the well-preserved frozen corpse of a young Inca girl sacrificed to the gods in the 1400s. It can now be found in the Andean Reserve Museum at the Catholic University of Santa Maria.
Examples of Spanish colonial architecture can be found everywhere. The most important of these is the Convent of Santa Catalina, often described as a city within a city, with its charming streets, colorful buildings and flowers. Beautiful bridges such as Puente Bologne also have historical value and great views. The main square of the city, Plaza de Armas, is the common point of departure for many tourists with its shops, restaurants and ancient churches.
Arequipa is a scenic starting point for exploring the colorful Colca Canyon, one of Peru’s top tourist attractions. At 3,270 meters deep, the canyon is one of the deepest of its kind in the world.
Hope you like our choice of the best places to visit in Peru. If you think there are some more beautiful places to visit in Peru, we should cover them. Write us below in the comment box.