From hiking the majestic Andes and exploring the hidden Inca ruins to sunning on the beaches near Lima, Peru is a country of natural beauty and archaeological intrigue. Home to one of the most recognisable sites of the New World and sensational landscapes, Peru offers the chance to explore beautiful beaches, lush jungles and stunning canyons. A perfect choice for both adventurers and those looking to relax, Peru offers a holiday experience you’ll never forget.
For the Indiana Jones in all of us, the ancient colonial city of Cusco is easily reachable from the capital. Close to the renowned Inca Trail, this region of Peru offers access to the citadel of Machu Picchu where the stunning stone architecture is set off by a backdrop of dark-green Peruvian forests.
Although not as famous as the two cities mentioned above, the cosmopolitan style of Trujillo offers a desirable alternative for holidays in Peru. It’s also close to the ruined city of Chan Chan, the largest of all the pre-Columbian cities in this part of the world, and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Peru is one of the few countries in the world to offer the three geographic regions of coast, highland and jungle, all easily accessible from most everywhere in the country. On Peru holidays, you can go from the hot desert coastline to the chilly tops of the Andean range and then head down to the stunning Peruvian Amazon, all within a couple of days.
For those looking to get out and about, holidays to Peru offer a trekkers dream; from the famous Inca Trail to the Andean hikes, there’s plenty you can explore on foot while taking in the gorgeous surroundings. If you want to take things a bit slower, enjoy a stroll through one of the many national parks and spot cougars, jaguars and exotic birds in the wild.
If you’re lucky enough to visit during one of Peru’s many festivals and cultural events, you’ll be in for a treat. Semana Santa offers vibrant religious festivals all over the country while the Festival of San Juan in the jungle region offers a day of relaxing by the river followed by a night of dancing under the stars.
Machu Picchu is not the only place of archaeological intrigue, for those looking to explore the country’s history, explore the enigmatic Nazca Lines along the coast or the ruined citadel of Kuelap among the Andes. The beautiful Lake Titicaca on the border is also well worth a visit, along with its famous floating Uros Islands; manmade villages which have existed since Inca times.
If you want to explore the jungle, the best spot for pictures is from the Rainbow Canopy Walkway, reaching 35 metres above the ground it’s the best spot for the ultimate holiday photo. The Amazon Rainforest is rich in wild animals, plants and endangered species that make for an unforgettable day of exploring and the perfect part of a holiday in Peru.
Of all the things to do in Peru, Machu Picchu is the number one reason to visit the country for most people, and with good reason. However, there are plenty other amazing Peru attractions, from exploring the Amazon basin to basking in the sun on the shores of Lima and trekking the sensational Andes. With its borders with Ecuador and Chile, Peru is full of awe-inspiring sights and delectable cuisine that begs to be tried. Peru getaways are perfect for the explorer in all of us.
Trying some of the delectable cultural dishes is a must when visiting Peru … seriously. The country is responsible for creating the delicious dish known as ceviche – let’s give it a hand, folks. Just off of Peru’s coast is where you’ll find some of the best seafood – namely choritos and chifa – in the entire world, and it’s no surprise it features in the country’s national dish.
If you want to get adventurous in the Andes, tried barbecued cuy in the rural villages and causa, a sort of avocado-potato casserole. There is also plenty of international food in the cities, including lomo saltado, a Chinese-Peruvian stir-fry fusion.
The Andes Mountains are certainly for the adventurers in all of us, and they hold plenty of things to do in Peru. Go airborne and discover the famous Nazca Lines from above in, you guessed it, Nasca, or from the Mirador viewpoint. These fascinating straight lines – built by the Nazca culture, not the Inca – represent a myriad of animals and geometric symbols. What their purpose is has stumped archaeologists for years, which simply adds to its intrigue.
Get a taste of the rainforest with a trip to the city of Iquitos, found along the Amazon River. You can hire a guide and discover the natural beauty of the Amazon just north of Cusco at the Parque Nacional Manu, one of several national parks in the country.
Don that Indiana Jones hat and take the kids to the once lost capital of the Inca Empire, Machu Picchu. Take your time adjusting to the fresh Andean air in Cusco by spying llamas and alpacas before ascending with the kids – just keep in mind it’s not for extremely young children. Take the train to Lake Titicaca and cruise along in a boat in one of the most spectacular places on earth – you won’t regret it!
Every child’s dream is to visit the Amazon Rainforest, one of the top Peru attractions, and there is even a trail for kids in the Refugio Amazonas, set up especially for teaching the little ones about the exotic plant and animal life and the importance of conservation. As Peru is best suited for adventurous children, you won’t have to worry about keeping anyone busy.
The country is best known for its incredible Inca culture and spectacular ruins such as Machu Picchu. Visiting this world-renowned site is one of the most coveted things to do in Peru, and the ancient city of the Inca does not disappoint, especially in the late afternoon when the sun glazes over the ruins. You can easily head here by either trekking on foot or travelling in a minibus to the summit, presenting you with spectacular views that you’ll never forget.
In the heart of Cusco lie the Inca ruins of Qorikancha, the richest temple of the entire Inca Empire and an impressive sight to behold. Discover the largest pre-Columbian city in North and South America, Chan Chan, in coastal Trujillo; built in 1300 AD by the Chimu Empire, it covers 20 square kilometres so you really cannot miss it!
The indigenous peoples of Peru are some of the highlights of a holiday here, as nowhere else can you experience such an abundance of unique living cultures. Visit the Isla Taquile, home to an indigenous community that live on floating islands and boast a vibrant heritage.
Fast forward to colonial times with a step into the Monasterio de Santa Catalina in Arequipa, a beautiful religious complex built in 1580. Lima, the country’s capital, is where you’ll find some of the best preserved artefacts of Peruvian history from the Chanchay, Moche and Inca civilisations. The Museo Larco is also not to be missed by any culture vultures among us.
Peru embraces as much of its colonial and religious traditions as it does its indigenous roots, resulting in a plethora of exciting festivals to witness any time of the year. Make sure to be in Cusco in June for the Festival of the Sun, or Inti Raymi, for an Inca winter solstice festival at the site of Sacsaywaman. Alternatively, see Q’oyoriti in late May or June and make the most of one of the top Peru attractions.
Like most Roman Catholic countries, Carnaval is a big thing in this South America country, while the city of Cajamarca is where to go in the last few days of Lent. Lima turns purple for the El Senor de los Milagros in October, and Puno celebrates Candlemas in an incredible religious festival. No matter when you visit, you will be met by a seas of exciting and colourful celebrations that you simply won’t want to miss out on.