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Best attractions in Peru: Top 20

There is a mysterious country in South America. It is special in that it holds the mysteries of ancient civilizations, and on its territory there are many monuments belonging to the era of the great Inca Empire. Now the main question: what to see in Peru? That’s what we are going to find out. Below you will find the most important sights of Peru.

What is the first thing to see in Peru?

As in any country in this republic there are the best sights and the ones you can leave for later. Those who possess such information, a great time is ensured.

1. Machu Picchu

View of Mount Huayna Picchu and the Ruins of Machu Picchu

A must for any tourist coming to Peru is to get acquainted with one of the specimens representing America’s most amazing structures of ancient times. The unique place is steeped in historical splendor and identity - the lost city is covered with many mysteries and legends. It was once a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was named the New Wonder of the World and is on list of the most beautiful places in the world. The city was discovered in 1911 by a professor from Yale University. It is interesting to know that Machu Picchu is not the name of the city itself, it is only a mountain peak that is located nearby. The settlement itself is divided into sectors, each assigned a different role, namely cemetery, dungeon, temples and residential area.

Official website:

2. Colca Canyon

Panorama of Colca Canyon

This landmark of Peru is a valley of a river flowing in the south of the republic, namely 160 km southwest of the village of Arequipa. The name comes from the language of the Quechua Indians and literally means “granary”. In the valley you can see many stepped terraces - andenes, they show that the ancient peoples of Peru actively developed agriculture. A trip to the canyon is sure to be memorable, if only because it is in the ring of high volcanoes, some even over 6 thousand meters high. Also, the Condor cross and birds of the American Vulture family flying over the canyon attract attention.

3. Nazca Desert

Mysterious lines in Peru's Nazca Desert

What to see in Peru in 1 day? A great option is one of the most amazing places with a touch of mysticism on the entire planet Earth. The desert is world famous for its giant mysterious lines. If you look at them from a bird’s eye view, you get the impression that quite realistic images are created by the efforts of a master of gigantic proportions. Even more striking is the number of these drawings, there are more than 30 identifiable drawings, about 700 pcs. of geometric shapes, and the lines and stripes in general are countless. It is one of the most visited sites in Peru, and people from all over the world come to see it.

4. Lake Titicaca

Scape of the high mountain Lake Titicaca

It is located in the highlands, namely on the border between Bolivia and the described republic. The lake has not only an unusual name, but by and large it is a piece of the ancient ocean, raised to a dizzying height. This explains the oceanic fauna, the lake is home to a large variety of marine invertebrates, even sharks are no exception. The area is among the best attractions, because in the vicinity of the lake, as well as on its islands, there are many ruins of ancient settlements. The main city of the described region is Puno.

5. The Floating Islands of Ouros

One of the floating reed islands of the Uros tribe

We continue to describe places of interest in the Republic of Peru. As mentioned above, there are many islands in the high mountain lake area. So, on them live the Uros tribes, there they moved from the shores of Titicaca to escape the oppression of the new rulers. For this purpose, they built large rafts using reeds. To this day, the tribes live on floating islands, where they are engaged in fishing, duck hunting, and egg gathering. Even the cane, namely its core, is used as a food. Guides in Peru tell the guests of the country about the way of life of the local people, some islanders even show their homes and reveal the secrets of the economy.

See the beautiful places of Peru in this great video!

6. The ancient city of Pisac

The Ancient Terraces of the Incas near the city of Pisac

It is located 33 km from Cusco, namely in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, near the river Urubamba. The settlement once served as an Inca fortress. The described landmark of Peru ranks second in historical significance, it is a legendary Inca citadel between the mountains. Looking at the remains of the sturdy fortifications built at one time by the Incas, we can conclude about the high level of virtuosity of the ancient builders. On the territory of the town of Pisac there is a fortress of the same name, it is built entirely of stones, and the way to it is an endless ribbon of steps.

7. The city of Cuzco

The former capital of the Inca Empire, the city of Cusco

It was once the capital of the ancient Inca Empire, so it was decided to put the whole village on the UNESCO heritage list. Throughout the world, it is considered one of the oldest as well as the strangest. From the reviews of the city of Cusco, you can learn that it feels the spirit of American and European civilization. You get the feeling that you are walking through both the Inca settlement and the capital of the Spanish colony. As for the main attractions in Cuzco, there are several museums, almost all of them devoted to the history of civilization of the ancient people. It is worth paying attention to the local colorful market, the clothes of the locals.

8. Tucume Pyramid Valley

Tucume Pyramid Valley is an ancient religious center of Indian tribes

This landmark of Peru is a unique archaeological complex, including 26 pyramids, which reach a height of 40 meters. To get there, it is better to use air transport, the duration of the flight depends on the place of departure, it may be Lima or Trujillo. You can also give preference to ground transport, but then you will have to spend about 3 or 10 hours, again, it all depends on the point of departure. The rating of this place among tourists is quite high because many want to see with their own eyes the structures built by the Indians of Lambayeque back in 700 BC. The most striking pyramid in the valley is Huaca Larga, which attracts attention with its length reaching 700 meters. There is also a museum built in the style of the surrounding ancient structures.

9. Andean candelabra

A mysterious prehistoric geoglyph found on the Paracas Peninsula

Tours in Peru are often organized in the direction of the Paracas National Reserve. It is believed that this place was one of the first to be inhabited by an intelligent civilization. And there are also many amazing, in some ways even incomprehensible objects here. One of them is the Andean Candelabra. It is a giant geoglyph on the slope of a huge sand mountain. Looking at photos in the Internet, it seems that he just drew some giant and if wind blows, it will disappear. Geoglyph covers an area 128 m long and 100 m wide. The thickness of lines is in limits of 0,5-4 m and depth about 2 m. Agree, you would not believe that such a landmark of Peru is a reality, but it really exists.

10. Inca Trail

Tourists on the ancient Inca Trail

We are talking about an amazing hiking route, which, as the name implies, was laid out by the Incas. It leads to Machu Picchu, a real rocky path with its characteristic difficulties. This path was once used exclusively for religious purposes. Don’t know where to go in Peru? Try to overcome the Inca Trail, but only use the services of a professional guide, and also hire a porter, his usefulness you will appreciate at the end of the difficult ascent.

11. Gocta Falls

Double Cascade of Gocta Falls Elemaki

There is a province in the Republic of Peru called Chachapoyas, which means “people of the clouds.” Not long ago, a German explorer there discovered the 771-meter-high Gokta Falls, a two-stage waterfall. The name comes from a neighboring settlement located in the eastern part of the country. What to see in Peru? Described rapidly falling from the height of the stream of water is worthy of attention, because the nature surrounding it is untouched by civilization, and the local flora and fauna delight with their diversity.

12. Manu National Park

The corner of Manu National Park

The site of its formation is the confluence of two rivers, it is considered the flora and fauna capital of the world. Manu National Park is a kind of gateway to the Tambopata Reserve. It is no exaggeration to say that it is a true ecological paradise. The described landmark of Peru attracts an incredible variety of flora, wild jungle fauna. You can get there by plane, for example from Lima, Cusco.

13. The Ancient City of Chan Chan

Holes in the clay roofs of the ancient city of Chan Chan

It was founded in pre-Columbian times, and is located on the shores of the Pacific Ocean. At the time of 1300 A.D., it was one of the largest settlements on the entire continent. The official description says that 28 km² was inhabited by about 100,000 people. It can be seen that the Chimu Indians built the city for centuries, because its remains have survived to this day. When reviewing the site, note that the buildings were made of stone and clay, and the plan is represented by a clear geometric scheme.

14. Oasis of Ouacachina

Oasis of Huacachina among the dunes of the Sechura Desert of Peru

Looking at its photos, it’s hard not to agree that it’s one of the most picturesque oases. You will definitely spend an unforgettable vacation there. The peculiarity of the oasis is its surroundings of sand dunes, it seems that you are in the heart of Africa. In the settlement, built around a lake of natural origin, there are about 100 people. What to visit in Peru, specifically in the Oasis of Huacachina? The main attraction there is snowboarding, designed for the sand.

15. Lima Cathedral

Arms Square in front of the Lima Cathedral

The location of this Peruvian landmark is the historic center of Lima, namely Plaza Mayor. The construction of the temple lasted for three years from 1535. Its importance in colonial times was reflected in its enormous size. Unfortunately, earthquakes were not uncommon in the area described, the building was periodically repaired. The changes made reflected different eras of art. The recommendations of the Cathedral are very positive, it is worth seeing with your own eyes.

Sightseeing in Peru: what else to visit in Peru?

A trip to the country on the territory of South America is sure to be interesting and unforgettable, the main thing is to organize everything correctly. Knowing where to go in Peru, what to see, you are sure to spend your vacation with maximum benefit, and most importantly, take with you a baggage of bright impressions.

16. Saxahuaman Fortress

The ruins of Saxahuaman Fortress on the outskirts of Cusco

It is another mystical Inca structure located on the very outskirts of Cusco. The fortress is surrounded by three protective walls, and a solar calendar is placed in the central part. Among the ruins stand out and attract the interest of tourists pool, underground chambers, citadels, special barrels for supplies. Nowadays, a festival dedicated to the celestial solar luminary is celebrated annually on the territory of the fortress.

17. Plaza de Armas (Cusco)

Central Plaza of Cusco - Plaza de Armas

What else to visit in Peru? There are other interesting places, which include the central square. It plays a very important role in the life of the city. Cusco. Once upon a time there were swamps, they were drained and started to build on the area that had been vacated. Nowadays, all the main attractions are concentrated around the square, as well as places of entertainment, such as cafes, stores, and restaurants. It is worth paying attention to the colonial buildings, as well as elements of the Inca buildings. The square celebrates important holidays for the republic, concerts and rallies are held. In short, there really is something to see in Peru.

18. Historic Center of Arequipa

White volcanic stone structures in the center of Arequipa karlnorling

This city is deservedly considered one of the most beautiful in the Republic. It was built in the late 18th century, on the territory can be observed a large number of colorful buildings in the colonial style, they are mainly built of white volcanic stone. The old part of the city is represented by a large number of historical and architectural attractions, the main ones include ancient churches and monasteries. And you still ask what to visit in Peru?

19. Maras Salt Mines

The Maras Salt Terraces are a complex of fields created for salt mining

As a continuation of the topic of what to see in Peru, we would like to recommend to travelers a small town located on the territory of the once mighty Inca civilization. Its main highlight are the salt mines, which offer incredible views from above. They will definitely leave you with the most vivid impressions. At one time, the Incas designed entire systems of canals and wells. To this day, they are fed by water from a hot spring, saturated with minerals. The result is salt.

20. The Balestas Islands

The inhabitants of the Balestas Rock Islands

The archipelago is also known as the Lesser Galapagos, with very few similarities. The rocks on the described island have a different color, it is reddish underneath and white on top. On the islands you can see a huge variety of feathered inhabitants, whether you are lucky or not, depends on the time of year. What to see in Peru on Balestas Island? Keep in mind, we are talking about the world’s largest colony of sea lions, which live on protected local beaches.

In conclusion, I would like to say that we should not forget about the need to book a room in advance. Hotels in Peru is enough, read their characteristics can be found on special information sites.

Read also about the best attractions of Chile and be inspired for your next trip to the Americas!