Latin America Travel & Tour Information
Perú Travel Information
Peru is an amazing country, full of exuberant landscapes and rich history, a place which provides the true experience of nature and Latin American culture. Peru´s history lividly depicts the legacy of one of the most advanced civilizations in the Americas, that of the Incas. The architecture of Peruvian city's show Spanish and Inca influences, and the visitor will marvel at the existence of such a large number of ruins. Local gastronomy boasts a delicious combination of Indian and Spanish traditions, along with some African, Arabian and Italian influences. Just walking through the colourful fruit markets provides a window into Peru's past and present culture.
Peru shows a varied geography catagorized into 3 regions: The Coast, The High Andean Plateau, and The Amazon.
The Peruvian Region's
The Peruvian coastline and surrounding area attract not only admirers of nature but also a variety of other travelers including surfers and backpackers. The Peruvian coast is home to the nation's capital, Lima City, with its beautiful main square and museums which specialize in gold and anthropology. The elegant neighbourhoods and nightlife provide other inviting reasons to stay a few days.
A few hours away from the capital, the Paracas reserve comes to sight. From here, a boat trip departs towards Ballestas Islands, where bird watching is rarely matched; even sea lions are easily spotted. There is also the Candleholder, (El Candelabro), a giant ancient petroglyph of unknown origin and the cathedral, an imposing rocky-shaped hill located on the coast.
Not far from Paracas, the sunny and beautiful city of Ica is found, where Paracas and Nasca cultures have left their influence of textile arts and hydraulic techniques. Ica has stores to wander through, and fine establishments where wine is processed or the traditional Peruvian drink 'pisco' can be tasted. Close by, one can the find Huacachina lagoon, a true oasis in the middle of a dessert-dune landscape, perfect terrain for a ride in a dune buggy and for practising sand boarding. While in the neighbourhood the visitor shouldn't miss the famous Nasca lines, huge astronomic patterns in the sand that can only be seen from the air. There is a look out point on land from where they can be partially observed but it's a lot more exiting to fly over the area to fully appreciate them.
Heading south, one will find Arequipa city, commonly known as the white city referring to the sillar stone buildings, made from a volcanic white rock. The city is surrounded by snow topped mountains and volcanoes like Misti, the city symbol. Downtown, there is the grand cathedral and some colonial buildings showing off their baroque bueaty. There is also the Santa Catalina Monastery, a walled tiny city once devoted to sheltering nuns, nowadays it is open to the public, offering the visitors beautiful colonial architecture and a glimpse into a scandalous past. The Andes Sanctuary Museum allows the opportunity to view the famous 'Ampato Lady' or 'Juanita', the Inca mummy girl that was discovered in 1995 on the summit of the Ampato Volcano, preserved by the freezing conditions.
From Arequipa, take a trip to the Colca Canyon, one of the world's deepest. The greatest attraction of the canyon is the spectacular 'Cruz del Condor' lookout point, one of the few places in South America where condors can be spotted up close. The Canyon also boasts trekking opportunities and charming towns like Chivay which offers shoppers colourful textile handcraft.
The high Andean plateau is the most popular of all areas amongst Peru's visitors. Amazing Cusco city, a virtual open air museum, exhibits an eye-catching combination of Inca and Spanish construction styles. It is worth the visit for its beautiful squares and multi-coloured neighbourhoods like San Blas, with it's narrow streets and excellent city views. The most striking spot is the Plaza de Armas, home to the grand Cathedral, housing a painting collection from the colonial Cusco School of Art. An important attraction is the religious festival of Inti Raimi where Peruvians from all over the country come dressed in traditional dress and celebrate the majestic power of the sun. Other distinctive ruins in the area include Qenko, Tambomachay and Pukapukara as well as Sacsayhamán, the highest part of the city, a fortress used by Incas for religious purposes. The building surprises visitors with its huge carved rocks.
Cusco is a cosmopolitan city with rich nightlife and gastronomy. From here the Sacred Valley can be visited with it's beautiful views and unique towns. Pisac is one of the most popular places of the valley, well known for its handcraft market in the main square. Above the town lies Pisac's amazing Inca ruin from where the best valley views can be admired. The terraces built by Incas are still used today by local farmers for their crops. Ollantaytambo is another spot that shouldn't be missed; its impressive archaeological park exhibits many elegant terraces and hidden secrets.
Doubtlessly, Machu Picchu is one of the most overwhelming places in the world. This city, built on top of mountains with unforgettable views, requires a full day to discover it's wealth. There are two options to get there: by train which stops at the town of Aguas Calientes, from where you can visit the ruins on a day trip from Cuzco. The other way is by trekking the Inca Trail, an old path made by the Incas which hosts a range of tunnels, mountains and forest landscapes. It is one of the most popular trekking trails in the world, offering the option of doing it in one day or on a longer four-day trip.
About 400 km heading south, beautiful Puno City is located by Titicaca Lake. This navigable lake is the world's highest (3810 masl) and the intense blue water is startling. The traveller can take amazing tours of towns along it's shore and the islands found dotted all over the lake itself. Popular islands include the Uros floating island, artificially made from reeds sourced from the lake named 'Totoras'. These are inhabited by friendly Aymará communities. Tequille Island is well known thanks to its skilful inhabitants whom keep old traditions alive. Another island, Amantaní, affords the possibility of admiring views of the whole lake while visiting pre-hispanic ruins.
From Puno, visitors can always visit Bolivia, as the lake is shared by both countries. Copacabana, on the Bolivian border is one of the most popular destinations in the country, with an imposing basilica in the main square and gorgeous beaches. From here, you can take tours to the 'Sun Island' one of the best on the lake. On the island there are also interesting ruins which can be walked to, as well as places to eat or stay for those who would like to hang around more than one day. Tiahuanaku ruins are just a few kilometres from there, a place which housed an ancient culture, predating the Incas. The ruins are excellent and this facility offers the visitor a great museum.
Most of Peru is located in the Amazon region, one of the places with the greatest biodiversity in the world, which could turn a regular visit into an intense life experience. The main destination is Iquitos. A city located in the middle of the jungle. There are excellent boat tours, as well as water skiing. This is also the city to get to know the big mansions of 'rubber barons' who made their fortunes off the Amazons rubber trees. There is also Belén, a floating town, called the Amazon museum, as well as some short trails like Quistococha, Puerto Almendra and Zungarococha.