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14 best places to visit in Peru

Lima coast

Is Peru riding high on your bucket list? It definitely should be. With ancient ruins, Inca architecture, jaw-dropping mountain landscapes and lots of biodiversity, Peru might just be one of the most wholesome travel destinations around. Here are some of the best places to visit in Peru. 

1. Lima

One of the busiest cities in South America, and the continent’s ONLY capital that faces the sea. Lima is a metropolis worthy of the name, with great museums, historic centres like the famous Plaza de Armas de Lima, one truly magnificent water fountain and lots of great cuisine.

Don’t miss: Huaca Pucllana Site Museum – a pre-Incan pyramid.  

Lima, Peru

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2. The Sacred Valley

Out in the Peruvian Andes, the Sacred Valley has a bit of everything. A magnificent landscape, outstanding Inca ruins such as Ollantaytambo and Moray (an amphitheatre-like structure built into the ground). Once you’ve done hiking, taking snaps and admiring the wildlife, you can try your hand at weaving, paragliding or even ziplining in Action Valley.

Don’t miss: Inca Kola – like regular Cola but with a clear/greenish colour.  

sacred valley peru

Image source:Photo by Matt Hughes on Unsplash

3. Arequipa

This colonial city is known for its great weather and for being a haven of authentic Peruvian culture – with lots of museums, cathedrals and traditional architecture. It’s surrounded by three volcanoes, which make for awesome views. Here in Arequipa you’ll also have the chance to raft down the Chilli River. 

Don’t miss: Museo Santuarios Andinos to see a frozen mummy from the 16th century!

arequipa, peru

Image source:Photo by Megan Kotlus on Unsplash

4. Colca Canyon

Peru’s deepest canyon. Which you’ll fall deeply in love with. You may also see Andean condors flying overhead, depending on the time of year

Don’t miss: Chacapi, because it’s never too hot for hot springs. 

colca canyon, peru

Image source:Photo by Nad Hemnani on Unsplash

5. Machu Picchu

The jewel in Peru’s tourism crown. One of the world’s finest archeological sites. A wonder of the world. And all the other accolades. Hiking through the Inca trail to visit this magical site, never actually conquered by the Spanish conquistadors, is a uniquely inspiring and rewarding experience. 

Don’t miss: the Temple of the Sun – once one of the most important temples of the ancient Inca empire.

machu picchu, peru

Image source:Photo by Junior Moran on Unsplash

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6. Lake Titicaca

One of South America’s largest lakes, sitting on the border between Peru and Bolivia. Lake Titicaca holds the title of being the world’s highest navigable body of water, and is one of the best places to visit in Peru for wildlife lovers. See the Titicaca Water Frog, wild Guinea pigs and Andean foxes at the surrounding nature reserve. Ah. It’s just a great day all around. 

Don’t miss: Uros floating islands. 

lake titicaca, peru

Image source:Photo by Paul Summers on Unsplash

7. Rainbow Mountain

Many travellers stay at Cusco and take day trips out to the magical Rainbow Mountain. You may have a hard time believing it’s completely natural, but it is. A great one for your next background pic.

Don’t miss: the llamas, alpacas and other wildlife.

rainbow mountain, peru

Image source:Photo by Johnson Wang on Unsplash

8. Puerto Maldonado

A jungle city where you travel by boat between biodiversity hotspots. Known as the gateway to the Amazon jungle, Puerto Maldonado is 680,000 acres of jungly goodness – home to caimans, otters, and even jaguars.

Don’t miss: Monkey Island, coz monkeys. 

amazon rainforest, peru

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9. Cordillera Blanca

Part of the Andes, Cordillera Blanca (‘White range’) is the world’s highest tropical mountain range – with lush landscapes made up of snow-capped mountains and the enchanting Llanganuco lakes. 

Don’t miss: mountain biking in this unique setting. 

cordillera blanca, peru

Image source:Photo by Javier Sobrado Ortega on Unsplash

10. Nazca Lines

1000 square kilometres of ancient markings, etched into the desert by the Nazca people of 1-700 AD. 

Don’t miss: A bird’s eye view of the Lines from a helicopter – some etchings are 30 metres wide! 

nazca lines, peru

Image source:Photo by Seiji Seiji on Unsplash

11. Manu National Park

Home to thousands of bird species and even spider monkeys, this famous cloud forest is one of the best places to visit in Peru if you’re big into beauty and biodiversity. 

Don’t miss: the breathtaking Pyramids of Paratoari. 

machu picchu, peru

Image source:Photo by Gabriel Rojas on Unsplash

12. Chan Chan

A UNESCO World Heritage site in the desert of northern Peru, Chan Chan was once the capital of the ancient Chimu Kingdom. 

Don’t miss: Nik An for truly unique architecture.

peru landscape

Image source:Photo by Willian Justen de Vasconcellos on Unsplash

13. Huacachina

This southwestern desert oasis is best known for its sand dunes – which you can (and should) go sandboarding on. The palm trees and green waters of the Huacachina Lagoon make for one pretty postcard destination indeed. 

Don’t miss: the nightlife. The area has lots of bars and restaurants to top off your Peruvian adventure nicely. 

huacachina, peru

Image source:Photo by VeDoble on Unsplash

14. Paracas National Reserve

Sitting on the south coast of Peru, Paracas National reserve is a cocktail of all things nature. You’ll find beaches, desert and islands, plus stunning coastal views. Look out for sea lions and dolphins while you’re there too. 

Don’t miss: the Paracas Candelabra geoglyph – a huge etching drawn into the cliffside, also known as the ‘Candelabra of the Andes.’ 

paracas, peru

Image source:Photo by Marco Topete on Unsplash

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