A trip to Peru is a true adventure and the places to see and things to do in Peru are many. Peru is a country with a rich and varied cultural and architectural heritage, very diverse with coast, jungle and the spectacular highlands.
Facing the Pacific, it enjoys spectacular and varied scenery, including Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest navigable lake, and has a strong Inca and pre-Inca heritage, which includes the famous Lake Titicaca area, the Nazca Lines, and the ancient Inca capital of Cuzco, with its Inca Trail to the lost city of Machu Picchu. It’s a fantastic place for a holiday and in this article, we’ll be looking at some things to do in Peru and tips to make sure you can get the most out of your vacation!
Best Things To Do In Peru For Indiana Jones Fans
- Lima, the capital city of the Republic of Peru, located in the central coastal region of the country.
- Cuzco, a city in southeastern Peru, near the Huatanay Valley in the Andes mountain range.
- The Nazca Plain 400 km south of Lima, looks like a giant map or blueprint left by ancient astronauts. Here you find the famous Nazca Lines of Peru. Chauchilla Cemetery, located 30 km south of Nazca, contains pre-Inca mummified human remains and is dating back over 1,000 years.
- The Temple of the Chachapoyan Warriors refers to the ruins of Kuelap, but was to remote to make it an ideal movie location.
- Lake Titicaca area made “The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” setting.
Planning a trip to Peru -- Geography and Transport
Peru is split into 3 separate climatic zones: 1. the coast, 2. the mountains and 3. the jungle. The character and culture of the three areas is remarkably distinct and can give your Peru vacation real variation although nowadays the country is inter-connected by a good road network, some amazing railway lines and excellent air services.
Things to do in Peru´s Andes.
The Andes range covers the entire central region of Peru, from north to south. They offer some of the most spectacular views and some of the most interesting thing to do in Peru and cultural experiences in the world. As mentioned above, in many areas you can still hear Quechua – the language of the Incas – spoken as a first language and the spiritual ideals of Inca culture remain strong.
Today cities like Cusco combine stunning Inca and colonial architecture with thoroughly modern services but just a short distance away from the major urban areas, life carries on in a way which would be instantly recognizable to the Incas. The Andean areas are where most travelers spend the majority of their time while on vacation.
Machu Picchu is Peru’s main attraction and on many bucket lists.
Things to do in Peru: You can hike the Inca Trail, if you are fit and have the time; there are some other Inca ruins to see along the way. Otherwise, take the train to Aguas Calientes for $130, from there get the bus to Machu Pichu for $24, walking takes one hour. Not quite as spectacular and off the beaten path is Choquequirau, the sister city of Machu Picchu. But it has become an increasingly popular alternative to the Inca Trail.
Lake Titicaca is one of the must see places in Peru, at 12,500 ft it is the highest navigable lake in the world. Take a boat tour to the Reed Islands of the Uro people, the floating villages of Lake Titicaca are extraordinary.
Things to do in Peru off the beaten path: to the nearly 3,000 salt pans of Salinas de Maras, located along the slopes of Qaqawiñay mountain in the Urumbamba Valley.
Peru provide easy access to mountains, Huaraz and the Cordillera Blanca attract climbers and mountaineers from around the world.
The Pisac Market on Sundays is a great place to experience the flavor of a picturesque Andean town market.
Things to do in Peru along the coast?
When you go on a vacation to Peru you should know that the coast mainly consists of a small fertile strip along the Pacific which merges slowly into the desert at the foothills of the Andes. In the very north and south of the country it is not unknown for it not to rain for years at a time but complex irrigation systems (some of which date back to Inca times) keep areas like the Pisco valley surprisingly fertile. The Pan-American highway travels the length of the coast, making travel within the coastal region both comfortable and speedy.
Things to do in Peru on the North Coast: The Nazca Lines between the towns of Nazca and Palpa, Trujillo, Sipán, the Chiclayo witchcraft market and Chan Chan. The small town of Máncora featuring Peru’s best sandy beach.
Things to do in Peru along the South Coast: the Paracas National Reserve, the beautiful city of Arequipa, the stunning Colca Canyon where you can watch the condors cruising, the Islas Ballestas which look like a small version of the Galapagos Islands and the mummified bodies at the Chauchilla Cemetery.
Things to do in Peru´s jungle.
The Peruvian jungle is some of the most unspoiled rain-forest in South America and much of it is protected under international law.
The only access to large sections of the jungle (including the few cities) is by boat or plane and so it feels very different to the rest of the country – you get a real sense of arriving somewhere! The rain-forest is home to a bewildering and spectacular array of wildlife, with more unique species being discovered every year, a really thrilling place for an adventure.
Starting point to an amazing boat tour on the Amazon River is Iquitos, it´s by the way the world’s largest city that cannot be reached by boats and planes.
The ancient walled city of Kuelap combines old ruins with a cloud forest and the Amazon River.
Manu National Park in the Amazon Basin is one of the best places in South America to see a stunning variety of tropical wildlife.
More places to see in Peru and things to do in Lima.
Lima, Peru’s sprawling capital sits in the center of the country’s desert coastline. It’s a grimy, polluted place, but one of charm and friendliness with a wealth of compelling architecture and great museums.
Lima is a sprawling congested city and public transport is disorganized. Taxis are plentiful but unregulated. Fares must be negotiated which is difficult if you don’t speak Spanish and taxis can be dangerous. Micro and kombi buses are cheap and the destinations are placed in the windshield. This makes things difficult if you’re not familiar with the city. Lima is not pedestrian-friendly owing to congestion and pollution. Walking is only advised within neighborhoods. Between neighborhoods a taxi is necessary.
Things to do in Peru Lima.
Miraflores is the best beach resort and entertainment center in Lima. Tourists can eat in fine restaurants, shop for local handcrafts, relax at the beach, party in a club, or gamble at a casino. The beach is popular with surfers and paragliders. What else to see on a trip to Lima Peru? The cathedral Iglesia de Santo Domingo, the Museo Larco, the District of Barranco, the Plaza Major with the Palacio De Gobierno.
Climate in Lima: Temperatures from 14 °C (57 °F) to 29 °C (84 °F) throughout the entire year. Summers are relatively sunny, warm and humid.
Accommodation: from cheap stays to luxury resorts, check on the internet for the range, location and cost of Lima hotels right here
Transport for things to do in Peru: getting there and around.
If you fly to Peru , most international and domestic flights will arrive and depart at Lima’s Aeropuerto Internacional Jorge Chávez. The airport is best served by taxi as buses tend to be crowded. Buses connect Lima with Bolivia, Chile and Ecuador as well as all over Peru. They are slow and can be uncomfortable.
Peru information: Language
The primary language in Peru is Spanish. This is almost identical to the Castilian Spanish of Madrid, albeit with slightly different pronunciation and a few vocabulary changes.
In the high Andes, particularly around Cuzco and Puno, many people still speak Aymara or Quechua (the language of the Incas) as a first language, although almost all will also speak Spanish. Some English is often spoken in areas popular with holiday-makers and in staff of services that deal with international customers (e.g.: airports, banks, etc.) will invariably speak some English.
Peru travel advice regarding vaccinations.
There are no mandatory vaccinations for travel to Peru, anyway as this is a tropical third world country some vaccinations may be recommended like Hepatitis A + B, yellow fever and Typhoid. Have a look at the Health Information for Travelers to Peru.
What to eat and drink in Peru?
Peruvian cuisine is excellent and a real highlight of any tour to Peru, with all the regions having different specialties. Coastal dishes owe a lot to African and Spanish influences, tending to be quite rich and often reasonably spicy. Seafood is, unsurprisingly, excellent and anything with chicken is usually a good bet. The coast is also the birthplace of the national dish: ceviche. This is a selection of fish pieces marinated in lime juice and is absolutely stunning – we urge you to try it even if you’re not usually too keen on fish! Good chicken dishes include aji de gallina – chicken in a spicy, creamy sauce.
Highland dishes tend to be more simple than coastal (and especially Limeño) cuisine, concentrating on the excellence of the ingredients, but is just as delicious! Particular favorites include rocoto relleno (stuffed Andean peppers). They are usually stuffed with small pieces of beef and vegetables, although most places will do them with just vegetables on request. You try an alpaca steak at least once during your Peru visit: it’s a kind of heavenly mix between pork and beef and has to be tasted to be believed. Of course, for the adventurous then nothing will do but the Arequipa specialty of cuy – roasted guinea pig! It’s said to be good so long as you can deal with the guilt…
I hope all this information on things to do in Peru has given you some helpful tips. Enjoy a fantastic time in Peru, it will truly be a memorable one.