Peru is a favorite among travelers for its food, hiking, and friendly people. It’s an incredibly diverse country where you can hike in the mountains, visit the Amazon, relax at the pristine beaches, and sandboard in a desert oasis. Here are 10 incredible things you must do in Peru!
1. Visit Machu Picchu
There’s not much I need to say about one of the world’s most famous sites. The scenery and history of the Inca citadel are spectacular, and it’s the ultimate prize after learning about the history of the Incas in the Sacred Valley. If you’ve got the energy, make the steep climb to Huayna Picchu for even better views.
2. Hike to Laguna Humantay
This might just be the most beautiful place in the country. The blue lagoon at the base of snow-capped mountains does not disappoint. There are plenty of tours from Cusco that bring you to the trailhead for the 75-minute hike to this spectacle.
3. Learn About the Guerrilla Conflict
The Place of Memory, Tolerance, and Social Inclusion is an impactful museum in Lima covering the conflict between the Shining Path guerrillas and the government. The free museum is a must-visit to learn the recent history of Peru. It’s all in Spanish, but you can email the museum to arrange a guide.
4. Get off-the-Beaten-Path in the Sacred Valley
Cusco is a tourist hotspot, but the good news is there are still plenty of incredible places where you can get away from the crowds. Hop on a colectivo and within one hour you can find yourself on a hike through a village or alone at an archeological site.
The Maras-Moray hike near Ollantaytambo is my personal favorite, and Huchuy Qosqo is a fantastic hike along Inca trails where you won’t see a soul. For those looking for a day off from hiking, check out Tipón and Pikillacta archeological sites.
5. Eat All the Ceviche in Lima
Lima is a foodie paradise and ceviche is the cream of the crop. A couple of fantastic ceviche spots are Al Toke Pez and Punto Azul.
6. Go Sandboarding in a Desert Oasis
Few things are more fun than flying down sand dunes at high speeds. Spend a day in the desert oasis of Huacachina for the thrilling dune buggy ride, sandboarding, and spectacular sunsets.
7. Hike to Rainbow Mountain
A must-visit not only for the rainbow mountain but for the surrounding scenery which is just as impressive. There will be crowds, but if you’re acclimated and in good shape, you can surpass them. The 4 km hike to the 5,036-meter high viewpoint takes 90 minutes on average, but for some, it will take less than 1-hour.
8. LEarn About the Lima People
The Huaca Pucllana adobe ruins date back to 200 A.D. and they are phenomenal! The archeological site is in the heart of Lima and the excavation took place within the last 50 years. The entrance is 15 soles which includes a 90-minute tour detailing the fascinating history of the Lima people.
9. Visit the Santa Catalina Monastery
The laidback city of Arequipa has a monastery that has been home to cloistered nuns since the 16th-century. The walled monastery feels like a city within a city, and the red walls make for great photo opportunities. It opens at 9 AM and it’s best to go early for optimal lighting to appreciate the colors.
10. Spend an Afternoon in the Chaotic Chinatown
Lima’s Chinatown dates back to the 19th-century when Chinese workers arrived as cheap labor to build the railroads. Nowadays, this small neighborhood is pure chaos. Mornings are calm, but when the afternoon rolls around Barrio Chino comes alive.
Shouting vendors line the sidewalks and the overflowing pedestrian-only streets allow you to take in the surroundings as you’re forced to walk at a snail’s pace. To get a break from the action, eat lunch at one of the delicious chifa restaurants in the neighborhood.
That wraps up the list of 10 incredible things you must do in Peru. Next, check out the top destinations in Peru!