Peru Travel Tips

5 Cities in Peru You Should Not Miss

We have gathered 5 of the most interesting cities in Peru that you simply can’t miss. Keep reading to learn everything about these magical places!

Peru is known because of its natural wonders, cultural expression and history. We have gathered 5 of the most interesting cities in Peru that you simply can’t miss. Keep reading to learn everything about these magical places!

Among all the things to do in Peru, there are some cities that you can’t leave behind during your trip through this South American gem.

Apart from history, Peru is also known for being home to Machu Picchu, one of the New 7 Wonders of the World, as well for its natural wonders since this country comprehends beaches, deserts, jungle, a significant part of the Andes mountain range, and even more, which makes it one of the countries with the greatest biological diversity and mineral resources in the world.

Here you’ll find information about the most picturesque cities that will surely make your trip an unforgettable experience.

Cusco

things to do in cusco

Also known as the Imperial City of Cusco, this magnificent city is located southwest of Peru at 3,399 meters above sea level, and it’s considered to be one of the most important cities of the country because of its cultural expression, and most of all, its history.

Unquestionably, the Cusco region gathers the most important tourist attractions within the country, not only for being home to Machu Picchu but because of the many different archeological sites and natural wonders, such as the Sacred Valley of the Incas and the Rainbow Mountain. Besides Cusco’s adjacencies, the Historic Center of Cusco gathers the most significant attractions within the city, such as:

  • The Qorikancha Temple – Also known as the Temple of the Sun, it was a sacred place to the Incas adorned with gold ornaments. It is located a few blocks away from Plaza de Armas, and it was constructed during the XIII century. Unfortunately, all of these ornaments were robbed during colonization. This location remains as a paid tourist attraction which can be visited on a guided tour through the city or on your own.
  • Saqsayhuaman – It is an Inca Ceremonial Fortress built between the XV and XVI centuries. It is one of the largest and heaviest structures found inside the Cusco region. These ruins blend harmonically with the landscapes obtaining a sacred altar to nature. It is one of the main tourist attractions in Cusco, worth visiting because of the history and the role it played during the colonization. For visiting this attraction you must get the tourist ticket which includes many other places.
  • The Main Cathedral in Cusco – It was built in 1539 and it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1983. The complex expands more than 3,900 square meters. This is one of the main tourist attractions within the Historical Center of Cusco. For visiting this and other attractions within the historic center, we highly recommend going on a tour so you don’t miss any details and get to know even more places.

Pisac

pisac sacred valley of the incas

Pisac is located just a few hours away from the city of Cusco, and is one of the main villages of the Sacred Valley, making it unmissable on any traveler itinerary. In Pisac, you can find artisan markets, incredible ruins, festivities, and more.

  • The Archeological Site of Pisac – It is one of the most visited places in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, involving a lot of history and magical landscapes. Located at 33 kilometers from the Imperial City, this archeological site lies on top of a hill across the valley. The purpose of this construction was military, religious, and agricultural.
  • Pisac Market – An exceptional market of handmade artisan goods takes place in Pisac main plaza, there are stalls every day except Tuesday. Thursdays and Sundays are the big market days. The colour and variety of souvenirs they offer is unmatched by any other city in Peru.
  • Virgen de Carmen Festivity – Every year in July, the village of Pisac has a huge festival to celebrate and honour the Virgen de Carmen. Where they do many activities, such as, horse race, dance groups and costumes galore. It is a spectacular display of colour and heritage that lasts for days.
  • San Pedro / Ayahuasca – San Pedro is a cactus that grows in the Andes. It has been used as a medicine for thousands of years. Ayahuasca is another medicine from the Jungle that is known as “The Purge.” Both medicines are known for their cleansing properties and also they can be strong hallucinogenic agents. There are a host of retreats and “chaman” local medicine people based in the valley that provide ceremonies and encounters with either San Pedro or Ayahuasca.

Arequipa

arequipa city peru

Arequipa is one of the most important cities of Peru. The so-called White City gathers the most exciting activities to do in the southamerican gem. Besides being home to the 2nd Deepest Canyon in the World, this region comprehends volcanos, sanctuaries, museums, history, and traditions.

Unquestionably, the Colca Canyon is one of the main tourist attractions in the city of Arequipa, but there is more to know in this authentic and historical region of the Andes. Among all the things to do in Arequipa the most important are:

  • Santa Catalina Monastery – The Historic Centre of Arequipa is well-known because of its colonial architecture, mostly characterized by the use of white and pink ashlar from the Chachani and Misti Volcanoes in the structures. The Santa Catalina Monastery is a well-preserved colonial gem, which dates back to the late 1500s, this massive structure covers 20,000 km2, located a few blocks away from the main Cathedral of Arequipa. Nowadays, this masterpiece remains a paid tourist attraction, and it’s open to the public from Monday to Sunday.
  • The Yanahuara Viewpoint – Located more than 2.300 meters above sea level, and 2 kilometers away from the main square of Arequipa, this is the perfect location to cast a view to the whole city and its surroundings. From the Yanahuara viewpoint, you will be able to appreciate all the white city, and thanks to its high-rise location, you’ll glance at the mighty Chachani, Pichu Pichu, and Misti Volcanoes.
  • Colca Canyon – This is the main attraction in Arequipa, famous for being the second deepest canyon in the world. The Colca Canyon has an altitude of 3,500 meters above sea level, It is home to the Andean Condor, and has one of the best landscapes you could ever find in South America. To visit the Colca Canyon we highly recommend going on a guided tour since getting there could be a hassle and you could get to know even more places than going on your own.

Huacachina

huacachina oasis peru

This is the only Oasis in South America, a lagoon that lies 15 minutes away from the small town of Ica. Huacachina is known for being the perfect destination for those wanting to escape from Lima since it gathers adventure sports such as Dune Buggy and Sandboarding.

  • Dune Buggy – Drive through the dunes in a buggy as if you were in a roller coaster! Without a doubt, one of the most exciting things to do in Huacachina where you’ll be able to appreciate the beautiful scenery the Huacachina desert has to offer.
  • Sandboarding – Allow yourself to experience the best activity in Huacachina. After driving through the desert you’ll be able to surf the dunes during the sunset, an activity you should not miss while visiting this magical place.
  • Pisco Vineyards – Ica is known for being home to the best and oldest Pisco distilleries in South America. Ica is located only 15 minutes away from Huacachina, learn everything about how they make Pisco, taste some of the drinks, and more!

Lima

miraflores lima peru

Last but not least, make sure to spend time in Lima, the capital of Peru. Lima is the biggest city in the country, it has more than 10 million inhabitants and comprehends many tourist attractions within the city. Lima is considered to be the Culinary Capital of the World so make sure to try its gastronomy and the best Pisco Sour you could ever find!

  • Lima’s Historic Center – Don’t miss the opportunity of visiting the Historic Center of Lima, this place gathers the most significant structures from the Colonial era. We highly recommend visiting the historic center on a guided tour since there are lots of details that you shouldn’t miss!
  • Barranco – Considered to be the bohemian and artistic district of Lima, Barranco is a picturesque neighborhood full of cultural expression, street art, souvenir markets, restaurants, and more! It is located a few minutes away from Miraflores.
  • Miraflores – This is one of the most beautiful places in Lima, it is considered to be the touristic district since most of the hotels and hostels are located in this neighborhood, as well for being the safest district in the culinary capital of the world. In Miraflores, you’ll find handcrafts markets, easy access to the beach, shopping centers, galleries, restaurants, and more.

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These are a few of the most important cities of Lima, make sure to plan your visit through Peru and include at least two of these cities that will surely make your trip an unforgettable experience.

With Peru Hop you’ll have the opportunity of exploring and getting to know even more places. Peru Hop is recognized for its flexibility, fun, and safety while traveling, make sure to know everything about the N° 1 touristic transport in Peru while you’re here.

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