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.
The reason most come to Aguas Calientes, or maybe even Peru at all, is Machu Picchu. The world-renowned Incan site, perched high above town amid dramatic mountains, is one of the best ways to appreciate the Quechua people’s greatness, since the...
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 usesobjects of Peru’s many pre-Columbian civilizations toexplain their differing cultures. Exhibits—representing cultures from as early as 1250...
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...
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...
Manyvisitors to Peru stay in Miraflores, and for good reason:The neighborhood is where you’ll find most of the better hotels, as well as the top restaurants. Get off main streets to strollthe pretty side streets. Downby the ocean, walk the Malecón...
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. Today’s...
Manú Province, Peru
When thinking about the Amazon Jungle, Brazil may first come to mind—and rightly so, as the largestportion of the rain forest is indeed in that country. However,the Amazon also makes up 60 percent of Peru’s land.Experience this fantastic landscape...
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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