101 things to see and do in peruu

People ask us all the time - what is so great about Peru? What makes Peru that very rare thing: a true Iconic travel and holiday destination?...

The answer is simple - Peru has so much to offer. Compared to some of the other travel giants of South America, such as Argentina and Brazil, Peru is relatively small, making it easier and more cost-effective to travel within, so it is possible to visit much of the country within one trip. It is also packed full of adventure, archaeology, nature, geography, culture, and food... so no matter where you travel in Peru, you are destined to have a travel experience to remember. 

Find out more about all that Peru has to offer by reading our 101 Things to See and Do in Peru...

Published: 28th April 2015

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1| Visit Machu Picchu

Of course, no list of things to see and do in Peru would be complete without a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Machu Picchu, so although it may seem like an obvious choice... we thought we might as well get it out of the way at number 1 on our list! Machu Picchu is one of the most visually impressive and inspiring sights on the planet, but in addition to its obvious beauty, its history and architecture are fascinating and incredibly impressive. The sight of Machu Picchu in front of you is certainly a sight for sore eyes, and if you visit nowhere else in Peru other than Machu Picchu, you're sure to leave feeling overwhelmed.

Machu Picchu, Peru

2| Go Bird Watching at the Islas Ballestas

The Islas Ballestas are a collection of islands off the coast of Peru near the fishing town of Paracas, south of Lima. These islands are famous for their wildlife, which includes dolphins in the waters around the islands, sea lions sprawled on the beaches of the islands, and impressively large colonies of birds including penguins, pelicans, guano birds and boobies. A nature lovers treat.

Islas Ballestas

3| Spend New Year in Peru

Like all festivals in South America, New Year seems just that little bit more special than anywhere else in the world, as Peruvians, like most of their Latin American neighbours, certainly know how to throw a great party. One of the best places to spend New Year in Peru is Lima, where the whole city goes crazy and parties all night, and the entire metropolis is lit up by fireworks on the stroke of midnight. Peruvians wear yellow clothing at Nea Year, which it is believes brings good luck for the year ahead.

4| Explore San Pedro Market in Cusco

Cusco is a true Andean city, and this fabulous market, only a 5 minute walk from the central plaza, is an enticing display of real Andean society, almost unchanged for centuries. Although a few art and crafts stalls can be found within the market, the real gems are the potato, vegetable and Andean cheese stalls operated by locals from the valleys around Cusco, as well as the meat and butchery section, which is certainly eye-opening and not for those with a queasy stomach!

5| Visit Isla Taquile on Lake Titicaca

Isla Taquile offers a traditional view of island life on Lake Titicaca, unchanged for hundreds of years. Inhabited by an indigenous community of rural farmers and fisherman, the islanders still live by an Inca moral code of sharing and support, and are famous for the high quality of their woven textiles and traditional clothing, which they still wear to this day.

Isla Taquile

6| Fish for Piranha in the Amazon Jungle

Only in South America! The piranha is famous for its terrifying teeth, and for the plethora of horror movies and scare stories that have been created about this Amazon fish. Fishing for piranha is a very popular pastime in the Amazon, and great fun! Visit the jungles near Iquitos for the best opportunity to catch this predator!

7| Visit the UNESCO World Site of Caral

Caral, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009 due to its significance and importance, is a 4000-4500 year old archaeological complex situated north of Lima and it is undoubtedly one of the most impressive places to see in Peru. Due to its age it is considered to be one of the oldest archaeological sites and city developments in the entire Americas. The complex can easily be visited on day trips from Lima, and features impressive pyramids and geoglyph etchings.


8| Trek the Lares Trek to Machu Picchu

One of the "alternative" treks to Machu Picchu, this is a great alternative for those looking to avoid the crowds of the Inca Trail, or for those unable to complete the Inca Trail if the permits have sold out. The Lares Trek is a four day excursion passing through beautiful isolated rural landscapes, and involves three days of trekking with a visit to Machu Picchu on the fourth day.

9| Marvel at the Inca site of Sacsayhuaman

An infamous, significant and important Inca site on the outskirts of the city of Cusco, and part of the Cusco and Sacsayhuaman UNESCO World Heritage Site. This site is a "must see" ruin in Peru, due in part to its historical importance (known as a fortress, it was the location of an Inca siege of Cusco, which had been conquered by the Spanish, in 1536), its megalithic stone masonry (some weighing over 100 tonnes), and modern day use (it is the site of the annual Inti Raymi festivities in Cusco).


10| Visit Museo Tumbes Reales

This world-class museum, known as the Museum of the Royal Tombs of Sipan in English, is located in Lambayeque near Chiclayo, and is the home of the fascinating and rich finds discovered in the tomb of Senor de Sipan in a nearby pyramid.

Museo Tumbes Reales

11| Discover the Unique City of Iquitos

Iquitos is the largest city in the world that cannot be accessed by road, with the city connected to the modern world by air or river boat only. Historically Iquitos was a very rich city which prospered greatly from the rubber boom, and many of the grand mansions of the rubber barons can still be seen in the centre of the city. Today Iquitos serves as a hub for onward travel to the Amazon Rainforest, but the city itself is a intoxicating blend of culture and frenetic jungle life.

12| Sail Through the Pongo Mainique

The Pongo Mainique, a river canyon near Cusco, has the proud distinction of being voted Michael Palin's "favourite place in the world" (Palin visited the pongo for his "Full Circle" TV documentary), and this is probably a justly deserved accolade, as the pongo consists of a stunning river canyon encompassed by sheer cliffs appearing through the luscious cloud forest jungle, with blue waterfalls cascading down the cliffs.

13| Climb Huayna Picchu

Huayna Picchu is the steep mountain peak that sits as the backdrop to Machu Picchu when viewed from the classic "post card" viewpoint of the famous Inca Ruin. The climb up to the peak of Huayna Picchu is steep and tough going, but anyone that makes it to the top is rewarded with fascinating views of Machu Picchu (from an unfamiliar angle) and the Andean valleys surrounding the ruin, as well as the change to see some of the smaller Inca sites that were built on top of the peak. Entry to Huayna Picchu is controlled and restricted and entry needs to be included as part of a Machu Picchu entrance ticket, so if you want to climb Huayna Picchu it is important to reserve the right ticket when first booking your holiday, as you may not be able to add it on at a later date.

14| Visit Chan Chan

On the outskirts of the northern city of Trujillo the large ruin of Chan Chan, built by the Chimor culture around 850AD, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the largest adobe city in the world. Although hundreds of years of erosion have taken their toll on the site, Chan Chan is so large (it is literally a ruined city) that it cannot fail to impress.

Chan Chan

15| Explore Maras

Maras is a complex of salt pans originating from Inca times that cover one side of a small valley within the Sacred Valley, between Cusco and Machu Picchu. The site is usually visited on a Sacred Valley tour from Cusco, although it is also possible to go on mountain biking and pony-trekking trips to the salt pans. The view of the salt pans from the end of the valley is unique, and stalls at the complex sell salt and decorative items manufactured using salt.


16| Learn the Languages of Quechua and Aymara

Although Spanish is by far the most widely spoken language in Peru, in fact there are hundreds of native languages and dialects. Quechua and Aymara are the two most widely spoken Andean languages still in common use in parts of Peru, with the Quechua language, the language used by the Inca people, still spoken across much of the Andean region; and the Aymara language spoken in regions around Lake Titicaca in particular. If you are really looking for something unique and different to do in Peru, why not learn one of these traditional languages and help maintain and protect these important cultures?

17| Experience Modern Shopping with a Difference in Larcomar

South America has some excellent shopping options, ranging from ultra luxurious malls to more common markets and artesan and crafts stalls. In Lima the Larcomar shopping mall is famous, not so much for its shopping but more for its location, positioned on the cliffs above the pacific within the district of Miraflores. If shopping isn't what you want to be doing during a holiday in Peru, grab a coffee or pisco sour in one of the bars or cafes within the mall and advire the stunning view over the ocean.

18| Follow in the Footsteps of Explorers and "Discover" Vilcabamba

This Inca ruin was the last home of the Inca Empire, after the Spanish Conquest and colonial control of Cusco forced the Empire to withdraw into the hidden valleys and forests far outside of Cusco. Today the site remains still ruined, withouth the tourism and reconstruction of sites such as Machu Picchu.

19| Eat Chicharron

Simply delicious, do not go without trying this "street food" snack on any visit to Peru. Chicharron consists of fried pork, and is usually served in hot sandwiches garnishes with sliced sweet potato, and red onion. Mmmm.

20| Visit Manu - The Most Biodiverse Region on Earth

The Manu region of Peru is a stretch of Amazon Jungle that contains the highest biodiversity of anywhere on earth, a number of "uncontacted" indigenous tribes, and an isolated and rural beauty. The Manu region consists of the Manu Cultural Zone which contains a number of lodges and wildlife opportunities, the Manu Reserved Zone which is deeper within the jungle and has more specialised lodges, and the Manu National Park which is a protected area of the jungle that cannot be accessed by tourists. The region is home to the "Cock of the Rock" bird of paradise, can be easily accessed by road on tours from Cusco, and is a favourite for birdwatching holidays in Peru.

Manu Amazon Jungle

21| Relax on the Northern Beaches of Peru

Although they don't quite have the pristine sands of more traditional beach holiday destinations, for those looking for a few relaxing days at the start or end of a holiday in Peru, you can't go wrong with a visit to the northern beaches of Peru. Destinations such as Mancora or Punta Sal have resort and luxury hotels close by or near to the beaches, and the area is a famous surfing area.

22| Take the "Ruta del Sol" Journey between Cusco and Puno

Although it is possible to make this journey by standard road or rail transport, if you are travelling between Cusco and Puno as part of your Peru tour then the Ruta del Sol bus tour is an excellent way to make this journey as the journey includes stops at interesting spots along the way that cannot be visited any other way. The journey includes visits to the Inca ruin of Raqchi, an ancient colonial church at Andahuaylillas, and stunning views of herds of Vicuna and the landscapes of the Andean altiplano.

23| Dance Salsa

Peruvians love their music, so during a trip tp Peru why not join in and make the most of it! Although there is a great variety of music genres in Peru, everything from cumbia and modern latin pop, to reggaeton and merengue... it is salsa that is loved throughout Peru, and nightclubs, bars and restaurants will play latin salsa throughout the day and night. If you want to dance salsa during your trip then Lima is a great place to do so in the districts of Miraflores or Barranco, with lessons available, and most of the dancefloors packed all night - just join in and have some fun!

24| Visit Pisac

Pisac, a town at the end of the Sacred Valley near Cusco, is famous for its traditional artesan crafts market, and also for the Inca ruins known by the same name that sit at the top of the valley overlooking the town. The ruins contain some small buildings on an outcrop, but the most impressive part of the Pisac ruins is its incredible terraces.

Pisac Inca Site

25| Trek the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

One of the most famous walks on the planet, the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is an iconic travel experience that rightly deserves its reputation - nothing quite beats the feeling of arriving at Machu Picchu after three full days or hard work and seeing the ruin in all its splendour stretched out before you for the first time. In addition to simply being a fantastic experience, hiking the trail has many additional benefits, including allowing trekkers to visit or see many other Inca ruins along the route of the trail that cannot be accessed any other way, and ensuring arrival at Machu Picchu through the traditional sun gate. For those not adventurous enough to do the full four day trek a short two day official Inca Trail is available. Entry to the official Inca Trail is restricted to only 500 permits in total per day, so it is important to book in advance to avoid missing out (we recommend booking up to 6 months in advance). In our opinion this is one of the best things to do in Peru, a true bucket list activity.

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

26| Visit the Dancing Fountains of Lima

One of the best value and most fun trips to make in Lima, this park near Miraflores features various colourful dancing fountains, with romantic walkways linking the various sections of the park. The best time to visit is at night when the lights and colours of the fountains come alive against the dark skies. The centre piece of the park is a moving display of light and sound, as pictures and movies are projected onto a wall of water.

Circuito Magico del Agua

27| Admire the View from Sillustani Funerary Towers

Positioned in fabulous locations overlooking the wonderful landscapes surrounding Lake Umayo near Puno, Sillustani is a collection of large funerary towers built by the Qulla People, a pre-Incan society from the Lake Titicaca region of Peru and Bolivia.

28| Taste Lucuma

Travelling is just as much about trying unique flavours and foods as it is visiting places and seeing new landscapes. Lucuma is a gorgeous fruit grown only in Peru (it is difficult to cultivate the fruit elsewhere) that is used to flavour deserts and ice creams, so if you see lucuma ice cream on a menu in Peru, be sure to check it out and savour the flavour.

29| Go Dune Buggy Riding and Sand Boarding in Huacachina

One for adrenalin junkies! Huacachina is a natural marvel - a giant oasis in the middle of an area consisting of some of the largest sand dunes in the world. The dunes in this region are used for speed, with special off-road dune buggy tours racing up and down the dunes, and sand boarding possible down some of the larger dunes. A visit to this area allows you to visit both an incredible unique natural environment, and have some good fun at the same time!

Sandboarding Huacachina

30| Visit Huaca Huallamarca

Located in the district of San Isidro in Lima, this ancient adobe pyramid is a good option tovisit in Lima, and provides a unique example of ancient archaeology and modern city life co-existing, as the ancient pyramid is situated within a modern district of Lima. These is a small museum within the pyramid complex.

Huaca Huallamarca

31| Take a Flight Over the Nazca Lines

The Nazca Lines are famous over the world for the fascinating and unique shape, and equally for the mystery surrounding their origins. Although alien UFO stories and various other theories exist, the most likely truth is that the lines were created by the Nazca Culture around 1500 years ago. A flight over the lines offers the best opportunity to see the lines in all their glory, and scenic flights usually lasting around 30-40 minutes are available from Nazca airport and follow a pre-planned route over most of the famous geoglyphs, including the hummingbird, monkey, whale, spider and alien creature. For anyone who doesn't fancy the flight there is a viewing tower that offers the chance to see some of the lines from a position on the ground.

Nazca Lines

32| Visit Chinchero

Chinchero is a very traditional andean village on an Andean plateau above Cusco. The village is famous throughout Peru for the high quality of its handmade artesan crafts, and the local people of Chinchero are equally famous for their unique clothing, and visitors to the village would usually see a demonstration of the various techniques the women use to dye their fabrics. Chinchero is also very worth visiting for the ancient and beautiful colonial church within the village, and for the Inca ruins adjacent to the church.

Chinchero, Peru

33| Stay Overnight on an Island on Lake Titicaca

There are a few options of ways to stay overnight on an island on Lake Titicaca. The well known Casa Andina hotel chain in Peru operates Isla Suasi which contains a luxury hotel and is one option for those seeking luxury, but for those seeking a little bit more tradition and an authentic experience the indigenous society of people that live on Amantani Island provide homestays, which are an excellent opportunity to get to know a traditional family, and eat and sleep with locals.

34| Go Condor Spotting in the Colca Canyon

The Colca Canyon is famous for being one of the deepest canyons in the world, but what can help make the view from the side of the canyon even more spectacular is the sight of giant condors effortlessly gliding through the valley on rising thermals. Although condors are more prevalent at certain times of year, there is a good chance you will spot one whenever you visit the conyon, and the "Condor Viewpoint", visited on tours through the canyon from Arequipa or Chivay, provides the best position to do so.

Condor Viewpoint, Colca Canyon

35| Learn About the Art of the Cusco School

The Cusco School was an art style and movement based in Cusco that became prevalent during the colonial period of Peru. The art is characterised by use of bright colours of reds and yellows, use of gold leaf, and religious subjects. Galleries and museums throughout Cusco display art of this type and are definitely worth visiting: even for those without a love of art or religion it is difficult to argue that the paintings from this era are anything other than majestic.

36| Complete the Ausangate Trek

The Ausangate Trek is a great option for those looking for a trek in the Cusco region but who want to avoid the crowds on the more famous treks to Machu Picchu. The trek offers true isolation, rural landscapes, and some of the most stunning scenery in South America. Unlike most of the other treks in the Cusco region, the Ausangate Trek is fairly unique in that accommodation is in lodges rather than camping.

Ausangate Trek

37| Eat in a Michelin Star Restaurant in Lima

Peruvian cuisine is starting to get the reputation it deserves. Peru won the "World's Leading Culinary Destination" two years in a row in 2012 and 2013, and Peruvian restaurants are becoming more popular in cities across the world such as London and New York. Although Peruvian cuisine is fabulous all across Peru wherever you are visiting on your holidays, it is in Lima that modern Peruvian fusion cuisine has found its feet, with chefs such as the famous Gaston Acurio leading the way in ultra-chic fine dining. Check out restaurants in San Isidro, Miraflores and Barranco for the best fine-dining options.

38| Visit Puka Pukara

This Inca ruin is located around 5 miles outside Cusco and it is worth a visit to contrast the building style to that of the other ruins near Cusco. Unlike places such as Sacsayhuaman, where the stone masonry is precise, Puka Pukara is more random in nature, and it is thought that the building may be a military defense structure that was built in a hurry.

39| Experience Semana Santa in Ayacucho

Semana Santa, the easter festivities in South America, are great to experience across the catholic parts of the continent, however if you were to choose one destination in which to celebrate Semana Santa, choose Ayacucho. The celebrations in this Andean town last a full week, and the locals really know how to put on a show to remember. The festivities feature street parades, parties, feasts, and religious re-enactments.

40| Learn About the Music of Peru

Peru as a country is a blend of geographic regions, cultures, and histories, and this rich cocktail has forged a vast selection of musical types, many of which are totally foreign and exotic to western ears. Cumbia is a very popular musical type across the nation featuring a repeating rhythmic beat with tuneful singing and music, latin reggaeton is the music of the discos and nightclubs with a beat that inspires even the worst dancer to hit the dancefloor, the ubiquitos salsa is popular with both young and old, whilst the more traditional pan-pipe style music is found in the Andean regions. However if you really want to understand the soul of Peruvian music, check out "musica criolla", a varied folk style music with much tradition.

41| Visit Kuelap

Kuelap is one of only a handful of destinations in Peru and across South America that can rival Machu Picchu, both in beauty, size, and granduer. Kuelap is a ruined fortress, built by the Chachapoyas Culture and situated in northern Peru near the city of Chachapoyas. Only a fraction of the number of tourists that visit Machu Picchu venture this far north, but please trust us that Kuelap is a simple stunning place to experience, and definitely one that is on our list of "must see things" in Peru.



42| Visit the Larco Herrera Museum in Lima

One of the best museums in the whole of Peru, this private museum houses some fascinating pre-Colombian finds from across Peru, and has hundreds of huaca potteries in a storage area open to the public, as well as a unique collection of erotic pottery.

 Museo Larco Herrera, Lima

43| Try Cuy - A Traditional Protein in the Andes

Cuy, the Spanish word for guinea pig, might be an animal that is more familiar as a cuddly pet in western societies, but in the Andean regions of Peru cuy continues to be an important protein and affordable part of the diet for indigenous people. Peruvians will eat the meat either roasted or in stews, and the roasted option in particular has made it onto the menus of restaurants in tourist destinations such as Cusco - only for the brave!

44| Explore Tucume and the Valley of the Pyramids

The Valley of the Pyramids is situated in northern Peru, near the Peruvian city of Chiclayo. This entire region of Peru features some of the best and most impressive history and archaeology in South America, but is far less frequently visited by tourists, with most preferring to visit the southern regions on their holiday. Tucume and the surrounding valley consists of many large adobe pyramids built by the Sican and Chimu cultures, and contains the highest concentration of pyramids in the world - definitely one to visit for something awe-inspiring, and that little bit different.

Tucume Valley of the Pyramids

45| Visit Each of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Peru

Peru is famous across the world for its archaeology and historic and cultural significance, and UNESCO has recognised this and awarded UNESCO status to many sites across the country. When in Peru why not try to visit them all? The UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Peru are: Chan Chan archaeological zone, Chavin archaeological site, the City of Cusco, the Historic centre of Lima, the Historical Centre of the city of Arequipa, the Nazca Lines, the Andean road system, the sacred city of Caral Supe, Huascaran National Park, Manu National Park, the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu, and the Rio Abiseo National Park.

46| Wander Through Santa Catalina Monastery in Arequipa

This ancient monastery dating from the 16th century was closed to outsiders for hundreds of years and has only relatively recently opened to the public. Beautifully and evocatively painted in pastel shades of reds and blues, the monastery is a very tranquil place through which to wander and explore, and features some impressive art from the colonial period.

Santa Catalina Monastery, Arequipa

47| Go Para-Gliding in Lima

The Lima distric of Miraflores overlooks the Pacific Ocean, and steep cliffs fall from the edge of the district down to the ocean and beach below. It is possible to go para-gliding from the parks that are situated at the top of these cliffs, and for adrenalin junkies looking for a unique view of Lima, taking to the skies by jumping off the cliffs, catching the wind and rising up above the city, is certainly an impressive activity.

Paragliding Miraflores, Lima

48| The End of the Inca Empire in the Ransom Room of Cajamarca

During the Spanish conquest of Peru the Inca leader Atahualpa was captured in northern Peru, and held for ransom in this small building just off the main plaza of Cajamarca. Atahualpa offered to fill the room with gold in return for his release, but after filling the room as requested, the Spanish reneged on the deal and ultimately put Atahualpa to death on 29th August 1533. This act is considered by many to effectively symbolise the end of the Inca Empire, and this small understated building still survives as an evocative reminder of this historic moment.

49| Shop for Artesan Crafts in Cusco

Although artesan crafts can be found throughout Peru and South America, Cusco is probably the best place to do your holiday souvenir shopping, with uncountable markets, stalls, shops and galleries dotted across the traditional cobbled streets of the city offering a range of hand-made crafts including clothing, paintings, decorative weavings, and other items.

Cusco Market

50| Visit Q'Enko

Q'Enko is a unique Inca site located a few miles outside of Cusco, and is definitely worth a visit if in the Cusco area. The sites precise function is disputed, although it is thought to have had some ceremonial use, and the weird structures and monolithic stones make this an interesting experience.

51| Visit Pachacamac

Pachacamac is a large archaeological complex, over 1000 years old, situated to the south of Lima. The ruin is definitely worth visiting on a day trip for anyone spending time in the capital of Peru during their holiday. The site covers a large area and includes adobe temples, pyramids, plazas, and is relatively unique in that it was inhabited right through to the Inca period, with the Inca adding to the complex and building new temples.


52| Trek to Choquequirao

Choquequirao is an Inca ruin near Cusco that many people consider to be the equal of Machu Picchu, although Choqeuquirao is far less famous and much less frequently visited by tourists. The trek to this Inca ruin passes through relatively rural and isolated terrain, and has nowhere near the number of tourists that start the Inca Trail each day, so it is a good option for those looking to avoid the crowds whilst also experiencing something extra special, a true feeling of adventure, exploration, and discovery.

53| Taste A Pisco Sour

The pisco sour cocktail is the national cocktail of Peru, and consists of the Pisco spirit expertly blended with sugar solution, lime juice and egg white, and finished with a dash of Angostura bitters. Popular throughout the country, Lima is the best place to sip on this delicious cocktail, Hotel Bolivar in the old town city centre a great option for the classic drink.

54| Go to a Peruvian Football Game

Despite the fact that Peru's national team have been struggling for form in recent years, football remains a national sport and pastime in Peru, with club teams including Universitario, Alianza Lima, and Cienciano attracting tens of thousands of fans for each match. The atmosphere at the games is phenomenal, and typical of football across South America, so if you can, try and check out a game when in Peru.

Peru Football

55| Visit the Floating Uros Islands

The Uru people of Lake Titicaca are a society dating from pre-Inca times that live on floating man made islands, manufactured using dried bundles of totora reeds. Although the Uros Islands that they have built today serve more as tourist destination and working museum, a visit to the islands is still a very interesting and worthwhile activity, and a an experience that provides an insight into a totally unique society.

Uros Islands, Lake Titicaca, Peru

56| Visit Moray

The Inca ruin of Moray, in the Sacred Valley near the Inca town of Ollantaytambo, is a unique example of the Inca people experimenting with agriculture. The circular terraced depressions were built to act as micro ecosystems, with the depression creating different climates and different temperatures at each level. This allowed the Inca to experiment with different crops that would grow at different terraced levels. The site also happens to be a very beautiful Inca ruin to observe.

Moray, Peru

57| Complete the Cedros Alpamayo Trek

One for true adrenalin junkies and adventurers, this 9 day (or longer) trek in the Huaraz region of Peru, the capital of the trekking world in the Andes, follows an advanced route and reaches altitudes of over 4800 metres, but it is regarded as one of the greatest trekking routes on earth, and passes through some of the most stunning mountain scenery to be found anywhere including views of Huascaran mountain which, at 6746m, is the highest mountain in Peru.

58| Visit Bohemian Barranco in Lima

Whilst the district of Miraflores in Lima has modern hotels, beautiful parks, and great restaurants and shopping; the historic and bohemian district of Barranco is a cool blend of old colonial buildings, art galleries and boutique hotels, and through its architecture it offers a glimpse of what life was like for the rich societies of Lima in times gone by. Great to just stroll around and explore. Visit the Puente de los Suspiros for a romantic walk, and el Mirador de Barranco for stunning views across the coast.

59| See the Inca Ice Maiden in Arequipa

Often referred to as "La Juanita", the Inca Ice Maiden is a mummy dating from the time of the Inca and was discovered on Mount Ampato, near Arequipa, in 1995. The mummy is displayed in the Museum of Andean Sanctuaries, just off the main plaza in Arequipa.

60| Visit Korikancha in Cusco

Korikancha, often spelled Qoricancha or Coricancha, is a fascinating place to visit in Cusco. During Inca times this temple was the most important and revered temple of the Inca Empire, but during the Spanish Conquests of Peru the Spanish rulers demolished parts of the temple using the Inca stonework as foundations for the Church of Santo Domingo, which they built directly on top of the temple as a statement of power. Visits to this site therefore show both the Inca and colonial architecture blended together.

Korikancha, Cusco

61| Travel by Train to Machu Picchu

For those not wanting to trek on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, the train to Machu Picchu is an excellent way to travel to the famous ruin. Machu Picchu is actually not accessible by road, with the train the only real option for holidaymakers wanting to reach Machu Picchu by any means other than the trek. Stations in Cusco, the Sacred Valley, and Ollantaytambo all connect to the town of Aguas Calientes, which is at the end of the train line and the access point for Machu Picchu. Trains are specially designed to include as many windows as possible to ensure passengers can fully enjoy the journey, so don't read a book or fall asleep - just watch out the window and admire the Andean landscapes, traditional farm land, and Inca ruins and terraces that the train passes during the journey.

Train to Machu Picchu

Train to Machu Picchu

62| Visit the Ventanillas de Otuzco

Ventanilla is the Spanish word for "window", and the archaeological site known as Ventanillas de Otuzco are essentially a bizarre set is niches, or windows, carved into a cliff face near the Peruvian city of Cajamarca. This place is worth visiting as it is relatively unique and unlike other sites in the region.

Ventanillas de Otuzco

63| Explore The UNESCO World Heritage City Centre of Cusco

Cusco is simply majestic. A wonderful travel destination, with so much to offer travellers of all shapes and sizes. Most travellers that visit Cusco fall in love with the city, due to its cocktail of history, culture, archaeology, art, cobbled streets, markets, museums, churches, cathedrals, and excellent hotels. The central plaza, surrounded on two sides by large churches and the cathdral, and on the opposite two sides by arched doorways leading to cafes, craft shops and restaurants, is a gorgeous place to sit and soak up your surroundings, and to top it all off Cusco has some world-class restaurants serving modern Andean cuisine. If you can afford to when visiting Peru in your holiday, make time to spend at least two or three days exploring this wonderful city.


64| Go Caiman Spotting in Tambopata

Tambopata is one of the three main Amazon Jungle regions in Peru, along with Iquitos and Manu, and probably offers the best all-round experiences, with wildlife and biodiversity almost on a par with Manu, but superior lodges and ease of access via the jungle city of Puerto Maldonado. Excursions in the jungle include jungle treks, visits to macaw and parrot clay licks, climbs up canopy towers, boat excursions across oxbow lakes bird watching and spotting for otters, and scary jungle night walks. However the caiman spotting is always great fun - slowly floating in a river-boat downriver at night using torches to spot for caiman waiting for their prey by the sides of the river.

65| Visit the Cotahuasi Canyon

Although the nearby Colca Canyon is much more well known and gets many more visitors, mainly due to its ease of access from Arequipa, it is in fact the Cotahuasi Canyon, not the Colca Canyon, that has the record of being the deepest canyon in the world, over 4000m from top to bottom at its highest point. Visiting the Canyon is difficult due to its rural and isolated location, and lack of major paved roads servicing the route, however the Cotahuasi Canyon has such incredible landscape vistas that if you are able to make the journey, you will be rewarded with a truly unforgettable and memorable experience.

66| Take Spanish Lessons in Lima

If you really want to immerse yourself in your holiday in Peru, learning a little Spanish is a great way to help you get more from your travel experience and communicate more with the locals. Miraflores, in Lima, is the best place to do this, and various Spanish schools here cater to tourists with half day and full day lessons available on daily or weekly rates. Schools also provide socialising and after-school activities, including things such as salsa lessons, Pisco Sour making classes, and Miraflores walking tours, so this can be a great way to start your holiday.

67| Stay in a Spa Hotel

Although it may not be the first thing that springs to mind when thinking about a holiday in Peru, these days Peru is well regarded in South America for the high standard of its accommodation, and a number of luxury spa hotels are situated across the country in destinations such as the Colca Canyon and Sacred Valley, and often have hot thermal springs within the hotel grounds. If you're looking for a relaxing break, a luxury spa stay in a tranquil region of Peru is an excellent way to break up your trip.

68| Climb Misti Volcano

Misti is a conical volcano near the city of Arequipa, and the volcano is actually visible from the city, making the horizon from Arequipa a fabulous landscape to view. Climbing the volcano on a tour can be a rewarding experience, with the summit providing incredible views of the surrounding altiplano, although at a height of 5822m this is not for the casual tourist, and climbing by guided tour is the only way to complete the trip.

Misti Mountain, Arequipa

69| Visit Huaca de la Luna

On the outskirts of Trujillo, a city that is blessed with rich archaeological surroundings, Huaca de la Luna is one of the most interesting adobe ruins in Peru. Built by the Moche people, the large structure contains some original wall paintings and decorations within its structure, and has a very interesting on site museum.

Huaca de la Luna

70| Hike the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu

One of the alternative treks to Machu Picchu beginning in Cusco, this 5 day trek (3 nights camping during the trek, 1 night accommodation in Aguas Calientes) is a great option to choose if the official Inca Trail is fully booked, or for those looking for a slightly longer Peru trek. One of the key benefits of this trek is that it incorporates a visit to the Inca ruin of Llactapata, which can be viewed but not visited on the Official Inca Trail.

71| Travel to Raqchi

One of the more unique Inca sites in Peru, this ruin is situated on the Ruta del Sol, the road between Puno and Cusco, and although the site is relatively large and features a number of buildings it is most famous for its adobe tall, part of what was originally the Temple of Wiracocha, which is over 18 metres high in parts.

72| Visit Ollantaytambo

Ollantaytambo is a town situated at one end of the Sacred Valley, close to Machu Picchu (the town has a train station that services Machu Picchu) and if you only visit one town in the Sacred Valley, this would be our pick. The town itself is an old Inca town, and the street layout and many of the buildings are still of traditional and historic Inca design, making this a fabulous town to explore. However it is the dominant Inca fortress overlooking the town, also known as Ollantaytambo, that makes this a special place to visit. The fortress is one of the larger Inca ruins in the Sacred Valley and was unfinished, probably as its construction was interrupted by the arrival of the Spanish.


73| Enjoy The Guilty Pleasure of Pollo a la Brasa

Fine dining it may not be, but when it comes to spit-roasted chicken, the Peruvians are the best at it in the world. Lima is the best place to enjoy this guilty pleasure, with a range of different restaurant chains that seem to populate every street corner all serving up the ubiquitos chicken and chips. The precise recipes are kept a closely guarded secret, but all we know is that it is all delicious!

74| Spot Pink River Dolphins in Iquitos

Iquitos sits on the Maranon River, the principle source of the Amazon River, and in the regions in and around Iquitos the river can be incredibly wide, up to many kilometres in some parts. Pink River Dolphins, sometimes called Amazon River Dolphins, inhabit this region of Peru and on river cruises and on day excursions during Amazon Jungle tours it is possible to spot these rare and secretive wonders of the natural world. Spotting them is a magical moment.

75| Hit the Nightlife of Lima

A modern city even by 21st century standards, when it comes to nightlife Lima has the best choices in Peru, from discos, bars, night clubs and restaurants. Miraflores and Barranco districts are the pick of the bunch, with Miraflores having a better selection of ocean-side nightclubs, whilst Barranco has a great selection of hidden fashionable bars serving fabulous cocktails.

76| Learn About the History of the Yavari Project

The Yavari is a ship based in Puno, on Lake Titicaca, with a fascinating story and history. It was originally commissioned by the Peruvian government in 1861, but was designed and built in the United Kingdom, before being dismantled, shipped by ocean to Peru, transported over the Andes piece by piece carried by horses and mules, before being reassembled in Lake Titicaca - a process which ultimately took some 8 years in total. The ship is now owned by a charitable group and has been restored for tourists to visit.

Yavari Project, Lake Titicaca

77| Experience the Three Regions of Peru

Peru is relatively unique in world travel, as it contains incredibly diverse geographical regions all within a reasonably small area, which means it is actually possible to experience the wonder of Peru's diversity all within the space of a single holiday to a single country. The three main regions of Peru are the coastal desert regions of Lima and the other coastal cities, the Andes mountains regions including Cusco and Lake Titicaca, and of course the Amazon Jungle regions. Each of these regions has distinct cultures, foods, landscapes and wildlife, and in any trip to Peru it is worth visiting all three to truly experience all of what Peru has to offer.

78| Go Bird Watching at the Mejia Lagoons National Sanctuary

The Mejia Lagoons National Sanctuary, a coastal lagoon system in the Arequipa region, is one of the best places to go bird watching in Peru. Migratory birds that can be spotted in this region include various gulls, grebes, teals, herons and egrets. Arequipa is a good place to be based for day tours to the lagoons.

79| Visit El Brujo

El Brujo is a fabulous 1500 year old Moche period archaeological complex near Trujillo, in the north of Peru. The site features original wall paintings and reliefs, and the original shadings of the paintings in colours such as deep reds are still visible.

80| Trek to Winay Wayna

Also known as Winay Huayna, this epic Inca Ruin is situated on the official Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, and can only be visited by trekkers on the Inca Trail. The ruin is similar is design to Machu Picchu with its steep terraces and structures precariously clinging on to the steep valley sides, amidst the encroaching jungle. This site really does feel like a lost city, peaceful, but equally powerful. Trekkers on the Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu usually visit this ruin midway through the first day of trekking, whereas those doing the full four day Inca Trail may get the chance to visit the ruin on Day 3 depending on campsite allocation.

81| Take a Bath in the Banos del Inca

Banos del Inca is a collection of natural thermal springs on the outskirts of the city of Cajamarca, in northern Peru. During the Spanish Conquest of Peru Pizarro references a thermal bath in his chronicles from the time, and it is thought that this bathing complex was used by Atahualpa, the last Sapa Inca. It is possible to bathe in modern pools, and some ancient bathing tanks possibly dating from Inca times are open to view.

82| Taste Ceviche

Ceviche is the the national dish of Peru, and a delicacy now well regarded and famous the world over. Classic ceviche is raw white fish that has been marinated in lime juice, red onion, and chilli; and usually served with corn and crispy cancha. Delicious, fresh, and one of the iconic flavours of Peru. Lima and the other coastal cities are the best places to try this dish.

83| Travel in Luxury on the Andean Explorer Train to Cusco

Rightly regarded as one of the greatest train journeys on earth, the Andean Explorer is a luxury train service that operates between Cusco and Puno. The route passes over the altiplano through the most stunning Andean scenery in South America, passing snow-capped mountain peaks, sparse shrubbery, turquoise lakes, and traditional farm land; whilst onboard luxury services, food, wine and entertainment make this a unique and unforgettable train journey experience.

Andean Explorer Train to Cusco

84| Visit Gocta Waterfall

Gocta Waterfall is a natural wonder of Peru. At a height of over 770 metres it is listed by some to be one of the ten highest waterfalls on earth, and amazingly the waterfall was only discovered by the western world as recently as 2005. Prior to this time locals had kept the existence of the waterfall a secret for fear of being cursed by a mermaid that they believed lived in the waters of the falls if they revealed the waterfall location. The waterfall is nearby the town of Chachapoyas, and it is possible to visit the falls either on a day trip from Chachapoyas, or by staying in the Gocta Lodge hotel which has stunning views overlooking the falls.

Gocta Waterfall

85| Birdwatch the Cock of the Rock National Bird of Peru

One of the highlights of visits to the Manu region of Peru is the chance to observe the beautiful Cock of the Rock bird. Although no wildlife can (or should) ever be guaranteed by tour operators, these birds are known to return to certain locations at certain times of day and therefore most tours to the Manu region will include the chance to spot these majestic birds from hidden wildlife hides. Check that this is included in your trip - you won't regret it!

Cock of the Rock, Peru

86| Visit Laguna Llanganuco

This vivid turquoise lake has a colour so bright, sharp and unique, that this lake is well known across Peru as a natural wonder of the country. The lake it situated in the Yungay Province, near the Andean city of Huaraz, and day tours are possible from Huaraz which normally include visits both to the lake and to Yungay. If the views of the turquoise lake aren't enough to make the trip worthwhile, then the views of Huascaran Mountain (6768m) and Huascaran National Park provide a stunning backdrop.

Laguna Llanganuco

87| Explore Miraflores

Miraflores is by far the most popular tourist district in Lima, the capital of Peru, and contains the best selection of restaurants, hotels, shops and cafes in the capital. However Miraflores has so much more to offer, and during a trip to Lima it is worth spending a day on foot getting to know this modern district a little better. Parque Kennedy, the heart of Miraflores, is renowned in Lima for it crafts stalls, bars, and cafes; the ancient pyramid ruin of Huaca Pucllana is only 10 minutes walk from the centre of Miraflores; and Parque del Amor on the seafront overlooks the pacific ocean and has para-gliding opportunities as well as some fabulous ocean-view restaurants. Make the most of your time in Miraflores - it may not have the history of Cusco, or the beauty of Arequipa, but this is still part of what modern Peruvian life is all about.

88| Include a Visit to Tambomachay

One of a collection of Inca ruins on the outskirts of Cusco, Tambomachay is a unique Inca site that features a collection of pools, canals, and water channels that are an example of the finesse that the Inca used to control water when required.

Tambomachay Inca Ruin

89| Hike the Santa Cruz Trek

If the nine day Cedros Alpamayo trek in the Huaraz region of Peru is too much for you, the four day Santa Cruz trek might be a good alternative option. Passing through some sincerely stunning terrain, valleys, mountain passes and highland lakes; and with views of Huascaran mountain and various others all over 6000m in height, this is an epic trek.

90| Visit Chavin de Huantar

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Chavin de Huantar is an important and large archaeological site. The site was founded as early as 1200BC, and was was occupied and expanded through until around 500BC by the Chavin people. The site is decorated with a wide range of sculptures and carvings of animals such as the jaguar, features a large dominant pyramid and circular plaza, and includes underground passageways. Although it is geographically "off the beaten track", and not as easy to access as the Inca ruins around Cusco, for anyone interested in culture, history, or archaeology, this is a must.

91| Iglesia San Blas

This small church in the San Blas district of Cusco, just a few minutes walk from the main central plaza on the top of a small hill, is one of the stand-out sights within Cusco. The church is situated adjacent to a small plaza that has excellent views over the city and regular crafts markets, but it is the inside of the church that makes a visit worthwhile - a spectacular and beautiful mirrored and gold altar as high as the church itself glistens and shines, totally dominating the interior of the building.

92| Travel on the Train to Huancayo

This activity wins our vote as one of the best kept secrets of things to do when on holiday in Peru. Huancayo is a traditional Peruvian town in the Andes, to the east of Lima. The "Ferrocarril Central Andino" operates a monthly train service from Lima to Huancayo which is the second highest passenger train service in the world (at one point the journey travels over a mountain pass with an altitudfe of over 4800m) and which passes through some of the most stunning scenery to be found on any rail journey in the world.

93| Explore the Catacombs Underneath Lima

Underneath the Monastery of San Francisco in central old town Lima are a collection of underground catacombs dating from the 17th and 18th century that were only rediscovered in 1943 and that contain the skulls and bones of tens of thousands of bodies. The Monastery itself has fabulous architecture and is adjacent to a cloistered convent. One of the best things to see in Lima.

94| Visit Huaca Pucllana

This "huaca" is an enormous adobe pyramid in the heart of the Lima district of Miraflores, and is a must-visit tourist attraction for anyone in Lima. The size and scale of the ruin are a sight to behold. The pyramid was built by the Lima Culture, around 1800 years ago, and was subsequently expanded and developed over hundreds of years by subsequent cultures, including the Wari Culture. The site is closed on Tuesdays.

Huaca Pucllana

95| Visit Huanchaco

Huanchaco is a lovely coastal town in the north of Peru, near the city of Trujillo, which is famous as a surfing destination but also for the "Caballito de Totora" or reed crafts traditionally used by Peruvian fisherman for hundreds of years. Fisherman in Huanchaco still use this traditional fishing method and can be seen riding the waves from the beaches of the town.

96| Eat Chifa

As the saying goes... "When in Rome", and when in Peru one of the best things to do is to try the wide variety of cuisine on offer. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries many Chinese immigrants moved to Peru and they adapted their traditional Chinese cooking style using the Peruvian ingredients that were available to them, and thus Chifa was born. Chifa is therefore the Peruvian name for a style of Chinese food. It is impossible to avoid Chifa restaurants when in Peru, as they are so popular with Peruvians and can be found on many street corners. Chifa is not only delicious, but it is also excellent value for money, so a great option if you are travelling on a budget.

97| Bathe in La Calera Hot Springs in Chivay

For those travelling on a budget who aren't staying in one of the more luxurious spa resort hotels dotted around the Colca Canyon, the town of Chivay has its own natural thermal springs that are a great option for anyone staying in the town of Chivay. Regular buses run to and from the springs, but if you fancy walking it is only a ten to fifteen minute walk from the town centre.

98| Visit The Inca Ruin of Huchuy Qosqo

If you are looking for a less famous Inca ruin to visit during your time in Peru then Huchuy Qosqo is a good option: the ruin is completely inaccesible by road and can only be visited via a 3 hour trek from the town of Lamay (near Cusco), and hasn't undergone anywhere near the level of reconstruction of some of the more famous ruins. A great hidden gem.

99| Attend the Senor de los Milagros Festivities in Lima

The Senor de los Milagros, which translates as the Lord of Miracles, is a 17th century mural painting in the Sanctuary of Las Nazarenas church in the old town centre of Lima. During the 18th century Lima suffered an earthquake and many buildings were destroyed, however the mural painting of Christ remained undamaged, which was taken to be a miraculous event by the Catholics of Lima. Ever since this date thousands upon thousands of Catholics travel to the centre of Lima to take part in an annual religious procession in honour of this miracle. The colour purple plays an important part in the celebrations, and worshippers wear bright purple clothing which makes the street processions an incredible visual spectacle to observe.

100| Visit Huaca del Sol

Huaca del Sol is adjacent to Huaca de la Luna on the outskirts of Trujillo in northern Peru, and was built by the Moche over 1500 years ago. Whereas Huaca de la Luna is smaller and better preserved, it is the sheer size of Huaca del Sol that makes it worth seeing - the largest adobe structure in the Americas this giant pyramid structure is thought to contain over one hundred million adobe bricks.

Huaca del Sol, Trujillo

101| Make Friends with Peruvian People

Peru is a very diverse country, and the Peruvian people are equally diverse, due in part to the various cultures that have colonised the South American continent over hundreds of years, and due to the incredible geography of the country that spans deserts, mountains, and rainforest. What binds Peruvians together despite all of this is their belief and pride for their country and what it has to offer. Make the most of your time in Peru and try and get to know a few Peruvians - getting to know locals can make travel such a much more rewarding experience. Peruvians are part of what makes Peru so special - you'll find them warm, friendly, kind and generous. 

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