5 Really Cool Places to Go in Peru
April 15, 2015|Posted in: Peru
My friends and family always want to know why I keep going back to Peru. I’ve been going to Peru at least once a year since 2008! My answer: there is just so much to see and do in Peru that I never get tired of it.
Here are my top 5 favorite places I love to go in Peru. (It was so hard to choose!)
Machu Picchu – Machu Picchu is Peru’s crown jewel. Named a new 7 Wonder, exploring this UNESCO world heritage site is a bit like wandering through an Inca ghost town. Stone buildings, winding staircases, still functioning aqueducts, and farming terraces hint at what life must have been like during the time of the Inca.
Machu Picchu is so strategically located that the Spanish never found it during their conquest of Peru. In fact, it wasn’t until 1911 that the existence of Machu Picchu was revealed to the world when Hiram Bingham re-discovered it while he was looking for the lost city of Vilcabamba.
Machu Picchu is shrouded in mystery. Its purpose is still being debated as archeologists continue to uncover ruins, artifacts, and bones until now hidden by the dense surrounding jungle. How it was built with such precision, enormous stones fitting one on top of the other without mortar, is still a mystery as well. Finally, no one knows why this site was abandoned and what happened to the people who lived here.
I’ve been to Machu Picchu 7 or 8 times. I have friends who have been there hundreds of times. None of us have ever gotten bored with the experience.
Lake Titicaca – A short boat ride from the port in Puno, lie the floating Uros islands. The islands themselves, homes, schools, churches, watch towers, even boats are all constructed of tortora reeds. It is a fascinating, and unfortunately, rapidly disappearing way of life.
Lima – Most tours pass right by Lima. If you skip Lima, though, you miss seeing how most modern day Peruvians live. For a truly local experience, lunch on ceviche in a neighborhood restaurant, stroll along the trail that tops the cliffs of the Costa Verde, or take a surfing lesson in Miraflores.
For more ideas on what to see and do in Lima, read our blog article: Is Lima Worth Seeing?
Amazon – The Amazon rainforest is a relaxing place to begin or end your journey to Peru. Spend your days scouting for wildlife such as howler monkeys, river otters, piranhas, and macaws, and learning about rainforest plants, such as natural Viagra. Afternoon naps in a swinging hammock allow you to decompress.
Nazca Lines – The Nazca Lines form shapes, such as a dog, bird, astronaut, and monkey, which are best viewed from the air. Like Machu Picchu, the Nazca Lines are shrouded in mystery. No one knows who created the lines, how, or why. No one knows how they have managed to stay visible for so many years.
While you are visiting the Nazca Lines, you can take a short cruise to the Islas Ballestas. On the way to visit these islands, where penguins frolic, you pass the Candelabra. Like the Nazca Lines, the origin of the Candelabra is unknown. The Candelabra is carved into the side of an enormous sand dune facing the bay. There is much speculation about who created it and why.
Ica also offers sand boarding. Similar to sledding, you use a refurbished snowboard to slide down the sides of enormous sand dunes that surround a natural (now man made) oasis. Dune buggies, which provide a roller-coaster-like ride through the dunes, transport you to higher and higher dunes to increase the thrill of the ride.