To travel in Peru is a wonderful experience. It is such a precious country for all those passionate about human
history. It will impress you again and again. The Incas ruled their empire from amazing cities and the country
hosts some of the most sacred ancient ruins in the world.
The most visited region of Peru lies in the South. It is here that you'll find wonderful colonial cities and some of the best preserved ruins in the world. The breathtaking sacred Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world, and the mysterious Nazca Lines can also be found here.
Best of Peru
The historic center of Lima is one of Peru's main tourist destinations. It is located mainly
in downtown Lima and the Rímac District, in central Lima. It was declared a UNESCO World
Heritage Site in 1988 due the large number of historical buildings dating from the Spanish colonial
era, a small number of which have now been restored.
Lima became the most important city in the Spanish Viceroyalty of Peru, which encompassed nearly all of Spain's possessions in South America during the colonial era (mid 1500s to early 1800s).
The city's cultural importance was contested perhaps only by Bogotá, and its architecture and
political importance in Latin America were equalled only by Mexico City.
There are more than 1,600 colonial era balconies in the buildings of the historic center. To help maintain and conserve them, the Municipality of Lima invited companies and private institutions to "adopt" these balconies, which are particularly harmonious and give originality to this part of the city.
It is advisable not to spend too much time in Lima (2 to 3 days). Go and see some of the astonishing exhibitions, have a drink while you soak up the nightlife in Miraflores and get your ticket to explore the many wonders the country has to offer.
Read more about Lima
Cuzco was the capital of the Inca Empire and is the single most important city you
have to see when you travel in Peru. There is so much to see and to do that you need 3 weeks
to see it all (that's about the time I stayed there). It is cultural heritage is impressive.
And it can be shaky at times (I remember a 3 second earth quick when I was having breakfast
From Cusco you can get some exciting action with river rafting, visit the market in Pisac or explore one of the many impressive ruins in the surroundings. Machu Picchu, the lost city of the Incas, is the main attraction in the surroundings of Cuzco.
Read more about Cuzco
Wall painting in a street in Cuzco depicting the arrival of the 'conquistadores' in Peru
Machu Picchu is a precious wonder of human heritage and an absolute must see when you are in Cuzco.
Build by the Incas in the mountains it was found only a few decades ago.
Welcome to Peru, from North to South an adventure to cherish
From North to South
Chiclayo - The burial place Señor de Sipan is one of the many impressive sites. It is
a burial place with a replica (the original is in a museum in Lima together with the many
golden artifacts they found on the site). It is a day trip from the nearby city Chiclayo.
Cajamarca - All the way up the Andes you have the colonial town Cajamarca - click here for some pictures -, marked forever in human history as this was the city where South American history changed forever. Inca Emperor Atahualpa was captured and later killed here by the "conquistadores" in 1532.
Read more about Cajamarca - Read more about The Battle of Cajamarca here
- From Cajamarca you can travel to El Tingo to marvel at Kuelap, an impressive pre-inca ruin. I had a very special spiritual moment in Kuelap when I entered the ruins all by myself on a moonlit night. That moment still lives inside me (I am getting goose bumps while writing this). The silence, the moonlit ruins, you could almost touch history. Ok, I am back on earth...
Trujillo - There's a very picturesque plaza with colorful buildings in Trujillo and the
"must see" sites are Chan Chan, Huaca del Sol and Huaca de la Luna -
click here for some pictures of Chan Chan -.
And just have a look at the public transport! You want adventure? You got adventure!
Read more about Trujillo - Read more about Chan Chan here
Huaraz - The Andes is a spectacular mountain range (cordillera) and Peru has some excellent places for
the adventurous traveler among us. Huaraz is a very nice town and the place to be
if you want some outdoor activities. I did an unforgettable 4 day hike (not just because there was a very
prosperous flea community living in my rented sleeping bag) in the surroundings
(Santa Cruz Hike Tour) and as always, -
pictures say more than words - .
Ayacucho - And up the mountains again, it was a long bus ride, to Ayacucho. There were some check points on the way. Ayacucho - click here for some pictures - was the capital of the "Shining Path" (Sendero Luminoso), a maoist group inflicting a lot of problems for local people and tourists alike. And yes, when I arrived there was a festival (it seemed like everywhere I went in Peru there were some festivities going on, the Festival God was definitely with me).
Nazca Lines - One of the major mysteries of South America are the enigmatic Nazca Lines. Drawn in the dunes the gigantic figures can only be appreciated from the air. Various theories circle around and for those wanting to engage themselves in hilarious "outer space" settlement theories I can highly recommend reading the books by Swiss author Erich Von Däniken.
Arequipa - A wonderful "must see" city guarded by the Mysti volcano. The city hosts the wonderful Santa Catalina monastery, truly a city within a city. The monastery is 500 years old and very, very colorful. A small part is closed for tourists.
You can see the majestic condors a few hours away from Areuipa at the Colca Canyon.
- To see a condor evokes so many emotions and the gorgeous Colca Canyon is the perfect lookout for condors. I went all by myself to the canyon. The groups stay for one hour. When I was there a group arrived and we were all anxious to see the condors... nothing... 15, 30, 45 minutes... nothing. The group left. 5 minutes later half a dozen majestic condors started circling around in the sky. What a sight...
Wonderful shepherd girl at the Colca Canyon - Peru
For detailed information on history, politics, economy and so on, please consult the excellent Wikipedia article of Peru.
Special note: I'd like to thank the Oliveira family from Cusco for their hospitality. The 3 weeks were unforgettable. Que le vaya muy bien!
|Must See Places in Peru|
Manu National Park
Santa Catalina Monastery