The ancient mysteries of Machu Picchu, the charm of colorful Inca markets, a canyon twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, the highest navigable lake in the world, the tropical wonders of the Amazon, ancient lines drawn in the sand visible only from the air, the ruins of ancient civilizations along Peru’s northern coast, and the cosmopolitan cuisine of the coastal capital of Lima…
Peru is a land filled not only with ruins and magnificent landscapes, but also with friendship and hospitality. For those who love breathing the fresh air of the Andes, walking in the footsteps of the Incas and conquistadors, and joining in the Peruvian celebration of everyday life, look no further. From floating towns built of reeds to the colonial charm of Arequipa to hiking to the Gate of the Sun, a fascinating journey awaits.
In a nutshell
- Peru offers the vibrant metropolis of Lima, home to nearly 9 million, and the heartland of the ancient Inca empire. It is not only the capital, but the largest city in Peru, located in the valleys of the Chilean, Rimac, and Lurin rivers, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The Spanish conquistadors called Lima the “City of the Kings.” It was the capital and the most important city of the Spanish dominions in South America. Explore modern-day Lima’s extensive areas of elegant colonial architecture and vibrant modernism as well as traces of pre-Inca and Inca civilizations. Take note of the Historic Center of Lima with its numerous religious and public buildings that date from the 17th and 18th centuries.
- Spend some wonderful time outside of the city in the jungles of the Amazon, exploring macaw clay licks and other wildlife along the banks of the Tambopata River. Puerto Maldonado is located where the Madre de Dios and Tambopata rivers meet. It is an area of outstanding, unspoiled virgin jungle. As you would expect, the wildlife here, both plant and animal, is of exceptional interest.
- Visit the highest navigable lake in the word, Lake Titicaca, where natives live on islands made from reeds, and Inca royalty lie buried in monumental tombs. The surrounding area is rich in spectacular landscapes and archaeological ruins. It is also rich in folklore and legends, one of which tells how the first Inca, Manco Capac and his sister-consort, rose from the depths of the lake to found the Inca Empire with its capital Cuzco. The Uros Indians, living on their unique floating reed islands, are said to be the direct descendants of those Incas.
- Culture awaits in Cusco, the ancient capital of the Inca empire, tucked into the head of a manicured valley at 10,857 feet above sea level. Discover the Sacred Valley of the Incas, the heart of their ancient empire, visit Quechua villages and their lively markets, step back in time at the only Inca town still inhabited, and hike past ponds of salt hidden in mountain-side mines.
- Machu Picchu, also know as “The Lost City of the Incas,” is one of the archaeological wonders of the world. Abandoned for centuries, the remarkably-preserved Citadel hangs suspended in mist with masterful precision, houses, temples, and a large central square.
- Peruvian cuisine is among the best in the world. The country’s unique biodiversity hosts dozens of microclimates resulting in huge varieties of fruits, vegetables, fish, shellfish, poultry and game. Further, Peru’s history is reflected in the culinary fusion of today, including elements of Spanish, African, Chinese, Japanese, Italian cuisine and more.
- Plaza Mayor (Plaza de Armas) and the Cathedral of Lima
- Machu Picchu
- Inca Trail
- Colca Canyon
- Lake Titicaca, Puno
- Manu National Park
- Nazca Lines
- Cordillera Blanca, Huaraz
- Paracas National Reserve
- Chavín de Huantar
- Arequipa Historical Center
- Chan Chan Archaeological Site