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What to Do in Peru

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Beyond heavy hitters like Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca, Peru offers endless opportunities for exploration. From museums and national parks to markets, salt flats, and lesser-known towns, there’s much to discover in this fascinating country.
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Peru
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...
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Huayna Picchu, 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...
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Machu Picchu Pueblo (Aguas Calientes), Aguas Calientes, Peru
Set on 12 lush, cloud-forested acres next to the Urumbamba River, this eco-resort (a member of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World) is practically a destination in and of itself. Here, 83 rustic-but-chic, whitewashed adobe casitas...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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Cusco, Peru
Just above Cuzco are four Incan ruins: Saqsaywaman, Q’enqo, Puca Pukara, and Tambomachay. Of the four, Saqsaywaman is perhaps the most astounding, particularly when your guide mentions that some of the huge stones used to build the city walls may...
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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...
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Calle 26A, Bellavista 07011, Peru
For those of us used to seeing chicken cut into parts, wrapped in plastic, and cooling in supermarket refrigerators, a trip to a local Peruvian market is fascinating and a bit daunting. At the biggest market, San Pedro, just up the...
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Espaderos 136, Cusco 08000, Peru
Peru's coffee beans feed a global passion. Learn more about the process behind the brew with a trip to the Museo del Café. Taking part in a two-hour workshop will show you how to identify the best coffee, prepare the...
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Lima, Peru
Though civilizations have occupied the Lima area even before the Incas, the city reflects its time under Spanish rule the most. Nicknamed the “City of Kings,” it was the capital of the colonial viceroyalty of Peru. To get a feel...
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Pueblo Libre, one of Lima’s oldest neighborhoods, offers lots of diversions for travelers. It's home to one of the city’s top museums, the Larco, which showcases pre-Columbian cultures such as the Wari, Chimu, and...
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Barranco District, Peru
Barranco, one of the city’s most beautiful neighborhoods, awash in character, is known for an artsy vibe and gorgeous colonial buildings. Cross the Puente de los Suspiros (Spanish for “Bridge of Sighs”) and follow the Bajada de los...
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Miraflores, Peru
Many visitors 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 stroll the pretty side streets. Down by the...
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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...
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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....
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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...
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Maras, Peru
Tours of the Sacred Valley, and the entire Cuzco area, often feature side trips through gorgeous landscapes like Moray, an archaeological site with remarkable concentric agricultural terraces. It’s believed the Incas used these...
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The stunning landscape of Salineras de Maras features salt pans that are still used exactly as they were at the time of the Incas. As you make your way through the region, you’ll see people doing the backbreaking work of harvesting salt on...
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Pisac, Peru
One of the best things to do while in Cuzco is to visit the Sunday farmer's market in the nearby Andean town of Pisac, taking either a taxi or a more economical bus to get there. The villagers surrounding Pisac come from miles around to sell their...
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Urubamba, Peru
Anyone can go to one of the markets selling woven alpaca goods to tourists—Urubamba is the farmers’ market where locals buy their groceries, the biggest of its kind in the Sacred Valley. On any given day, stalls sell fresh...
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Ollantaytambo, Peru
Learn about Inca terraces and grain storage, find the profile of Inca god Viracocha carved into mountain stone, and take in the view of the charming town of Ollantaytambo (if you're lucky, you'll catch a rainbow!). Beautiful, interesting, and a...
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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....
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Suasi Island, Peru
Legend has it that the first Incas, children of the sun, set down on earth at Lake Titicaca, making this a sacred place, the cradle of life itself. Travelers with more than a week to spend in Peru should plan to visit the beautiful...
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Madre de Dios, Peru
When thinking about the Amazon Jungle, Brazil may first come to mind—and rightly so, as the largest portion of the rain forest is indeed in that country. However, the Amazon also makes up 60 percent of Peru’s...
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Unnamed Road, Peru
Colca Canyon, a three-hour drive north of Arequipa, is one of Peru’s most popular and extraordinary tourist attractions. The chasm is over 13,600 feet deep, making it one of the deepest in the world, and more than twice as deep as the...