Peru, The Richest Country in the World. Today, the best places to visit in Peru are in front of your eyes. We invite you to travel to South America where there is a legendary country which has ostentatious Archeological Centers, Magical Natural Attractions with incredible vistas, Majestic Temples from pre-Columbian times and from the Colonial Era, Ancient Palaces built by the Incas and by the Pre-Incas, Extraordinary Convents and Colonial Mansions, Excellent Healing Hot Springs, Traditional Villages, Exquisite Cuisine, Finely Woven Textiles and other Handmade Crafts… and the Greatest Living Culture. All of this in just one country: Peru, South America.
This mythical country also has the Greatest Historical and Cultural Legacy in the World. When you explore the Famous Places in Peru, you’ll experience: History, Culture, Cuisine, Trekking, Adventure, Tradition, Natural Wonders, and Biodiversity. Plus, of the 117 different life zones that exist in the world, 84 of them can be found in Peru. Peru is one of the Most Popular Tourist Destinations in South America, and in the whole world.
In this overview of the Top places to visit in Peru, you’ll discover not only the Most Popular Destinations in Peru, but also the friendliest people that you have ever met. Here we give you the absolutely 30 best places to go in Peru that should be on everybody’s bucket list.
Machu Picchu, Cusco
Machu Picchu is the most precious treasure and the ultimate tourist destination in South America. This Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu is the most visited tourist site in Peru and in Latin America. The ancient Incan citadel is located in the heart of the Peruvian Andes. This Masterwork of the Incas was constructed during the 15th century. During their Empire, it was an important Incan Sacred City and was also the Fantastic Vacation Palace of Pachacutec, the Transfomer.
In 2007, Machu Picchu was declared to be one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. So, don’t just look at pictures on the internet. Come feel the magical energy and change your life!
At this Incan citadel you can find some of the most impressive architecture ever built by man. There are marvelous temples, fountains, stairways and palaces, all constructed out of finely cut, polished and fitted stone. From high up at the House of the Guardian, you will be able to look down into the Sacred Plaza and see the Intihuatana, the Temple of the Sun, the Temple of the Condor, and the Temple of the 3 Windows. The peaks of Huayna Picchu Mountain and Machu Picchu Mountain tower over the main sector of the Citadel like guardian spirits. This is also is the glorious finale of one of the world’s most famous trekking routes, the Inca Trail.
- Location of Machu Picchu: Machu Picchu is located in the district of Machu Picchu, in the province of Urubamba, in the Cusco region of southern Peru, 122 km. from the city of Cusco.
The Colca Valley, Arequipa
Among the Best Places to Visit in Peru is the long, fertile and beautiful Colca Valley. This magnificent natural wonder is also known as the Valley of Fire, because it’s surrounded by active volcanoes. Colca Canyon is one of the most Famous Places in Peru. It is one of the deepest canyons in the whole world. At a fantastic overlook on the canyon’s rim, you can enjoy the famous Cross of the Condor where you will have a close-up view of wild condors in flight. This is one of the Must See Places in Peru. Colca Valley is not only all about seeing the Condors. There are wonderful Hot Springs, Incan and Pre-Incan Sites, and Wild Vicuñas, Alpacas and Llamas in the Pampa Cañahuas National Reserve.
The Colca Valley is famous for its beauty, its natural wonders, the traditional costumes worn by the inhabitants of its small towns, the incredible variety of the plants and wildlife that you will see there, and the diverse archeological complexes, both Inca and pre-Inca, that are to be discover throughout the valley. Here along the Colca River, you will be in direct contact with Mother Nature, with the high snow-capped mountains and with the spirits of the Condors
Another great reason to explore The Colca Valley is to enjoy exciting, outdoor activities. You can partake in Adventure sports like: River Rafting, Trekking, Rock Climbing, Mountain Biking, and Zip-Lining.
- Location of Colca Canyon: in the province of Caylloma, in the Arequipa region, 145 km. north of the city of Arequipa.
Choquequirao Archeological Park, Cusco
The Choquequirao Archeological Park is one of the Top Places to Visit in Peru. This incredible Incan citadel is located between the Apurimac Canyon and the flanks of the great snow-capped peak, Mt. Salkantay. These fantastic ruins were the last refuge of the Incas, because this is where they retreated to and where they fought the Spanish from, for over half a century after the European invasion. Since Choquequirao was constructed in the same style as Machu Picchu, they are considered to be sacred sister cities. When you Visit Peru, exploring both of this sites should definitely be on your list of the Top Things To Do in Peru.
This magnificent Incan fortress is situated in the midst of lush vegetation high above the great canyon formed by the Apurimac River and close to the flanks of glacier-covered Salkantay Mountain. Notable constructions within this complex are the temples, terraces, fountains, and the White Llamas built right into the walls. In 2017, the Choquequirao Trek was named one of the Best Trekking Routes on the Planet. So, be sure to put this incredible trek on your bucket list today.
- Location of Choquequirao: in the district of Santa Teresa, in the province of La Convención, in the Cusco region, 191 km. to the northeast of the city of Cusco.
The Nazca Lines, Ica
High on the list of the 14 Top Rated Tourist Attractions In Peru are The Nazca Lines. These are a group of ancient geoglyphs which were drawn on the sands of the desert long, long ago. They are located near the Pacific Coast in the Nazca Valley on the Pampas of San Jose and Jumana. These enigmatic figures were created by the desert dwellers of the Nazca Culture between 200 AD. and 700 AD. They cover an area of 450 sq. km. The size of the geoglyphs vary from 50 meters up to 300 meters, and there are many different shapes and forms: geometric figures, figures of animals, figures of plants, and anthropomorphic figures, too. You will go on the adventure of your life when you take the flight over these ancient mysterious symbols. It will be a wonderful experience that you will never forget.
Most of the studies of the Nazca Lines have theorized that they either formed a giant astronomical calendar, or else they were a sacred place where water was venerated and where the cult of water worshipped. Some of the most famous figures include: the Hummingbird, the Monkey, the Frigate Bird, the Giant Bird, and the Spider.
The absolutely best way to examine the Nazca Lines is by flying over them. There are flights available in small planes taking off from Pisco, Ica and Nazca. This Popular Destination in Peru is one of the most famous places in South America, and it’s visited by many thousands of spell-bound adventurers every year.
- Location of Nazca Lines: in the province of Nazca, in the Ica region, 450 km. to the south of Lima, Peru.
Kuelap is one of the most Beautiful Places in Peru. This pre-Incan city is surrounded by a huge wall made out of stone blocks. It was constructed by the people of the Chachapoyas culture (800 AD. to 1470 AD.), and it was later occupied by the Incas. Located on top of Barreta Hill in the easternmost spur of the Peruvian Andes, you will discover this ancient site deep in the verdant Amazonas region. Actually, this marvelous site it’s not visited by very many tourist because it has only been recently disovered.
This Pre-Incan city is surrounded by stone wall which is 60 ft. tall. There are 3 separate entry gates. Within the walls there are administrative sections, religious centers, ceremonial spaces, and permanent residential areas. All of these are spread out on different levels. The majority of the edifices are circular, and they are decorated with friezes that show zigzag and rhomboid designs.
The Kuelap Archeological Center is another one of Peru’s new tourist attractions in the northern jungle of the country. Visitors like to come here because of the impressive architecture and the incredible views. Also, this is the only Peruvian tourist destination with a cable car system on which you can ride to the top of the hill. Among the innumerable things to see in Peru, Kuelap is very special because, not only is it located deep in the virgen jungle, but it is also has a cable car access.
- Location of Kuelap: on the upper part of the Valley of the Utcubamba River, in the district of Tingo, in the province of Luya, in the Amazonas region, 50 km. to the south of Chachapoyas.
Paracas National Reserve and the Ballestas Islands, Ica
To visit this Top Tourist Destination is one of the most amazing Things to Do and See in Peru. It’s located on Peru’s Pacific coast near Paracas and is an ideal place to go and enjoy the beach, adventure activities, and observe the wildlife. This incredible place is so popular, especially with young people, because they are lovers of the wild windswept coast and they appreciate the opportunities offered for adventurous activities.
- Location of Paracas National Reserve: in the province of Pisco, in the Ica region, 263 km. south of Lima.
Paracas National Reserve
This is one of Peru’s most beautiful places, and it is a protected zone on the Pacific coast of Peru. The goal here is to conserve the marine ecosystems which include the marine wildlife and the guano-producing seabirds that live here in the cold waters of the Humboldt Current of the Pacific Ocean. Also protected are the lonely places where migratory birds rest and feed during their long journeys.
Some of the Top Tourist Attractions in Peru are located within the reserve. These include the Famous Candelabrum of Paracas which is an ancient geoglyph high on a cliff above the ocean, and the Julio C. Tello On-site Museum at Lagunillas. There are plenty of beaches and fantastic rock formations, too.
Ballestas Islands is one of the Top Ten Destinations in Peru. This group of islands and rock formations is located half an hour’s boat ride off the coast. These islands are home to many thousands of guano-producing seabirds and other marine species. You can see seals, Humboldt penguins, pelicans, walruses, and many more. At this amazing tourist destination you will have the chance to see untold numbers of soaring seabirds up close. This experience is incredibly different from the vast remoteness that you will experience at Machu Picchu or at the Colca Canyon.
The best way to explore these rocky outcrops is by riding in a motor launch which leaves from the Bay of Paracas. The trip around the islands takes a total of 2 hours. It takes 30 minutes to get out to the islands. Then you will have one hour to observe the wildlife from the boat. (Going ashore is forbidden). Another 30 minute journey will return you to Paracas harbor where you can enjoy a really good breakfast or, around noon, you will find fresh ceviche.
If you are looking for a world-class fantastic destination, Caral offers you the amazing opportunity to experience the oldest city on the American continent. This ancient archeological site has buildings and edifices that were constructed by the Caral civilization. The Caral people developed one of the world’s first civilizations here, more than 5000 years ago. To explore this seaside ruin is to travel back in time and to discover the myteries of this ancient culture.
The Sacred City of Caral is located on a natural terrace in the Supe Valley. The construction materials that they use were stone, mud, and wood. The city was organized with amphitheaters, 6 pyramids, temples, and lots of residential buildings. Nowdays this Peru Historical Site is becoming very well known and is attracting tourists from all over Peru and all over the world.
When you come to Peru, we recommend that Caral should be the first place that you explore. This is because Caral will introduce you to the beginnings of the great cultures that later developed into the magnificence of the Incas. Here you can see the beginnings of the techniques and the technologies that were perfected by the pre-Incan cultures, and finally, by the Incas. For example, the oldest quipu was found here at Caral. Also, a great many early farming and fishing tools have been recovered, along with 32 flutes made out of condor and pelican bones.
- Location of Caral: Supe Valley, in the province of Barranca, 182 km. north of Lima City.
Lake Titicaca, Puno
Of all the Places To Go in Peru, Lake Titicaca is one of the most unique. It is the highest navigable lake in the world, and is one of the largest repositories of fresh water in South America. This mystical Lake is located on the Collao Plateau on the border between Peru and Bolivia. The crystal clear sapphire blue lake has a surface area of 8562 km² and it is 281 meters deep. According to Andean mythology, the founders of the Inca Empire emerged from its cold, clear waters. Today, every intrepid traveler desires to reach these fantastic shores, and to share in the one-of-the-kind ancient cultural tradition that can be found on the Floating Island of the Uros.
The pre-Incan Tiahuanaco and Pucara cultures began to develop close to the Lake. And even today, many traditions and customs of the aboriginal people are carried on by the local inhabitants of the numerous islands out in the middle of the Lake. Three of the Best Places to Go in Peru are located out in the vastness of Lake Titicaca: they are Taquile Island, Amantani Island, and the Floating Islands of the Uros.
One of the most fascinating tourist centers that you will be able to explore out in the middle of Lake Titicaca are the Floating Islands of the Uros (which are made interely of Totora reeds which grow in the shallows of the Lake). On your epic trip to Peru, don’t miss the tall burial towers of the Chullpas of Sillustani.
- Locationof of Lake Titicaca: in the Puno region.
Manu National Park, Madre de Dios
In Peru you will not only find Machu Picchu, Colca Canyon and Lake Titicaca, you will also discover amazing jewels of biodiversity deep in the Amazon Rainforest. And the crown jewel, the most precious of all, is Manu National Park. This fantastic reserve is a protected natural area in southern Peru. Within this park, an incredibly diverse assortment of reptiles, amphibians, diurnal butterflies, and birds find protection. The park has been declared to be part of the Cultural Heritage of Humanity, and it is one of the greatest protected biospheres in the world. Manu Park was created for the purpose of cataloguing, preserving, and allowing humanity to get to know its proper natural and cultural inheritance which can be found here in the Amazon Jungle.
Within the confines of Manu National Park you will find biodiversity without equal on the planet. Plus, there are numerous ethnic groups that dwell within the park: the Kugapakori, the Nahua, the Machiguenga, the Harakmbut, the Yine, and other tribes that live in voluntary isolation. There’s no other place in the world where you can explore so much untouched virgin rainforest. With our strongest recommendation, we invite you to discover this fabulous jungle hideaway on your next Trip to Peru.
Manu is a vast protected region which stretches from the low jungle to the cloud forest of the high jungle. It offers the tourist an ideal site for: hiking through the virgin forest; observing its abundant flora and fauna in its natural state; listening to the vast array of natural sounds; connecting with nature; and finding oneself.
- Location of Manu National Park: the western part of the Amazon basin in the Cusco and Puno regions.
The Amazon River, Loreto
The Amazon River is the largest and most beautiful river in the world, and it carries more fresh water to the sea than any other river on the planet. It is one of the greatest reserves of fresh water on Earth. Its source is high in the peaks of the Andean Mountain Range. From the Andes it runs 7200 km. to the Atlantic Ocean, passing through the territories of Peru, Colombia, and Brazil. Today, the Amazon River is one of the premier places to travel in Peru.
The Amazon Basin, which encompasses all the drainage area of the river, contains a vast array of natural ecosystems. If you had the time, you could spend your whole life exploring them. There are numerous native communities living here, such as the Boras, the Yahuas, the Witotos, and many others. These communities live far from the amenities of modern life. Their ancient traditions date back for thousands of years.
Of all the fascinating cities to Visit in Peru, Iquitos is the best one where you can appreciate the profound beauty of the jungle and of the Amazon River. The best tourist overlooks, lodges, floating platforms, hanging bridges, and motor launches which will enable you to navigate the river, are located here and in the nearby area.
- Location of Amazon River: the northeastern part of Peru, in the region of Iquitos, Loreto.
Huascarán National Park, Ancash
The Huscaran National Park is pretty as a picture. This amazing place is a stupendous natural area in which the geological formations, the glacier-covered peaks, the high mountain lakes, and all the flora and fauna that make up the myriad ecosystems of the Cordillera Blanca, are protected. The Cordillera Blanca is the most extensive tropical mountain range in the world, and in 1985 it was declared to be part of the Cultural Heritage of Humanity. For adventure lovers, trekkers, and climbers, it is one of the Top Places to Visit in Peru.
Huascarán National Park is well known for its fantastic beauty. It has quite a large number of snow covered peaks that are higher than 6000 masl. Some of the incredible tourist destinations in the area include: Huascaran Peak (6768 masl.), Alpamayo Peak (5947 masl.), Llanganuco Lagoon, and the Lagoon 69. When you explore these places you will see the fragility of life on earth. Here you can observe with your own eyes the consequences of goblal warming, and the rapid changes which are happening today.
This area is also renowned for its outdoor adventure sports such as trekking, rock climbing, glacier climbing, and mountain biking. There are 25 different circuits and 33 separate mountain climbing and glacier climbing sites. You will be able to marvel at 33 separate pre-Hispanic archeological sites; and you’ll be able to observe 112 bird species, 13 species of mammals, the spectacled bear, and the Puya Raimondi which is the world’s largest Bromeliad. This plant produces 18,000 flowers and 6 million seeds during its lifetime.
- Location of Huascaran National Park: in the Ancash region, spread out over the provinces of Huaylas, Yungay, Carhuaz, Huaraz, and Recuay.
The Lagoons of Llanganuco, Ancash
The two Lagoons of Llanganuco appear to be watery mirrors of turquoise and sky blue. They are located in a narrow, glacial valley of Huascaran National Park between Mt. Huascaran (6768 masl.) and Mt. Huandoy (6160 masl.) in Yungay – Ancash. These beautiful lakes are among the Most Important Tourist Destinations in the Mountains of Peru. There are two lagoons, one of which is considered to be female, Chinancocha, and the other of which is considered to be male, Orconcocha. Their waters originate high on the peaks of Mt. Huascarán, Mt. Huandoy, Mt. Yanapaccha, Mt. Pisco and Mt. Chopicalqui.
Chinancocha Lagoon is 1450 m. long, 393 m. wide, and 28 m. deep. This is the most frequently visited of the two, and its waters are turquoise colored. Surrounding the lake, you will note a great degree of biodiversity.
The other lake, Orconcocha Lagoon, is 910 m. long, 368 m. wide, and 7 m. deep. Boating on this lake is forbidden. Orconcocha is also surrounded by wildlife, and its color is sky blue.
These Lagoons at Llanganuco are natural wonders. Here you will find an ideal spot to go wind-surfing, to go horseback riding, to take stunning photographs, to enjoy the local cuisine, to hike around, to camp out, and to observe the plants and animals in their pristine alpine environment.
The Sacred Valley of the Incas, Cusco
Peru is the richest country in the world, and within in Peru, the Sacred Valley of the Incas is one of the most fantastic places to visit in all of South America. This is a long valley with a pleasant temperature, a warm climate and very fertile soil. The Urubamba River runs through the center of the valley, and it is very well known because it was considered a Sacred River by the Incas. Some of the finest large kernelled, white corn in the world is grown here, along with a great variety of legumes. Also, in this fantastic valley you will find wild fruits like; Chokecherry, Peach, Cherry, Plum and Cactus fruit.
It was within the Sacred Valley that the Incas built some of the principle archeological complexes in the Cusco area: Pisac, Ollantaytambo, Moray, Salineras, and Chinchero. Here you will be able to visit a number of the region’s most important traditional towns. In Pisac, Maras, Ollantaytambo, and Chinchero, the inhabitants still honor their Incan ancestors and practice age old traditions that have been passed down to them through the centuries. Don’t miss out on exploring one of the Top Destinations in Peru!
The Sacred Valley is also an ideal place to rest up and to enjoy the fantastic local cuisine. Some of the area’s finest hotels and restaurants are located here in the Valley. If you are going to Visit Machu Picchu, you will have to pass through the Sacred Valley. There are two railway stations here: the Ollantaytambo train station and the Urubamba train station.
- Location of Sacred Valley: in the provinces of Calca and Urubamba, in the Cusco region.
Rainbow Mountain, Cusco
The Sacred Mountain of Vinicunca or Rainbow Mountain is the second most frequently visited tourist site in the Cusco area after Machu Picchu. According to the website of Business Insider, it is on the list of the top 100 places in the world that you should visit at least once during your lifetime. This absolutely amazing tourist destination is located in the Ausangate massif, in the Andes Mountains, at an elevation of 5200 masl. To visit this Sacred Place is strenuous, but well worth the effort. If you have not had the opportunity to climb the Himalayas or Mt. Everest, come here to the Andes and experience the wonder of the high country.
Rainbow Mountain is one of the Best Places to Visit in Peru. So, it should definitely be on your bucket list. The fabulous coloration of this magic mountain is due to very complex geomorphological processes. The fact that you can visit this site today and witness its many wonders, is due to global warming. Once you climb Vinicunca, your perspective on the world will never be the same.
The glaciers that covered Rainbow Mountain not too long ago have retreated. On your journey to Rainbow Mountain you can observe the earthen colors on the top and on the sides of the mountain (purple, green, yellow, rose, and other tones), and you can enjoy the incredible views from this sacred spot, high in the Andes. You will also be able to get the adrenaline rush that comes with hiking up the most popular and the most concentrated trekking route in the Cusco region. The actual distance that you have to walk is only 3 km.
- Location of Rainbow Mountain: in the district of Cusipata, in the province of Quispicanchis, in the Cusco region. 105 km. from the Incan City of Cusco.
Inca Trail, Cusco
The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is one of the Most Beautiful Places in Peru, and the most popular trekking route in the Americas, and indeed, in the whole world. It is part of the Qhapaq Ñan network of roads and trails. This was the Incan highway system that stretched for over 20,000 km. throughout their Empire. Actually, this trekking route begins at Km. 82 of the Cusco-Machu Picchu Railway. The walking distance is 43 km., and the hike lasts for four days. Of all the Must See Places in Peru, this ancient Incan highway is the one that calls to aventurers, young and old, from every corner of the globe.
All along the trail there are incredibly impressive views of snow-capped mountain peaks, of valleys, canyons and tropical rainforests. There are quite of few amazing Incan archeological complexes on the route. (Llactapata, Runkurakay, Saycamarca, Phuyupatamarca and Wiñaywayna). This trek takes the traveler through different ecosystems where there are different varieties of endangered orchids and plenty of multicolored tropical birds. During this epic journey to Machu Picchu, you will have the most memorable experience of your life. Inca Trail is one the Top Destinations in Peru because it offers an experience unlike any other experience on the face of the earth.
Of course, the final destination of the Inca Trail is the Sanctuary of Machu Picchu. Just before entering the sacred precincts, every traveler stops at the Inti Punku (the Gateway of the Sun). From there one can appreciate the immensity of this sacred city, and look down into the canyon of the Urubamba River. It is amazing to see Mt. Machu Picchu, Mt. Huayna Picchu, and the fantastic panorama of all the other marvelous mountains that surround this amazing site.
- Location of the Inca Trail: in the Cusco region.
Tambopata National Reserve, Madre de Dios
The Tambopata National Reserve is a natural, protected area where the plants, the wildlife, and all of the diverse ecological processes of the tropical rainforest are conserved. Visiting this reserve is One of the Top Things to Do in Peru because this is the perfect place to connect with nature, and to observe the wildlife and the incredible complexity of this verdant jungle ecosystem. If you love Mother Nature and if you want to protect the Amazon Jungle as the lungs of the planet, come to the Greenest Destination in Peru.
Tambopata National Reserve is located in the basin of the Tambopata River, and it is contiguous with the Bahuaja Sonene National Park. Tambopata’s basin has more biodiversity than almost any other place in the world. There are 632 bird species, 1200 butterfly species, 103 amphibian species, 180 fish species, 169 mammal species, and 103 species of reptiles found here. Also, 40 other species of transcontinental migratory birds pass through here twice a year on their migratory flights. There are innumerable creeks, swamps, ox-bow lakes, and riverside forests in this tropical wonderland.
Principle tourist attractions in Tambopata are: Cocococha Lake, Sachavacayoc Lake, the Chuncho and Colorado collpas (mineral-rich salt licks), and Lake Sandoval. Once you are at Tambopata National Reserve, which is among the 14 Top Rated Tourist Attraction in Peru, you can enjoy any of the following adventure sport activities: Zip-Lining, Canopy Walk-Ways, River Rafting and Bird Watching. A splendid time is guaranteed to all intrepid travelers who come to this fascinating bio-region.
- Location of the Tambopata National reserve: in the districts of Tambopata and Inambari, in the province of Tambopata, in the Madre de Dios region.
Lake Sandoval, Madre de Dios
Lake Sandoval is an ox-bow lake which is located in the drainage of the Madre de Dios River. This magical mirror of water, which is one the Most Wonderful Tourist Sites in Peru, is encircled by exuberant wildlife and lush tropical rainforest. Among the animals you can observe are: toucans, monkeys, herons, river otters, caimans, and nutrias. At this unique destination there is a small island full of monkeys which is called Monkey Island. All the monkeys here are quite used to being visited by humans. So, they wait patiently everyday for the visitors to bring them some snacks and fruit. If you don’t take them anything, they are not very welcoming.
In the area surrounding Lake Sandoval, there are lodges where you can stay overnight. They offer a wide array of tourist activities such as: kayaking, zip-lining, fishing, and hiking trips to the collpas where you can see an amazing variety of tropical birds. At night you can take the Wild Caiman Tour on which you ride out in a boat on the lake with a flashlight. You can shine the flashlight towards the shore and see reflected the giant yellow eyes of the caimans.
In order to visit this incredible Top Destiantion in Peru where the endangered river otters are protected, you can start out from Cusco or Lima.
- Location of Lake Sandoval: in the Tambopata National Reserve, in the province of Tambopata, in the Madre de Dios region.
Gocta Waterfall, Amazonas
Gocta Waterfall is a very impressive waterfall surrounded by lush, exuberant vegetation. It has an aura of enchantment and mystery. This waterfall is 771 m. high. That makes it the 3rd highest waterfall in Peru, and the 15th highest in the world. Around the world there are some amazing places, but nowhere has more fantastic top popular destinations than Peru. In Peru we have a unique destination for each traveler where you will find that which your soul has been searching for. Gocta Waterfall is deep within in the Amazon Jungle where the air is full of the warble of the birds and the chatter of the insects. The bright colors of the birds flash out of the multi-hued green background. As you wander through this virgin rainforest, you will feel like the very first explorer who has ever set foot here.
The Gocta Waterfall is located near the towns of Cocachimba and San Pablo. Locals call these falls La Chorrera (the Spout). These falls have two drops: first drop is 231 m., and second drop is 540 m. Total drop is 771 m. There are some 22 different waterfalls in the area. Wildlife here is spectacular. You will be able to observe spectacled bears, Andean toucans, spatula-tailed hummingbirds, and the cocks-of-the-rock. This is a wonderful destination for adventurers who love trekking and connecting with the bosom of Mother Nature.
In order to arrive at the pool at the base of the falls, it is necessary to hike through the cloud forest. Average walking time is 6 hours, (round trip). Be sure to bring your bathing suit with you, because when you arrive at the pool at the base of the falls you will be enveloped by the rainbow filled mist.
- Location of Gocta Watefall: in the district of Valera, in the province of Bongará, in the Amazonas region.
Huacachina Lagoon, Ica
Huacachina Lagoon is an oasis in the middle of the desert near Ica, Peru, South America. This oasis is surrounded by sand dunes, eucalyptus trees, palm trees, and huarango trees, and it is also known as the Oasis of America. It is an ideal spot to walk around as a couple or with your family. You can enjoy the radiant sun, ride over the dunes in a sand-buggy, go sand boarding, or go out in a pedal boat on the lake. Visiting this place is a unique adventure for every traveler. So we highly recommend that you come and checkout this marvelous desert wonderland.
The waters of the lake rise up from subterranean springs, and they are greenish in color. Long ago the water was thought to have curative properties. Although today the place has an air of having been left behind in time, it is still one of the prettiest and showiest places on the Peruvian coast. Magic and mysticism infuse the atmosphere, and Huacachina remains a wonderful place for travelers to stop when visiting the Nazca Lines, or when heading up to Arequipa, Cusco, and Puno. Sand-boarding on the dunes outside of Huacachina is actually recommended only for healthy people without heart problems.
If, some day you want to come to this Top Destination in Peru, don’t forget to also stop by the vineyards of Ica. Here in Ica you will find one of the oldest vineyards in all of South America, the Tacama Vineyard. At Tacama you will be able to taste the fine bouquet of their wine and their world famous Pisco. Tacama Restaurant serves some of the most delicious Criollian and Peruvian Cuisine that you will ever eat.
- Location of The Huacachina Lagoon: 5 minutes west of the city of Ica.
The Mangrove Forest of Tumbes
This protected area guards and preserves the Peruvian portion of the Gulf of Guayaquil Ecosystem. Here, 24 km. northeast of the city of Tumbes, in the province of Zarumilla, there are 2972 sq. km. of coastal mangrove forest. As you glide along the scenic waterways you will enjoy some of the most magnificent Things to See in Peru. Only half of a kilometer from the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean, there exists a timeless realm which is the incubator for a great variety of marine life. Nowdays these Mangrove Forests are endangered as are so many of the world’s fragile ecosystems. Come visit this watery wonder-world while you can.
Within the National Mangrove Sanctuary of Tumbes you will find some of the most beautiful landscapes in northern Peru. There are natural canals and creeks and little islands among the mangrove trees. There are four different species of mangrove tree (red, salt, white, and button). Also, there are 40 other plant species, and 200 different types of birds, many of which are in danger of extinction. Among the species which stand out are: herons, frigate birds, fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and mammals like the Mangrove Bear and the northeastern nutria. The Tumbes Mangrove Forest also serves the local population as a resource area where they can harvest crabs, shrimp, and black conches.
It is a perfect place for exploring, wildlife observation, and photography. Nevertheless, it is important to keep in mind that if you plan on entering the mangrove forest, you will need to do so via canoe or kayak. It is best to have at least two days to explore. That way you can note the different conditions at high tide and at low tide. We invite to you to discover one of the Top Rated Tourist Destinations in Peru in this incomparable marine environment
- Location of Mangrove Forest of Tumbes: in the province of Zarumilla, in Tumbes, Peru.
Playa Pocitas, Piura
Playa las Pocitas, or Pocitas Beach is the prettiest and the most peaceful beach in Peru. It is located just 3 km. from Mancora, in the city of Piura. It is officially named Máncora Chico, but everyone calls it Pocitas Beach or just Pocitas. Its name derives from the small tidal pools that form when the water goes out at low tide. You can get to Pocitas by taxi or by moto-taxi from Mancora, Vichayito, or Los Órganos. This beach has a peaceful, exclusive feel to it. There are beautiful, old houses and luxurious hostels surrounded by well-kept gardens and palm trees.
Pocitas is a great spot for family vacations, or to travel to as a couple. This wonderful beach is a little like paradise. Kids love to play in the pools left behind by the high tide. The long, white sand beach is ideal for taking sun and relaxing. The waves are perfect, too. You will be able to appreciate the magnificent view, and enjoy the fantastic seafood.
The hot sun heats up the white sand of the beach which feels delicious between your toes. Here the ocean is nice and warm, as the frigid Humbolt Current lies far to the south. At certain time of year, you will be able look out and see the dolphins playing and the whales spouting. So, you should know that of all the Top Places to Visit in Peru, Pocitas Beach is one that you shouldn’t miss.
- Location of Playa las Pocitas (Pocitas Beach): 3 km. from Mancora, in the Piura region.
The Ancient City of Chan Chan, Trujillo
Chan Chan is one of the largest adobe city in the Americas, and the 2nd largest in the world. It was built by the people of the pre-Incan Chimu culture who developed their civilization on Peru’s northern coast. They thrived between 900 and 1300 AD. It is located in the Moche Valley, between the beach at Huanchaco and the city of Trujillo.
The Chan Chan Archeological Complex covers 20 hectares. There are 10 small walled cities. These walls are decorated by geometric figures, fish, and birds, all in high relief. Chan Chan was the administrative capital of the Chimu culture. There were between 20.000 and 30,000 people living here during its heyday.
It is near the city of Trujillo, in the districts of Trujillo and Huanchaco. The city is comprised of palaces, administrative centers, residences of the elite classes, temples, mausoleums of the Chimu rulers, normal neighborhoods, pathways, cemeteries, and canals.
Chan Chan has been declared to be part of the Cultural Heritage of Humanity because of its transcendence, its historical value, and its imposing architecture.
- Location: 5 km. outside of the city of Trujillo.
The Royal Tombs of Sipan, Lambayeque
The Museum of the Royal Tombs of Sipan is an exact replica of the burial place of the Lord of Sipan, who was the head of the Mochica state during the 3rd century AD. This museum has 3 levels in which are housed and exhibited over 2000 pieces of gold, jewelry, ceramics, and burial relics from the Mochica culture. These important pieces belonged to an ancient Peruvian government. Among them are ornaments, emblems, standards, a copper crown, a breastplate of shell, earrings of gold and turquoise, vestments, golden rattles, cotton headwear, and adornments made from feathers.
The design of the museum was inspired by the form of the Mochican truncated pyramids. Access to the interior is via a 58 m. long ramp which leads up to the 3rd floor.
Your guided tour of the pyramid takes you down from the 3rd floor to the 1st floor, simulating the experience of the explorers of Sipan. On the 3rd floor you will find general information about the Mochica culture: their territory, social organization, agriculture, important monuments, and distribution of the Sanctuary of Sipán. On the second level there is information concerning the discovery and the excavation of the tomb of the Lord of Sipán. You will also find his marvelous crown jewels and his symbols of governance. On the first level there is a recreation of the mausoleum of the Lord of Sipan and of other Moche dignitaries. Finally, just when you think that you have explored everything, another door opens and you are ushered into Royal House of the Lord of Sipán.
A visit to the Museum of the Royal Tomb of the Lord of Sipan is an opportunity to travel into the past, in order to meet up with the Moche royalty that were discovered at the Huaca Rajada Mausoleum – Sipán.
- Location: in the city of Lambayeque.
Punta Sal, Tumbes
This beautiful beach is located in the Contralmirante Villar province, 80 km. from the city of Tumbes. It is considered to be one of the largest and prettiest beaches in northern Peru. The water is relatively calm and warm (over 20 °C). The sand is fine at low tide, the waves are gentle, and the sun shines brilliantly 365 days a year. There is lots of wildlife nearby. Between the months of July and October, it is usually possible to see dolphins and whales.
On the other hand, Punta Sal is an important family vacation destination in Peru. There is excellent infrastructure which includes fine hotels, exclusive restaurants, and top quality stores. Plus, it is a great place to go surfing, go fishing, or practice aquatic motor sports.
- Location: in the district of Canoas de Punta Sal, in Tumbes.
Santa Catalina Monastery, Arequipa
The Santa Catalina Monastery is the most important religious complex in Arequipa and in all of Peru. According to the opinion of many travelers, the monastery is a little city within the city. This emblematic and historical religious complex was built during the 1580’s. It was designed to house the daughters of the most distinguished families of Arequipa. Its name was: Monasterio de Monjas Privado de la Orden de Santa Catalina de Siena (The Monastery of the Private Nuns of the Order of St. Catherine of Sienna).
The cloisters within were divided into four neighborhoods. In this way it sought to emulate the urban plan of the city of Arequipa during early Colonial times. Within the monastery there are streets, passageways, kitchens, bedrooms, plazas, and fountains. The entire compound (which has an area of over 20,000 sq. m.) is surrounded by high walls.
The monastery was built out of sillar (volcanic stone) and adobe mud. It was a fusion of indigenous and Spanish-style construction. It is decorated with magnificently painted frescos. Today the convent is also a museum where some of the most important religious artifacts on the continent are safely guarded. These include over 400 restored paintings by artists of the famous Cusco School. Many of these works of art are masterpieces.
Until 1970, this was an absolutely cloistered convent. Today the public is welcome to come in and appreciate the feelings and the values of Inca culture joined to the Spanish culture.
- Location: in the central historic district of Arequipa.
Chavín de Huántar, Ancash
This archeological site is located in the district of Chavín de Huántar, in the province of Huari, in the Ancash region. It was the administrative center of the Chavin culture (1500 BC – 300 BC.) and it was also the most important religious sanctuary in pre-Incan Peru. People came from far and wide to seek answers from divine sources and to make offerings to their gods.
This site housed the main oracle of ancient Peru. It is located on the flanks of the Andean Mountain Range, and it is composed of numerous structures made out of stone and mud. There are truncated pyramids, stairways, doorways, temples, arrow straight passageways, roads, galleries, and interior chambers. Within this complex, the most notable edifices are the Tello pyramid, the Circular Plaza, the Rectangular Plaza, the North Platform, the North-South Platform, the Old Temple, the New Temple, and the Temple of the Club Heads Their principle deity which was represented by the lance. There is monolith sculpted in the form of the point of a lance which is about 4 m. high.
Also, close to the Chavin Archeological Complex, you will also be able to visit the Chavin National Museum. Here you will find a well preserved collection of ceramics and carved heads that date back thousands of years.
- Location: in the Chavin de Huantar district, in the Ancash region.
Pacaya Samiria, Loreto
This is the most extensive reserve in the Peruvian Amazon region. It is in the Loreto region, and encompasses parts of the provinces of Requena, Alto Amazonas and Ucayali. It includes the basins of the Pacaya Samiria and Yanayacu-Pucate Rivers. It covers an area of 2,080,000 hectares, and protects the ecosystems of low jungle. It also helps to promote genetic diversity as it serves to protect species in danger of extinction (the black lizard, the river otter, and the paiche fish). Studies of the local flora and fauna are encouraged here.
Pacaya Samiria is an ideal place for nature tourism. Here there are more than one thousand animal species, and there are 965 native plant species. It is possible to practice live-in tourism in a native community. Within the reserve there are many native and mestizo communities that live off the abundant natural resources of the reserve. You could go trekking, camping, caving, bird-watching, and observe the local flora and fauna.
The most popular spot to visit is the El Dorado Lagoon. Because of the large quantity of wildlife in this area, many people consider this to be the heart of the reserve.
The best way to get to know the reserve is to follow either one of the following 3 tourist routes: the Cuenca Yanayacu-Pucate route; the Lower Basin and Middle Basin of the Samiria River route; or the Lower Basin of the Pacaya River route.
- Location: in the Loreto region.
Huanchaco is a historic beach which is located in the Huanchaco district, 13 km. outside of the city of Trujillo.
Actually, it is part of the Moche Route. It is the most popular beach in the Trujillo area. Last Oct. 26, Huanchaco was recognized as a one of the world’s top surfing beaches, and it was the site of an international surfing competition.
Beyond the fact that Huanchaco has wonderful beaches, it is also world famous for its boats made out of Totora reeds. (They are called ‘little reed horses’) This style of boat has been used for fishing and exploring on the Pacific coast since the time of the Moche and Chimu civilizations. These boats are woven out the stems and the leaves of the Totora reed.
One more reason to visit Huanchaco is to enjoy the succulent seafood. The basis of this cuisine is locally caught fish, shellfish, and seaweed. Don’t leave without trying out Peruvian ceviche. On the beach at Huanchaco there are plenty of aquatic sports that you can participate in. You can also stroll up and down the beach and watch the magnificent sunset. Or you can go surfing. This seaside resort is highly recommended for family vacations.
- Location: in the district of Huanchaco, 13 km. from the city of Trujillo.
The Baths of the Inca, Cajamarca
The Baths of the Inca is a thermal hot spring with healing properties. It is especially recommended for treating nerve disorders, aching bones, skin problems, and gastritis. The water temperature is over 70 °C. It is located at Balneario de Pultumarca, 6 km. outside of the city of Cajamarca. These hot springs are a tourist attraction and also a great family destination. Everyone can relax and enjoy the warm, healing waters.
It is believed that Inca Pachacútec liked to stop here to bathe. Also, Inca Atahualpa made it his custom to soak in this spring before beginning his exploits. It is also believed that the Cajamarca people constructed the site. It has long been used by the local people, as it keeps them clean and healthy.
There are four different sections: the showers, the public baths, the private baths, and the Imperial baths.
The outdoor pools are for the use of everyone, whereas the enclosed pools are for private use. There is a sauna, and hydro-massage therapy is available.
Of all the pools here, the most notable is the pool that measures 4 by 4 meters and is 1.7 m. deep. It was in this pool that the Inca Atahualpa liked to relax and recuperate. For this reason, it is called the Pool of the Inca.
- Location: in the Baños del Inca district, in the Cajamarca region.
The Salkantay – Machu Picchu trekking route is a route that is world famous among trekkers. Many adventurers consider it to be the perfect alternative to the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. In 2017, it was recognized as one of the top 25 trekking routes on the planet.
Its trajectory follows 65 km. of mountainous terrain, and it is surrounded by snow-capped peaks, lakes, rivers, canyons, and creeks. As the trail goes down into the “eyebrow of the jungle”, it passes through dense tropical vegetation, and there are innumerable species of animals.
Not far from this ancient Incan pathway, surrounded by cliffs, mountains and valleys, is the marvelous Humantay Lagoon. This high mountain lake is overshadowed by two of the Cusco area’s most sacred mountains, Mt. Salkantay and, (the lagoon’s namesake), Mt. Humantay.
This trekking route is perfect for lovers of adventure and of adrenalin rushes.
- Location: in the Mollepata district, in the Cusco region.
Huaca Pucllana, Lima
Huaca Pucllana is an ancient, pre-Columbian ceremonial site which is made out of sand, mud, and pebbles. It was constructed by the Lima culture as a residence for the elite priesthood which controlled the political, religious, and economic life of the people. Many researchers consider it to be a temple.
The Huaca Pucllana is divided into two sectors: the Great Pyramid, and lower zone. The Great Pyramid is more than 400 m. long and 22 m. high. It has 7 platforms on which there are plazas, enclosures and passageways. This upper portion was reserved for ruling cult. The lower section is of more recent construction. There are plazas and enclosures here, too. It is thought that this section had more to do with the daily lives and the activities of the normal people. There is also an exhibition center, a visitors’ circuit, and other tourist sites.
When the Wari conquered Lima, Huaca Pucllana was converted into a cemetery. But the old temple never lost its splendor. Even the Incas venerated this temple as a sacred place.
Actually, this museum is the most visited museum in Peru. Huaca Pucllana is an important monument in the city of Lima. It is a place where the history of the city’s original inhabitants is preserved, investigated, and safeguarded.
- Location: in the exclusive Miraflores district, in the Lima region.
Come to the Land of the Incas and discover the greatest tourist sites in Peru. Vast seas, beautiful beaches, enigmatic islands, fertile fields and valleys, snow-capped mountains, mysterious lakes and lagoons, entangled jungles, immense plains, impressive waterfalls and rivers, fabulous temples, mysterious cities, natural wonders, and amazing Incan ruins are here waiting for you!