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Things to do in Peru

Things to do in  Peru

Welcome to Peru

From the lush Amazon rain forest to the high-altitude Andes Mountains, Peru packs a topography as diverse as its offerings, weaving colonial architecture, Inca ruins, multi-day hikes, Amazonian wildlife, and culinary diversity into a South American adventure. The iconic Machu Picchu, which must be booked via tour, tops most Peru travel itineraries, as do the surrounding archaeological sites in the Sacred Valley of the Incas and the colonial town of Cusco. A tour guide can unlock the mysteries of the Inca Empire as you trek the trail to the lost city of Choquequirao, summit the Andes on the Inca Trail, bike from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes, and take in the views of Lake Titicaca in Puno. To make sense of the enigmatic Nazca Lines, take to the skies via helicopter or scenic flight. Meanwhile, in the south of Peru, don't miss the view from a volcano in Arequipa. A sightseeing tour of the Peruvian capital of Lima will take you to its colonial center for catacombs, pre-Colombian artwork, lively nightlife, and relics of Inca history, while nearby Miraflores is a popular novice surf spot. In Cusco, opt for a food tour to sample lomo saltado (stir-fried beef), Peruvian corn on the cob, and even cuy (guinea pig); or delve into traditional drinks such as pisco sour cocktails and coca tea. Explorer-types should head to the rainforest—near Iquitos there's a vast mass of wetlands full of wildlife and plant diversity, while the Tarpaca River Walk is ideal if you're after a stroll.

Top 15 attractions in Peru

Machu Picchu

The lost city of Machu Picchu is the most famous archaeological site in Peru and, arguably, all of South America. The UNESCO World Heritage–listed collection of temples, terraced hills, and plazas was once the mountaintop citadel of the ancient Inca empire. It may now be world famous, but Machu Picchu still hasn't revealed the mysteries behind its construction, function, and eventual demise.More

Nazca Lines

The enigmatic Nazca Lines (or Nasca Lines) are second only to Machu Picchu as the most famous archaeological site in Peru. The mysterious geoglyphs at the UNESCO World Heritage Site range from geometric shapes and swirls to a hummingbird and monkey. Theories on their purpose include astronomical markers, irrigation canals, and alien messages—an enigma that has spurred intrigue since their 1927 discovery. The spectacular etchings likely date from 500 BC and 500 AD.More

San Isidro

San Isidro visitors may overlook its cultural attractions, opting instead for its beaches and shopping districts. But, the enclave’s tree-lined residential streets are home to stately mansions being converted to luxury hotels, high-end boutiques, art museums, embassies representing 40 countries, and the city’s best restaurants.More

Amazon River

The mighty Amazon River and its enormous, thickly forested basin are the heart of South America and the guardian of 20 percent of the Earth’s fresh water. Visitors from around the globe come to Iquitos to cruise the river’s storied waters and catch a glimpse of diverse fauna both above and below the surface.More


The swanky beachfront suburb of Miraflores is one of Lima’s most sought-after zip codes. Here you’ll find the city’s best restaurants, shops, and hotels, plus waterfront mansions and high-rise towers. Lovely parks and beaches decorate the area, as well as the ancient ruins of Huaca Pucllana—a pre-Inca temple.More

Ballestas Islands (Islas Ballestas)

A cluster of tiny islands off the Peruvian coast, the Ballestas Islands (Islas Ballestas) are often touted as the “Peruvian Galapagos,” famed for their spectacular variety of birdlife and rugged coastline of soaring cliffs, rocky beaches, and remote sea caves.More

Quechua Village

The indigenous Quechua villages in Peru’s Sacred Valley of the Inca provide a view into the past. Inhabited by descendants of the ancient Inca people, these communities—such as Pisac and Chinchero—have preserved handicraft traditions, speak in the original Quechua language, and live in harmony with the mountains they regard as sacred.More

Lima Plaza Mayor

Plaza Mayor, formerly Plaza de Armas, is the heart and birthplace of Lima. The crown jewel of the city, this UNESCO World Heritage–listed square is flanked by many important buildings, such as the Government Palace (Palacio de Gobierno), Cathedral of Lima, City Hall (Palacio Municipal de Lima), and the Archbishop’s Palace (Palacio Arzobispal).More

Cathedral of Lima (Catedral de Lima)

Lima’s main cathedral is located within the city’s UNESCO World Heritage Site on the lovely Plaza Mayor, a square marked by palm trees and grand palaces. Over the years, earthquakes spurred rebuilding and refurbishments of the Cathedral of Lima, adding baroque and neoclassical elements to the original colonial adobe structure.More

Inca Trail

South America's most famous trek is an unforgettable way to reach the lost Inca city of Machu Picchu. Along the way, the four-day trek takes hikers past three Andean mountain passes, Inca ruins, and views of the snow-capped Andes, culminating in a stellar sunrise over Machu Picchu—a UNESCO World Heritage site—from the Sun Gate.More

Aguas Calientes

If you're visiting Machu Picchu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, there’s a good chance you'll pass through the small pueblo of Aguas Calientes en route. This gateway town to Peru’s famous Incan ruins sits nestled in a valley of cloud forest, where a series of natural hot springs gives the town its name.More

Colca Canyon (Canon del Colca)

Plunging 13,650 feet (4,160 meters) down, Peru’s Colca Canyon is officially one of the world’s deepest canyons—with a breadth of activities to match. Visitors opt to visit this off-the-beaten-track attraction for its opportunities for adventure in a stunning natural environment, its large population of Andean condors, and its pre-Inca historical sites.More

Huaca Pucllana

Lima is dotted with sacred ruins and ceremonial sites known as huacas. Located in the coastal Miraflores neighborhood, the Huaca Pucllana complex, with its towering stepped adobe pyramid, is one of the city’s largest and most important ancient monuments. Built around 500 A.D, it was once an administrative and ceremonial center of the indigenous Lima Culture civilization.More

Historic Centre of Lima (Centro Historico de Lima)

Thanks to its designation as a UNESCO World heritage Site, the historical center of Lima is immaculately preserved. Encompassing the area between Plaza de Armas and Plaza San Martin, the core includes the majority of the city’s outstanding colonial attractions and palm-fringed green spaces, all within easy walking distance.More


Barranco is an atmospheric, seaside neighborhood in Lima known for its street art and hip, bohemian culture. The area was once a summer playground for fashionable Limeños and is full of old colonial buildings. Small cafes and artist-run boutiques buzz during the day, while bars and dance define the area at night.More
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Trip ideas

Top activities in Peru

Machu Picchu Day Trip from Cusco
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Machu Picchu Day Trip from Cusco

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Huacachina Oasis & Mini-Galapagos! Most reviewed company in Peru! Luxury buses!
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Rainbow Mountain with ATV's

Rainbow Mountain with ATV's

Classic Inca Trail 4 days to Machu Picchu
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2 Day Tour from Lima: Nazca Lines Flight, Paracas, and Huacachina
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Lima Highlights! (All-Inclusive)

Lima Highlights! (All-Inclusive)

Marcahuasi Experience in Lima

Marcahuasi Experience in Lima

Lima Ultimate Peruvian Food Tour

Lima Ultimate Peruvian Food Tour

Hiram Bingham Round Trip Luxury Train to Machu Picchu
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Top Destinations

All about Peru

Peruvian Sol (PEN)
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PET (UTC -5)
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People Also Ask

What is Peru famous for?

Peru is most famous for the 15th-century archeological site of Machu Picchu, which is one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. The country also is renowned for gastronomy, characterized by seafood ceviche and ancient grains, and biodiversity spanning the Amazon rainforest, Sacred Valley, and snow-capped mountains of Huaraz.

What is the number one tourist attraction in Peru?

Peru’s number one tourist attraction is Machu Picchu—an Incan archaeological site that sits 7,972 feet (2,430 meters) above sea level. The UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is also one of the New 7 Wonders of the World, comprises 15th-century temples, mist-shrouded mountains, and ceremonial sites, plus plenty of free-roaming llamas.

What activities are popular in Peru?

Peru’s most popular activity is hiking. The best places in Peru to explore on foot include Machu Picchu via the Inca Trail, Lake Titicaca, and the mountain range and jade-green lakes of Huaraz. Peru is also a great place to go surfing and wildlife-watching in the Amazon rainforest.

What is the prettiest place in Peru?

Peru’s diverse landscapes comprise sea, jungle, and mountains, so the prettiest parts depend on where you’re most in your element. Top contenders include Machu Picchu, the green oasis of Huacachina in the Ica desert, the red rock of Colca Canyon, the high-altitude Lake Titicaca, and the rainbow-colored mountains of Vinicunca.

What should you not miss in Peru?

No trip to Peru would be complete without visiting Machu Picchu. You also shouldn’t miss the cuisine in Lima, the white-stone buildings of Arequipa, the desert oasis in Huacachina, hiking in the Huaraz mountains, the mysterious Nazca Lines, and the biodiversity of the Amazon jungle.

Do they speak English in Peru?

Yes, most people in larger cities, such as Lima, Cuszo, and Arequipa, speak English; but in more rural places, local dialects such as Quechua are more prevalent. It’s easy to get by in Peru by speaking English, but locals always are appreciative when you speak in Spanish, the national language.


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