Peru is a country rich in culture, history, and adventure. It has a wide spectrum of opportunities for tourists. No matter what type of traveler you are — an adventurer or a historical enthusiast — Peru is the right place for you. It features relics left behind by people whose presence remains long after they were conquered. These ancient and colonial traditions meld together into an unforgettable experience.
The diversity of the scenery, experiences, and culture makes Peru one of the most unique and popular travel destinations on the planet. What to do in Peru? Read on to find more about its ancient treasure that you could go see for yourself.
- Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu is everyone’s Peruvian highlight. It’s perched on the most breathtaking setting in the world above the Urubamba River. This ancient Peruvian city stretches down the breathtaking mountainous terrain of the Andes and is surrounded by the terrace steps that lead to the valley below.
The journey to this spectacular site is also part of the adventure. You can either hike the Inca trail or go by train. In either case, it is impossible not to be mesmerized by the scenery.
These incredible ruins have now been restored, giving tourists a clear picture of how the city looked like in the 15th century. People are still amazed by the landscape and wonder how the Incas built such a marvel.
2. Lima Peru
The capital of Peru is home to ancient cultures and one of the best places to learn about pre-Columbian history.
Some of the top tourist attractions in Lima Peru are the Lima cathedral, Casa Aliaga, Convento de San Fransisco, and Miraflores District. Museo Larco, for those interested in pre-Colombian art and Huaca Pucllana, was considered the governmental and ceremonial center for the early Peruvian cultures.
Since it’s near the coast, tourists can take a break from the relics and enjoy a walk along the beach. They can also embark on a food tour and taste their way through Peruvian delicacies while visiting the markets around.
However you chose to spend your time, you can be sure that you are in for something exceptional in Lima Peru. Make sure you explore it whenever you’re there, you’ll enjoy every bit of the experience!
3. Cusco, Peru
Cusco, Peru, is a travel destination in its own right due to its historical significance. The blend of cobblestone streets, ornate churches, and colonial period architecture make it a must-visit site in Peru.
The main square, Plaza de Armas, is a perfect way to reflect on the former glory and history of the Inca Empire. It houses the sandstone Cusco Cathedral completed in 1669 with more than 400 paintings from the 16th century that exhibit the European and Native Peruvian style. Adjacent to the cathedral is the church of Jesus Maria to the left and El Triunfo to the right. The latter was the first Christian church to be built in Cusco. There are other fascinating places to visit, like museums and the rainbow mountain Peru. All these can be found on the Peru map.
4. The Sacred Valley
Located less than an hour’s drive from Cusco, Peru is the gorgeous Sacred Valley and the towns of Urubamba and Pisac. The Inca people highly prized this lush valley due to its fertile lands.
Inca ruins now dot the valley, and the land has a deep Peruvian feel thanks to the many villages populating the region. The ruins are well worth the visit, as you will observe religious, military, and agricultural buildings that provide great stonework.
The best time to visit Peru is before the peak season in April or after the peak season in October to avoid large crowds – this a travel hack that we regularly use when planning our vacations.
5. Arequipa, Peru
An absolute must-visit place during your Peru holidays is the Arequipa city. This Peruvian city is surrounded by magnificent snowcapped volcanic mountains that will capture your heart and lure you with their distinct beauty.
Its old architecture made from white volcanic rocks gives the city a bright appearance and the nickname ‘the white city.’ Visiting this place may make you feel like you have left the Peruvian borders. One of the most interesting Peru – facts is that there used to be an Arequipa passport, and other Peruvians may joke that you need to get one to access Arequipa.
6. Chan Chan, Peru
Chan Chan is one of the largest Adobe cities in South America. It is located deep in the northern desert. To date, archeologists are still baffled at how an advanced culture established itself in such harsh conditions.
The most distinctive features in Chan Chan are the thick walls surrounding the city and creating a labyrinth of passages that lead to temples, gardens, orchards, and ceremonial platforms. These walls are decorated with intricate designs of animals, humans, and abstract shapes.
Archeology lovers wouldn’t definitely want to miss the opportunity to visit this ancient Peru treasure. This an ideal destination for educational tours, school trips for anyone?
7. Nazca Lines
Nazca lines are enormous ancient geoglyphs traced to the Peruvian desert. They are best viewed on air, where it is possible to see them in their entirety. They feature images of monkeys, spiders, fish, geometric figures, flowers, trees, and humans.
The exact significance of the geoglyphs remains a mystery, but they are believed to hold some sacred value for the Nazca people who occupied the area. The lines are preserved naturally by the local climate — google “Peru weather” to find more about it.
8. Caral, Peru
This sacred city in the desert of the Supe valley dates back to the archaic period and is one of the oldest cultures in Peru. It is well maintained and exceptional in terms of its complexity, earthen platforms, and monumental rock. Its inhabitants relied solely on farming and fishing to survive.
The six pyramids and circular plazas are the most interesting attractions of this ancient Peruvian treasure. Another catchy artifact at Caral is the quipu — a knotted textile piece that was used for record-keeping. Take flights to Peru for unique experiences!
9. Kuelap, Peru
Located outside of the Chachapoyas, this fortress stands as a reminder of a culture lost to history. Its beautiful nature explains why it is referred to as the Machu Picchu of the North. It has over 400 roundhouses that contain a fireplace, one or two graves, and a grinding stone — a typical feature of the Chachapoyas culture.
Kuelap is becoming more popular due to its incredible landscape and rich history. Discover for yourself during your Peru holiday.
10. Sacsayhuaman Archaeological Park
Sacsayhuaman is one of the most fantastic buildings in the world. The architecture has sacred constructions such as shrines, aqueducts, towers. Its shape is similar to other Inca heritage, such as Machu Picchu. This park should definitely be on your bucket list during your Peru holidays.
Every place on this planet is unique and captivating. However, Peru manages to stand above the crowd. It has many natural and ancient treasures waiting to be explored. From hiking the ruins in Machu Picchu to visiting the Sacsayhuaman Park, Peru will never disappoint.
Which of these ancient treasures fascinate you the most? Leave us a comment!
Thomas Quarry is both a renowned writer and a travel enthusiast who’s had many years of experience working in these two areas. He is also a travel advisor, which has made him use his websites and blogs to advise on the latest travel-hacks and iconic places to visit.