Time for a quick introduction to Peru; everyone landing on this website probably heard of Machu Picchu but as Peru is a mega diverse destination with a ton of things to do, places to visit and experiences to enjoy, the following guide may help seeing the woods through the trees.
Lima is the proud capital of the nation. With almost 11m people one of the largest (and unavoidably chaotic) cities on the continent. Due to its mere size it is a city that hosts so many sights, impressions, vibes and atmospheres that it becomes an impossible task to do it all. Therefore allow us to let you in on a little secret; the key here is food. Lima is one of the culinary hotspots in the world and not only because of the large number of internationally renowned restaurants – no, in every barrio, on every corner at every dinner table food is the cultural demeanor of this massive city.
The ancient city of Cusco needs little introduction. One of the oldest cities in the Americas and gateway to Machu Picchu. That being said, it would be a shame to see it as only this. The city is a true pearl in the Andes with its unique colonial architecture on top of Inca remains. The old capital of the Incas and later of the Viceroyalty still stands with all its pride as the ages have only made this city more interesting – a Breathtaking destination in all senses of the word.
The Sacred Valley
Forget the hustle and bustle of Cusco; at about one hour’s drive from Cusco you can experience going to a place where time has stood still (or at least went a lot slower than in many other parts). The Urubamba Valley due to its vital agricultural importance for the Inca Empire claimed the Sacred title and this is noted till the day of today by the dazzling amount of Inca sites to be found here; from Sacred Temples, to remote fortresses and agricultural laboratories; the Inca’s dominated this land as no other.
The Crown Jewel of the Andes needs no introduction. With recent visitor limitations the government made sure that each visit is still the awe-inspiring experience Inca Pachacuti had in mind when he designed this architectonic marvel. Draped over a green and lush mountain ridge protected by two soaring granite towers it is impossible not to rub your eyes when laying them upon this wonder. -The closest most of us get to feeling Indiana Jones –
Often referred to as the highest (navigable) lake in the world; apart from being inaccurate we feel that this lake does not need a superlative in order to stand out. Surrounded by legends and mysteries such as being the birthplace of the Incas, exiled populations living on floating islands, the search for Atlantis and the masons of Tiwanaku, the lake and its secrets give a lot to ponder on…luckily the views here are made to let your mind drift off in the endless horizon and ever-changing reflection of the sun.
The Amazon Rainforest is still the dream for many discoverers but as we are not all Bear Grills, luckily the Peruvian Amazon provides some of the best places on the planet to get introduced into the “Life in the Wild” without having to surrender on some basic comforts. Two thirds of the country is covered by these forests with as only gateways the many rivers crossing them. Living at the pace of nature, breathing the fresh air, being aware of the habitants housed in these forests and later in the evening laying your head down in your lush cabin allowing the cacophony of the woods closing your eyes. Refuging in these massive forests allows you to put it all in perspective.
The White City could not have picked a better nickname. The entire historic center is built in sillar, a local volcanic rock that apart from being useful also provide the buildings with a certain royal flair few construction materials hold. Maybe it is because of this royal feel to the buildings that the people from Arequipa have a bit of a posh air but for the visitors to this city this sense of pride will be a main entertainer. Wanting to engage with any Arequipeño it only takes a question such as “what is so great about Arequipa” to make a new BFF and win yourself a guide to the city. Having enjoyed a little of both the coast as the highlands, Arequipa is a city that feels comfortable with both cultures making them a very “Cosmoperulitan” city.
What the Sacred Valley is to Cusco is the Colca Canyon to Arequipa. Here too it is easy to feel that time stood still and that people here live on the same pace and peace of mind as they have done for centuries. One of the deepest canyons on the planet, home to the famous Andean Condor soaring the skies this place is one that none will easily forget. Whether you come for the unlimited hiking opportunities, seeing the condors or relaxing in some of the many thermal baths you will not be disappointed.
The Nazca Lines may as well be one of the biggest mysteries in a country filled with mysteries. These huge geoglyphs painted across the desert would not have existed any longer were it not that they are located on one of the driest places on earth. It has not rained here in hundreds of years allowing these ancient lines to survive and keep provoke the same questions with all visitors; why, when and how.
Sometimes called the Peruvian Galapagos Islands these islands are perhaps not the highlight of most trips to Peru but nevertheless do surprise a lot of visitors with its sights. The amount of wildlife one sees here on a 2 hour boat ride few people will enjoy in a full day on the Galapagos. Penguins, Sea lions, hundreds of Sea birds and even Dolphins and Condors are all part of the wildlife viewing buffet offered by these tiny islands.
The place to fall in love with for those taking the time to visit North Peru. Deserted beaches, fascinating colonial cities, ancient ruins dating back thousands of years, lost cities in cloud forests, the most beautiful mountain in the world topped off by some of the highest waterfalls known; what more…adventure awaits.