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5 Things You've Just Gotta Do: Peru Edition

There's more to Peru than Machu Picchu


1) Hike the Inca Trail
When you think of Peru, chances are the first thing that comes to mind is Machu Picchu. And why wouldn't it be? Voted as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, the 15th century Inca site is located 7970 feet above sea level and is a feast for the senses. To enjoy epic views of the the incredible site, Contiki travellers take a train to Kilometre 104, where they'll then strap on their hiking shoes and take to the Inca Trail to trek through forests and rivers and natural springs.

2) Explore the rainforest
When 60% of a country is covered in lush rainforest, it's a given that you should explore it. The Peruvian Amazon has 2500 species of butterflies, 806 species of birds and 7372 species of plants -- there's no end to the breathtaking scenery you'll see while wandering this incredible landscape. Join a hike or try one of the many ziplines, like The Eye of the Jaguar in Cusco, which is the longest in the world, running an unbroken 1.3 miles.

3) Hit the sand dunes
After an overdrive of the senses at Machu Picchu and in the rainforest, it's time to have a little fun! Huacachina is about 4 hours outside of Lima and is the only oasis in South America, making it the perfect spot to hop aboard a dune buggy with your pals and enjoy the ride. If you're a snowboarder at heart (like many of us Canadians are), strap on a board and hit the dunes for some sandboarding. Otherwise, you can grab a Magic Carpet or sled and take off down the dunes, squealing the whole way. Tip: Goggles. 'Nuff said.

4) See the Sacred Valley from a different perspective
The Sacred Valley is one of the must-see spots in Peru, close to Cusco and just below Machu Picchu. An incredible landscape made of gorges and rivers, the Valley is nothing short of breathtaking. Because it's such a vast space, Contiki offers up several ways to explore every region, rather than the old heel-toe method. Saddle up and go horseback riding through the valleys, the ultimate way to become one with your natural surroundings. Or, if cycling is more of your thing, hop on two wheels for a mountain biking adventure with your fellow travellers.

5) Soar above the Nazca Lines
If you want to have your mind blown, make sure you check out the Nazca Lines in southern Peru. A series of ancient geoglyphs that were mysteriously created by the Incas between 400 and 650 AD, the Nazca Lines can be seen in whole by boarding a small plane or helicopter and soaring high above the desert. The hundreds of images drawn in the red pebbles range in size and depict spiders, monkeys, fish, etc., with the largest being a massive 660 feet across.

Written by Lauren McPhillips

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