For many, the mountaintop citadel of Machu Picchu encapsulates Peru, & indeed, this remarkable iconic feat of ancient architecture is more than enough reason in itself to visit the Land of the Inca. But it is far from the only reason, & a diverse array of breathtaking experiences is on offer to those willing to venture away from Peru’s most familiar landmark.

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activities & experiences in peru

Ancient and often mysterious history is a significant attraction of any visit to Peru. From the heights of Machu Picchu, its Sacred Valley and the conquistador-influenced city of Cusco to the plains of the Nazca Desert and the secrets of its immense glyphs, the nation seems to be trapped in time.

Despite its most renowned attractions being hundreds of years old, there is a contemporary side to Peru. Lima is a wonderfully artisanal city reflecting the country’s more modern aspects of culture, including a thriving foodie scene and a gamut of inspired bars and restaurants. And while Brazil is often thought of as the home of the Amazon, the world’s longest river has its source in Peru, its banks swathed in the rich jungle foliage of its eponymous rainforest.

  • Board a boat in Iquitos for a cruise on the headwaters of the Amazon 
  • Visit the unfathomable 12-angled rock of Cusco
  • Go shopping for traditional handwoven textiles
  • Take time in Lima to experience the fusion of old & new cuisine
  • Take flight over the Nazca Lines & wonder how on earth they were made
  • Visit the Uros – the Children of the Sun & Lake Titicaca’s floating inhabitants
  • Spend a remarkable night in the Skylodge on the cliffside of Sacred Valley
Pod Hotel, Sacred Valley, Peru
Peru Lake Titicaca

destinations in peru

Peru is the Land of the Incredible. Each of its collection of notable destinations is stunning for its own reason. The Nazca Lines and Machu Picchu, of course, but also the floating reed islands of Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest navigable body of water, the coloured sands of Vinicuna and so much more.

Machu Picchu

Beginning with the most recognisable of Peru’s magical destinations, Machu Picchu stands almost 8,000 feet (2,430m) above sea level atop the old mountain for which it is named. Access to Machu Picchu is always a little challenging, but easily achievable for most. Transport can take you much of the way, you can reach the summit on a day hike or, for the most authentic experience, take the four-day trek along the Inca Trail to the summit. It is highly advisable to have a good guide. Machu Picchu has many stories and secrets to reveal, some completely overlooked by many of its visitors.


Though it should be noted that Hucachina is somewhat popular, it is nonetheless a spectacularly unique town to visit. Four hours from Lima, Hucachina huddles around an oasis deep in the Ica Desert. Surrounded by towering dunes, people visit the resort town to go sandboarding, ride in dune buggies or simply marvel at its seeming impossibility; in the middle of the desert it springs like an emerald jewel in an ocean of sand.

Lake Titicaca

Numerous ruins scatter the shores of Lake Titicaca, high in the southern Andes of Peru, and this stunning body of water is rich in folklore and history. The Inca believe the lake is the birthplace of all humanity, and its people the direct descendents of the sun god. Though numerous tribes visited the region, the Uros are the only ones who remained, creating reed islands in the centre of the lake to prevent invasion. Travellers can now visit the totora reed islands and even stay the night in somewhat rustic but well-furnished and comfortable lodges. There are over 60 Uro islands, but these aren’t the only islands of the vast Titicaca. From the city port of Puno, you can take a boat to Taquile island, where you can enjoy the local seafood cuisine and find handcrafted goods and textiles.

Sacred Valley & Cusco

The launchpad for any Machu Picchu trip, Cusco and the surrounding Sacred Valley are well worth exploring. Horseback rides along the Urubamba river, winding its way through the monolithic mountains, are a wonderful way to appreciate the valley at a slower pace, especially when coupled with a gourmet picnic on the way. Cusco is a fascinating blend of ancient, old and new, coupling Incan history with Spanish settlement and contemporary development. Though rich in history and with the way of life having changed very little for many, there are still modern hotels and amenities, superb cafes and restaurants and so on. Museums, architecture, markets and adorable alpacas in the arms of traditionally-adorned Peruvians combine to make Cusco far more than a place of transit.

Nazca Desert

Known almost exclusively for the mystical lines carved into immense designs upon its floor, the Nazca or Sechura Desert actually has plenty more to offer. Viewing the lines from the air is absolutely unmissable, but so too are many of the region’s other attractions. Several museums reveal the secrets of the Nazca Lines, while ruins of the Nazca people, including the fascinating Cahuachi pyramids and the no less interesting, though somewhat morbid, Necropolis of Chauchilla.

Huacachina Peru

accommodations in peru

Peruvian accommodation has seen wonderful development in recent years and wherever you travel, a high standard is readily available and met. Many properties embody the more rustic, mountain lodge aesthetic, but done so impeccably. Added to this, facilities and services are excellent, providing wonderful food, spas, expert guides, equipment and tours in many circumstances.

Find yourself in a sumptuous timber cabin on the banks of the Urubamba River, wake to the elegance of Cusco’s Monasterio, with its secluded courtyards and European influences, or find luxurious contemporary chic in the bustling heart of Lima. For a real thrill, visit the skylodge on the vertical mountainsides of Sacred Valley. Though incredibly basic, a night suspended hundreds of feet above the valley floor is not for the faint-hearted, but absolutely unforgettable for the daring.

Lake Titicaca, Peru
Peru Hotel


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BEST TIME: Apr-May and Sep-Oct to avoid crowds

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LIMA & AMAZON: LOW: 60-72ºF (15-22ºC) Jun-Nov / HIGH: 68-82ºF (20-28ºC) Jan-Mar
ANDES: LOW: 34-69ºF (1-20ºC) Jun-Aug / HIGH: 45-72ºF (7-22ºC) Oct-Jan

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BEST FOR: Outdoors enthusiasts, adventurous couples, history & culture lovers

Peru is a journey of two perspectives: on the one hand, you can visit Machu Picchu and add some experiences in to fill your time. Highly worthwhile and truly fascinating in and of itself, this can comprise your entire trip of 7 to 10 days.

Though there is absolutely nothing wrong with such a trip, it does deny Peru its true potential. Few countries – perhaps Egypt or India notwithstanding – can boast such a unique diversity of experiences. Looking beyond the Old Mountain, to the deserts, lakes, coastlines, wilderness and cities of Peru will allow you to craft a far more consummate itinerary, and one that will captivate, inspire and remain with you, in every single step, for the rest of your life.


As mentioned above, if Machu Picchu is your sole quarry, a week should suffice, but we strongly advise in taking at least 14 days to explore more of the country. For added diversity and a little more nature, Ecuador and the Galápagos can easily be incorporated into a Peru itinerary, taking you from the mountains and lakes to the ocean and abundant islands with their iguanas, sea lions, tortoises and so much more.


The drier winter months of April to October are the only time to visit. When it rains in Peru, it doesn;t abate and, though usually not monsoonal downpours, you will likely be swathed in damp mists and drizzle for your entire trip.

While winter is preferable, almost everybody knows it, so tourist numbers greatly increase. For this reason, we recommend the shoulder seasons – April and May, and September and October – as the best time to take advantage of drier days while avoiding the crowds as much as possible.


Accommodation is of an excellent standard, but also incredibly diverse. Superb lodges, boutique residences, premium hotels and private villas can be found, but you won’t find a Hilton on top of the Andes. For this reason, your expectations in venue style should be somewhat flexible, though the standard of quality, comfort and service need not be. Specialist accommodation, such as afloat an Uro island in the middle of Lake Titicaca or suspended on a cliff face high above the Sacred Valley, will not meet the highest standards, simply due to their nature, and entirely acceptable given the experience you will enjoy.


Flight time from the East Coast is around eight hours, and nine from the West. Flights are daily, though often only one or two each day. From Lima, you can fly internally, and for many destinations this is preferable, but for the experience factor, a train ride from Lima to Cusco is well recommended.

US citizens don’t require visas for entry to Peru, though other nations may. It is always best to consult your Travel Designer well ahead of time to confirm visa requirements. Likewise, inoculations aren’t generally required but a travel medicine specialist will be able to inform you fully.

Spanish is the national language of Peru and some basic Spanish will definitely be useful, particularly in the more remote areas. That said, English is widely spoken, particularly in the hospitality and tourism industries, your accommodation staff, guides and so on will likely be fluent in English.


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