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For most of you, your Peruvian journey will begin in the bustling city of Lima, the home of Peru’s major international airport. Here you will witness the hint of Spanish colonialism embodied with modern bohemian chic vibes.
Take your time to tour the cobblestone streets, magnificent street art, and food stalls. Don’t skip out on the fresh potato chips and street corn!
The Basilica and Covent of San Francisco is a historically significant church in Lima. Built in 1535, it’s remarkable for its beautiful Baroque-style architecture and vast catacombs located underneath the church.
These crypts of Lima are the largest in the entire South American Continent and second largest in the world- just behind the catacombs of Paris. Also located in the church is an impressive book collection and detailed artwork.
I’ll be the first to admit that I thought the Amazon Rainforest was only accessible from Brazil. But did you know that you can also visit the beautiful and biodiverse world of the Amazon Jungle from Peru?
Puerto Maldonado is a small jungle town in Southern Peru, close to the Brazilian and Bolivian borders. Book yourself a stay at one of the many jungle lodge locations and spend a few days immersed right in the heart of the jungle!
Be sure to check out:
3-Day Amazon Jungle Tour at Refugio Amazonas in Puerto Maldonado
5 Day-Puerto Maldonado Amazon Eco-Lodge from Cusco
During your stay in Puerto Maldonado, make sure to visit the Tambopata National Reserve. This park in Peru spans vast areas of biodiverse savannahs and rainforests.
Rich in wildlife, it’s home to many colorful parrots, macaws, and monkeys in its tall palm trees. In the wetlands, you’ll be visiting the home of river otters, black caimans, turtles, and so much more.
Cusco’s main square, named the Plaza de Armas, is a hustling and bustling vibrant space marking the city’s center. The plaza features cobblestone pathways, colorful gardens, street vendors, and the iconic Cusco Cathedral and Church La Campania de Jesus in the backdrop. It’s a spectacle to see!
On a side note, if you do plan on hiking Machu Picchu, Cusco is an excellent town to spend a few days in order to acclimate to the higher altitude.
Peruvian cuisine is famously known all around the world for its intense flavor, variety of spices, the richness of aromas, and freshness. If there’s one dish that put Peru on a foodie’s map, it’s their ceviche.
Peruvian ceviche is a delicious, raw fish fare that always hits the spot after walking around in the warm, high-altitude sunlight. If visiting Peru, this is a dish that should not be missed.
No trip to Peru is complete without trying the famous Peruvian pisco sour. A pisco sour is an alcoholic cocktail widely enjoyed in Peru and Chile.
Personally, I didn’t care for the beverage solely because of the egg-white foam at the top of the glass, but it is a must-try when visiting Peru. The drink itself was conjured in the early 1920s in Lima. It quickly became the cocktail of choice of upper-class Peruvian elitists.
If you’re planning a trip to Peru, chances are you’ve got “take a llama selfie” on your bucket list. If spending some time in Cusco, I highly recommend visiting the Awana Kancha Alpaca Farm located just 30 minutes outside Cusco’s city center.
You’ll be able to meet and even feed llamas, alpacas, and vicunas. Awana Kancha Alpaca Farm is a cultural sanctuary presented as a “living museum of the Andes.”
Here, in addition to seeing and feeding animals native to Peru, you’ll also get to see firsthand how authentic Peruvian textiles are made. You’ll take a tour viewing the ancient techniques of the Incans and learn how the natural materials are utilized to create rich colors and textures for various materials such as ponchos, scarves, purses, hats, wallets, and even blankets. The techniques you’ll see have been passed down from generation to generation.
There is a gift shop located here as well where you can purchase the items that the women make. Making a purchase here helps support their way of life and continues to preserve their craft for generations to come.
Pisac is a vastly ancient city located less than an hour away from Cusco. It’s perfect for a quick day trip.
The Ollantaytambo ruins are located at the opposite end of the town of Pisac and are a must-see set of Incan ruins. This place served as a fortress and the main headquarters of the Incan rebellion against the Spanish invaders. You’ll see many of its buildings damaged or destroyed.
It is even said that Ollantaytambo is the last Incan town in Peru. Being here is like being transported back into the Incan era!
Ollantaytambo base camp may be small in geographical terms, but this small village town is packed with a bohemian attitude! You’ll see artisan shops and cafes scattered throughout the streets and the roaring Urubamba river humming in the background.
Most travelers only make a quick stop here before heading to Machu Picchu, but this is a perfect place to stop and explore the Sacred Valley around.
Within the village, you’ll feel like you’ve booked a retreat with colorful narrow alleyways, locals handcrafting beautiful pieces of clothing, and preparing fresh meals.
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I’ve visited Peru a couple of times and loved it, your list brings back memories. We didn’t visit Tambopata National Reserve in either of our trips, so that’s one for me to note for next time!
Isn’t Peru such a dream?!? I see why people make multiple trips there. If you go back, definitely check out the Tambopata National Reserve. You won’t be disappointed!
Peru is still on my bucket list. I hope to realize this dream. It’s an exciting article with a list of activities in Peru besides Machu Picchu. For sure I would like to visit Lima and stay in an Amazon jungle lodge. As a wildlife lover, I hope to see Tambopata National Reserve as well.
Yes, Peru is an absolute dream! I hope to go back one day with my husband. He wasn’t able to go this time around because he’s recovering from a motorcycle accident. If you’re a nature lover, I definitely recommend the Amazon jungle lodge in Puerto Maldonado. It was a highlight of mine!
Wow, so many things to do! I eould see the lamas and alpaca farms. Snd taste that delicious ceviche!
Peru is one of the places on my bucket list that I still haven’t visited. When I think of Peru, I always think of Machu Picchu, but now I see there a lot more things to do there. When I visited Colombia I did try the Pisco Sour, but I’m not sure if it is the same style as those in Peru.
Yes, so much more! And I haven’t been to Colombia so I wouldn’t know how their pisco sours compare. Hopefully someday!