Peru is a favorite country for many visitors because of the many fantastic tourist sights and things to do.

You can visit the world’s largest container of wildlife by enjoying excellent Amazon Rainforest tours and cruises, witness one of the New7Wonders of the World at Machu Picchu, enjoy beautiful historic city centres from the Spanish colonial period, taste unique and delicious cuisine, and enjoy some of the world’s top luxury experiences.

Because of Peru’s diversity, we have made a summary guide of the 25 Best Places to Visit in Peru.

In the list, we will recommend some lesser known areas, famous sights, and offer our recommendation for the best places in Peru.

Here’s our list and overview of Peru’s most beautiful and fascinating places.

  1. The Pacaya Samiria National Reserve

    Best Places to Visit in Peru - Pacaya Samiria, Delfin II Luxury Cruise, Iquitos, Peru

    The Pacaya Samiria National Reserve is one of Peru’s largest protected areas. A mostly flooded reserve of the Amazon Rainforest, the Pacaya Samiria is known as the ‘mirrored forest’ due to the beautiful reflections off the water’s surface.

    Because of its incredible size and protection, you can find many animals and plants within the Pacaya Samiria Reserve. Spot colorful birds, several different monkeys, delicate orchids, bromeliads, and tall emergent trees. Surrounded by lush vegetation, incredible wildlife and reflective waters, we rank the Pacaya Samiria as one of the best places to visit in Peru.

    On fantastic Pacaya Samiria cruises, you won’t simply be confined to the vessel, but will instead head out on small group tours. Enjoy guided expeditions along the waterways to find howler monkeys, capuchins, toucans, colorful macaws, pink river dolphins, and more.

    Because this is a large protected area extending over 5 million acres (20,000 km2), the best way to enjoy the Pacaya Samiria is on a cruise. There are a variety of different options to choose and to make the most of the experience, there are some highly recommended luxury cruises in Pacaya Samiria Reserve. These include the Delfin I, Delfin II, Aria Amazon Cruise, Delfin III, and the Zaphiro.

    To visit the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, you will first fly to Iquitos in northern Peru. After arrival in Iquitos, you will be collected by your booked tour and will be transported to Nauta, which is your gateway to the reserve.

    The Delfin I

    The Delfin I

    Price per person from $
    Offering an on-board experience second to none, the Delfin I Luxury Cruise begins in Iquitos, Peru More info
    Delfin II

    The Delfin II

    9 / 10
    Price per person from $
    The Delfin II Luxury Amazon Cruise begins near Iquitos from the small town of Nauta. You will be tra More info
    Delfin III

    The Delfin III

    Price per person from $
    The Delfin III provides a one of the most affordable luxury cruises on the Amazon River. The vessel features hardwo More info
  2. The Tambopata National Reserve

    Best Places to Visit in Peru - Tambopata Research Center, Puerto Maldonado, Peru

    A fantastic protected area in southern Peru, the Tambopata National Reserve offers some incredible wildlife opportunities. The Tambopata Reserve covers just over 3.6 million acres of species-rich rainforest. The reserve connects with surrounding protected areas and is part of one of the world’s largest sections of protected tropical forest.

    A fantastic feature of this area of Peru is that there are more claylicks here than anywhere else on Earth. These are areas where macaws and other animals visit to obtain salts and medicines. You can see hundreds of colorful macaws in one area and the licks also increase the chances of spotting iconic predators, including ocelots and jaguar. Not only a great place to find parrots, the claylicks are also visited by rainforest mammals, such as tapir, peccary, and even monkeys.

    Rainforest lodges have been built in a responsible manner by the claylicks, which means guests have almost guaranteed wildlife sightings. The lodges in deep rainforest also report higher chances of jaguar sightings than anywhere else in Amazonia.

    In addition to the claylicks, this area of the rainforest has many different oxbow lakes. Formed when the river changed direction, the lakes attract a variety of fantastic animals. Some of the favorite animals to see are the giant otters, hoatzin birds, colorful herons, but also the many monkeys that visit the lake edges to feed.

    Some recommended lodges to explore the Tambopata National Reserve are the Tambopata Research Center for a deep jungle experience and the Refugio Amazonas Lodge or Posada Amazonas Lodge for a shorter tour of two or three days.

    The Refugio Amazonas Lodge

    The Refugio Amazonas Lodge

    Puerto Maldonado, Amazon Rainforest, Peru, South America
    Price per person from $
    The Refugio Amazonas Lodge & Spa is an Amazon Rainforest lodge located in the buffer zone of Ta More info
    Tambopata Research Center

    Tambopata Research Center

    Puerto Maldonado, Amazon Rainforest, Peru, South America
    Price per person from $
    The Tambopata Research Center is a deep Amazon lodge located near one of the largest known clay lick More info
    The Amazon Villa

    The Amazon Villa

    Puerto Maldonado, Amazon Rainforest, Peru, South America
    Price per person from $
    Explore the Amazon Rainforest in comfort on a premium experience at the Tambopata Amazon Villa. The More info
  3. Machu Picchu

    Best Places to Visit in Peru - Machu Picchu Tours from the Sanctuary Lodge

    The most famous sight in Peru, Machu Picchu continue to draw hundreds of thousands of visitors each year to marvel at this incredible and beautiful Incan structure.

    Perched high on the Andes, this UNESCO World Heritage listed landmark was a 15th-century Incan site. It is thought to have been built for emperor Pachacuti who lived between 1438 and 1472. This was at the pinnacle of the Inca Empire and stands prominently atop the mountain as if to highlight Inca dominance.

    While looking at the structure, it’s hard to believe that the Spanish had no idea of its existence. The Inca kept Machu Picchu a well kept secret from the world until the expedition of Hiram Bingham in 1911. This means that for nearly 500 years the only people who knew of Machu Picchu were the people who lived nearby.

    Now one of the world’s most visited sights, you can visit Machu Picchu from Cusco by enjoying the Vistadome or luxury-class Hiram Bingham train from Poroy Station. The best way to visit Machu Picchu is on a combination tour with some of the astounding sights around Cusco, such as the high-end Machu Picchu tours.

    For the best experience, we recommend the luxury-class package tours that include the incredible Sanctuary Lodge. This is the only accommodation located close to the incredible Incan monument.

  4. The Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve

    Best Places to Visit in Peru - Poison Dart Frog, Tahuayo Lodge, Iquitos, Peru

    Nestled in an area of Peruvian rainforest beside the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve mentioned further up, the Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve is better explored from a rainforest lodge. This is because the Tamshiyacu area contains more accessible higher ground forest where you can explore the Amazon on foot.

    Home to an impressive diversity of animals, the Tahuayo Reserve is a great place to find several different monkeys. Enjoy spotting howler monkeys, capuchins, squirrel monkeys, titi monkeys, and saki monkeys. A much-loved, although rare, encounter is with the mysterious uakari monkeys, which were a main reason for the reserve’s foundation.

    Living in the reserve are a great many species, including the iconic rainforest animals. Although jaguar are rarely seen, camera traps have recently captured images of a black jaguar roaming the reserve.

    The favorite animals and plants you’re likely to see in the reserve include the different monkeys mentioned above, but also two species of sloths, river otters, blue and yellow macaws, parrots, tanagers, trogons, colorful cotingas, delicate orchids, and tall emergent trees. A favorite sighting hard to see in southern Peru are the mysterious pink dolphins that often make an appearance, especially over the dry season.

    Our recommended lodge to experience the Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve is the Tahuayo Lodge & Amazon Research Center. On tours of 5-day or more, you can visit both these excellent lodges and will be assigned a private guide with a custom itinerary as standard. Explore the reserve on boat tours, canoe adventures, and guided rainforest walks.

    The Tahuayo Lodge

    The Tahuayo Lodge

    Iquitos, Peru, Amazon Rainforest, South America
    Price per person from $
    You are assigned a private guide and custom itinerary as standard to explore the wildlife filled Tahuayo Reserve. More info
  5. The Manu Rainforest

    Best Places to Visit in Peru - Macaws Rainforest

    The lowland rainforest surrounding Manu National Park is a famous area for an Amazon Rainforest experience. Along with the Tambopata Reserve, the Manu rainforest was mentioned in various wildlife and adventure publications because of its incredible wildlife.

    One of the most fascinating features of the Manu rainforest are the abundant clay licks where hundreds of colorful macaws visit to obtain medicinal and salt-rich clay. Lodges have been built in a responsible manner to give guests almost guaranteed wildlife sightings of these incredible birds.

    Different from the rainforest of Tambopata, on tours like the Manu Adventurer where you will get inside the Reserved Zone of Manu National Park, you have a higher chance of spotting giant river otters, tapir, and the colorful macaws. Visitors also have a higher chance of spotting jaguar than many other rainforest areas.

    On the Manu Adventurer, you will explore the rainforest on guided expeditions from the Manu Wildlife Center and the Manu National Park Wildlife Center. Explore Lake Salvador for giant otters, the large Tambo Blanquillo clay lick for macaws, and also a tapir claylick to see the largest land mammal in South America.

    Because this is a deep jungle lodge, it’s also part of the adventure reaching the lodge itself. This is often a favored choice for visitors who want to explore deeper rainforest areas without so many visitors.

    As another fantastic experience, you can combine the lowland rainforest of Manu National Park with the highly threatened and diverse cloud forest direct from Cusco.

    Manu Wildlife Center

    Manu Wildlife Center

    Puerto Maldonado, Amazon Rainforest, Peru, South America
    Price per person from $
    Enjoy your stay at the incredible Manu Wildlife Center, a world renowned Amazon lodge located in a p More info

    Manu Adventurer

    Manu Adventurer

    Puerto Maldonado, Peru, South America
    Price per person from $
    You will have an indepth experience of the Manu lowlands by visiting the Manu Wildlife Center, which More info
  6. The Cloud Forest

    Best Places to Visit in Peru - Cock of the Rock, the Cock of the Rock Lodge

    The cloud forest is defined as forest at such high altitude that it’s penetrated by cloud cover. The high altitude, temperature differences, and sloping nature of the terrain has created one of the world’s most species-rich biomes.

    Although threatened, the environment contains a record breaking diversity of animals and plants. For example, this is where you will find the world’s highest diversity of hummingbirds. You will also find many orchids, bromeliads, and different monkeys.

    You can visit the cloud forest of Peru from Cusco by enjoying a stay at the fantastic Cock of the Rock Lodge. The lodge is named after Peru’s national bird, which itself lives in this area of the Andes. In fact, on guided tours from the lodge you can visit the dancing ground where the birds display to potential mates with a colorful and showy dance.

    Enjoy guided tours to explore the 12,500 acre (5,060 hectare) private cloud forest reserve to find many different birds, including the national bird already mentioned, but also different hummingbirds, toucans, and many more. You can also spot capuchin and woolly monkeys, bromeliads, and many delicate orchids.

    There are different walking trails through the reserve where you can explore different cloud forest habitats, including bamboo areas and trails by mountain streams. If you would like to visit for longer, there is also a more extensive trail network.

    Many visitors enjoy combining the Cock of the Rock Lodge with the lowlands above on the Bio Trip or Manu Macaw & Tapir tour

    Cock of the Rock Lodge

    Cock of the Rock Lodge

    Cusco, Peru, Amazon Rainforest, South America
    Price per person from $
    The Cock of the Rock Lodge is situated on the eastern slope of the Peruvian Andes in pristine Cloud More info
    Bio Trip

    Bio Trip

    Cusco, Peru, Amazon Rainforest, South America
    Price per person from $
    Regarded as one of the most spectacular nature tours in South America, on the Bio Trip you will trav More info

    Manu Tapir & Macaws

    Manu Tapir & Macaws

    Cusco, Amazon Rainforest, Peru, South America
    Price per person from $
    Regarded as one of the most incredible natural tours on the continent, you will visit the Andean clo More info
  7. Cusco

    Best Places in Peru - Belmond Hotel Monasterio

    The birthplace of the Incan Empire, Cusco is now one of the major tourist cities in Peru as it’s the base to enjoy the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu.

    Although the entry point to Peru’s main tourist sights, the city itself is definitely worth exploring for a couple of days or more, as there are some fantastic thing to do in and around Cusco. The entire city has been listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The reason for its listing is that Cusco was built on the conquered Incan city. This means you can find the Spanish colonial building atop Incan foundations. Even the main city plaza is in place of an Incan square, which is guarded by the Cusco Cathedral built on the ruins of an Incan palace.

    Enjoy some of the world’s most historically fascinating city walks as you navigate the narrow cobblestone streets lined with giant Incan stone. Above this, you will see the wooden balconies and Spanish brickwork with the merging of two contrasting cultures.

    Peruvian cuisine is another fantastic journey into the merging of distinct cultures. You can find some fantastic restaurants in Cusco to try local cuisine. Some recommendations include Museo de Pisco where you can also try variations of Pisco sour, the national drink, and Faustina for Peruvian cuisine. You can also head to Kusikuy if you’re curiosity gets the better of you and you would like to try guinea pig, which are a traditional Andean food.

    From Cusco, you can enjoy guided tours to explore the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. We will mention some of the favorite sights from Cusco on this page, such as Machu Picchu above, but also the Incan and pre-Incan structures of Ollantaytambo, Moray, and Sacsayhuaman.

    To get the best experience of Cusco and the Sacred Valley, we recommend tours that include some of the top hotels Cusco has to offer. Two fantastic hotels include the Belmond Hotel Monasterio and the Palacio Nazarenas, which can be enjoyed on the following luxury package tours.

  8. Colca Canyon

    Another of Peru’s favorite places and stretching over 60 miles (100 km), Colca Canyon is the world’s second deepest canyon. You can enjoy some beautiful scenery with famous Andean condors gliding above.

    In addition to the beautiful scenery and astounding features of the canyon itself, you can also find Incan remnants dotted throughout the region. You will also see the small viscachas (a chinchilla relative) darting between the rocks

    There are fantastic walks to enjoy Colca Canyon and also some great lodges, which offer spectacular views. Another of the favorite things about this particular canyon is that many locals still wear traditional Andean dress, which means the region offers some interesting cultural experiences as well.

  9. The Ollantaytambo Ruins

    Ollantaytambo Ruins - Best Places in Peru

    Another of Peru’s main tourist sights accessed from Cusco, the Ollantaytambo Ruins are famous as being the only area where the Inca actually won a battle against the technologically advanced Spanish conquistadors.

    Ollantaytambo is a pre-Incan fortress, which was used as the royal estate of Inca Pachacuti in the 15th Century. However, it was the Manco Inca Yupanqui who led the attack against the Spanish.

    During the Spanish conquest, this was one of the last Incan strongholds. As the Spanish approached below to begin their attack, the Manco Inca ordered a barrage of boulders, arrows, and spears onto the conquistadors. This, combined with the flooding of the area due to the Inca’s remarkable knowledge of irrigation, led to the Spanish retreat.

    Located in the Sacred Valley by the Patakancha River, you can visit Ollantaytambo on day trips from Cusco. The area is often combined with other nearby attractions. To make the most of your visit, we recommend visiting the ruins as part of the luxury-class Belmond Unmissable Peru Tour, Insider’s Peru Tour, or Essential Peru Tour.

  10. Kuelap

    Kuelap - Top Attractions in Peru

    Built by the mysterious Chachapoyas of northern Peru, Kuelap’s size and design make it one of the only structures in Peru that can rival Machu Picchu in significance. As with Machu Picchu, this is another remarkable structure that remained completely unknown to the Spanish.

    The Chachapoyas are known as the ‘cloud people’ because they lived in the mountains in an area of cloud forest. The ruins of Kuelap themselves consist of a high-walled fortress built around the 6th Century AD. Although being built at this time, Kuelap was inhabited until the Spanish conquest of South America.

    The wall surrounding Kuelap reaches 65 feet (20 m) high and was built with large pink granite stone. Although lesser known than Machu Picchu, the size of Kuelap combined with the scenery of the impressive cloud forest make it one of Peru’s must-visit attractions if you have the time. Surrounding the structure, you will enjoy delicate orchids, bromeliads, and lush vegetation.

  11. Chan Chan

    Chan Chan - Best Places in Peru

    Chan Chan is the world’s largest adobe city and was built by the Chimú culture of northern Peru. Not only the largest adobe city, this was the most significant structure of the Chimú and the largest pre-Columbian city in South America. This makes Chan Chan one of Peru’s best places to visit.

    Located on the coast of northern Peru, the weather is sunny and warm and even the name ‘Chan Chan’ simply means ‘Sun Sun’ in the Chimu language.

    Chan Chan is found in Peru’s Moche Valley and was once the capital of the Chimor Empire from AD 900 to 1470. This was until the Chimor fell to the Inca Empire led by Topa Inca Yupanqui. The Chimu were the last culture that stood any chance of challenging the Inca civilization

    Around 50,000 people were thought to have lived in Chan Chan at the height of the Chimor Empire. While walking around this incredible city, there are ten thousand different structures you can see giving insight to the significance of the Chimu culture.

    Differing from Machu Picchu and Kuelap, Chan Chan was well known to the Spanish. The Chimu were well known because of their gold and the Spanish were quick to loot the city after the Spanish conquest. The gold was then sent to Lima for its journey to Spain aboard the famous Spanish galleons.

  12. Moray

    Moray - Best Places in Peru

    One of the most thought provoking tourist sights of the Incan Empire, Moray is a large array or concentric circular terraces.

    Some of the terraces are 100 feet (30 metres) deep in some areas, which left archaeologists puzzled over its purpose. With ongoing research, it was discovered that the terraces were filled with soil from all over the Inca Empire. Also, the temperature difference from the lowest to highest rung can be 27°F (15°C). With this information, it’s now thought that Moray was an Incan laboratory for selecting different varieties of crops.

    The Incan and other Andean cultures managed to create thousands of different maize and potato varieties. Moray could provide some insight into how this fantastic agricultural feat was achieved.

    Moray is not as popular as the other Incan sites. However, the area provides a fantastic look into the lives of Andean communities during the Inca Empire. Because Moray is located close to other better known sights, you can visit Moray along with other Incan ruins when touring the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

    Moray is included on the fantastic Belmond Adventurous Peru tour to combine archaeology, adventure, and comfort.

  13. Iquitos

    Iquitos - Best Places in Peru

    Sitting in the Amazon Rainforest of northern Peru, Iquitos is one of the main gateways to the Peruvian Amazon. However, most people are collected and returned to the airport in Iquitos before and after their tour.

    If you have the time, we recommend a day or two to relax a little and learn about this fascinating rubber boom city. There are some interesting things to do in Iquitos, including visiting the butterfly farm, seeing a beautiful lake, enjoying different museums, and trying traditional jungle cuisine. To mention one of many unique points about the city, Iquitos is the largest city in the world unconnected to any other by road. This alone has left a unique feel to the city streets.

    Iquitos grew from a Jesuit mission during the rubber boom of 1879 to 1912. This is when the rise of the bicycle and automobile caused a great demand for rubber, which was sourced from the rubber trees that grew in the Amazon Rainforest.

    The rubber barons who owned the plantations built elaborate mansions, which have now been converted to restaurants, hotels, cafes, and supermarkets. While walking the streets, you can identify these historically fascinating buildings by their elaborate tiling and windows.

    A famous building in Iquitos is called the Iron House. Unbelievably, the Iron House was shipped all the way from Paris after a rubber baron saw it during an architectural exhibition. It now stands in Iquitos city opposite the Plaza de Armas.

    Of course, one of the top things to do from Iquitos is to visit the Amazon Rainforest. There are a few different Amazon lodges and Amazon River tours from Iquitos. We will put our top recommendations below.

    The Tahuayo Lodge

    The Tahuayo Lodge

    Iquitos, Peru, Amazon Rainforest, South America
    Price per person from $
    You are assigned a private guide and custom itinerary as standard to explore the wildlife filled Tahuayo Reserve. More info

    Delfin II

    The Delfin II

    9 / 10
    Price per person from $
    The Delfin II Luxury Amazon Cruise begins near Iquitos from the small town of Nauta. You will be tra More info

    Delfin III

    The Delfin III

    Price per person from $
    The Delfin III provides a one of the most affordable luxury cruises on the Amazon River. The vessel features hardwo More info
  14. Sipan

    Sipan - Best Places in Peru

    Another fascinating place you can visit in Peru, Sipan is an archaeological site from the Moche Civilization and dates to between 50 – 700 AD. The site is where the Moche buried members of their royalty and there are different elaborate tombs to find.

    The most famous of the tombs is named the Lord of Sipán and much of what we know of the Moche is from this one tomb. There is evidence of human sacrifice and artifacts showing the ceremonial burials.

    Drawings on items found within the tomb indicate sacrifice, bloodletting, and decapitation. In addition to the drawings, archaeologists also discovered other human remains in the tomb and large knives.

    You can visit the site from the city of Chiclayo. Although Sipan is the most well known remnant of the Moche culture, there are many pyramids and other remains found in the nearby Moche Valley.

  15. Arequipa

    Arequipa - Best Places in Peru

    A uniquely attractive city in Peru, many of the buildings were crafted from locally available white volcanic rock. In addition to these buildings and Spanish colonial architecture, the city is backed by three volcanoes creating spectacular scenery.

    Some of Peru’s favorite dishes originate in Arequipa and you can enjoy some delicious restaurants. Enjoy walking the streets to marvel at beautiful buildings and visit interesting museums. Like Lima and Cusco, Arequipa’s Historic Center is also listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

    Arequipa is a fantastic place to visit and is Peru’s second largest city after Lima. This is also the gateway to other fantastic places in Peru, such as Colca Canyon mentioned further up.

  16. The Paracas National Reserve

    Paracas National Reserve - Best Places in Peru

    The Paracas culture National Reserve is one of the lesser visited attractions Peru has to offer. Covering over 500,000 acres of land and coastal waters, the reserve contains many remains of the mysterious Paracas culture.

    You can learn more about the Paracas culture in the small museum near the reserve entrance. The reserve is also the location where archaeologists discovered some of the oldest human remains in the Americas, which date to over 8,000 years.

    The reserve is also a good area for birdwatching as 200 birds live in and visit the reserve at different times of year. The favorite birds and other wildlife you can see include the Chilean flamingos and sea lions. For some more wildlife, you can head to the Ballestas Islands.

    The Ballestas Islands

    Located a short boat ride off the coast of Peru, on the Ballestas Islands you can find sea lions, pelicans, cormorants, and Peruvian booby birds. While enjoying the boat ride to visit the islands, you can look back to see the mysterious candelabra shape, which is just one of the region’s many prehistoric geoglyphs.

  17. The Huacachina Sand Dunes

    Huacachina - Best Places in Peru

    Huacachina is your oasis in the middle of the Peruvian desert. The oasis is fringed with palm trees and surrounded by different restaurants, cafes, and hotels. This is a great place to relax after your adventures on the surrounding sand dunes.

    About 5 km from Ica, this is also where many Ica residents to relax of a weekend. However, it’s adventure-seeking tourists that make up a large portion of Huacachina visitors. The sand dunes are some of the largest in the world, which you can explore on sand buggies or by sandboarding for a novel adventure sport.

    The feeling on the sand buggies is similar to being on a roller coaster as the dunes can be 30 feet high in some areas.

  18. The Huascarán National Park

    Cordillera Blanca - Top Attractions in Peru

    Home to hundreds of beautiful lagoons and glaciers, the Huascarán National Park is a favorite destination for people interested in mountain sports.

    However, even if serious mountain climbing is of no interest, you can still visit several beautiful areas on half-day walks, such as beautiful glacial lagoons.

    The park protects over 800,000 acres (3,237 km2) of the central Andean mountain range named the Cordillera Blanca. This includes Mount Huascaran, which is Peru’s largest mountain.

    In addition to beautiful Andean scenery, you can enjoy spotting a number of fascinating animals and plants. See the famous Andean condors flying high above the reserve and even the vicuñas, which are one of Peru’s iconic camelids. Vicuña cloth was regarded so highly during the Inca Empire that it was reserved exclusively for Incan royalty.

    To visit this beautiful place, you can base yourself in the city of Huaraz, which is a little north of Lima, Peru’s capital city.

  19. Rainbow Mountain

    One of the recently popular attractions, Rainbow Mountain as it is now known is actually called Vinicunca. This is a fantastic multi-colored part of the Peruvian Andes, which you can visit on 1-day or 2-day tours from Cusco. If you enjoy adventure, you can also take the guided week-long Ausangate trek.

    The colors come from the natural sandstone, which have striped the mountain with yellow, red, gold, and turquoise colors. Although one of the more recently popular attractions, the unique and colorful beauty of the area make Rainbow Mountain one of the most beautiful places in Peru.

  20. Lima

    Lima - Best Places in Peru

    Lima is Peru’s capital city and is also home to some of Peru’s top attractions. The main draw for visitors is the UNESCO World Heritage listed Historic Center. This is the oldest part of Lima where you can enjoy a beautiful plaza surrounded by Spanish colonial buildings. There are some fascinating buildings in the area, such as the Monastery of San Francisco with the famous catacombs.

    Another of Peru’s attractions is the food. Peruvian cuisine ranks among the world’s best and Lima has many different top restaurants to enjoy. There are a diversity of uniquely Peruvian dishes to try with influences and fusions from Italian, Spanish, Arabic, and Asian cultures.

    Although Cusco is often the choice when deciding between Cusco or Lima, as Cusco is the base to experience nearby Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley, Lima is also worth a visit for a day or two. We recommend staying in either Miraflores or the Barranco district. Miraflores is the main tourist hub in Lima and Barranco offers a more relaxed and artistic side to the city.

    In addition to the Historic Centre and restaurants, Lima is home to many other top things to do in Peru. You can enjoy fascinating museums and some great shopping for alpaca cloth and other items. For shopping, we recommend the Larcomar shopping center in miraflores or Jockey Plaza in Surco. Some fascinating museums include the Museum of the Central Reserve Bank and Larco Museum.

  21. Sacsayhuaman

    Sacsayhuaman - Best Places in Peru

    Another favorite sight in Cusco’s Sacred Valley, Sacsayhuaman was a mystery to the Spanish as they didn’t think Andean cultures capable of such impressive engineering feats.

    This is one of the closest archaeological sites to Cusco and, although built by the pre-Incan Killke Culture, this was used as a citadel by the Inca Empire.

    Built on a hill overlooking Cusco, Sacsayhuaman was the perfect position for a fortress to keep an eye on the Incan capital and administrative hub. Around the highly fortified building, you ca find 200 different archaeological structures.

    If you’re lucky enough to visit Peru on the 24th of June, this is also where the famous Inti Raymi celebration takes place. This is a traditional Incan festival in honor of the sun god, the most important deity in Incan culture.

    When you look at the structure, you will see the incredible feats required in construction. It’s predicted that the entire area took 20,000 men to complete as some of the giant stones lining the walls weigh 100 tons each.

  22. Trujillo

    Trujillo is another city worth a visit. This is the gateway to visit the archaeological complex of Chan Chan mentioned above. However, Trujillo with its historic and compact city centre is also worth exploring.

    Sitting in a green valley north of Peru’s capital, Trujillo offers beautiful architecture, ornate colonial churches, beautiful mansions, and different museums. The narrow cobblestone streets make it easy to imagine the time of the Spanish conquest. You can enjoy exploring the colonial houses for a glimpse into the city’s history. Also to note, this was the main break area for sailors on the journey between Lima and Panama with their ships filled with gold.

    The city is much smaller than Lima or Arequipa, and can be explored after a couple of days. You can also expect a warmer climate and clearer skies.

  23. Mancora

    Mancora - Best Places in Peru

    If you’re after a beach location, the best suggestions are the beaches around Mancora. For a long time, Mancora was a secret of surfers. However, with its great seafood, comfortable resorts, sunshine, beautiful beaches, and great nightlife, Mancora has become a traveler destination.

    With the warm water and calm waves in certain areas, this is a also a great place for beginners. There are also more challenging swells for experienced surfers.

    As this is a well known spot in the surfing community, the area can be busy. If you would prefer a more relaxing beach setting, you can try Vichayito which is just a little further than Mancora. It’s also close enough to still come back for the hotels, cafes, and restaurants offered in Mancora itself.

  24. Lake Titicaca

    Lake Titicaca - Best Places in Peru

    Another of Peru’s well known visitor sights, Lake Titicaca is the world’s highest large lake. Accessed from the city of Puno in southern Peru, many local people in the region still wear traditional dress making it a fascinating cultural experience. For example, the local women often wear petticoats and bowler hats with children in very colorful clothes. You can also visit the Uros community who live on islands made entirely of reeds.

    Around the lake, you can enjoy spotting a diversity of different animals. The wildlife you’re likely to see nearby include the Vicuña, which are the wild ancestor of the famous alpaca and many different birds.

    Lake Titicaca holds great significance for Andean community as it did for the Inca themselves. Their belief is that Titicaca was the birthplace of the sun.

  25. Ica

    An often overlooked city in Peru, Ica has been inhabited by Andean communities for thousands of years. However, in 1563 with the defeat of the Inca, Ica was also to become a Spanish influenced city.

    Ica is the base to experience the Paracas National Reserve and Huacachina sand dunes above.

    Ica itself is also worth a visit in its own right. The region produces much of Peru’s wine and Pisco. There are many different wineries to visit and you can also sample Pisco, which is the main ingredient in the Pisco sour, Peru’s national drink.

    The can enjoy different museums to learn about the region’s recent and ancient cultures, including the Paracas, Nasca, Ica, and the famous Inca.

Summary

We have selected the above 25 best places in Peru to provide a balance between nature and examples of the diverse and fascinating Peruvian cultures. Peru contains the second highest amount of Amazon Rainforest, which is a forest that houses more wildlife than anywhere else on Earth. In addition to nature and culture, Peru also boasts some of the world’s best cuisine, which can be enjoyed in cities like Lima, Cusco, and Arequipa.

Ash - Author & Travel AdvisorAbout the Author: Ash Card is a frequent visitor to the Tropics and has a passion for helping visitors get the best experiences from tropical locations. Ash is a contributor to both TourTheTropics.com and ThinkJungle.com writing about tropical destinations, rainforests and wildlife. Feel free to contact Ash for tour help in the tropics. When not helping tourists with tours and info, Ash can be found salsa-ing the night away or posing near waterfalls.
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