The Best Things to Do in Peru
Collected by AFAR Editors , AFAR Staff
Beyond heavy hitters like Machu Picchu, the Inca Trail, and Lake Titicaca, Peru offers endless opportunities for exploration. From museums that showcase pre-Columbian art and national parks in the Andes Mountains, to Indian markets, salt flats, and lesser-known towns, there’s much to discover in this fascinating country.
Arriving at the gate at 6:30am, I was extremley excited to see and explore this amazing place. I have been planning this trip for over ten years and the moment was finally here! After entering, the entire mountain range and ruins were covered in a...
Huayna Picchu, 08680, Peru
Huayna Picchu is the landmark peak at Machu Picchu from which the classic, shot-from-above postcard photos are typically taken. While the views are spectacular, of course, the trail is not easy, studded with precarious, sometimes uneven stone...
Plazoleta Nazarenas 231, Cusco 08000, Peru
A sister institution to the Larco Museum in Lima, MAP is one of the best museums in Cuzco. The museum uses objects of Peru’s many pre-Columbian civilizations to explain their differing cultures. Exhibits—representing cultures from...
Santo Domingo s/n, Cusco 08000, Peru
This Cuzco corner presents a notable juxtaposition between ancient Incan and Spanish colonial architecture. Since the Incas worshipped their sun god, Inti, above all others, this temple in their imperial capital was the most important of the...
PLAZA MAYOR CENTRO DE, Cusco 08000, Peru
Five minutes after settling into my hostel in Cusco and meeting up with an international contingent of newly found friends from the prior week in Lima, we made our way toward the Plaza de Armas, center of the gone but not forgotten Inca Empire. As...
Calle Berlin 375, Miraflores 15074, Peru
As interesting as Incan history can be to adults, to kids even the most awe-inspiring sites can start to look like a bunch of rocks. The ChocoMuseo provides a great time-out for children (and grown-ups, too). Exhibits on the history of...
Diagonal 176, Miraflores 15074, Peru
Kennedy Park, one of Miraflores’s favorite destinations, is a lovely, well-placed garden, especially favored for afternoon and evening strolls, walking dogs, browsing the kiosks, and firing up romances. You’ll see artists at work...
Playa Pescadores, Distrito de Chorrillos 15063, Peru
If you go south along the shore, past Miraflores and Barranco, you will reach Chorrillos. While not part of many tourist itineraries, it’s a quaint, off-the-beaten-path seaside area offering marvelous ocean views and sandy strolls....
Ruta Santisimo Downhill 2, Chinchero, Peru
One of the first stops outside of Cusco was on the Anta plain at 12,375 ft. The 16th century ruin of Chinchero is rumored to be the birthplace of the rainbow. I would be hard pressed to argue those refractions of light could have a more beautiful...
Km. 70.5 Carretera Urubamba-Ollantaytambo, Sector Huincho, Urubamba, Peru
Llama Pack, a social project, allows you to experience the breathtaking scenery of the Sacred Valley while hiking alongside llamas. These beasts have been used to carry goods since Incan times, before horses and mules existed in Peru....
Manú Province, Peru
An easy 25-minute flight from Cuzco and you can be in the river town of Puerto Maldonado, the start of a truly unforgettable experience in the Peruvian Amazon. A stay at the amazing Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica ecolodge was my first jungle...
Calle Roca Fuerte 245, Urubamba, Peru
Let the Urubamba River set your course during a thrilling rafting adventure along the Ollantaytambo rapids, available through the Belmond. The river helped form what is now the Sacred Valley, and along the way you'll not only sense its power, but...
Aguas Calientes, Peru
The 2.5-hour walk to Mandor Waterfalls starts out from the town of Aguas Calientes and follows railroad tracks along a river, past homesteads and orchards to the cloud forest. While the falls are not as dramatically high as some, the hike is easy...
Prol. Av. de la Cultura 1906, Cusco, Peru
Called Valle Sur, this region south of Cusco is rich in Inca sites and breathtaking scenery. The aqueducts and canals at Tipon, in particular, will have you marveling at pre-Columbian hydraulic ingenuity. Pikillacta, a pre-Inca Wari site, is...
Jr. las Mercedes, Bagua Grande, Peru
Kuelap is an ancient fortress in the clouds: a pre-Incan citadel hewn from a cliffside, wreathed with mist, and surrounded by thick, hilly jungle. Unlike the geometric designs of Incan architecture, the walls of this Chachapoyan city depict animal...
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