Peru is becoming more and more popular each year thanks to the amazing and diverse destinations within the country. So much more than just its endless natural beauty and spectacular landscapes, Peru is plentiful in tradition and folklore, and is guaranteed to captivate your heart from the moment that you step foot in the country. Discover the Top 10 Peru destinations of 2023 in all three regions; the Coast, the Highlands and the Jungle, and experience the 3 different types of weather that help to characterize each region. Sit back, relax, and read up on these Peru destinations while learning about the best things to see in Peru.
For anyone exploring the wonders of South America, a trip to Cusco is all but compulsory. This ancient city is one of the most important historic cities in Peru, and so a must on your list of Peru destinations. If you are on the hunt for adventure, culture and traditional peruvian food, this is the perfect place for you. Machu Picchu and the Lost City of the Incas is definitely a bucket list item that you need to check off during your trip to Cusco. The citadel of machu picchu is hidden high in the Andes mountains, and showcases the architectural prowess of the Incas.
Experiencing the Inca Trail, or any of the treks to Machu Picchu, is a must for those who love hiking. The Inca trail path follows an original network of Inca transportation trails. Its beautiful landscapes and local animals (llamas and viscachas, a kind of ancient rabbit) makes Machu Picchu one of the most interesting places to visit in the whole country.
There is another place that you simply cannot miss out during your visit to Cusco; the Rainbow Mountain. It’s called “rainbow” for the waves of colour that decorate its hills, these colors are a result of different minerals and eroding sedimentary rocks. The colors of the mountain range from turquoise to gold, from rust red to pink. Here, it’s like the rainbow is at your feet. There are one day hikes available to reach the mountain, or you pass by on the Ausangate trek; both of these options are amazing.
Known as the “White City”, Arequipa has plenty of great things to add to your trip. Enjoy the city by foot, and spend a little time delighting your palate with local dishes like rocoto relleno (stuffed peppers), or attractive local deserts such as queso helado (a special ice-cream).
No list of things to do in Arequipa would be complete without visiting the magnificent, yawning Colca Canyon. This place is another must for any hiking lover. If you’re planning on doing a trek in Arequipa, it is recommended to spend at least one day in the city to acclimatize to the altitude. Colca Canyon is a great place to get a glimpse of the majestic Condor, the bird of Peru, in an otherworldly landscape.
Lake Titicaca in Puno is home to the famous man-made islands that sit on top of the crystallised water, also known as the Uros Floating Islands. They were created completely out of buoyant Totora reeds, a bulrush sedge that grows on the edge of the lake, stacked on top of each other. The people living there are continuously adding new layers to the top as the bottom disintegrates over the years. Take your time to visit the one-of-a-kind traditional reed houses built on top of the islands, and enjoy this welcoming community along with the endless beauty of the magnificent Lake Titicaca. Discover for yourself why this is a must see destination in Peru.
Peru’s capital, Lima, definitely deserves a couple of days to get to know. Spend some time wandering around the historical center and the Plaza de Armas; it is full of historic wonders and museums, taking a tour is recommended so that you don’t miss anything. Make sure not to miss the opportunity to sample local food and drink, like the classic pisco sour or ceviche while you’re here.
If you’re looking for fun and parties, Barranco is the perfect place for you. There are plenty of bars, theaters and art galleries to include during your visit, and an abundance of street art decorating the walls. Take the time to get to know this old bohemian neighborhood, you wont regret it.
If you like paragliding, or want to try it out, Malecón of Miraflores is the place for you. There are outings available to help you experience this adventure over the Pacific Ocean. Finish up on the perfect afternoon by watching the sunset over the ocean.
Paracas is a great spot for those who are looking for a break for a few days. Rich in history, wildlife, and peace and quiet, it’s a perfect spot to relax. A day trip to Islas Ballestas is a must on your visit. The islands are known locally as “the poor man’s Galapagos” and can be reached by boat from Paracas port. They are the home of an abundance marine life and variety of bird species, and are comprised of craggy cliffs and huge rock formations. This makes them the perfect place for hundreds of sea lions, endangered Humboldt penguins and pelicans to call home. Enjoy the trip out to sea; the boat will maintain a small distance from the islands, but you are sure to see loads of wildlife coming up close. You will find this to be the perfect time to take nice photos of dolphins or the noisy sea lions resting on the rocks and swimming around the boat, everyone loves it!
If this is not enough wildlife for you, then take a visit to the Paracas National Reserve, it is guaranteed to make your trip even better. It’s even possible to camp inside the reserve.
Located just 4 hours south of Lima, close to the city of Ica, Huacachina is a small desert town built around a perfect, natural oasis. It’s a wonderful place to escape from routine and stress. Huacachina is very famous due to its huge sand dunes, and travelers arrive here in droves to do one of the must-do activities in Peru: sandboarding on the dunes.
To get to the dunes one must first sign up for a dune buggy tour. This is an unforgettable experience where local guides drive through the dunes in incredibly powerful desert cars. The tour gets even better when you arrive at the top of these huge dunes; the views are unforgettable and, even better, the sandboarding is about to start.
Surfing the dunes is not the only thing to do in this area. Ica is just five minutes away by car and is famous for its Pisco and wine vineyards. It is known all over Peru as the home of Pisco, even with a small town in the province adopting the name. Don’t miss out the Vineyard tour and discovering the history of the drink, seeing how it is made and trying a few samples of the national beverage.
Located in Northern Peru, Chachapoyas has everything in one place: culture, adventure, food and fun. Spend a full day discovering the wonderful Kuelap Fortress; also known as the “Machu Picchu of the North”. The magnificent citadel consists of more than 400 constructions built by the Chachapoyas culture. This ancient complex is attracting more tourists each year thanks to the new cable car system that offers a unique experience: an aerial view of the archaeological site.
If you’re a real adventure lover, don’t miss Gocta Waterfalls, considered the third highest waterfall in the world. Keep in mind that the hike to get to the waterfalls is about 5 or 6 hours (there and back), so be sure to take plenty of water and some food with you.
The mysterious Nazca Lines are located in the arid Peruvian desert province of Nazca, just a few hours from Lima. They were first discovered in the late of 1920s by the peruvian archeologist Toribio Mejia Xesspe and further explored in the 1930’s as air traffic increased.
The origin of these enigmatic drawings is still a mystery: there are plenty of theories and beliefs, one of the most popular of which suggests that the lines were made by aliens, or made in an effort to contact aliens. Here, you can enjoy the many different kinds of enormous etchings with different designs spread over 80 km of dessert. You will see animals like the condor, hummingbirds and a pelican; different designs of flowers and plants, objects and anthropomorphic figures. Don’t miss the opportunity to discover this exquisite freak of design.
This is a must on your list of Peru destinations. Perfect for those who love beaches, laying on the sand and getting suntanned, Mancora offers beautiful sunny days almost all year round. Even though Mancora is a small town, you’ll find nice cafés, restaurants and wide variety budget hotels and hostels. If you’re planning to surf, the recommended season is from November to February, when the water is warm and waves are good for beginners. While visiting the coast you must sample some of the traditional favorite, ceviche. It is fresh fish marinated in lime and chilli, accompanied by salad and corn.
Located in the north jungle of Peru, Tarapoto is one of the most interesting destinations in the country. For a one day adventure, just 20 minutes from Tarapoto visit Ahuashiyacu waterfalls. Here, you can swim in the natural pools and discover the local wildlife. Don’t forget to bring you own food, as there are no restaurants around.
If you’re looking for something cultural to do, then a visit to Lamas Castle (in Lamas) will show you a meeting of two worlds: the European world and the world of Native Americans. There is also a town center just down the hill from here, with a few market stalls and indigenous celebrations.
Once you are back in the main town of Tarapoto there is a famous street called Calle de las Piedras (or Stones Street) that you can’t miss. It’s loaded with plenty of bars, like Stonewasi or Montañitas, that will make your stay even better with a couple of traditional drinks that are guaranteed to start any party. Just a few blocks away, you’ll find many locals eating typical Tarapotian food, like Juanes or Tacacho con Cecina, all at affordable prices. Once you’ve lined your stomach ready for an evening of partying, Anaconda and Pachanga are the popular discotheques in Tarapoto; they are open from Wednesday to Sunday.
These are some of the best things to see in Peru. If you’re on the hunt for beautiful places to see, archeological destinations to discover or just places to have fun and make new friends, you’ll find everything you want in our list of the top 10 Peru destinations of 2023. Start planning your next trip to Peru now!