This is a country that immediately captured our hearts and gave us some of our fondest travel memories. Peru has such a varied landscape, with towering Andes mountains, the Amazon jungle, and its long stretch of coastline. This is the land of the Incas, a powerful civilization that left behind ancient cities and of course, mystical Machu Picchu. Come to Peru and you can fill weeks of your time exploring these ancient ruins, trekking through the Amazon, sailing on Lake Titicaca, touring the Sacred Valley, and flying over the Nazca Lines. Peru is one of our favorite countries...will it be one of yours?
Official Languages: Spanish is the official language but Quechua, Aymara, and other indigenous languages are spoken.
Population: 32 million
Capital City: Lima
Currency: Peruvian sol (PEN)
Power Outlet: Type A, B & C
Machu Picchu. Seeing Machu Picchu is a no-brainer on a visit to Peru. Most people do it as a day trip from Cusco but we recommend spending the night in Aguas Calientes. This gives you a full day to explore this magical, mystical place. Since tickets limit your visit to a half day, if you want to spend a full day at Machu Picchu you will have to purchase two separate tickets.
Cusco and the Sacred Valley. Cusco is the access point for Machu Picchu. Most likely you will fly into this city on your journey to Machu Picchu. Cusco is worth at least a day even on the quickest of itineraries, and with more time it is worth exploring the Sacred Valley, the heart of the Incan civilization.
Lima. Lima is the capital of Peru and one of South America's largest cities. Come here to explore the preserved colonial center and feast on ceviche.
Lake Titicaca. This lake, located in the Andes Mountains on the border between Peru and Bolivia, is the world's highest navigable body of water. Visitors travel here to tour the floating islands and stay overnight with the indigenous people.
Inca Trail. This four day trek is one of the world's most popular multi-day hikes. It's a great bucket list travel activity and those who make the journey rave about the experience. If you are short on time, the one day trek is still worth it!
Colca Canyon. This is one of the world's deepest canyons and is home to the Andean Condor.
Nazca Lines. These are ancient drawings on the ground, so large that they are only viewable from the sky. Why they exist is a mystery. Take a helicopter flight over these mysterious lines and see orcas, hummingbirds, monkeys, and more.
Amazon Rainforest. Peru contains the second largest portion of the Amazon rainforest after Brazil. Popular destinations are Iquitos, located in northern Peru, and Puerto Maldonado, located in Southeastern Peru. Journey into the jungle for an experience you won't soon forget!
Go Sandboarding at Huacachina. Located on the coast between Lima and the Nazca lines, ride in a dune buggy and sand board down the dunes for a unique and very fun experience.
Ballestas Islands. Sometimes called the "poor man's Galapagos," travel here to see the blue footed booby, seals, and penguins.
Cordillera Blanca. Cordillera Blanca means "white mountain range," a name given to the mountains in this area for their snow-capped peaks. For a true, off-the-beaten-path adventure, go trekking here, with 3 day to 13 day tours available.
Places to Go in Peru
An Introduction to the Amazon Rainforest
Hiking to Machu Picchu Along the Inca Trail
Magical and Mystical Machu Picchu in Photos
Mountain Biking, a Broken Hand, and a Trip to a Peruvian Clinic
Rock Climbing and Zip Lining in the Urabamba River Valley, Peru
Shopping at the Market in Pisac
The Sacred Valley of Peru in Pictures
More Travel Inspiration
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12 Days in South America: Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina
30 Amazing Travel Books to Feed Your Wanderlust
30 Best Travel Movies to Inspire the Wanderer in You
60 Best Travel Quotes (with Photos) to Feed Your Wanderlust
Our Top 10 Bucket List Destinations
Peru Travel Tips
Best Time To Go
We vote for the shoulder season months of April and May and September and October. Costs will be lower, there will be less tourists, and the weather can be great. We were in Peru at the end of April and it was perfect.
Hiking the Inca Trail
If you plan on trekking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, book your tickets months in advance. Only a limited number of people are allowed on the trail per day and spots sell out fast.
Altitude sickness is known as soroche in Peru. Many popular destinations are at an altitude high enough to potentially cause altitude sickness in some visitors. Symptoms include headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, difficulty sleeping, and loss of appetite. These symptoms can occur over 8,000 ft (2430 m). Puno and Lake Titicaca, at an elevation of 12,500 ft (3800 m) are the destinations most likely to cause altitude sickness. Cusco sits at 11,000 ft (3400 m) and Machu Picchu sits at 8,000 ft (2430 m). As your body adjusts to the higher altitude, take it easy, drink lots of water, avoid tobacco and alcohol, and drink coca leaf tea. Seek medical help or descend to a lower altitude if your symptoms worsen or persist.
Most destinations in Peru are at a high altitude and the sun can be intense, even on a cloudy day. Wear sunscreen or risk getting a bad sunburn.