WHAT TO DO IN PERU
As the most varied and exciting of all South American nations, Peru has it all: art, mystery, one of the world’s most fascinating ancient cultures and stunning natural beauty. It is also one of the most geographically spectacular countries on earth. Its variety is astonishing: scientists have ascertained that of 103 possible ecological zones, Peru has 83 within its borders. As a result, every conceivable scenic attraction is available. The Andes, the second-largest mountain chain in the world, offers unparalleled exploring, trekking and photographic opportunities. Visitors can also observe flora and fauna in the tropical rainforest of the steamy Amazon, visit the many pre-Colombian ruins or step back in time visiting an island at Lake Titicaca. One can also marvel at the stunning Inca ruins near Cusco and the great city of Machu Picchu located on the Inca Trail nestled up in the mountains. Peru is also home to the Nazca lines etched on its coastal deserts, the enormous adobe city of Chan Chan and the Moche burial site of the Lord of Sipán. These cultures left no written records; just amazing works in gold, silver and stone. Undoubtedly, your stay in Perú will be memorable!
CULTURE AND HISTORY
Besides adventure, Peru is an excellent destination for those who are interested in culture and history. The Incas left fabulous ruins all over Peru, mainly in the Cusco area, such as the famous sites of Ollantaytambo, Pisac, and, of course, the old Inca town of Machu Picchu. History seem to be touchable at every street corner, where the combination of Inca Foundations and Spanish Colonial Architecture, reminds us of history every single moment we are wondering around.
SPIRITUALISM AND FOLKLORE
There are also several local festivals which provide excellent opportunities for visiting traditional, colourful villages in the mountains, for example Qoyllur Riti (in May or June) or La Virgen de Paucartambo (July 15th/16th). For more information regarding local festivities, we refer to our Festival Calender. Also for people interested in the more spiritual side of the Andean Cultures, Peru offers exceptional opportunities to get introduced to this cultural activities, as there are pagos a la tierra (an Inca ritual, a payment to the earth, to acknowledgement the Mother Earth), among others.
Peru abounds with adventure and it is possible to do activities like: kayaking, scuba diving, parasailing, hang gliding, bungee jumping, canoeing, mountain biking, trekking, exploring, windsurfing, climbing, horse riding, fishing, hiking, canyoning, skiing, sand & snowboarding, surfing, rock climbing...clearly an adventurer’s paradise!
Trekking and mountaineering are popular during the April to November dry season in the Andes. The most popular hike on the continent is the 33km (20mi) Inca Trail, west of Cusco. Equipment can be rented in Cusco and the trek takes two-four days. Huaraz, north of Lima, is the climbing and trekking center of Peru and the site of Huascará, at 6768m (22,199ft) the highest mountain in the country. Equipment, drivers and guides are readily available; the best time for hiking is June to August.
Jungle treks can be arranged at Iquitos, at Puerto Maldonado or in Cusco (for Maldonado and Manu). You will be staying either at jungle lodges or in tents, when doing a tour in Manu, for example. Tours can last anywhere from a day to over a week, so bring plenty of mosquito repellent.
The Río Urubamba, near Cusco, has white-water rafting possibilities. Yarinacocha has pleasant canoeing. The Peninsula de Paracs and nearby Islas Ballestas have the best-known bird and marine sanctuaries on the Peruvian coast, plus there's great swimming from secluded beaches from January to March. Tours to the sanctuaries are available daily and are relatively cheap. There are bodegas (wineries) to visit in the city of Ica, on the south coast, and guided tours to Colca Canyon, near the city of Arequipa.