Peru Activities

Jagged mountains of the Andes, dense Amazonian jungle, endless desert sands and a rugged coast make Peru a dreamscape for the outdoor enthusiast. There are plenty of things to do in Peru, from world-class mountain climbing and multi-day treks into ancient ruins, to whitewater rafting, horseback riding and surfing; there’s an adventure to suit every taste and season.

Hike into the deservedly-famous Machu Picchu, or break off the tourist-trodden path on the high mountain Ausangate Circuit. Challenge the surf of the north coast, then dry your bones sandboarding in the monstrous dunes at Huacachina. The list of things to do in Peru make it an endless adventure playground.

  • The Inca Trail
    Characterized by rugged ascents boasting magnificent views of Andean scenery and trails that wind their way through the cloud forest and past ancient archaeological sites, the Inca Trail is perhaps the eminent South American experience. While other trails in the Iglesia San Pedro (St. Peter's Church) is one of Lima's best-known landmarks. It is now a major visitor destination, as it features an impressive collection of fascinating colonial ar
  • Four-Day Inca Trail Trek
    To give you a better sense of what the four-day trek involves, we've put together a brief day-by-day summary of the trip. Day 1 Total Distance: 10 to 11 kilometers (6.2-6.8 mi) Arrive by train from Iquitos in a flooded rainforest between the Ucayali and Marañón Rivers, Reserva Nacional Pacaya-Samiria is the largest and one of the best conserved protecte
  • Visiting Colonial Mansions
    As a historically commercial center, Trujillo is home to a number of colonial mansions that are worth a visit. The Casa del Mayorazgo de Facalá (Pizarro 314) is poised with a beautiful main patio. Casa Bracamonte (Independencia 441) combines architectural elements of the 18th and 19t
  • Qoricancha Templo del Sol and Santo Domingo
    Incan Qoricancha Of the numerous attractions in Cusco, this should be on the top of your list. Once home to nearly 4,000 of the Empire's highest ranking priests and their attendants, Qoricancha was an extraordinary display of Inca masonry and wealth. Dedicated to the worship of the
  • El Brujo
    Once an important site used by the witches of Chicama, El Brujo (The Sorcerer) is a network of ruins and mounds dating back over 5,000 years. Situated in the Chicama Valley, 60 kilometers (36 mi) north of Trujillo, this archaeological gem remains remarkably unscathed by the grave robbers and touris
  • Plaza de Armas
    Inca temples once stood here. Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro was assassinated here. Accused sorcerers were brutally punished around the square in the 17th century. Throughout history, the Plaza de Armas, or Plaza Mayor, has been a focal point of Lima, with its cathedrals, ornate buil
  • Semana Santa in Ayacucho
    Semana Santa, or Holy Week, Latin America's most important religious holiday, begins on Palm Sunday and culminates on Easter Sunday. Ayacucho's celebrations are amongst the most traditional. Spectacular processions are accentuated by flower-carpeted streets and ninatoros (bull effigies
  • Mirador and Cerro
    The Nasca Lines can be viewed from a plane weaving the sky above them, or from other, more down-to-earth vantage points. The cerro is a solitary hill in the midst of this vast desert. Climbing to the top, you can see lines criss-crossing the desert. One series of lines to the northeas
  • Surfing Lima's Waves
    Surfers come from around the world to board the waves of Peru, and Lima's coast is no different. For the beaches near Lima you will need a three-millimeter full wetsuit pretty much year round, but come Peru's summer months, January and February, you can just trunk it. Most folks ride their short boa
  • Cumbe Mayo
    In the indigenous language Quechua, Cumbe Mayo means fine river, which is a fitting name for this ancient aqueduct, believed to be constructed around 1500 B.C. Located 19 kilometers (11.80 mi) southwest of Cajamarca (a 45 minute journey), it stretches on for nearly five miles. It is surrounded by e
  • Punta Hermosa Beaches
    The area around the coastal town of Punta Hermosa, 40 kilometers (24 miles) south of Lima, is lined with numerous world-class breaks. It is no coincidence that Peruvian champ Sofía Milanovich owns a prime location beach house here. The action begins with Caballeros,
  • Candelabro De Los Andes
    An image carved into the north side of the Paracas Peninsula is one of South America's most mysterious archeological sites: Candelabro de los Andes (Candlestick of the Andes, because of its resemblance to a candlestick). The glyph measures 200 meters (652 feet) by 60 meters (196 feet), and is 1.2-3
  • Chan Chan
    Located five kilometers (3 mi) west of Trujillo, Chan Chan is the largest pre-Columbian city in South America and the capital of the Chimú kingdom. It dates from around 1300 AD. Some archaeologists believe Chan Chan was the largest adobe city ever. There were also nine sub-cities, each ruled by a
  • Pisac Ruins
    The ruins of the fortress at Pisac are among the most interesting in Peru. Today, historians and archaeologists believe that Pisac was a compound that served mainly as a line of defense against the Anti Indians, who held lands to the east of Cusco. It was also a place of worshop and an important ag
  • Paseo Bolognesi
    The commercial artery of Tacna is Av. Bolognesi. In the center of the broad boulevard is a several-kilometer-long park, the Paseo Bolognesi. To stroll down the palm-lined Paseo is to walk through Tacna's history. At the east end of the avenue is the Universidad Nacional. Just west, towards Calle
  • A Coastal Tour
    If you feel like you have visited enough ruins after the many archaeological sites around Chiclayo, then take an afternoon to explore the living culture of some of the nearby villages, like Monsefú, Santa Rosa or Pimentel. Begin the journey with a stop in Monsefú, an artisan vil
  • Kolibri Expeditions
    Based in Lima, Kolibri Expeditions provides birding trips to all corners of Peru and South America. Owned and operated by ex-pat, veteran bird lover guide and biologist from University of Stockholm, Sweden, Gunnar Engblom, Kolibri offers a variety of birding tours for both amateurs and serious fiel
  • Valley of the Volcanoes
    Characterized by an unearthly, ostensibly endless lava field dominated by the majestic snow-capped peaks of Coropuna and Escríbano, the Valley of the Volcanoes (Santuario Nacional Valle de los Volcanes) is a spectacular museum of natural wonder. This small valley, nestled between the geological gia
  • Colca Canyon Trekking
    Colca Canyon has a good range of trekking opportunities, from easy day hikes to longer, more intense treks in and around the canyon.One of the most popular treks—and one done on most one-day/two-night tours to the canyon—begins in Huaraz, the massive temple fortress of Chavín de Huántar is one of the last remaining large scale reminders of the Chavín culture, which stretched across the northern highland
  • Ruins of Cahuachi
    The ceremonial city of Cahuachi is located at the lower section of the Nasca Valley, virtually in the middle of the desert north of Nasca. Since 1982, the Centro Italiano Studi e Ricerche Archeologiche Precolombiane (CISRAP), headed by Italian archaeologist Giuseppe Orefeci, has been excavating thi
  • Ruinas Vilcashuamán and Baños Intihuatana
    A four-hour (110-kilometer) bus journey south of Ayacucho brings you to Vilcashuamán (meaning Sacred Falcon), the Incan provincial capital at the crossroads of their Cusco-Pacific and north-south highways. Notable ruins are a double-seated stone throne upon a five-tiered usnu (platform pyr
  • The High Train (Lima-Huancayo Train)
    All aboard one of the most famous trains on Earth. The journey from Lima to Huancayo has been called "The Highest Train in the World." It serpentines from the capital city at 100 meters (328 ft) above sea level, along the Río Rímac, into the Andes. At San Bartolomé, the locomotive is reversed o
  • Monasterio de Santa Catalina
    Like a city within a city, the astounding Monasterio de Santa Catalina is probably one of Arequipa's best architectural sites. With architecture reminiscent of Andalusian Spain, the convent contains a hundred houses, 60 streets, a main square, church and cemetery. The art gallery houses more than 4
  • Surfing Lessons
    The surf is up in Huanchaco if you can handle it. Peruvian longboard champions of times gone by now give lessons to those eager enough. Beware: the water is freezing, requiring a wet suit, and the beach is rough on the feet. Despite these two setbacks, the prices and the instructional knowledge are
  • Museo de Arte Religioso
    For art aficionados and architecture fiends alike, the Museo de Arte Religioso is one of the most interesting addresses in the city. Like many other attractions in Cusco
  • Cerro Azul
    Famously listed, just after “Laguna” in the Beach Boy's song “Surfin' Safari,” Cerro Azul is a consistent left point break that goes tubular. When the sea gets going, a quick, strong and tubular right wave breaks on the other side of the pier. It sees the best waves wi
  • Makaha
    Makaha is the most popular for beginner surfers, with both good inside and outside left and right breaks from an exposed reef. Schools and newbies occupy the inner break, and be warned, it can get fairly crowded on weekends. This beach, north of Restaurante Rosa Náutica's pier, has several kiosks
  • Costa Verde Beaches
    There are four main surfable beaches along the Costa Verde beach road in Miraflores, and all are within a 15-minute walk of each other. South of the pier at Rosa Náutica Restaurant is Redondo, and from
  • Redondo
    Picturesque Redondo is the only Costa Verde beach located south of the pier at Rosa Náutica Restaurant. The waves here break closer to the beach, providing an easier paddle. It is also less damning on the feet, as Redondo has less rock and more sand than the other Costa Verde beaches. The breaks he
  • Mirador de Kuntur Wasi
    Kuntur Wasi—which means House of the Condor—is an apropos place for this monument. With its metal wingspan 11 meters (36 ft) long, and perched on a hill 3,990 meters (13,087 ft) high overlooking Puno, the Kuntur Wasi condor is the most dramatic expression of this community's pride in it
  • Playa Norte & La Isla
    At the town of Punta Hermosa, not only will you find larger resorts and good restaurants along the beach, but you'll have two great surf beaches to choose between. The board-breaking shore-break of Playa Norte is north of the headland, and the large rollers of La Isla, is to the south. La Isla br
  • Señoritas
    Señoritas beach is just around the headland south of Caballeros. Here beginner and advanced surfers can hit the strong left, reef-break wave that often is long and tubular, reaching up to three meters (10 feet) in height. The reef here can be fairly well-exposed in low tides, and rocks and urchi
  • Cerrito de Huajsapata
    Atop Cerrito Huajsapata, Manco Cápac stares out over the city to Lago Titicaca, from whose waters, legend says, he emerged to found the Inca Empire. This imperial tribute the first Inca is 45-meters (148 feet) high. As with the Kuntur Wasi lookout, Cerrito of Huajsapata provides a spectacular vi
  • Sacsayhuamán
    Perched forebodingly in the hillsides rising above Cusco, the fortress ruins of Sacsayhuamán are some of the most impressive ruins in the area. Though few structures now remain inside,
  • Catedral de Puno
    The Puno Cathedral, completed in 1757, has a Baroque design evincing European and indigenous influences. The elaborate façade was carved by Simón de Asto. The spartan interior is accented by a large marble altar backed by a silver altar screen. A fire in 1930 destroyed much of the cathedral's
  • Palacio de Gobierno
    On the northeast side of the Plaza de Armas, near the Río Rímac, the Palacio del Gobierno has long been the site of Peruvian rulers. In the mid-16th century, Marquis Francisco Pizarro constructed the original palace on the site of Inca curaca Tauri Chusko
  • Motorcycle Tour of Puerto Maldonado
    This is not an official activity, but it is a lot of fun. In a jungle town where you can ride around on the back of a motorcycle, why not? Simply ask any mototaxista for a general tour of what there is to see in Puerto Maldonado, and he'll do so for about $3. The tour will generally last an
  • Train Cusco to Puno
    Treat yourself to a train ride through spectacular Andean landscape as a pleasant, more stylish alternative to the bus. The train runs in both directions from either Cusco to Puno via Juliaca or vice versa, a journey that takes nine and a half hours. When you arrive at the station, your attendant i
  • La Escuela de Wawa
    “La Escuela de Wawa” or “Wawa's School” is sponsored by Peruvian surfing champion, Fernando Paraud, also known as Wawa. Máncora, whose beaches and Pacific currents attract surfers the world over, offers the perfect setting for the surfing squid. Your pro instructor, Alan Robert
  • Bike Tours of Lima
    Biking in Lima is an unforgettable experience. The tours cover the best neighborhoods and spots of this big city, mainly using bicycle lanes and less-traffic roads and streets. The bikes are also comfortable and safe, and you can rent a bike if you want to tour on your own. It's a great way to see
  • Casa del Corregidor
    The exquisite Casa del Corregidor, dating from the 17th century, was the seat of the corregidor, or "corrector," a title traditionally associated to a sovereign who served as magistrate, governor and tax-collector. Later the Catholic Church appropriated i
  • Parque de la Exposición
    Featuring some of the most exquisite architecture in Lima, the Parque de la Exposición downtown is a tribute to Lima's urban planners in the 19th century, when it was conceived and built in 1868. It is often also called Parque de la Cultura. Its mix of fountains, Victorian houses and modern art ma
  • Gringo Alley
    A narrow cobblestoned street, Calle Procuradores, just off the west side of Plaza de Armas is known as “Gringo Alley.” Take a stroll down the street and the reason for the nickname will soon become clear: everything on this street-from the handful of charming hostels, slew of artisan shop
  • ProNaturaleza Butterfly Conservation Center Japipi
    The Butterfly Conservation Center was established in 1996 by two Peruvian scientists who wanted to create Peru's first commercial butterfly farm. ProNaturaleza took over in 2002 and reopened the doors in 2004 as a well-run non-profit butterfly conservation center. Profits go towards the program and
  • Tambo Machay
    Located just a 15-meter walk along a sign-posted path from the main road past Puca Pucara, the Tambo Machay ruins are one of the mo
  • Huaca San Borja
    Huaca San Borja is an eight-meter (26-foot) tall step pyramid surrounded on three sides by adobe structures. Inside there are enclosures, passages and uneven floors to explore. The Ichma culture built it during the 12th century AD and it was occupied until the Spanish conquest. During the Republic
  • Templo de los Jaguares
    The path off the road leads along a blue agave cactus hedge. From afar, this site—dating back to about 1200 AD—doesn't look like much, just an old stone wall. But once reaching the Templo de los Jaguares, a wooden catwalk takes you around this ceremonial center sunken into the earth. The
  • Plaza de Armas
    It seems everyone passes through Plaza de Armas in this Amazon outpost, whether they are on their way to work, taking a stroll, on their way to dinner or zipping by in mototaxis. The plaza spans four square blocks and is the heart of Iquitos. A park is the centerpiece. A fountain sprays geysers of w
  • Temple of Kotosh
    Tread foot on ancient ground at the Temple of Kotoshâ??the oldest evidence of human civilization in Peru, dating between 4,000 and 5,000 years old. Built during the Mito Period, (2000-1800 BC) the area around the temple is suspected to have been sacred land, due to the limited number of houses unco
  • The Mandor Gardens and Waterfalls
    If you have a spare morning or afternoon in Aguas Calientes, a visit to the Mandor gardens and waterfalls is an enjoyable way to spend it. Walk for about an hour or so down the railway tracks in the direction of the hydroelectric plant-admiring the views of the river and mountains along the way-and
  • Plaza San Martín
    Plaza San Martín is one of the largest and most impressive city squares in Lima. Built in 1921 and named for José de San Martín, a hero of South American independence, purple-flowering jacaranda trees shade the stone-paved plaza decorated with antique-looking lights and benches. There is an impr
  • Pachacámac
    Roughly 31 kilometers (19 miles) south of Lima you will find the ancient city of Pachacámac. Begun in 200 A.D., Pachacámac was expanded by the Wari tribe and then incorporated into the Inca empire. It's the closest major archeological site to Lima. Major buildings include the Templo del Sol (Temp
  • Iglesia San Blas
    Iglesia San Blas is just one of the Cusco attractions located in the bustling artisan neighborhood of Intihuatana and across the Sacred Plaza is the Sacred Rock, a massive piece of granite curiously sh
  • Temple of the Moon
    Situated about 400 meters beneath the pinnacle of Huayna Picchu (about a 45-minute walk each way from the summit) is the T
  • Intipunku
    If you don't have the time or energy to make the climb up to Huayna Picchu and Principal Temple will bring you to one of the most important shrines at Three-Windowed Temple, this magnificent three-walled building derives its na
  • Chamber of the Princess
    The two-story structure sitting adjacent to the Temple of the Sun is the Chamber of the Princess. The building was
  • Huaca Pucllana
    Machu Picchu may get all the glory, but ruins even older than the Cusco giant c
  • Three-Windowed Temple
    Not far from the Chamber of the Princess is the spectacular Three-Windowed Temple. It is part of a complex situa
  • San Francisco de Miculla Petroglyphs
    On the road heading to Bolivia are the San Francisco de Miculla Petroglyphs. The drawings show people of dancing, playing music, fighting and hunting animals. Other figures are animals, like guanaco, vicuña, lizards, serpents, fox and felines, native flora of the area and constellations. The car
  • Levanto and Yálape
    Yálape, built 1100-1350 A.D., was a major Chachapoya city. During Inca rule it served as the region's administrative center. With the Spanish conquest, Levanto was founded close-by as the capital of Amazonas; about nine years later, it was moved to its present site, Chachapoyas. Today Levanto is
  • Huaca del Sol and Huaca de la Luna
    For those interested in archaeological activities, the massive Moche pyramids of Huaca del Sol and Huaca de la Luna (Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon) are a must-see. At 45 meters (147 ft) high, Huaca del Sol was the largest manmade structure in the western hemisphere before it was partly destroyed
  • Macro
    An enigma among the hundreds of Chachapoya ruins in the region, Macro is one of only two known sites built on the side of a hill, rather than atop. The walls, extending at least one kilometer, are made of finely finished yellow stone. Some are of circular buildings. Others appear to hug the conto
  • VolunTourism
    NO Lima office -- general volunteer org. INCORPORATE into Intro & Info section. VolunTourism specializes in organizing short trips to volunteer in numerous countries. Their website lists about twelve different NGO's and organizations that operate internationally, connec
  • Gran Vilaya
    In 1985 a great discovery hit the headlines: Gran Vilaya. Reported to the authorities by Silverio Visalot Chávez, and investigated by US explorer Gene Savoy, these ruin complexes extend west from the Río Utcubamba to the Río Marañón. The actual number of sites may be around 150, with 30 being
  • Óllape
    Up on Cerro Ushparán, near Jalca Grande, lie more Chachapoya ruins. The walls of Óllape's circular ancient homes peek from beneath blackberry bushes. The homes exhibit several typical stonework designs, indicating that it was an important settlement. On top of the hill is a D-shaped structur
  • Cemetery of Chauchilla
    Chauchilla is a Chincha period (1000-1460 AD) graveyard that makes an interesting day trip from Nazca. This somber collection of human remains is a stark reminder of the presence of looting in the area. Thousands of sun-bleached human bones, accompanied by scraps of textiles and snatches of human h
  • Karajía
    From a cliff ledge, six white figures dressed in red peer across the river valley. Two sport human skulls atop their pointed hats. Each three-meter-tall mud, wood and straw purunmachu (sarcophagus) contained a sole mummy. The attached heads, flat-cheeked and long-jawed, have led some to relate th
  • Pueblo de los Muertos
    Pueblo de los Muertos (Village of the Dead) is a collection of stone tombs that sit high up on a mountain ledge with sweeping views over the valley below. They were crafted by the Chachapoya (Luya-Chilloa) between 1100 A.D. and 1350 A.D. Unfortunately, they have suffered extensively at the hands of
  • Laguna de los Cóndores
    Mists rise from a beautiful sapphire lagoon, enshrouding six chullpas (tombs) nestled into a cliff above the cloud forest. Here is where 219 souls rested until their removal to Centro Mallqui. In late 1996, a group of farmers clearing land discovered these tombs. A Peruvian-Austrian scient
  • Wiñay Wayna
    A rough two or three-hour descent from the ruins of Puyupatamarca, located on the Inca Trail, will bring you to
  • Chachani
    Less experienced trekkers and climbers seeking to summit a high-altitude peak should head to Chachani (6,080 m / 19,821 ft). Chachani's rocky surface makes for more stable summit than Misti. However, Chachani is often the more technical climb of the two, a
  • Misti
    Misti (5,828 m/19,000 ft) is the closest volcano to Arequipa, only 17 kilometers (10.5 mi) away. Its nearly perfect cone offers a fairly straightforward opportunity to summit a high peak, but its sand and ash make it a challenging climb. It has two access
  • Parque del Amor
    Finish your cup of coffee or glass of wine at Larcomar and head north along Malecón de la Reserva. Walk along the scenic path for ten minutes and you'll see a little yellow bridge; behind the bridge is an imposing red sandstone sculpture, sitting atop a black marble pedestal, which will immediatel
  • Punta Negra & Punta Rocas
    Three kilometers (1.8 miles) south of Punta Hermosa you'll find Punta Negra (Pan-American Highway Km 42). This area is usually full of families and is lined with umbrellas and restaurants on weekends and in summer. Surfers can hit the classic reef-break w
  • Short Inca Trail
    If you do not have the time or youthfulness (we are both 65 and my husband has had a knee replacement), the short Inca trail can be a most rewarding way to travel to Machu Picchu. About 11 km, a 6-hour trek (including an hour for lunch), you should leave the train from Cusco at Km. 104. Climb up st
  • Iglesia San Juan Bautista
    Iglesia San Juan Bautista began as a simple adobe chapel over 200 years ago. In 1876 it was rebuilt as a formal church, with a distinctly French-style façade, and three gothic altars on the inside. In 1988, it was elevated to a sanctuary honoring the Virgin of Candlemas; thus its other, more c
  • Parque de la Muralla
    Parque de la Muralla, complete with a track for children to cycle and a pedestrian walkway, sits on the banks of the Río Rímac. During its construction diggers unearthed the remains of 500-year-old city walls that were once meant to repel both the rising river and Dutch pirates. A small museum on
  • Train across the Northern Atacama Desert
    Few ordinary, working-class trains run anymore in Peru. An even rarer ride is the international railroad, crossing from one country to another. But from Tacna to Arica, Chile, departs what is called the world's shortest train line, measuring only 60 kilometers (36 mi). Its schedule fits the needs o
  • Correo Central de Lima
    Not just a post office, this very big and ornate edifice near the Palacio del Gobierno and Plaza de Armas is worth visiting simply for its architecture. The building also serves as a historical museum, complete with displays of notable stamps. The displays detail the importance of the Peruvian post
  • Inca Trail Porters
    You've waited so long to trek these rugged 43 kilometers to that Incan Holy Grail, Machu Picchu. But after two days, your feel muscles you never knew existed and another blister is welling up. As you momentarily rest on a rock, gasping for breath in this rarefied air, you see one of the porters str
  • Museo Santuarios Andinos
    This museum, dedicated to high-altitude archaeology and its pioneer Johan Reinhard, is most famous for housing the mummified remains of 13-year-old Juanita. Shortly after arriving in the area, the Incas implemented the practice of sacrificing children on the peaks of the area's highest volcanoes. A
  • Museo de Arte y Monasterio de Santa Catalina
    Built by the Spanish between 1601 and 1610 on top of Acllahuasi-where the Inca emperor once housed his chosen Virgins of the Sun-this convent and museum houses an interesting collection of colonial and religious art. Like other attractions in Cusco, the museum has a number of pieces from the Cusque
  • Inka Express
    If you're bored of just taking the regular bus, one option is to upgrade to the Inka Express, which provides both transportation between Cusco and Puno as well as touring opportunities. The buses are very comfortable and free tea, coffee and mineral water for the entire trip is included in the price
  • San Cristóbal del Olto
    Leaving the relative modernity of Lámud behind, you begin traversing the Luya countryside. You pass the chapel of El Señor de Gualamita, Lámud's patron saint. Another hour beyond, you arrive at the traditional village San Cristóbal del Olto. Women sit in their kitchen gardens, pollera skirts
  • Iguana's Trips
    The Cerros de Amotape National Park in northern Peru features 404 species of bushes, reeds, herbs and epiphytic plants. Additionally, there are 44 species of trees, 63 species of mammals, 28 species of amphibians and 44 species of reptiles. Ursula Behr of Iguana's Trips is happy to teach you about
  • Cultural Centers
    Culture in Chiclayo exists beyond the time and space of the numerous ancient ruins. For a taste of modern creativity, check out the cultural centers. Most events are free, and $2 is the usual cost for concerts. • Instituto Nacional de Cultural (INC): (Av. Luis González 345. Tel: 237-
  • Pantanos de Villa
    The only protected area in metropolitan Lima, the Pantanos de Villa (Villa Wetlands) is an ecological park just 30 minutes from downtown Lima. The swamps, or humedales (humid lands), cover more than 2,000 hectares and are home to many migrating birds. Visitors may hike on the paths through t
  • Huaca Huallamarca
    This ancient Maranga monument seems out of place, sandwiched between neighboring hotels and apartment buildings. Constructed with adobe bricks dating from 200 to 500 AD, this landmark has been lovingly restored and now offers interesting views of San Isidro.
  • Putucusi
    This is an excellent, three-hour hike up the mountain opposite of Machu Picchu-the views are breathtaking. It can be steep and part of the climb requires ascending vertical cliff faces via wooden ladder rungs that get slippery in the wet season. However, since 2011, some parts of the ladders have b
  • Revash
    High up on a mountain, a group of white and red buildings cling to the cliff face. Some have likened them to the dwellings of the U.S. Southwest town of Pueblos. But these were no apartment houses for the living: they are chullpas (mausoleums), built by Chachapoya people during the Late In
  • Cultural Spaces in Huanchaco
    It isn't just all surf and sun in Huanchaco. There is a rising tide of fine art and other cultural spaces in this fishing village. Galería de Arte Club Colonial (daily 1-10 p.m. Av. La Ribera 514. Tel: 461-015/471-639) has regular exhibits featuring national artists. The opening night rece
  • La Congona
    Spread out upon a ridge near Leymebamba, La Congona is an as-yet unexcavated llacta (town). About 30 houses rise out of the heavy bramble vegetation. They are of typical Chachapoya design of the Late Intermediate Period (800-1470 A.D.). You can still see the stone cornices that served to channel
  • Catedral de Ica
    Set off from one corner of the Plaza de Armas is Ica's Catedral which was once part of a Jesuit complex. Built in the 18th century and remodeled in 1814, this temple had Baroque-style pulpits and altars inside. In the 2007 earthquake, the Cathedral suffered extensive damage: the bell towers and a
  • Sightseeing Bus Tour
    The First Class tourist bus runs between Cusco and Puno, a distance of 388 km. The bus service offers an English speaking guide, tourist stops and lunch. The brochure states that the trip will take 9 hours. Discover little treasures enroute along a well-trodden journey. The first stop is the church
  • Mamacona Stables
    Visitors to Lima who want to explore ancient ruins, sandy beaches and the Peruvian countryside can do so in a traditional way riding a Peruvian paso horse. The Mamacona Stables complex outside Lima will suit everyone up, from novices to experienced riders, for a cabalgata (trail ride).
  • Tipón
    Located 23 kilometers (14.3 mi) southeast of Cusco, these ruins are not particularly popular among travelers eager to visit some of the bigger-name ruins around the Sacred Valley area; however, this extensive temple complex is one of the best examples of Inca stone-masonry, and some might say it is
  • United Planet
    United Planet runs unique programs working in orphanages, state hospitals, mental institutions and in rural villages. All volunteers live with host families. The program fee includes insurance, accommodation, food, a trip to Machu Picchu for 2 days with a guide, as well as 4 hours of Spanish instruc
  • Sangalle Oasis Trek
    The popular Sangalle Oasis trek begins in Cabanaconde and plunges 1,200 meters (3,936 ft) to Sangalle (1,900 m / 6,232 ft altitude). In contrast to chilly Chivay, the climate here is subtropical and lends itself to lounging in the thermal pools there. The trek to the Sanga
  • Hiking and Trekking Acclimatization
    Before heading out with your backpack, even very experienced adventurers should follow a few common sense steps to ensure a safe journey. The most important is to acclimatize gradually. The first camps along many of the treks are high enough to trigger altitude sickness. It's advisable to spen
  • Andagua Trek
    The Cabanaconde-Andagua Trek through the northwestern sector of Colca Canyon and to the Valley of the Volcanoes is challenging but worth the effort. The route passes through unspoiled scenery with craggy volcanic peaks, isolated villages, terraces, lava flows and peo
  • Global Crossroad
    Global Crossroad offers social service volunteer projects and internships in health and education at local hospitals, schools, and orphanages. Opportunities to work on conservation projects in re-forestation and on indigenous rights campaigns in local communities are also available. Programs run fro
  • Salapunco
    Salapunco is a group of small caves that housed the mummies of Inca priests and other Inca elite. Inside the caves, the walls and altars are decorated with pumas, snakes and other important cultural symbols. This hauca is dedicated to worshipping the moon, and the position of the entrance allows the
  • El Tren Macho
    El Tren Macho clacks alongside the Ríos Mantaro and Ichu toward Huancavelica. It is the only real local train left in all of Peru and is often referred to as the "Highest Train in the World" due to its route on one of the highest continuous roads in the world, rarely dropping below 4,000 meters (1
  • Biblioteca Nacional
    The expansive Biblioteca Nacional del Perú was established in 1821 and originally located in Central Lima. Despite having most of the its works stolen during the war with Chile, the library has been able to build up its offering. It now contains the largest selection of newspapers and magazines in
  • Cross Cultural Solutions
    NO Lima office -- general volunteer org. Cross Cultural Solutions offers listings of volunteer positions in education and social justice. The organization charges fees but provides in-country assistance to volunteers in exchange.
  • Campo Santo
    Old Yungay is presided over by a tall white statue of Christ to the north, overlooking the devastating path of destruction left by the 1970 aluvión, a deadly mix of avalanche, waterfall and landslide caused by an earthquake. The aluvión was responsible for destroying Old Yungay and killing
  • Global Volunteers
    NO Lima office. Global Volunteers provides volunteers with short-term placements working in orphanages in Lima.
  • La Pampilla
    Of all the Costa Verde beaches, La Pampilla is by far the most popular break for intermediate and advanced surfersâ??and it should only be surfed by those who are skilled and know what they are doing; novices need not apply. All breaks can see very good outer break wave formation, especially as th
  • Mirador de los Andes

    Mirador de Los Andes, also known as the Patapampa Pass, is a breathtaking lookout point between Reserva Nacional Salinas y Aguada Blanca and Chivay. Most tours w

  • Laguna Parón
    Laguna Parón sparkles deep with turquoise waters. The surrounding snow-capped peaks are reflected in the depths of the lagoon, making them feel even taller and more magnificent. At the end of the lake, the Pirámide de Garcilaso sits proudly. There is also a challenging rock climbing wall called t
  • Ollantaytambo Heritage Trail
    The Ollantaytambo Heritage Trail is a collection of about a dozen sites of importance spread throughout the town. If you're visiting on a day trip, most guided tour groups from Cusco, as well as city walking tours booked in Ollantaytambo, stroll through the small town, pointing out various stops al
  • Malecón Maldonado
    Malecón Maldonado is a pedestrian-only zone and a magnet for crowds that gather to watch the sun set below the horizon in shades of bright and burnt orange, then celebrate the night. The main drag in Iquitos is part romantic river walk, part carnival. Young couples hold hands on the concrete railin
  • Yanahuara
    Sporting stone archways and magnificent views of El Misti, the lovely neighborhood of Yanahuara is a great place for a relaxing afternoon stroll. The 18th-century Iglesia San Juan Bautista (Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-noon, 4-8 p.m., Saturday-Sunday, 7 a.m.-1 p.m., 3-8 p.m.) is also worth a look. With wal
  • Catedral
    Framed by the majestic snow-capped peaks of El Misti and Chachani, La Catedral is truly one of the most spectacular sites in Arequipa. While construction of the church began in 1544, much of its edifice was destroyed during an earthquake in the 17th century. Then, in 1844 it was completely destroye
  • Boca del Río and Other Beaches
    Tacna has its own beaches to which its denizens escape the sweltering summer months. The air may be hot, but the water of the Pacific along this coast is cold. A dip into the surf is refreshing. During the rest of the year, almost no-one comes, providing a peaceful get-away for travelers needing a
  • Playa El Varadero
    It doesn't take long to figure out that the Playa El Varadero is where most of the action happens in Huanchaco. Tourists and locals alike converge on the sidewalk bordering the beach, beating a path from one end to the other and back. Weekends are especially chaotic when bus loads of tourists empty
  • Iglesia La Merced
    One of the oldest churches in all of South America, founded in 1535 by Fray Miguel de Orenes, who was reputed to be 110 years old at the time, the Iglesia la Merced features a very elaborate, impressive façade. Inside, the neoclassic altar is home to a Virgin of Mercy, which was adopted in 1823
  • Cruz del Cóndor
    La Cruz del Cóndor, or Chaglla, is a lofty lookout over the beautiful Colca Canyon, home to a relatively large population of Andean condors. Every morning, as the sun rises, it creates warm thermals which rise from the canyon floor. Without these, the heavy and ungainly condors cannot fly. So ev
  • Convento de Santo Domingo
    Two saints for the price of one! The remains of Lima's two saints, Santa Rosa de Lima and San Martín de Porres, rest forever at the Convento de Santo Domingo. Like other religious buildings in Lima, the convent was built over a long period of time and reflects varying architectural styles and move
  • Humedales de Ite
    Humedales de Ite is Peru's largest wetlands. In part a man-made swamp (from mining activities in the early 1960s), these humedales now cover 1,360 hectares (3,361 ac) and are 11.7 kilometers (7 mi) long and at points up to 2,000 meters (1.5 mi) wide. The four types of ecosystems—reed swamp,
  • Aura
    Located in Larcomar, Aura is the premier upscale dance club in Miraflores, and for that matter, in all of Lima. A huge dance floor, several bars and lots of lounge areas turn it up with a mix of pop (Latin, US and Brit), electrónica, and techno. It's is the place for posh, youthful 20-something Li
  • Museo de Sitio Qoricancha
    Located under the garden below Santo Domingo, the Museo de Sitio Qoricancha consists of three small rooms, which contain a pre-Columbian collection, Spanish paintings from the 18th century and photos of the excavation of Qoricancha. Although it is one of the smaller attractions in Cusco, this museu
  • Plaza Bolívar
    Away from the bustle of Lima's downtown lies Pueblo Libre's central square, Plaza Bolívar. Broad flagstone paths lace this green space. In the center is fountain crafted in 1742. The plaza is surrounded by Republican-era mansions. On the south side is the Palacio Municipal, with wooden balconies.
  • Museo Histórico Regional
    Formerly the residence of one of Peru's most famous writers and Inca historians, Garcilaso de la Vega, the Museo Histórico Regional now offers an excellent review of Peruvian history, from pre-Inca civilizations to the Inca and colonial periods. Though the museum is not particularly well labeled,
  • Tumbao VIP
    Near Parque Kennedy, at the end of the touristy Calle de los Pizzas (â??Pizza Streetâ?), this salsa club is a good option for those who want to get down, get dancing and get to know the locals. Of the many clubs on Calle de las Pizzas, Tumbao VIP is one of the largest and most impressive. It als
  • Parque Combate de Altao
    San Isidro is Peru's premier business district: Men in black suits with silk ties, cell phones in the left and briefcases in the right, scurry by in droves. Movement and chaos abound. Skyscrapers tower above, surveying the bustle below. But calmly sleeping amidst all the energy, the endless commoti
  • Parque Kennedy
    Smack dab in the middle of Lima's upscale Miraflores neighborhood is Parque Kennedy, a small, peaceful oasis from congested thoroughfares and skyscrapers. Parque Kennedy draws lots of people. Young couples snuggle on benches, men in business
  • Raqchi

    Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the Raqchi ruins is the line of nearly 200 round stone houses that parallels the gigantic adobe Inca wall. At one time each one of the houses was filled to the brim with quinoa, freeze-dried potatoes, and corn. T

  • CIMA Hyperbaric Center
    Cusco is often breathtaking, in more ways than one. Even the most athletic are not immune to high altitude sickness, if they are not accustomed to high up climates. It is a condition that can affect
  • Cerro de San Cristóbal
    A large cross at the summit of a 409-meter (1,342 feet) high hill, Cerro de San Cristóbal provides visitors a great view of Lima extending out to the sea. The cross itself, erected in 1928, supplanted various predecessors. The tradition began with a wooden cross planted by Francisco Pizarro in 1535
  • The Stone Puma
    North of Cusco's Plaza de Armas towards
  • Plaza de Armas
    All of the downtown city streets lead to the Plaza de Armas. Here, you can observe the Baroque-style central monument that salutes liberty, which was done by Edmundo Muller. Of course, you can, as is always allowed, pass the day in this open and grandiose plaza relaxing, people-watching or reading.
  • Puerto Maldonado Obelisk
    The idea of building a five-story-high obelisk in downtown Puerto Maldonado may seem odd. However, this ungainly structure gives both locals and visitors an opportunity to take in the vast and verdant Peruvian jungle from a unique perspective. The tower itself is an eyesore, but the view from the t
  • Parque Pino
    Parque Pino, connected to the larger Plaza de Armas by the pedestrian stretch of Jirón Lima, was landscaped in 1901, to honor puneño, Dr. Manuel Pino, who emerged as a hero of the Guerra del Pacífico against Chile. A statue of the doctor stands atop a column in the center of the park, and bust
  • Santuario Señor de Luren
    El Señor de Luren, Ica's patron saint, has long protected the city form total destruction from natural disasters. Thousands of devotees honor him during Holy Week and the second and third weeks of October. Even though his church was over 60 percent destroyed in the 2007 earthquake, the Señor de
  • Casona del Marqués de Torre Hermosa
    Home to a bank, there is no signage to set this building apart from others around it. Yet its mere presence stands out amid downtown Ica's more modern architecture. Having survived urban development and earthquakes, the Casona del Marqués de Torre Hermosa is one of the only examples of viceregal
  • Hiking and Trekking Fees
    The entrance fees to Parque Nacional Huascarán help with trail maintenance, trash removal, endangered species protection, community-based programs and funding for search and rescue teams. Entry for the day is $1.85, and anyone planning to stay in the park for two or more days must purchase a $25
  • Hiking and Trekking Routes
    The mountains in the Central Andes boast a seemingly infinite number of trekking and mountaineering routes to suit adventurers of all levels and abilities. Perhaps the most difficult aspect of planning an excursion in this area is choosing where to start. Among the host of trekking circuits, some o
  • Hiking and Trekking Safety
    Every year climbers of all skill levels perish in this region after failing to take weather conditions seriously. The intense sun makes mountain snow more porous and causes glaciers to move rapidly, which means even the most experienced climbers should take proper precautions. In particular, Huasc
  • Ibero Librerías
    With some of the most helpful staff around, Ibero Librerías is a great bookstore to hunt down that hard-to-find souvenir or to simply browse around. While most titles are in Spanish, it does carry some English-language books. Stocked with a variety of literature, the store also offers exceptional
  • Hiking and Trekking Gear
    Many people arriving in the Central Andes have their own gear, but top-notch equipment can be rented from a number of places. It's wise to e-mail agencies ahead of time to request certain gear, enquire about prices or make reservations. You can also buy equipment in Huaraz, but be warned that the p
  • Santa Cruz-Llanganuco Trek
    The four-to-five-day, 45-kilometer (28 mi) Santa Cruz trek is one of the most popular hikes near Huaraz. Weaving its way past massive Huascarán and the azure lakes at Huaraz. The three-day hike to the spectacular fortress temple of
  • I to I
    I-to-I (based in the UK) offers-short term volunteer opportunities from one to twelve weeks. They also offer help in finding short-term teaching jobs abroad. Volunteer placements in Peru have included positions on archaeological digs in the past. Programs run between $1000 and $1500 average for thre
  • Arco Deustua Memorial
    Three blocks north of Parque Pino is the Arco Deustua memorial. The huge stone archway was erected in 1847 to commemorate Peru's soldiers that fell in the battles of Junín and Ayacucho during the Wars of Independence against Spain. Sitting on the crest of a low hill in Parque San Juan, Arco Deus
  • Iglesia de Jesús, Maria y José
    This smallish church doesn't look like much from the outside, but the baroque interior—considered the best baroque church interior in Lima—is worth a look if you're nearby.
  • Traveling to Machu Picchu with Kids
    Some might say that nothing is sacred in the "Valley Sagrado" when you travel with kids. I beg to differ. Though it made no impression on my 10-month-old, my then five and eight-year-old daughters still rave about it even after having visited the world's highest lake, driest desert, the Galapagos, a
  • Alpamayo Trek
    In addition to the challenge of tackling the rugged slopes of Alpamayo, this 150-kilometer (93 mi) trek promises captivating views of remote mountain scenery. Adventurers have several trekking options in this area, ranging from fairly easy, one-day treks to full-on 14-to-16-day expeditions. The ice
  • Earthwatch Institute
    Earthwatch Institute is an environmental organization that lets volunteers and students join archaeological and conservation projects for a fee. One to three-week programs run around $1700
  • Paseo Cívico
    The Paseo Cívico, Tacna's Plaza de Armas, is a thin, triangular park. On the broad end is the Catedral de Tacna, a simple yet stunning cathedral designed by Gustave Eiffel and completed in 1854 (daily 7 a.m.-12.30 p.m., 3 p.m.-7.30 p.m.). The church is built form quarry stone and the inside i
  • El Faro de la Marina
    El Faro de la Marina is a blue and white candy cane-striped lighthouse that faces the ocean. El Faro de la Marina doesn't have the cutting originality of Parque del Amor but it affords beautiful, expansive views of the ocean and the softly eroded cliffs. On the broad patches of grass, families picn
  • El Malecón
    Once considered the soul of Chorrillos this boardwalk, used to be where local spend lazy afternoons and moonlit evenings. Since then, El Malecón has undergone two transformations, the first after the war with Chile, and the second at the beginning of the 20th century. Now, the once wooden planks h
  • Llama Carting
    Llama taxis are offered at the most southern point of Manu National Park in the grasslands. They are let by local peasants and are a great opportunity to get off a bus and ride from the Andean grasslands to the elfin forests. Bird-watching conditions are ideal on a llama, which moves at about five
  • Parque Municipal
    Barranco's Parque Municipal is one of Lima's most beautiful and unique town squares. This little park serves as a plaza—and surrounded on four sides by beautiful Spanish architecture, tasteful restaurants and bars, an imposing crimson catholic church. The originality of the ambiance is refresh
  • Torre Torre
    A unique geological landmark, Torre Torre features several reddish sandstone pillars that have been naturally eroded over the years by wind and rain. These towers stand between 10 and 30 meters (33-98 ft) high, and you can walk through the labyrinth of structures independently. The walk takes about
  • Pub Cubano 443
    Always packed on the weekends, this club is the hotspot for Cuban salsa. Though the club isn't too big, it packs in a lot of energy and movement. Hidden down an inconspicuous side street, it attracts a more local, less touristy crowd, but the drinks can be steep. It's a good option if you feel like
  • El Latino
    Head to El Latino, if you feel like dancing but aren't in the mood for a club that is too overwhelming. One of the many dance clubs on Calle de las Pizzas, El Latino is a small club, with a medium-sized dance floor, dark lighting and a big screen TV. If you're looking to chill out and relax to some
  • Cerrito de la Libertad
    El Cerrito de la Libertad, also known as El Mirador, is a small hill from which the entire city of Huancayo can be seen. This is the spot where Ramón Castilla, a military leader and president of the Republic of Peru in the mid-1800s, defeated General José Rufino Echenique during the Revolution of
  • Tumshukaiko
    Approximately two kilometers (1.24 mi) north of Caraz are the Chavín ruins of Tumshukaiko. There is no fee or sign, and the ruins are only partially excavated. It takes the shape of a pyramid with seven tiers (very little is visible). There is also an underground tunnel that leads to a stone chair
  • Lagunas de las Huaringas
    Deep in the folds of the Andes, a string of magical lakes glimmer in the sun. These are Lagunas de las Huaringas, 14 lagoons whose waters are said to be magical, charged with positive energy and minerals. Fields of green grasses and medicinal herbs carpet the valley. One of the principal lakes
  • Concert Disco
    The past and present meet at Concert Disco, a dance club in an antique building with imperially high ceilings, columns and rococo trim for what was most likely an old-money dynasty. Located on the Calle de Baquijano, near Cuzco and Jirón de la Reunión, it is now where local limeños take
  • Caballeros
    The first beach along the Punta Hermosa side access road is Caballeros. This is a regional classic for mostly experienced surfers. The waves are right reef-breaks, long and with a tubular section, reaching up to three meters (10 feet) in height. The waves are very consistent, with 150 days of act
  • Lagunas de Llanganuco
    Like turquoise teardrops poised at the base of the Cordillera Blanca's highest peaks, these two alpine lakes offer a delicate contrast to the massive glacial faces of the near
  • Bosque El Olivar
    Surrounding the El Olivar Historical Monument is a lush park made up of a plantation of olive trees that dates back more than 450 years. This park, which is six blocks long, serves as a great reminder of Lima's history and offers visitors a pleasant stroll under the olive trees.
  • Alternative Inka Trail
    We recently completed an alternative Inka Trek to Machu Picchu through the volunteer and tourist organisation Inka Magik, working closely with a local Quechua guide, which takes in the warm jungle, hot springs off the tourist trail, horseriding and staying with his family in a rustic adobe lodge sur
  • Biking and Hiking to Machu Picchu
    Biking And Trekking Experience 4 Days / 3 Nights Imbued with a magical silence, 120km (74mi) from Cusco on the slopes above the Urubamba River, lies one of the world's most extraordinary archaeological sites. Machu Picchu (2400m / 7872ft) is probably the most familiar symbol of the Inca Empire. It
  • Waikiki
    Not to be confused with Hawaii's famous Waikiki, Lima's Waikiki, may not have crystal clear, warm waters, but when the surfs breaks, it's a Lima favorite. With consistently good waves, Waikiki is made of an exposed reef break and has a more northerly swell than the other Costa Verde Beaches. It's n
  • Puente de los Suspiros
    The Puente de los Suspiros (Bridge of Sighs) was built in the late 1800s, and to this day remains a romantic landmark for couples and families to enjoy the company of loved ones. Overlooking the waters that gently run down to the beach, the Puente de los Suspiros has inspired musicians and artists
  • Paseo de las Musas
    One day Chiclayo called down from Mount Olympus to the Muses to accompany the Lord of Sipán. In a park along a brook, as close to the Springs of Helicon as this desert city could provide, reside the nine Muses of Greek mythology. Their pavilions of Classical Greek architecture are surrounded by we
  • Surfing

    In Máncora, surfing is practiced by men and women, young and old, like a religion. There are reliable swells at almost all times of the year and the beaches are blessed with the same generally warm waters as Ecuador's Galapágos Islands. There are several breaks, enough to satis

  • Traditional Dance - Qosqo Center Of Native Art
    For original folkloric dance accompanied by traditional live Andean music, the Qosqo Center of Native Art is where you want to be. The daily performance begins at 6.45 p.m., lasts an hour and gives an honest, lively and colorful representation of the many dances of the region. There is no escaping
  • Complejo Belén
    The complex of Complejo Belén, which was constructed from volcanic stone in the 1600s, includes an impressive and exquisite church-considered to be the best example of colonial architecture in Cajamarca-featuring fine wooden carvings and an ornate pulpit. There's also two museums, housed in build
  • El Cuarto De Rescate
    El Cuarto de Rescate-the ransom room-is Cajamarca's only intact Incan construction and is an important memento of the fall of the Inca Empire. Depending on which historical source you believe, it was here that Inca Emperor Atahualpa was either imprisoned or where the ransom he paid for his release
  • Churches
    Huancavelica is filled with historic churches on almost all of its main streets. Plaza de Armas is home to the Cathedral de Huancavelica, which still holds mass on Sundays. On the end of Calle Munoz are the Churches of San Fransicso and San Sebastin. San Fransico has large grass covered stairs and S
  • Iglesia De San Francisco
    The construction of the elaborate Iglesia de San Francisco began in 1699, and continued until the 18th Century, though the church's belfries were only fully completed as recently as 1958. Inside the church you will find stone carvings, elegant altars and intricate ceilings. You can also visit the sm
  • Gold's Gym Peru
    With 11 locations in and around the city, Gold's Gym Peru is far more than a weight training center and suits most workout needs. Catering to all ability and exercise levels, the facilities are fully equipped, clean and modern. Equipment is in excellent and new condition, and feature Stair masters,
  • Plaza de Toros de Acho
    The Plaza de Toros de Acho was founded in 1766 by the Viceroy Amat and stands proudly as the primary bullring of Lima. It is also considered the oldest in South America. Various celebrations are held here, such as the Señor de los Milagros Fair. The Museo Taurino is nearby. The bullring is made of
  • Cultural Centers In Lima
    If you're tired of staid museums and are yearning for culture of a livelier vein, then check out the events at Lima's many cultural centers. Many have special programs for children and classes. Most events are free. Alianza Francesa (Av. Garcilas
  • Casa De La Literatura Peruana
    Casa de la Literatura is the place to go for a crash course on Peruvian literature. Guides lead you through five centuries of the country's written word and oral traditions, from pre-Conquest times to the present. Through photographs, panels, videos, audio recordings and objects, the Casa's 16 ga
  • Ruta De Pisco
    Since the beginning of the 17th century, the Moquegua valley has been known for its wine and pisco. At the end of the Guerra del Pacífico, 120 bodegas (wineries) existed. Today, only a handful still distils liquors. Eleven bodegas have formed the Ruta de Pisco, opening their doors t
  • Dune Buggy Rides
    Huacachina has become THE place to go for riding the desert dunes in a buggy. Outings are usually planned in the cooler hours of morning, or in the evening to watch the sun set. Many companies combine dunebuggying with sandboarding. Others offer trips out to virgin beaches, where the Ica Desert mee
  • Ayacucho Churches
    Ayacucho boasts of having 33 churches in town, but in reality there are many more. The churches are open at varying times of day and many are in such disrepair that it is not possible to step inside. Ask at the tourist office in Plaza Mayor for a list of churches and their hours of operation. The m
  • Huánuco Churches
    The city of Huánuco, founded in 1539, was part of an important cultural movement during the colonial era. One can see this evidenced in the intricate architecture of the city's many churches--La Catedral, la Iglesia San Francisco, la Iglesia de Cristo Rey, la Iglesia de la Merced and la Iglesia San
  • Cachiche
    In this huarango forest, far from the prying eyes of the Spanish Inquisition, Andean indigenous, African slaves, Romani and Chinese came to practice their native religions. The Catholic Church considered those beliefs to be witchcraft, and thus Cachiche's
  • Cerro Blanco
    Cerro Blanco is not hard to miss in a desert full of dunes, with the Andes rising high beyond. This dune is the highest in the world, looming to a height of 2,078 meters (6,774 ft). It spreads out across the wasteland, eight kilometers (4.8 mi) wide and four kilometers (2.4 mi) long. The ancient Na
  • Barrio Chino
    A large red gateway on Jirón Ucayali (a.k.a., Calle Cantón) marks the entrance into Lima's Barrio Chino. Along this pedestrian mall paved with the 12 sign of the Sino horoscope are several stands offering newspapers from China and another kiosk attends to spiritual needs. The neighborho
  • Apulaya - Center For Andean Music & Art
    Andean music, art & painting workshops, courses and seminars: Apulaya transmits the Andean culture in a creative and interactive way, in its real and spontaneous context.
  • Kitesurfing And Kiteboarding
    There is also a growing kitesurfing and kiteboarding scene in Máncora. The wind is consistent, the waves always present and the water is usually warm - making Máncora a hot new spot for these sports. During some months of the year, surfers may need to wear wet suits as the water can be colder than
  • Santuario De Santa Rosa De Lima
    The Santuario de Santa Rosa de Lima is the former home of the America's first native-born saint and patron of Peru. The focal point of this sanctuary is the interior garden, where the saint's adobe hermitage still stands, as well as a 19-meter (62-foot) deep well where pilgrims drop letters with
  • Iglesia La Ermita
    Local legend tells that one night, a group of fishermen were lost at sea, enshrouded in Lima's famous dense fog. When they prayed for salvation, a luminous cross appeared and guided them back to shore. In 1805, the Iglesia La Ermita was constructed on the site where the cross allegedly shone, and si
  • Puerto Pizarro
    At Puerto Pizarro, near the Ecuadorian border, Peru's desert coast frays into lush mangrove swamps. From this port, you can catch a boat down the shaded canals, visiting several islands. Isla de los Pájaros teems with nesting pelicans and frigate birds. The frigate males' bright red throat
  • Mirador De Cerro Cristo Blanco And Cerro Chen Chen Geoglyphs
    Atop a hill on the city's south side looms a huge, white statute of Christ overlooking the landscape. The grounds of Cerro Cristo Blanco not only offer mere humans the same panoramic view, but also have nice, terraced gardens. A suspension bridge connects this hill with the one on the other
  • The Churches Of Pisco
    The August 2007 earthquake destroyed all of Pisco's churches. At the moment of the tremor, the Cathedral was full of parishioners for a funeral mass. Over 400 died when the temple collapsed. The new Catedral, inaugurated Semana Santa 2012, is a modern br
  • Monumento Y Mirador Pachacuteq
    The ninth leader of the Inca empire, Pachacuteq-who is also credited with spreading the empire's borders beyond the Cusco area-is honored with this striking modern monument. Pachacuteq's image is reproduced here in a massive bronze statue set atop a stone column. The stones were supplied by the sur
  • Museo Taller Hilario Mendivil
    This quirky museum is housed within two beautiful courtyards decorated with interesting murals, statues and poems by the renowned Cusqueño artist Hilario Mendivil, his family and friends. The actual museum consists of just one room filled with Mendivil's colorful statues of religious figures and
  • Miradores In Juliaca
    Two miradores (lookout points) in the city offer a bit more than panoramic views of the Meseta de Cholloa and Lago Titicaca far in the distance. Pasaje de la Identidad Andina, which begins near the Pasaje de la C
  • Belén Canoe Tour
    During the rainy season in Belén, houses built on stilts or rafts rise and fall with the Amazon river. Water creeps up to doorways and families get around in wooden canoes. Closer to shore, residents carry their satchels, book bags, groceries and sacks of rice along a series of rickety wooden walk
  • Majes River Lodge
    This family farm, located in one of the deepest canyons on earth, offers lodging and thrilling rafting adventures. The comfortable cabins, for one to three guests, have hot water baths. Other amenities include a dining room, bar, barbecue, campfire and a pach
  • Laguna Mamacocha
    Laguna Mamacocha is just one of many natural wonders that speckle the Amazonas region. A sparkling gem hidden deep in the cloud-swathed mountains, it has three islets. It is a four to five-hour walk from Jalca Grande. Due to the terrain, littered with sinkholes, and the heavy vegetation, a guide is
  • Catarata de Gocta
    Northwest of Chachapoyas, near the villages of Cocachimba and San Pablo, is the Catarata de Gocta, the world's 16th highest waterfall. Gocta's two-step cascade plunges 2,529 ft (771 m) through the jungle to a pool guarded by a blond mermaid. Legends say she is the mother of the river's fish and sh
  • Mario Vargas Llosa Walking Tour
    During the 1950s, Nobel prize winning writer Mario Vargas Llosa grew up in Miraflores. Take a walking tour of the places that inspired The City of Dogs, Conversation in the Cathedral, Arequipa-Colca Canyon region await climbers wanting to get a bit of sky-high action. Dominating Arequipa's skyline are
  • Iglesia De Santa Catalina
    Built by the Jesuits (1649-1774), Iglesia de Santa Catalina is a beautiful example of mestizo baroque architecture. The rough-hewn stone exterior has a single bell tower. Within, the single nave's walls are lined with chapels displaying saints dressed in richly embroidered clothing. Spanish, reli
  • River Running
    The rivers that tumble off the mountains and through the canyons near Arequipa provide plenty of opportunities for white water rafting and kayaking. River running is best from April through December. The Río Chili, which flows through the city, is
  • Coropuna and Ampato
    Those with experience and equipment who are interested in independent climbs should look to Coropuna (6,425 m / 20,946 ft) and Ampato (6,280 m / 20,473 ft). Both of these peaks have large glaciers on top (Coropuna has stalagmites, while Ampato has stalactites), though they're slowly melting and are
  • Colonial Mansions
    Arequipa boasts some of Peru's best preserved and finest colonial architecture. Because most casonas were built as single story structures, they have withstood earthquakes that leveled other buildings in the city. A way to distinguish colonial architecture from Republican-era buildings is by
  • Reserva Nacional Del Titicaca
    Reserva Nacional del Lago Titicaca has two sections totaling 36,163 hectares (89,361 ac): Sector Puno, near the city (29,150 ha / 72,031 ac) and Sector Ramis on the far side of the lake near Huancané (7,013 ha / 17,330 ac). The re
  • Monumento Nacional Wilcahuaín
    Just eight kilometers (5 mi) north-east of Huaraz is the Wilcahuaín archaeological site. The ruins date to the Wari Empire, which dominated the region from 700 to 1000 AD. Gravity-defying vertical stone slabs and several smalle
  • Crossing the Border from Peru to Bolivia
    Peru - Bolivia Border Crossing Tales from the Road Flanked by Lago Titicaca on one side and steep idyllic valleys on the other, the narrow highway between Puno, Peru and Copacabana, Bolivia, slithers between pueblos and stone fences, chugging its way to the quiet hilltop Peru/Bolivian border. The sc
  • Eating Ceviche Like A Native
    Ceviche, or Cebiche is almost the Peruvian national dish. It is prepared with very fresh, cubed raw fish, which is marinated in fresh lime juice with a touch of garlic, salt and ají (fresh, hot yellow peppers). Depending on the geographical zone, it may have a little fresh ginger, coriande
  • Cerro Santa Apolonia
    Standing high over Cajamarca is the Cerro Santa Apolonia, a steep hill with far-stretching views across the city. Take the steps at the end of Calle Dos de Mayo (two and a half blocks south-west of the Plaza de Armas), and you will pass by the pretty, white chapel of Virgen de Fátima, before reach
  • Mirador Rataquenua
    For dramatic views of the surrounding peaks and valleys, head to this mirador, which is marked by a giant cross. It's about an hour's hike from town, but it is safer to take a taxi-there have been reports of armed hold-ups and assaults. Only visit the mirador in the day-time and in a group. If you d
  • Jardín Botánico
    The Jardín Botánico (botanical garden) of Tingo Maria was established in 1978 by the local Universidad Nacional Agraria de la Selva. The collection of tropical plant life now comprises more than 2,000 different species, each labeled for those of an inquiring mind. The garden covers approxi
  • Bella Dormiente
    Overlooking Tingo Maria is the Bella Dormiente (Sleeping Beauty), a lush green mountain range that bears the profile of a sleeping woman. According to legend, a princess by the name of Nunash fled into the jungle to escape a monstrous serpent. When she returned, she could no longer find her
  • Catarata De Yumbilla
    Though the amount of water itself is fairly low, the height of La Catarata de Yumbilla-2,938 ft (895.5 m)-makes it the fifth highest waterfall in the world. The falls are tiered, and broken into four to five different sections (the number of sections is disputed). The waterfall became internationall
  • Pozo De Yanayacu
    West of the city is a well, Pozo de Yanayacu, originally known as the Fuente Cuyana, and sometimes also known as the fuente del amor (fountain of love). Legend has it that, while the region was suffering a severe drought, Saint Toribio de Mogrovejo managed to extract water from a dry rock, t
  • Mirador Guayamil
    A short walk from the Plaza de Armas is the Mirador Guayamil, which has far-reaching views over the city; it's especially pleasant at sunset.
  • Barrio Santa Ana
    Barrio Santa Ana—a brief walk from Ayacucho's Plaza Mayor, following Avenida Grau—is a funky artisan community known for its local arts and crafts. The center of the neighborhood is Plazuela de Santa Ana, which houses the Iglesia Santa Ana de los Indios and is lined with family-run weavin
  • Cordillera Huayhuash
    Characterized by rugged snow-capped peaks and wide alpine pastures dotted with tranquil blue lakes, the Cordillera Huayhuash is one of the most beautiful and least-known mountain ranges in South America. Although it is only 30 kilometers (18.6 mi) long, this cordillera packs a strong panoramic pu
  • Cañon Del Pato
    Though the Cañon del Pato (literally the "duck canyon") doesn't actually feature any ducks, it does however offer a popular day trip for cyclists looking for thrills. North of Caraz, the Cordillera Blanca and the Cordillera Negra almost meet in a spectacular canyon that is more than 1000 meters (3
  • Royal Tomb
    The Royal Tomb is a bit of a misnomer due to the fact that neither graves nor human remains have ever been found here. Though it may lack the macabre history that some travelers may expect, this cave-like structure is an excellent example of the Inca's stonemasonry genius. Located inside is a magni
  • Polish Petroglyphs
    These are figures of animals, plants and some linguistic symbols in low relief. It is still not possible to date them accurately, even though some believe they correspond to the early period of the Chachapoya. You find more petroglyphs at Cabo Leveau, 30 kilometers (19 mi) from Tarapoto.
  • Tambo Colorado
    Up the Río Pisco valley is Tambo Colorado, one of coastal Peru's best preserved Incan ruins. This city, built in 1450 AD during the reign of Túpac Yupanqui, is unusual, as it was constructed of adobe. Tambo Colorado was the Inca's major coastal administrative center. It has three sectors, domin
  • Cerro Baúl
    In the midst of the crumpled mountains around Moquegua, Cerro Baúl stands apart. solitary in this landscape, looming like a giant's trunk, this butte was a major ceremonial site of the Wari nation (600-1100 AD). The hilltop is scattered with the remains of that sacred city, which was later used by
  • Hiking and Trekking When to Go
    Most people venture to the Central Andes with one thing in mind: getting out into the countryside and up into the mountains. There are several agencies (especially in Huaraz) offering a variety of trekking itineraries. Signing up for a trip through one of these agencies is an easy way to hit the t
  • Perene Valley
    One of the leading destinations in the Chanchamayo region, and one touted by every tour agency in town, is the Penere River valley. The major attractions here are the spectacular waterfalls of Bayoz and Velo de la Novia, where visitors are usually encouraged to swim. Trips are typically rounded out
  • Q'enqo
    The intriguing temple and amphitheater ruins of Q'enqo are situated about a 20-minute walk from
  • Pikillacta and Rumicolca
    Much of the ancient Inca's organizational expertise and city planning talents originated from the pre-Inca Huari Empire, which dominated the lands of Peru from 500 to 1000 A.D. An interesting example of Huari engineering is Rumicolca, an ancient aqueduct poised on a valley pass on the side of the h
  • Puca Pucara
    Though perhaps the least impressive of the ruins around Cusco, Puca Pucara offers stunning views of the Cusco Valley and glaciers to the south. Located about 11 kilometers (6.8 mi) outsi
  • Paredones
    The ancient Nasca culture wasn't the only one to leave behind evidence of their presence. Just on the south edge of town are the ruins of Paredones, an Inca administrative center. It was possibly built during Inca Pachacútec's reign (1438-1471 AD). Some archaeologists believe it may have been a
  • Cantayo Aqueducts
    In the middle of the desert, huge stone and huarango-wood spirals whirl into the sand. These reservoirs, along with canals, are aqueducts that the pre-Inca Nasca nation built over two-thousand years ago, to irrigate dry lands that lacked surface water. Thus
  • Awana Kancha
    A visit to Awana Kancha is an appealing way to spend an afternoon. A quick 10-minute taxi ride outside Pisac, this community project has a collection of different types of Camelids, including llamas, alpacas and vicuñas. Awana Kancha works with different communities in the area that employ tradit
  • Cordillera Negra
    Noticeably devoid of snow, the brown mountains of the Cordillera Negra provide a sharp contrast to the snow-covered peaks of the neighboring Cordillera Blanca. This mounta
  • Abiseo River National Park
    Abiseo River National Park (274,520 ha/678,354 ac) is part of the select UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage List, and it contains eight live zones and 36 registered archaeological sites. The park also has fascinating archaeological remnants of the Chachapoya, like the Gran Pajatén, Los
  • Vivero-jardín Las Cattleyas
    Just a quarter-block from Tarapoto's Plaza de Armas is a refuge from the traffic and bustle: Vivero-Jardín Las Cattleyas. Behind the white-washed adobe walls is an Eden of orchids and other native plants of the Amazonian region. For over two decades, Elvira Meléndez has cultivated this garden,
  • Baños Termales San Mateo
    In the jungle south of Moyobamba lie some of Peru's best hot springs. Baños Termales San Mateo has six pools with medicinal waters registering 36-43°C (97-109°F), guaranteed to restore your body after months of travelling. The shaded grounds also have two large, fresh-water pools to cool off a
  • Río Mayo
    The Río Mayo defines the north edge of Moyobamba city. On the cliff above the Río Mayo are two lookout points with views of the jungle and river: Punta de Tahuishco (end of Jr Puno) and Mirador de San Juan (en
  • Botanical Gardens
    The cloudforests around Moyobamba are the homeland of the local endemic orchid species, Pragmipedium kovachii and Catleya rex. If you don't visit Moyobamba during its annual Festival de la Orquídea, you can still a
  • Ahuashiyaku Waterfalls
    This 40-meter (131 ft) waterfall is located on the hill La Escalera (The Stairs) at 465 meters (1,526 ft) above sea level. The water flows over rocks densely surrounded by ferns, orchids and diverse species of trees. In the surroundings, there are plenty of butterflies, birds and insects to watc
  • Tabacalera Del Oriente
    The Tabacalera del Oriente is a paradise for cigar smokers. For non-smokers, the â??factoryâ? provides a fascinating insight into the cigar manufacturing process. Every cigar is hand-rolled by a highly skilled group of about 35 women; watching them at work is a mesmerizing experience. The store
  • Kuélap Ruins
    Clouds wrap around the mountains, around the stones of the Forteleza. A silence pervades the air, a silence of centuries. What did these massive walls of Kuélap protect? Photos cannot accurately portray this ancient citadel that sits at 3,000 meterse (9,842 ft). The perimeter wall, containing a n
  • Hiking and Trekking Tailor-made Treks
    If you're keen for some solo time, or want to organize a trip for just you and your friends, you can plan your own trek. However, there are a few important things you should remember before you strap on the high altitude gear. Due to the extreme altitude (treks through the Cordilleras Blanca,
  • Cultural Centers In Arequipa
    Being a university town and cultural mecca, Arequipa has many home-grown cultural centers: Biblioteca Regional Mario Vargas Llosa — Calle San Francisco 308. Complejo Cultural Chávez de la Rosa
  • Aguas Termales De Yura
    After trekking through the canyons or climbing Misti, your muscles just might need some pure relaxation. The hot springs (aguas termales) at Yura could be just the remedy you need. A handful of enclosed pools (29-34°C / 84-93°F) are within walking distanc
  • Campiña Tour
    The Campiña Tour takes tourists out of the White City and out into the countryside to see various attractions there. Stops include to three miradores (lookout points) around the city, to take in the stunning volcanic vistas: Mercado Artesanal
  • Cordillera Blanca
    Running 180 kilometers (112 mi) from north to south across the Ancash region, the spectacular snow-clad peaks of the Cordillera Blanca provide a natural barrier between the desert coast and the Amazon Basin. Rugged peaks des
  • The Parks Of Selva Alegre
    An escape from the White City isn't too far from downtown. Just six blocks from the Plaza de Armas are two garden-filled green spaces perfect for picnics, jogging, tai chi or yoga. Parque Ángel Vinidio Cornejo has two levels (weekends, holida
  • Ollantaytambo Fortress
    Ollantaytambo's complex was built shortly after Emperor Pachacuteq's conquest of the region. Today, most of it is spread on the face of a mountain, divided over 16 terraces. The terraces and accompanying temples were built using some of the finest stonework in the Inca empire. The most impressive s
  • Santuario Animal Cochahuasi
    Located halfway along the highway between Cusco and Pisac is the private, family-owned Cochahuasi animal sanctuary. The organisation, which was founded in 2007, is run by volunteers and funded entirely by donations. The sanctuary receives animals that have been abused or illicitly trafficked. They
  • Hiking Near Arequipa
    When travelers think of trekking in the Arequipa region, most only think of the trails winding through Colca and Cotahuasi canyons and the Valle de Volcanes. There are other opportunities, though, closer to the city where hikers can stretch their legs—and that don't charge entry fees, like Col
  • Parque Nacional Tingo Maria
    Parque Nacional Tingo María (Tingo Maria National Park), located about six kilometers (3.7 mi) south of town and easily reached by mototaxi, covers an area of approximately 18,000 hectares (44,479 ac). It was declared a national park on May 14, 1965, becoming the second such area in Peru to receive
  • A Ceremony for Your Healing
    Shadows of flame and a man flash across the rustic walls of a home deep in the mountains. In this dim light, you watch the curandero entering that world opened by San Pedro cactus. He is speaking with the spirits to see, to know what healing you need. Then you sleep, to prepare for the next
  • Circuito Mágico De Agua
    In Lima's eight-hectare (20-acre) Parque de la Reserva was designed in the late 1920s by French architect Claude Sahut. Statues by Peruvian artists decorate this park, inaugurated in honor of the soldiers who protected the city during the war against Chile. What is the big draw to this reserve, tho
  • Poza De Barro
    Deep off the Pan-American Highway, up Quebrada Fernández, in the midst of the dry forest of Cerro de Amotepe, a refreshing treat from the salty sea awaits Máncora: Poza de Barro. This small, single pool is full of warm mud, perfect for recharging road-weary travelers. Its highly concentrated mine
  • Las Ventanillas De Otuzco
    Located 8 km (5 mi) north of Cajamarca, the small town of Otuzco is known for las ventanillas (little windows) carved into the mountainside. These beautiful stone windows were actually used by the Incas as tombs. The rock hillside looks like an ancient ghost town, abandonded since it was used
  • Rafting and Kayaking
    If you are looking to experience the thrill of navigating down treacherous waters while vacationing in Manu, you are in luck. Many lodges offer rafting and kayaking as an optional activity for their visitors. Most of the rafting in the area is considered to be Class 3 or Class 4 rapids, which gener