Peru, a unique and beautiful country, has been one of the fastest-growing destinations due to the variety of experiences it has to offer. It really has it all, from diverse cultures and traditions to Inca ruins, to world-famous cuisine – not to mention the incredible landscapes and scenery.
Here are our 18 reasons why you should visit Peru in 2021!
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This one is a no-brainer. Ask anyone who’s been to Peru what was on top of their bucket list and the answer will always be Machu Picchu. Built as a royal retreat for the higher Inca class, it’s widely considered a place like no other due to its ruins, history, and mystical aura that is felt in the “Lost City of the Incas”. Since its discovery, it’s become South America’s top destination with millions of travelers visiting this once-Inca citadel every year.
With a massive coastline of over 1,550 miles (2,500km), Peru has plenty of impressive, beautiful beaches worth the visit. Whether you’re looking to relax in warm waters in one of the many resorts, surf the longest wave in the world or just walk along the boardwalk overviewing the ocean in Lima, Peru’s got you covered.
Covering one-third of Peru’s land, the highlands are a massive region filled with mountain ranges, valleys, ruins, and hundreds of different communities. Unbelievable landscapes fill up most of the region, and the scenery is like no other making it a trekking hotspot. Most known for the Andes mountains, the highlands are home to popular destinations such as Cusco, Arequipa, and Huaraz, among others.
Compared to the other two regions, the Amazon Rainforest takes up nearly 60% of the country. Perfect for nature and wildlife lovers, the Peruvian rainforest is considered the most biodiverse place on earth, home to an immense number of the world’s plant and animals species. With many protected reserves and national parks, eco-tourism throughout the region has grown, allowing you to witness the wildlife in a sustainable manner.
I’m not kidding when I say that the food and cuisine alone is enough of a reason to visit Peru. Having an extensive list of ingredients and recipes, Peruvian cuisine can be divided into the 3 regions previously mentioned – the coast, the highlands, and the jungle. From these regions then come a vast array of local and international combinations and fusions that give each dish a delicious taste. Make sure to try out our favorites: ceviche, lomo saltado and aji de gallina.
The diverse landscapes and mountain ranges across the country have made Peru a trekking paradise. Home to the Salkantay Trek, Inca Trail, and Huayhuash Circuit –to name a few– travelers from around the world come specifically to take these hikes on. The natural scenery throughout each trek makes for an unforgettable experience. And to make things better, some offer the chance to bike, zipline, rock-climb, and more!
Believe it or not, Peru has some of the greatest biodiversity in the world and is classified as a megadiverse country. Apart from the fluffy and adorable alpacas and llamas, here you’ll find species such as penguins, boobies, jaguars, and sloths, among others. And let’s not forget to mention the rare, endemic species including the puma, pink river dolphin, Andean condor, Peruvian dog, and spectacled bear – which is the one the character Paddington Bear is based on!
The cultural diversity in Peru spans from North to South, East to West. Hundreds of indigenous communities are scattered throughout the country, mixing with fused cultures from European, African, and Asian influences. Each of these has its own history and traditions that have been passed on from generations or that have adapted to the modernizing country.
Considered to help with self-discovery, spiritual revelations, insights into the nature of life, and even medical problems such as cancer, the plant medicine ayahuasca has become popular among locals and tourists alike. Once limited to its traditional use by natives, the psychoactive ayahuasca brews are made by local curanderos (healers/shamans) in a small group setting either in the Andes or in the jungle. The experience and “journey” are like no other and have made many come out with a new meaning of life.
Located on the border of Peru and Bolivia–said to be the “Birthplace of the Incas”–lies Lake Titicaca, at an astounding 12,500 feet (3,800 m) above sea level. It’s made up of over 40 islands, including the fascinating man-made Floating Islands of Uros. You can boat out throughout the lake getting to discover each of the islands’ traditions and customs while enjoying the peaceful nature that surrounds Lake Titicaca.
Compared to other countries in South America, Peru is a relatively economical country to visit. The exchange rate from more developed currencies is favorable and prices for many services and items tend to be quite cheap. If done right, even a luxurious travel experience can end up being affordable without hurting your wallet.
Made with Peru’s national drink Pisco, this sweet and sour cocktail is as Peruvian as it gets! The frothy pisco drink is unique in flavor and has even been served to the likes of Walt Disney, Ernest Hemingway, Orson Welles, and Nat King Cole at the Gran Hotel Bolivar in Lima!
Located just 5 hours away from Lima is the beautiful, always-sunny Huacachina oasis. Home to some of the biggest sand dunes in the world, it’s the perfect destination to relax, go on an adventure, or do both. You can spend the afternoon walking along the oasis, sunbathe by the pool, or better yet, go on the adrenaline-filled sandboarding and dune-buggy tour. It’s quickly become a must-visit destination for all those traveling to Peru.
Known as the Peruvian Galapagos, the Ballestas Islands are located off the Pacific coast of Paracas, just 3 hours from Lima. The islands are a wildlife lover’s haven being home to a myriad of wildlife including thousands of birds, penguins, sea lions, and dolphins. A tour out to the Ballestas will have you up close with all these animals, all in their natural habitat!
The Nazca Lines are made up of around 70 sketched shapes, animals, and figures right on the desert ground, some measuring from 50 to 1200 feet in length! What makes these geoglyphs more mysterious is that they can only be seen from above, usually through a guided tour flight. Historians and archaeologists have been baffled for decades, and even today there is no agreement as to how or why they were created.
It’s safe to say that Peru has an infinite amount of archaeological sites across the country. The most notable being the ones left behind by the might Inca Empire, there are many other ruins pre-dating the Incas by hundreds of years! Who doesn’t want to walk through and learn the history of ancient Peru?
Just a short distance from Lima is the sacred ruins of Caral. More than five thousand years old– now UNESCO World Heritage Center–Caral is the oldest civilization and city in all of the Americas. A must for all history buffs.
The high quality (and quantity) of the native alpaca fiber make for a soft, light, and strong sweater, even more than cashmere or sheep wool. The extremely soft material is great for the cold weather and also makes for a perfect souvenir.