We know. You hear Peru and you think Machu Picchu.
We understand. It is difficult to ignore one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
But we are asking you to suspend your disbelief and learn what the rest of Peru has to offer.
Other Wonders of Peru
A is for Amazon Rainforest
The Amazon River starts in Carhuasanta in Peru (At 60% jungle the country is second only to Brazil in the amount of Rainforest covering the country… but it is more remote). It runs through the Andes into the Amazon Basin and to get here you fly to Iquitos or Puerto Maldonado. The Amazon you find here is extremely diverse and prolific with Manu Biosphere Reserve being one of the most bio-diverse areas in the world with at least 1,000 birds and over 200 mammal species. The Peru Nacional Manu is one of the most protected parks in the world and has been declared both a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Enjoy a canoe ride amongst the caimans and gain a deeper understanding of the entire jungle from its tranquil waterways. Listen to the howler monkeys and stay in an open cabin. Best time of the year to visit is between the months of June and November.
Bring an insect repellent that contains more than 15% deet unless you want to enjoy a close relationship with Amazon mosquitoes.
Also bring a licensed guide as it is illegal to enter the park without one.
B is for Beachbum
On the Pacific coast of Peru, along the Pan-American Highway, the town of Mancora is famous for incredible beaches and excellent surfing. AND… Relax.
C is for Culture
From Cusco or Arequipa you can take a bus to Puno. In Puno, you can book a trip to visit the floating reed island of Uros for a cultural meeting with Peru’s aboriginal people. The Uros tribe predates the Incan civilization and still live on the highest commercially navigable lake in the world at an altitude of 12500 feet (3,810 meters). The Taquileños, who inhabit the rocky Taquile Island here are recognized as masters of yarn, weaving, and textiles, with traditions that pre-date the Incas. It is beautiful but it is best to miss the cold and rain by visiting during the months of April, May, September, and October. Don’t forget to take in the incredible starry skies at night here… and use the excuse that it might assist with avoiding altitude sickness to drink copious amounts of hot coca tea.
D is for Desert
The desert village of Huacachina, just outside Ica, hugs a small natural lake with hulking sand dunes surrounding it from all sides. Extremely fast dune buggy rides and sandboarding have become rather popular.
E is for Eating
Yes, it is a gourmand’s dream. Peru’s cuisine has much to offer to the brave. You may try Cuy (guinea pig) which is very popular in the highland towns.
If eating pets make you queasy then you can try tasting each of the 3,800 potatoes that have been growing in the Andes for 10000 years.
L is for Lima
When you have had enough of the museums, beautiful cathedrals, catacombs, tasty traditional Peruvian cuisine (try the ceviche), electric nightlife and endless shopping… you must take in the view of the Pacific from the Miraflores bluffs.
The Lunahuana offers white water rafting and vineyards. South America’s deepest cave and the pre-Colombian adobe buildings of Tarma are nearby.
M is for Mummies
The Chachapoyan (people of the clouds) have left an awe-inspiring collection of sophisticated hilltop fortifications and roundhouse remains, but it is the way they carefully preserved their dead that has intrigued archeologists and travelers alike.
Several caches of mummies have been found in extraordinarily inaccessible spots, high up in the cliffs and in underground vaults.
P is for Puzzle
Take a tiny plane from Lima, Ica, and Nazca to see the ancient geoglyphs in the Nazca Desert Plains. You may also elect to take the 90-minute flight from Pisco Airport to save 4 hours of travel time.
Called the Nazca Line, they range from wildlife to geometric designs. To this day no-one knows conclusively how the Nazca Lines were created.
A popular theory is that the lines were created by the Nazca people who predated the Incas by as much as 2,000 years. The extreme environment minimized erosion through the years to keep the lines intact.
Of course, Karl Sagan reckoned they were written by spacemen. See it for yourself and let us know which theory works better for you.
R is for Rainbows
The diverse beauty of the Andes is never more apparent than when you look at the Rainbow Mountains, located just outside of Cusco.
S is for the Sacred Valley
The Sacred Valley stretching along the Urubamba River from Pisac to Ollantaytambo. Here you can river raft, go horseback riding, mountain biking and hiking. Time your visit for a Tuesday, Thursday or Sunday, to enjoy the Chinchero market (which isn’t as touristy as the more famous Pisac market), and the adjacent textile cooperative for a spot of shopping.
W is for Wildlife
The Galápagos of Peru, the Islas Ballestas are home to many rare birds, including pelicans, penguins, cormorants, Peruvian boobies, and Inca terns. It’s also common to spot sea lions, turtles, dolphins, and whales in the park. It is even possible to swim with the sea lions.
T is for Trekking
The Inca Trail is famous for very good reasons. A four-day walk along stone Inca stairways and past deserted villages and fields terraced onto sheer Andean slopes.
There is also the popular Choquequirao Trail alternative or the ‘people’s trail’ of the Lares Trek.
The Salkantay Trek is higher and longer with flabbergasting scenery across 15 eco-systems. You can even do it on horseback.
An overnight trekking or sightseeing tour from Arequipa (the second largest and arguably the friendliest city in Peru) will deliver you through volcano country, over heights of 16076 foot (4,900 meters) to the spectacular scenery of the lush Colca Valley. And this Canyon which is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon is worth the walk. Look out for the rare Andean Condor with their eye-catching 10.5 foot (3.2 meter) wingspan.
Stay in one of the mountain villages. In the town of Chivay, you can enjoy natural hot springs and dramatic views. The Canyon is best to visit between March and June.
And then there is the one that only the serious adventure junkies do. In Huarez, 261 miles (420 km) north of Lima, you will find the gateway to the highest range of the Peruvian Andes. Cordillera Blanca is famous for snowcapped peaks and glaciers including Huascarán, the highest mountain in Peru at 22,205 ft (6,768 meters) and the third highest in the Western Hemisphere. A classic trek from Llanganuco to Santa Cruz runs along a tumbling river angling upward into uninterrupted views of the pyramid of Taulliraju. The Cordillera Huayhuash present ardent trekkers with some of the most challenging and remote mountaineering experiences in the world.
Z is for Zip line
It isn’t the longest zip line in the world any more… but it is the only one that runs over the Sacred Valley.