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Explore Peru: Your Ultimate Guide to Iconic & Hidden Gems

Eager to explore Peru and its wonders on your next journey? With a plethora of breathtaking destinations, crafting the perfect travel plan might seem daunting. Yet, there’s no need to worry; we’ve got your back. In this guide, we’ll escort you through both renowned and hidden gems of Peru, offering seasoned tips and insider knowledge to ensure your adventure is nothing short of extraordinary. Discover everything this captivating country has to offer, from Machu Picchu’s ancient splendors to Lima’s vibrant streets, the serene Huacachina oasis to the majestic Colca Canyon. Ready your luggage and let’s set off to explore Peru and its enchanting allure!


What to Consider Before you Explore Peru

There are a few key considerations to make if you’re planning a trip to Peru to guarantee a hassle-free and enjoyable journey. This guide will give you all the information you need to get ready for your journey in Peru, including information on visa requirements, vaccinations, currency, travel insurance, language, climate, and transportation options. 


For stays up to 90 days, the majority of travelers do not require a visa. However, it’s always a good idea to confirm the country-specific visa requirements before you travel.


Although there are no mandatory vaccinations for travel to Peru, it is advised that you are up to date on regular shots for the flu, polio, diphtheria, tetanus, and rubella (DTaP), as well as measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR). In addition, you may also want to think about getting typhoid and hepatitis A vaccinations.


The Peruvian Sol (PEN) is the country’s national currency. Although credit cards are generally accepted in the majority of cities and tourist hotspots, it’s a good idea to carry some cash with you for small purchases and tips.

Travel Insurance

Before you depart on your trip, it’s a good idea to buy travel insurance so that you are covered in case of unforeseen circumstances like illness or injury. Ensure that your insurance includes emergency evacuation, travel cancellation, and medical costs. We advise looking into trustworthy travel insurance providers like Heymondo, TrueTraveller, and SafetyWing. To discover the best option for your particular needs, make sure to compare prices and policy details.


Although English is widely spoken in the tourism sector in Peru, Spanish is the country’s official language. It’s a good idea to learn a few fundamental Spanish phrases in order to get around and communicate with locals.


The climate in Peru varies from region to region, and the weather can be unpredictable. While the Andes can be cold and rainy, the coastal area is frequently hot and dry. All year long, the Amazon is sweltering and muggy. Make sure to pack for the areas you intend to explore.


Peru has an extensive bus network that links cities and tourist attractions. For greater distances, domestic flights are also an option. In the majority of cities, taxis and ride-sharing apps are generally accessible.


On Peru’s central coast, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, is the vibrant metropolis of Lima. It is a city of contrasts, with modern architecture towering over centuries-old colonial structures, and busy markets set against serene parks and gardens.

The Pacific Coast seen from Lima

The historic city center of Lima, which has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, is one of the best places to visit. Here, you can visit the impressive Plaza Mayor, which is surrounded by colonial structures and the imposing Cathedral of Lima. Other must-see attractions in the historic center are the Palace of the Archbishop, which has stunning Baroque architecture, and the Monastery of San Francisco, which has a remarkable collection of colonial art and a network of tombs.

Lima’s rich and varied culinary traditions have earned it a reputation as one of the world’s best dining destinations. The bustling street markets of Miraflores and Barranco are some of the best locations to experience local cuisine. There you can sample everything from ceviche to anticuchos (grilled beef heart skewers). Check out some of the city’s top-rated restaurants, like Central, Maido, and Astrid y Gastón, for a more upscale gastronomic experience.

If you’re looking for accommodation, Lima has a variety of options to fit every taste and budget. If you want to experience luxury, try out the stunning Belmond Miraflores Park hotel, which has outstanding amenities and breathtaking ocean views. The Pariwana Hostel in Miraflores is a well-liked option for backpackers looking for a more affordable accommodation because it offers cozy dorms and private rooms, a rooftop patio, and a buzzing bar and restaurant.

Whatever your interests may be, Lima has something to offer you. This exciting city will enthrall you with its charm and vitality whether you have a passion for history, cuisine, art, or nightlife.

Huacachina and Nazca


Just outside the city of Ica, about four hours south of Lima, is a small desert oasis called Huacachina. This picturesque lagoon is a popular choice for sandboarding, dune buggy excursions, and relaxing by the water. It is surrounded by towering sand dunes. From Lima or other nearby towns, you can travel there by bus or taxi.

There are lots of things to do in Huacachina once you get there. One of the most popular activities is sandboarding, and several trip companies provide rentals and led excursions. Alternatively, you can unwind by the water and enjoy the sun or go on a dune buggy ride to experience the nearby desert.

The Nazca Lines

The Nazca Lines, one of the world’s most enigmatic and fascinating archaeological sites, are located close by in the village of Nazca. Only observable from the air, these prehistoric geoglyphs were produced by the Nazca people between 400 and 650 AD. You can fly over the desert to see them with one of the many nearby excursion operators. As an alternative, you could go to the neighboring Nazca Lines Viewing Tower, which provides sweeping views of three of the most well-known sculptures, including the hummingbird, the tree, and the hands.

Huacachina and Nazca provide a variety of lodging choices to meet all preferences and price ranges. Some of the hostels in Huacachina, like Desert Nights Ecocamp or Hostal Huacachina Sunset, offer accommodations with views of the lagoon. The Hotel Majoro is a popular choice in Nazca, with cozy rooms, lovely gardens, and a restaurant offering Peruvian food.

A trip to Huacachina and the Nazca Lines is a unique and unforgettable adventure that you shouldn’t skip. This desert oasis and archaeological site will not fail to amaze you, whether you’re an adventure-seeking adrenaline junkie or want to take in the marvels of pre-Columbian Peru.

Arequipa and Colca Canyon


The city of Arequipa is a beautiful colonial place in southern Peru, protected by imposing mountains and known for its white stone structures. The nearby Colca Canyon, one of the world’s deepest canyons and a top tourist destination, offers breathtaking scenery, hiking trails, and other outdoor adventure options.

You have two options for transportation to Arequipa and the Colca Canyon. One is a scenic bus journey through the breathtaking Andean landscapes. The alternative is a domestic flight from Lima or other major Peruvian cities. Once you get there, you can visit the historic center of the city, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has a number of colonial structures like the Church of the Company and the Monastery of Santa Catalina.

The Colca Canyon

The Colca Canyon is about a three-hour bus ride from Arequipa and provides a variety of activities for tourists. Trekking is one of the most popular excursions in the canyon. There are a variety of routes accessible for hikers of all skill levels. To learn about the traditional Andean culture and sample local cuisine, you can explore nearby villages like Chivay or Yanque.

The best time to visit Arequipa and the Colca Canyon is between May and September when the weather is dry and ideal for outdoor activities. However, the canyon remains a beautiful location to visit even during the rainy season (which lasts from November to March).

Both Arequipa and the Colca Canyon offer a variety of accommodation choices. You can choose from a variety of lodgings and hostels in the city, including Le Foyer and Los Tambos Hotel. In the Colca Canyon, you can opt for a more remote experience by camping or lodging in a local guesthouse, or you can select from a number of opulent lodges, including the Colca Lodge Spa & Hot Springs and Las Casitas del Colca.

For visitors interested in discovering the natural grandeur and rich culture of southern Peru, Arequipa and the Colca Canyon offer a distinct and unforgettable experience.

Cusco and The Sacred Valley


The bustling city of Cusco, which is situated in Peru’s Andes Mountains, was once the heart of the Incan Empire. The city has beautiful colonial architecture, vibrant markets, and extensive history. Visitors can travel from Cusco to the adjacent Sacred Valley, which has stunning scenery and a number of Incan ruins.

Macchu Picchu

Machu Picchu, the iconic Incan citadel nestled high in the Andes Mountains, undoubtedly ranks as one of the area’s premier attractions. Initially, travelers typically start their journey to Machu Picchu with a train ride from Cusco or Ollantaytambo to the village of Aguas Calientes. From there, they have the choice to either catch a bus or embark on a scenic hike up to the citadel. Additionally, the vicinity boasts other notable Incan sites worth exploring, including the Pisac ruins and the Ollantaytambo Fortress, both accessible from Cusco.

The Sacred Valley

Beyond these architectural marvels, the Sacred Valley captivates with its stunning landscapes and diverse outdoor pursuits. Adventurers might climb Rainbow Mountain or visit the Maras Salt Mines, tracing their origins back to the pre-Incan era. Also, vibrant Andean communities like Chinchero and Urubamba nestle within the Sacred Valley. Here, visitors get the chance to dive into local traditions and browse handcrafted goods, enriching their appreciation of the area’s deep cultural heritage.

Cusco has a variety of accommodation options. You can choose from inexpensive hostels to opulent hotels like the Belmond Hotel Monasterio or the Palacio del Inka. Visitors to the Sacred Valley have a selection of eco-lodges to choose from, including the Rio Sagrado and the Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba.

Overall, the Sacred Valley and Cusco provide a fascinating look into the past and culture of the Incan Empire, as well as breathtaking natural grandeur and exciting outdoor activities. This region of Peru is a must-see location whether you want to hike through breathtaking landscapes or explore old ruins.

Northern Peru and The Amazon Jungle

Over 60% of Peru is covered by the Amazon rainforest, one of the most biodiverse areas on earth. The Amazon offers visitors the chance to explore this extraordinary ecosystem. Moreover, they can observe a broad range of wildlife, including monkeys, sloths, colorful birds and reptiles.

You can explore The Amazon in a variety of ways, through eco-lodges and guided excursions. Two of the most well-known reserves that are close to each other are the Tambopata National Reserve and the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve. They both offer fantastic opportunities for wildlife watching and guided excursions. 

Visitors can hike through the jungle, take boat rides along the river, and engage in traditional activities conducted by indigenous communities. Make sure you bring insect repellent, sunscreen, and sturdy hiking boots.

Amazon Jungle in Peru

The next area is Northern Peru, which is frequently disregarded by travelers but has a wealth of undiscovered gems.

Kuelap, an ancient fortress older than Machu Picchu, is known as the “Machu Picchu of the North.” It sits in a cloud forest. To reach it, you can hike or ride a cable car.

Mancora is a coastal town famous for beautiful beaches and great surfing. Here, visitors can surf, relax on the beach, or enjoy fresh seafood at local restaurants.

Northern Peru also boasts the Gocta Waterfall, among the world’s tallest, and Trujillo. The latter is famous for its colonial architecture and archaeological sites.

These destinations offer a unique and memorable experience. They are perfect for exploring the Amazon jungle or discovering Northern Peru’s hidden treasures.


Travelers can find a lot of attractions in Peru, which is a fascinating and varied nation. Peru has something for everyone. You can choose from the energetic Lima, the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu, and the breathtaking Amazon rainforest.

It’s crucial to do your research before making travel plans to Peru. This includes taking the appropriate safety measures, such as having the necessary immunizations and visas. Considering that unexpected things can happen, travel insurance is also essential.

Llama in Peru


Explore all of Peru’s diverse regions while you’re there, from the breathtaking Colca Canyon near Arequipa to the lesser-visited areas of the north. You could easily spend weeks or even months visiting this amazing country with all there is to see and do.

Peru’s rich history and culture are obvious everywhere you go, from the old Inca Empire ruins to the vibrant markets and festivals that take place all year long. The country of Peru is the ideal location for your next journey, whether you’re an adventure seeker, a history enthusiast, or both.

If you enjoyed our article, you can also check out our articles on Colombia and Bolivia.

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