Peru is the fastest growing tourism destination in South America and it attracts more travellers every year, showing an annual growth rate of 25%! While it may not yet be the first thought in your mind when you think about travelling to South America, it’s actually one of the best destinations to visit on the entire continent.
From culture to food, from beach to mountains, from pristine landscapes to busy cities, Peru offers a truly unique experience to visitors willing to explore. Make sure you have all the necessary shots, get travel insurance for Peru, and enjoy your time in the 'empire of hidden treasures'.
Lima is the nation's capital and its historic center is absolutely amazing. Founded by the infamous Francisco Pizarro in the 16th century, it became the capital during the time of the Spanish and one of the most important cities in the country.
Today the city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a true marvel to explore for its unique mix of architectural styles. While just walking around this city is an adventure of discovery, an even better way to see it is to combine it with a culinary tour.
While native Peruvian cuisine is simple, Peru is touted as the food mekka of South America, due to its many cultural influences and unique location.
Cuzco is another city destination that should be on your map when you travel through Peru. The city has some amazing colonial architecture mixed with indigenous Quechua culture, which makes for one stunning combination.
Within the city there are some great museums to explore to find out more about history of the region (Museo Historico Regional), history of textiles (Museo del Centro de Textiles Tradicionales de Cusco), as well as a museum dedicated to chocolate (ChocoMuseo) and one dedicated to sacred, medical and medicinal plants.
However, Cuzco is really a great stepping-stone to explore some of the amazing ruins in the area, such as Sacsayhuamán, the site of an important battle between the Spanish and the Inca, and to head to Machu Picchu and the world famous 'Lost City of the Incas'.
Machu Picchu, even without its cultural heritage, is an absolutely breathtaking site with a beautiful landscape that is home to more than 90 species of orchids. This city built by the Incas forms the end point of the world famous Inca Trail, and is a site to behold.
Perching on the side of the mountain, overlooking the valley, is the Lost City. What specifically it was built for remains unclear to this day!
You can freely explore the ruins yourself or take a guide, beware though that little is actually known about this site, most stories the guides will tell you are based more on imagination than fact.
Towering above Machu Picchu is Wayna Picchu, which offers super views and is not as bad of a hike as it looks. Ensure you have travel insurance for Peru before embarking on any big hikes though.
Towards the border of Bolivia is where you’ll find the famous Lake Titicaca, famous not only for endless innuendos by comedians, but also for being the highest commercially navigable body of water.
Apart from its stunning scenery, you can take a boat trip to see explore some of the islands of the lake, such as Isla Taquile or Isla Armantani.
Both islands have managed to maintain their own culture for centuries, and access can be tricky but is well worth the effort.
For something truly different though head to Uro Islands, a group of floating islands made of reed. These islands and their inhabitants are truly unique and quite the site to behold. Oh, and while you are here make sure to send a postcard from the world's only floating post office!
Travel through Peru is very rewarding, but requires preparation. Make sure you have a first aid kid replete with some antiseptics and iodine pills and also make sure you have all the required vaccinations.
While the people of Peru are amazingly friendly, crime can be a problem due to extreme poverty. It’s recommended to dress down and leave valuable items at home, or in a safe if you have access to one.
Peru is an amazing destination with a lot to offer.
Beach, mountains, cities, desert, lakes, and forests, there truly are a lot of places you can go to do anything from trekking to scuba diving, from enjoying a mad party to relaxing with a cup of coffee. As it says, Peru really is the empire of hidden jewels!
For more information on Peru, visit the Peru Tourism Website.