It’s easy to find things to do in Peru, especially because it’s sprawling with mystery, culture, and beauty. The land is very diverse; from mountains to deserts, to rainforests and coastlines.
It’s also home to the famous ancient city, Machu Picchu, and a couple of other ancient ruins. Though it’s easy to find something to do because of what it offers, the hard part is finding the best ones. Here’s a list of the best things to do in Peru.
A trip to Peru is not complete without a visit to this ancient city. It’s probably what most people visit Peru for. There are many trails to get there, with the Inca trail being the most popular. Get Travel Protection starting at $21!
It’s a four-day hike along Inca stairways, local villages, and spectacular views of the Andean slopes. However, you will need to book months in advance to claim a spot for a hike on the Inca trail.
But if it’s already fully-booked, don’t worry – there are other trails to get there.
You can use the Choquequirao trail (the most popular alternative), the Lares Trek, Salkantay Trails, or the Chaski Trail. There’s also the Vilcabamba traverse route and Huchuy Qosqo. Each varies in difficulty, but they all can lead you up to Machu Picchu and are beautiful in their way.
Just a little tip: your choice of backpack affects your hike so make sure it’s not a pain in your spine. Packing light also helps – obviously. But also ensure that you have extra layers to keep you warm.
#2 Explore Cordillera Blanca
The Cordillera Blanca is another thing that makes Peru so beautiful. It’s a mountain range in Peru that has several peaks that are over 6000 meters with bountiful kinds of flora and fauna. It’s a magnet for adventure-seeking, wildlife-loving travelers, especially mountaineers, hikers, and backpackers.
Most tours or circuits will show you some mountain peaks, valleys with glacial lakes, rivers, and many other landscapes. The most popular one is the Santa Cruz trek. The route will show you most of the famous Peruvian peaks, many lakes, and rivers, in around four days. Other circuits can take between 4-10 days.
Don’t be dismayed if you’re not much of a hiker. There are bike tours, horseback riding, and 4×4 tours. All will require some levels of effort, but it will pay you back with so much natural beauty and an unforgettable experience.
#3 Food trip in Lima
You cannot end your journey if you haven’t tasted Peruvian ceviche. Lima is the heart of ceviche, as well as many other Peruvian dishes. Most restaurants will serve this, but look for Al Toke Pez – they say it serves the best ceviches in the city.
Then if you’re feeling adventurous, have yourself some guinea pig. Yes, that’s right – guinea pig. It may sound seem odd to you, but Peruvians eat guinea pig like it’s any other meat. After, find yourself a bar that serves pisco sour. Lima is also known for this cocktail.
#4 Wander around Lima
The capital city Lima is often overshadowed by the other tourist spots of Peru, but its charm is well worth the visit.
The city, whose nickname is “City of Kings” and “The Gray,” holds many historical sights including colonial architecture and adobe pyramids. It’s also only about an hour or so away from mountains, jungle, and the coastline.
Start off at the historical center of Lima, Plaza de Arma, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. In the area are the Cathedral of Lima, the Archbishop’s Palace, and the official residence of the president, Palacio del Gobierno.
Then, if you have time, you can go to Miraflores. It’s neighborhood on a cliff with modern buildings and old colonial homes. The area has a plenty of parks and green areas that overlook the Pacific Ocean.
Bike tours are also quite popular here, and I must say, it’s quite an experience biking along the cliffs of Lima. You can also hike to the El Morro Hill for a panoramic view of the city. The sunset from here is pretty spectacular.
On another day you can visit some museums to learn more about Peruvian history and culture. There’s Museo de la Nacion (National Museum), Archaeology, Anthropology and History Museum, and Larco Museum. Larco Museum is popular for its erotic archaeological pieces.
Just a tip, be careful around Lima. It’s not known to be a safe city. Many locals see tourists as wealthy, thus are an object of their interest to pickpockets. Also, wear something comfortable, especially on your feet. You’ll probably be walking around a lot, so your choice of footwear is important.
#5 Kayak in the Amazon
The Amazon in the side of Peru has got to be one of the best ones because of the diversity it offers compared to the other South American countries. You can kayak your way through it, or get on a boat. Many tours offer multi-day kayak/river expeditions. The journey will feel unreal; you’ll never experience nature as you will in the Amazon.
#6 Learn to Surf
How can surfing not be a thing in Peru, when the Pacific Ocean is right there? In Lima alone, you can find many surf spots and find people in all ages give the board a go. With consistent and friendly swells make it a great place to learn. There are many surf shops and instructors ready to equip you if you’re up for it.
#7 Stick around Cusco
Most visitors rush out of Cusco to head to Machu Picchu, but it’s a mistake to do so. The central town of Cusco is quite a destination in itself. It’s oozing with colonial architecture and a great hub for shopping artisan items.
When in Cusco, see one of Cusco’s gems, La Catedral. It’s a church from the mid-fifteen hundreds, with stones from Sacsayhuaman. Speaking of Sacsayhuaman, you should also visit when you’re in Cusco.
It’s often ignored because of Machu Picchu, but this ancient fortress is another Incan treasure.
Before you leave, stop by the Cusco Handicraft Market. You can get lots of things you can add to your homes, such as tablecloths, ceramic bowls, plates, and mugs.
There you have it, 7 of the best things to do in Peru. A few weeks of travel only won’t cut it, but I hope you can make the most of your time there. There is so much more to see and do in this country, and I hope this helps you with that.
Have you been to Peru before? What were your favorite attractions and activities? Share them in the comment section below.
Louise is the founder of TheAdventureLand.com, where she and her associate’s blog about Outdoor experiences, tips & tricks that will help you have an exciting adventure. She is also a tour guide of travel company where she learned many things about wilderness. “Let’s pack our bags and explore the world!”. Follow me on Twitter and on Google+