10 Best Places to Visit in Peru: Your Bucket List Guide

peruvian natives with alpacas

Dive into our handpicked list of the best places to visit in Peru, your one-stop bucket list guide.

From the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu to the vibrant streets of Lima, Peru’s treasures are waiting to be discovered.

Ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure? Let’s go!

1. Lima

costa verde in lima peru

Ah, Lima! The sprawling metropolis blends the old and the new, whispering tales of its history while keeping pace with modern times. Take a step back in time as you wander through the Historic Center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, brimming with colonial architecture and historical monuments.

Don’t forget the Larco Museum, an absolute must for history buffs. Nestled in the lively district of Miraflores, this museum houses fascinating pre-Columbian art.

And the food – oh, the food! Lima is the proud holder of the title ‘Culinary Capital of South America.’ Be sure to sample some ceviche or a hearty helping of lomo saltado. Trust me, your tastebuds will thank you.

2. Cusco

Cusco peru buildings

Next, we’re off to Cusco, once the beating heart of the Incan Empire. The city’s rich history can be seen in every cobblestone street and Incan wall. Take a stroll through the San Blas neighborhood, where colonial houses and workshops of local artisans abound. For some local flavor, don’t miss the bustling San Pedro Market.

Do visit Sacsayhuaman, an impressive Inca fortress overlooking the city, and Qorikancha, once the most important temple in the Inca Empire. History has never been this breathtaking!

3. Machu Picchu

llama in machu picchu peru

No trip to Peru would be complete without witnessing the awe-inspiring beauty of Machu Picchu, a world-renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site. Reachable by the iconic Inca Trail or the scenic train route, this ancient city will captivate you with structures like the Intihuatana, the Temple of the Sun, and the Room of the Three Windows. Prepare to have your mind blown by the genius of Inca architecture!

4. Sacred Valley

sacred valley peru

Our journey continues to the Sacred Valley, an area of significant importance in Incan culture. Indulge in some local shopping at Pisac’s bustling market, where you can find unique Andean crafts. Discover the town of Ollantaytambo with its formidable fortress, and don’t skip a visit to the Maras Salt Mines, a stunning patchwork of salt pans still used today.

5. Arequipa

arequipa peru

Next up is Arequipa, aptly named ‘The White City’ for its baroque buildings made from a volcanic stone called “sillar.” Marvel at the intricacies of the Santa Catalina Monastery, explore the depths of Colca Canyon, and if you’re up for an adventure, try hiking up the Misti volcano. This city sure knows how to leave a lasting impression!

6. Lake Titicaca and Puno

peruvian natives next to boats at Lake Titicaca Peru

Venture to the world’s highest navigable lake, Lake Titicaca, and Puno, Peru’s folklore capital. Pay a visit to the floating islands of Uros, made entirely of reeds, and meet the locals who maintain their ancestral traditions. Explore the remote Taquile Island, and end the day marveling at the Sillustani burial towers, precariously perched at the lake’s edge.

7. Nazca Lines

aerial view of Nazca Lines in Peru

Now, let’s journey to the arid plains of Nazca, home to the mysterious Nazca Lines. These intricate geoglyphs etched into the desert floor are a sight to behold. To truly appreciate their vastness and detail, book an overflight tour. Be prepared to be entranced by the enigma of the hummingbird, monkey, spider, and other figures sprawled across the desert!

8. Iquitos

Iquitos Peru on the Amazon River

Next on our list is Iquitos, the gateway to the Peruvian Amazon. This bustling city, accessible only by boat or plane, offers a unique opportunity for jungle tours and tribal visits. Spend your days spotting wildlife, fishing for piranhas, and by nightfall, lull yourself to sleep with the symphony of the jungle. A trip to the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve, one of the largest protected areas in Peru, is a must for nature lovers.

9. Trujillo

Trujillo Peru traditional vibrant architecture

Welcome to Trujillo, a vibrant city famed for its cheerful colonial architecture and lively festivals. Uncover the secrets of Chan Chan, the world’s largest adobe city, and explore the Temples of the Sun and the Moon, which date back to the ancient Moche civilization. Trujillo’s balmy climate, coupled with its rich history and culture, make it a must-visit destination in Peru.

10. Huaraz

church in front of Andes mountains in Huaraz Peru

Last but certainly not least, we arrive at Huaraz, a haven for outdoor enthusiasts nestled in the heart of the Andes. Imagine hiking in the Cordillera Blanca, the highest tropical mountain range in the world, or exploring the Huascaran National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its snow-capped peaks and turquoise lakes. History buffs will love Chavin de Huantar, a significant archaeological site dating back to the Chavin culture.

Final Thoughts

Our thrilling journey across Peru comes to an end, but the memories of this mesmerizing country, with its rich history, diverse landscapes, and captivating cultures, will linger on. It’s time for you to embark on your own Peruvian adventure. Trust me, the real journey is even more beautiful than the stories!

So, who’s ready to explore Peru’s treasures? We’d love to hear your thoughts, experiences, or questions about this vibrant country. Share your Peru stories in the comments below, or reach out to us directly. Let’s keep the conversation going! Safe travels, amigos!

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the best time to visit Peru?

The best time to visit Peru largely depends on the regions you wish to explore. The dry season from May to September is ideal for visiting the highlands and Machu Picchu, while the coastal regions are warm and sunny from December to March.

Do I need a visa to travel to Peru?

Citizens of most American and Western European countries do not need a visa to enter Peru for tourism purposes. However, it is always recommended to check the current regulations with your local embassy or consulate before planning your trip.

What are the must-try foods in Peru?

Peru is known for its rich culinary tradition. You must not miss out on tasting dishes like ceviche (a raw fish dish marinated in citrus juices), lomo saltado (stir-fried beef with vegetables), and causa (layered potato dish). Don’t forget to sip on some Pisco Sour, the national cocktail!

Is it safe to drink tap water in Peru?

Tap water in Peru is not considered safe to drink. It’s advisable to drink bottled or purified water during your stay. Also, remember to avoid ice in your drinks unless it’s made from purified water.

Can I use US dollars in Peru?

While the official currency of Peru is the Sol, US dollars are accepted in many places, especially in larger cities and tourist areas. However, it’s good to carry local currency for small purchases and in places where dollars might not be accepted.

If you’re planning a grand tour of the continent, don’t miss our comprehensive guides to the most breathtaking places to visit in South America:

About Ronaldo Stewart

Wantigo was born out of a deep passion for exploring new places and experiencing different cultures. With a keen sense of adventure and an insatiable thirst for knowledge, I’ve traveled far and wide, immersing myself in the beauty and wonder of the world.

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