Location: Cusco / Peru
Duration: 4 Days – 3 Nights
Places to visit: Wayllabamba, Wiñaywayna, Machupicchu
1. Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu, the lost city of the Incas and one of the seven wonders of the world, is the most essential place to visit in Peru. This ancient Inca citadel, remained for centuries hidden between the mountains and the thick vegetation, until it was discovered by the American explorer Hiram Bingham in 1911.
Machu Picchu is located about 130 kilometers from Cusco, above 2,500 meters of altitude between the peaks Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu, two magnificent viewpoints of the ruins, to which you can climb, taking out the corresponding entrance next to the ruins.
Cuzco, declared a World Heritage Site, the most beautiful city in America and our favorite in Peru. Capital of the Inca Empire in some of the colonial buildings you can see Inca remains on its walls, such as the twelve-angle stone.
The Plaza de Armas is the epicenter of the city, in which its cathedral stands out, a place chosen by many inhabitants to spend a few hours in the afternoon, enjoying the life of Cuzco.
Other of the great attractions of the city are strolling through the beautiful artisan neighborhood of San Blas, getting lost in the San Pedro market, seeing the Inca remains of the Temple of the Moon or entering the Santo Domingo Convent, built on the Temple of the sun.
If you have more time, it is worth doing a walking route to see the Inca ruins of Tambomachay, Pukapukara, Qenqo and the spectacular fortress of Sacsayhuaman, which are very close to the city.
Travel and enter the jungle from Iquitos or Puerto Maldonado in the Amazon of Peru
Iquitos can only be reached by boat or by plane from Lima, so being more isolated will allow you to experience the most authentic Amazon, although as we mentioned before, the price is more expensive.
In this area, the lodges are located in the middle of the Amazon jungle and all have a transfer service in small rafts from Iquitos, although you must bear in mind that the journey can last several hours.
The days at the lodge will be spent enjoying the wildest nature, doing walking routes through the jungle to see the fauna and flora, other times by raft through its narrow rivers and a night tour to see the shyest animals.
From beautiful Arequipa you can do one of the best excursions in Peru, through the Colca Valley and thus be able to see the flight of its most famous bird, the condor.
During the bus trip to the valley from Arequipa you pass through heights of between 4000 and 5000 meters, so it is highly recommended to chew coca leaves to avoid suffering from the dreaded altitude sickness or soroche.
During the journey of about 4 hours you will see landscapes that seem from another world, with snow-capped volcanoes and large plains where alpacas and vicuñas roam freely.
During the way back you can enjoy the incredible viewpoints of the canyon and some traditional town like Chivay, which will be the best end point of the trip.
Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world, is located very close to the city of Puno at an altitude of 3,800 meters. This immense lake, in which its calm blue waters blend into the sky, is one of the most essential places to see in Peru.
To tour the lake and visit the islands of Uros and Taquile from Puno you can take a boat in the port, from where just over 5 kilometers from the pier you will find the Island of Iros, built with totora, a typical aquatic plant of the area.
6.Paracas National Reserve and the Ballestas Islands
Just under 4 hours by bus from Lima is the Paracas National Reserve, located next to the Peruvian coast and another of the best places to see in Peru. This national reserve forms a unique ecosystem in the world, which combines a desert area with a great marine diversity due to the great abundance of food in the form of plankton.
It is advisable to visit this protected natural area with a guide, especially so as not to miss places such as the red beach, fossil deposits, the fauna and the archaeological remains of the ancient Paracas Culture, explained by an expert, which will bring you much closer to the history of this area of the country.
Very close to Paracas is another of the places to visit in Peru, the Ballestas Islands, small rocky islands that on excursions are surrounded by small boats that leave from the Paracas pier to see its large number of birds, the colony of Humboldt penguins and sea lions.
Arequipa, known as the white city and built above 2,000 meters of altitude, in the desert mountains of the Andes.
Our favorite place in the city is the Santa Catalina monastery, a small citadel with pretty streets, houses and cloisters where you can get lost for hours.
Other of its essentials in Arequipa are the Plaza de Armas with its Cathedral, the Church of the Company and its cloisters, the Casa del Moral and the viewpoint of Carmen Alto or Yanahuara, with magnificent visits of the city and the Misti volcano.
A good option to learn about the history of the city is to book a tour with a guide in Spanish in which you will also go up to its spectacular viewpoints.
8. Huacachina Oasis
Located about 5 kilometers from the city of Ica, is the photogenic Oasis of Huacachina, another of the places that enter all routes through the country and that is on the list of the essentials to visit in Peru.
This oasis located in the middle of the coastal desert, with emerald green waters and surrounded by palm trees, is one of the few natural oases left in all of America.
The oasis has a hotel infrastructure to spend the night and many leisure activities such as a buggy ride through the desert, practicing sandboarding from its high dunes or simply walking to the top of a dune to contemplate the beautiful sunset over the oasis.
The Huacachina Oasis is located about 80 kilometers from Paracas and you can get from Lima by bus from the Cruz del Sur station to Ica and there take a taxi to the oasis.
One of the great archaeological mysteries of history is found in the arid Nazca desert. Between the years 700 a.C. and 200 AD the Nazca culture developed in this area, in which its inhabitants created the Nazca Lines, removing the red stones and leaving the white sandstone underneath, thus forming huge geoglyphs with human, animal or geometric figures, only visible from the air.
Many theories, from a huge calendar to religious ceremonies to the visitation of extraterrestrials, have been written about the reasons why these huge figures were created, without reaching any definitive conclusion or demonstrable theory today.
The only way to see the figures is to fly over the Nazca lines by plane from its small airport located next door. The flight, because of the wind and the pilot’s maneuvers, is used to being moved so it is advisable not to have breakfast before, have something for dizziness and go prepared with the bag that they will give you when you climb.
Other visits that are very worthwhile in Nazca is the Chauchilla Cemetery, a necropolis from pre-Inca times, which is a perfect complement to the overflight of the Nazca Lines.
10. Sacred Valley
Between Písac and Ollantaytambo, on the banks of the Urubamba River, is the famous Sacred Valley of the Incas. Due to its climate and geography, this fertile valley was one of the main sources of food supply of the Inca empire where the archaeological ruins of several Inca settlements remain and where you can also visit several traditional towns from the colonial era.
Pisac with its artisan market and the Inca archaeological remains located on a mountain is one of the most famous places in the sacred valley and that we advise you, you cannot miss in Peru.
Other of its essentials are the fortress of Ollantaytambo, the town of Chinchero, the salt mines of Maras and Moray, one of the agricultural research centers of the Inca empire.
The best way to visit the Sacred Valley is from Cuzco by taxi or by booking a tour with a guide in Spanish so as not to miss any detail of one of the most incredible areas of the country.