PLACES YOU MUST VISIT IN PERU - THE BACKPACKING

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Friday, September 18, 2020

PLACES YOU MUST VISIT IN PERU

 


PERU

Peru is a country in South America that encompasses a section of the Amazon forest and Machu Picchu, an ancient Inca city high in the Andes. The region around Machu Picchu, including the Sacred Valley, the Inca Trail, and the colonial city of Cuzco, is rich in archaeological sites. On the arid Pacific coast of Peru is Lima, the capital, with a preserved colonial center and important collections of pre-Columbian art.

There are many essential places to see in Peru, beyond the wonderful Machu Picchu, although we cannot deny that this, by itself, already justifies a trip to one of our favorite countries. Peru is one of the most popular trips in South America, in which we will find Inca ruins, historical cities, the wild nature of the Amazon, incredible landscapes of valleys, deserts and beaches, along with one of the best gastronomies in the world, with ceviche as star dish, which will make this trip exceed all your expectations.

Here are the places you should visit if your destination is Peru

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 among the mountains and 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.

The most mystical and spectacular way to get there is by doing the Inca trail, traveling the more than 40 kilometers that in 4 days, through incredible paths and steps of ancient stones, lush forests, valleys and mountains wrapped in dense fog, will take us even the dream of many travelers.

 2. Cuzco

Cuzco, declared a World Heritage Site, is one of the most beautiful cities in America and our favorite in Peru. This ancient capital of the Inca Empire preserves very few buildings from this time, although 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.

3. Iquitos

One of the most important decisions, depending on the days available, is to include or not the Peruvian Amazon in the trip and enter the jungle from Iquitos or Puerto Maldonado.

After the experience, we have no doubts, we recommend reserving between 3 and 5 days to visit the Amazon, one of the most essential places to visit in Peru and whenever possible, both for days and for budget, to do it in the area from Iquitos.

Puerto Maldonado is more accessible and cheaper than Iquitos, although over time it has become a tourist attraction that can distort the true image of the immense and wild Amazon.

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.

4. Lake Titicaca

Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world, is located very close to the city of Puno at 3,800 meters of altitude. 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.

The houses and most of the items are made of this plant, and you can even sail on a reed boat and although we generally found it a very touristy visit, we believe that it is worth knowing its history and if you have time, it is a visit that must be made in this area of ​​the country.

 5. 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 there 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.

6. Arequipa

Arequipa, known as the white city and built above 2,000 meters of altitude, in the desert mountains of the Andes, is together with Cuzco, one of the most beautiful cities in Peru, dominated by volcanic stone houses blanca, which together with the historic center were declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

7. Oasis of Huacachina

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.

8. Nazca

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 or the visitation of extraterrestrials, have been written about the reasons why these huge figures were created, without reaching any definitive conclusion or provable 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.

9. 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 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 you don't miss any detail of one of the most incredible areas of the country.

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