The hotspot in Peru is the city of Cusco located in the southern portion of the country. From Cusco, you can organise tours to see the archaeological sites of the Inkas, the main attraction being Machu Picchu. This 15th-century Inka site draws hundreds of thousands of tourists each year to see the ancient ruins and hike the Inka Trail. However, there is much more to Peru than this site and there are even more archaeological interests, such as the Inka Cradle of Gold and Northern Kingdoms.
In addition to archaeology, Peru boasts the second largest amount of Amazon Rainforest and more species of animals and plants have been found in this region than in others. As Earth’s largest container of life, this is clearly a must see if you’re even a little bit interested in nature.
If you like Monkeys, Sloths, Macaws, Parrots and other Birds, the Amazon Rainforest should be on your list. If you would like to unwind free from the stresses of city life, a tour of the Amazon Rainforest is also recommended. You can choose budget friendly visits, such as from Puerto Maldonado, as well as luxury cruises from Iquitos. If you’re after adventure for deeper experiences of the Amazon Rainforest, you can find these tours from both Puerto Maldonado and Iquitos. We have selected some of the best tour operators to make sure you make the most of your visit. Continue To Amazon Tours >>
The protected areas in Peru include the following UNESCO World Heritage listed areas:
UNESCO World Heritage listed Cultural Protected Areas:
- Chan Chan Archaeological Zone (1986)
- Chavin (Archaeological Site) (1985)
- City of Cuzco (1983)
- Historic Centre of Lima (1988)
- Historical Centre of the City of Arequipa (2000)
- Lines and Geoglyphs of Nasca and Pampas de Jumana (1994)
- Sacred City of Caral-Supe (2009)
- Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu (1983)
UNESCO World Heritage listed Natural Protected Areas:
- Huascarán National Park (1985)
- Manú National Park (1987)
- Río Abiseo National Park (1990)
Complementing these areas, there are many more national parks and reserves that protect an incredible number and diversity of birds, mammals, amphibians, plants, insects and reptiles as well as offering protection for the Amazon’s remaining indigenous populations.
Other protected areas of Amazon Rainforest:
- Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, Loreto
- Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve, Loreto
- Allpahuayo-Mishana National Reserve, Loreto
- Matsés National Reserve, Loreto
- Bahuaja-Sonene National Park, Madre de Dios
- Tambopata National Reserve, Madre de Dios
- Otishi National Park, Junín
Other Peruvian protected areas:
- Paracas National Reserve, Ica
- Lachay Hills Reserve, Lima
- Titicaca, Puno
- National Reserve of Pampa Galeras Barbara D’Achille, Ayacucho
- Salinas and Aguada Blanca National Reserve, Arequipa
- Tumbes National Reserve, Tumbes
These reserves, especially those in the Amazon Rainforest, contain an incredible diversity of wildlife. Some reserves, such as the Pampa Galeras National Reserve, protect Peru’s wild camelids, the ancestors of llamas and alpacas.
Peru is a bird enthusiast’s paradise. From the Andes to the Amazon, you can find incredible bird life. The National Bird of Peru is the Cock of the Rock (Rupicola peruvianus), easily seen near the Cock of the Rock Lodge on a 3D/2N tour from Cusco.
As Peru contains a large portion of the Amazon Rainforest, the country includes a large amount of Amazon wildlife, such as sloths, monkeys, macaws, giant otters, anacondas and much more, which you can see from Peru’s top Amazon Rainforest Lodges.
Peru is a hit with food lovers worldwide for its traditional and unique cuisine. If you’re even a little bit interested in sampling different foods, you will have already heard about ceviche, a dish originating in Peru consisting of raw fish drizzled with lemon, lime and spices.
Lock up your pets for the next dish, as you may not have realised that Guinea Pigs were originally bred for food and as Europeans farmed Sheep, Goats and Cows, Peruvians living in the Andes farmed Guinea Pigs known locally as cuy.
There are many other main meals to try like various beef, chicken and even alpaca dishes as well as meals centered around the potato. Potatoes originated in Peru and only a few varieties from the thousands available were exported to the rest of the world.
For dessert, again there are many varieties available like the Suspiro a la Limeña, which had its origins in the 19th Century and includes peanut and meringue flavors. Another traditional dessert from the colonial era is Frejol Colado, which is made using black or red beans, honey molasses, clove and toasted sesame seeds. The preparation varies, but usually includes cinnamon, nutmeg, anise, red wine, molasses, and brown sugar.
Of an evening, the cocktail of choice is the Pisco Sour, which has a heavy citrus, sour flavor and had its origins in Lima, Peru.
The main cities in Peru to base yourself for a Peruvian adventure are:
- Lima: Gastronomy, culture, base for tours to other areas
- Cusco: Machu Picchu, Cradle of Gold, Manu cloud forest
- Puerto Maldonado: Most developed Amazon tourism industry
- Iquito: Amazon lodges & cruises on the Amazon River
- Cajamarca: Explore Inca history
- Chiclayo: Explore Chachapoyas history
|Currency used||Peruvian Nuevo Sol|