Visitors have always been drawn to Peru because it is a land of superlatives:
Its precious Amazon rain forest holds the most biodiversity on earth.
The magnificent Cordillera Blanca mountain range not only has Huascarán, the highest tropical peak on the planet, but Alpamayo, internationally renowned as “the most beautiful mountain in the world.”
The Inca formed the largest and most advanced pre-Columbian empire in the hemisphere.
Year-after-year, startling discoveries of hidden ruins and ancient artifacts maintain Peru’s long-established reputation as the greatest treasure trove of archaeological wealth in the Americas.
Over three decades, Fertur Peru Travel has built a reputation for unsurpassed personal attention, so that visitors can go home counting Peru as the greatest and most memorable travel experience possible.
We look forward to serving you.
Siduith Ferrer Herrera,
Peru Travel Agency – General Information About Peru
Peru, a country rich in history, natural wonders, and vibrant culture, offers a journey like no other. From the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu to the breathtaking landscapes of the Amazon Rainforest, Peru is a destination that will leave you in awe.
In addition to its stunning natural landscapes, Peru is home to many fascinating cultural attractions. Visitors can explore vibrant markets, learn about traditional Amazonian customs, or even try their hand at a traditional Peruvian dance. For those looking for a unique experience, take a trip to the Sacred Valley of the Incas and explore the ruins of Pisac or Ollantaytambo. These ancient sites are full of history and provide an unforgettable experience. Peru is truly an incredible destination that has something for everyone!
Peru’s diverse landscapes, ancient ruins, and rich cultural heritage
From the towering peaks of the Andes to the vast Amazon Rainforest, Peru offers a wide array of natural wonders to explore. Its historical sites, such as the world-famous Machu Picchu, provide a glimpse into the ancient civilizations that once thrived in this region. With its vibrant cities, delicious cuisine, and warm-hearted people, Peru is a destination that will leave a lasting impression.
In this guide, we will delve into the must-see attractions and hidden gems of Peru, taking you on a virtual journey through its history, nature, and culture. Join us as we uncover the wonders of Machu Picchu, hike the legendary Inca Trail, venture into the Amazon Rainforest, explore the charming city of Cusco, and much more. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or embarking on your first adventure, Peru has something for everyone.
Exploring Peru’s Ancient Treasures
Machu Picchu: The Enigmatic Stone Citadel
Perched high in the Andes Mountains, Machu Picchu is a 15th-century stone citadel that was built by the Inca Empire. This UNESCO World Heritage Site and “New World Wonder” is an architectural masterpiece that continues to amaze visitors from around the globe. As you wander through the ancient ruins, you’ll be awestruck by the intricate stonework, terraced fields, and panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.
To reach Machu Picchu, you have two options: the classic 26-mile, 4-day Inca Trail trek or the shorter 2-day Inca Trail. Whichever route you choose, it’s essential to plan in advance and secure permits, as they are limited. The Inca Trail is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that takes you through breathtaking landscapes and allows you to follow in the footsteps of the ancient Incas.
The Inca Trail: A Trek through History
The Inca Trail is a 500-year-old network of stone pathways that leads hikers directly to the Sun Gate at Machu Picchu. This iconic trek is a challenging but rewarding adventure that offers stunning scenery and a deep connection with nature. Along the way, you’ll pass through diverse ecosystems, from high mountain passes to lush cloud forests.
The classic 4-day Inca Trail is the most popular option and covers a distance of 26 miles. It takes you through breathtaking landscapes, ancient ruins, and remote villages. If you’re short on time or prefer a less strenuous trek, the 2-day Inca Trail is a great alternative. Whichever option you choose, you’ll be accompanied by experienced guides who will provide insights into the history and culture of the region.
Discovering the Amazon Rainforest
Puerto Maldonado: Gateway to the Jungle
If you’re eager to explore the world’s largest jungle, the Amazon Rainforest, Puerto Maldonado is the perfect starting point. Located in southeastern Peru, this bustling town offers easy access to the pristine rainforest and its incredible biodiversity. Comfortable lodges near Puerto Maldonado provide a base for daily activities and excursions into the jungle.
During your stay, you’ll have the opportunity to embark on guided hikes, river cruises, and wildlife spotting expeditions. Keep your eyes peeled for iconic Amazonian creatures, such as macaws, monkeys, sloths, and pink river dolphins. For a touch of luxury, consider an Amazon River cruise from Iquitos, where you can relax on board a boutique ship while exploring the remote corners of the rainforest.
Immerse Yourself in the Cultural Capital: Cusco
The Mighty Inca Empire
Once the capital of the mighty Inca Empire, Cusco is a city steeped in history and surrounded by archaeological wonders. As you wander through its cobblestone streets, you’ll encounter a fascinating blend of Inca and Spanish colonial architecture. The main square, Plaza de Armas, is a vibrant hub where you can admire the Cathedral and visit the nearby Qoricancha, an ancient Inca temple.
To fully appreciate the grandeur of the Inca Empire, don’t miss the opportunity to explore the nearby archaeological ruins. Sacsayhuaman, a fortress-like structure overlooking Cusco, offers panoramic views of the city and its surroundings. Other notable sites include Q’enqo, Tambomachay, and Puka Pukara, all of which provide insights into the impressive engineering skills of the Incas.
Exploring Cusco’s Archaeological Ruins
In addition to its central sites, Cusco is surrounded by numerous archaeological ruins that are worth exploring. Just a short drive from the city, you’ll find the impressive ruins of Pisac and Ollantaytambo. Pisac is known for its terraced fields, intricate stone carvings, and vibrant market, where you can purchase traditional textiles and handicrafts. Ollantaytambo, on the other hand, is a well-preserved Inca town with magnificent stone walls and a towering fortress.
For a unique perspective on Cusco, head to the nearby ruins of Sacsayhuaman. From this elevated vantage point, you can admire the city’s red-tiled roofs and the majestic peaks of the surrounding mountains. As you explore these ancient sites, let your imagination run wild and imagine what life was like during the height of the Inca Empire.
The Enchanting Lake Titicaca
Lake Titicaca, located on the border of Peru and Bolivia, is the highest navigable lake in the world. Its crystal-clear waters and stunning landscapes make it a must-visit destination for nature lovers. One of the highlights of a visit to Lake Titicaca is the opportunity to visit the Uros and Taquile Islands.
The Uros Islands are unique floating islands made entirely of totora reeds. The indigenous Uros people have been living on these islands for centuries, maintaining their traditional way of life. A visit to the Uros Islands offers a glimpse into their culture, as well as the chance to purchase handmade crafts and textiles.
On Taquile Island, you’ll find a different cultural experience. The island is known for its rich textile tradition, with locals creating intricate textiles using traditional methods. Take a stroll around the island, enjoy stunning sunsets over the lake, and immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of the local community.
Vibrant Lima: The Capital City
Culinary Delights and Award-Winning Restaurants
Lima, the capital city of Peru, is a gastronomic paradise that delights food lovers from around the world. With its diverse culinary scene, Lima has earned a reputation as one of the top food destinations in the world. From traditional Peruvian dishes to innovative fusion cuisine, Lima offers a wide range of flavors to satisfy every palate.
To truly experience Lima’s culinary delights, head to the trendy districts of Miraflores, San Isidro, and Barranco. These neighborhoods are home to numerous award-winning restaurants, where you can indulge in ceviche, causa, anticuchos, and other iconic Peruvian dishes. Don’t forget to pair your meal with a refreshing Pisco sour, Peru’s national cocktail.
Historical City Center: A UNESCO World Heritage Site
Lima’s historical city center, also known as the Historic Center of Lima, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that showcases the city’s rich colonial heritage. Here, you’ll find well-preserved buildings dating back to the Spanish colonial era, including the imposing Government Palace and the stunning Basilica Cathedral of Lima.
As you wander through the narrow streets of the historic center, you’ll encounter beautiful plazas, ornate balconies, and charming colonial-era churches. Be sure to visit the San Francisco Monastery and its catacombs, which offer a glimpse into Lima’s colonial past. The historic center is also home to numerous museums, where you can delve deeper into Peru’s fascinating history and culture.
The Spectacular Sacred Valley
Scenic Landscapes and Outdoor Adventures
The Sacred Valley, located just outside of Cusco, is a region of stunning natural beauty and archaeological wonders. Surrounded by the majestic peaks of the Andes Mountains, the Sacred Valley offers a range of outdoor activities for adventure enthusiasts. Whether you’re ziplining through the valley, white water rafting on the Urubamba River, or hiking to remote archaeological sites, there’s no shortage of excitement here.
Maras Salt Mines: Nature’s Masterpiece
One of the unique attractions in the Sacred Valley is the Maras salt mines. Located in the town of Maras, these ancient salt pans have been in use since Inca times. The salt pans, formed by natural springs, create a stunning mosaic of white terraces against the backdrop of the surrounding mountains. Take a walk through the salt mines, learn about the traditional salt extraction process, and marvel at the beauty of this natural wonder.
Ollantaytambo and Pisac Market: Cultural Gems
The towns of Ollantaytambo and Pisac are two cultural gems in the Sacred Valley that are worth exploring. Ollantaytambo is known for its well-preserved Inca ruins, which include terraced fields, stone buildings, and a massive fortress. Take your time to wander through the narrow streets of the town, visit the local market, and soak in the atmosphere of this historical place.
Pisac, on the other hand, is famous for its bustling market, where you can find an array of traditional textiles, ceramics, and handicrafts. The market is also a great place to sample local delicacies and interact with the friendly locals. After exploring the market, hike up to the Pisac archaeological site, located high above the town, and enjoy panoramic views of the valley.
Unraveling the Mystery of the Nazca Lines
Geoglyphs in the Coastal Desert
The Nazca Lines, a series of massive geoglyphs etched into the desert floor, are one of Peru’s most intriguing mysteries. These ancient designs, which can only be fully appreciated from the air, depict various animals, plants, and geometric shapes. Take a thrilling flight in a small plane and marvel at the precision and scale of these enigmatic creations.
As you soar above the Nazca Lines, you’ll spot iconic figures such as the spider, the monkey, the hummingbird, and the astronaut. The exact purpose and meaning of these geoglyphs remain a mystery, leaving room for speculation and wonder. A visit to the Nazca Lines is a unique and awe-inspiring experience that will leave you with more questions than answers.
Paracas National Reserve: A Nature Lover’s Paradise
Coastal Desert Landscapes and Rock Formations
Located along the Pacific Ocean, the Paracas National Reserve is a haven for nature enthusiasts. This protected area encompasses desert landscapes, dramatic cliffs, and pristine beaches. As you explore the reserve, you’ll encounter unique rock formations, such as the Cathedral, a natural arch that rises from the sea.
The reserve is also home to a diverse range of wildlife, including migratory birds, sea lions, and dolphins. Take a boat trip to the Ballestas Islands, also known as the “Poor Man’s Galapagos,” and marvel at the abundance of marine life. Alternatively, relax by the pool with a refreshing Pisco sour and soak in the breathtaking views of the ocean.
Pre-Incan Artifacts and Museums
Within the Paracas National Reserve, you’ll find museums that house well-preserved artifacts from pre-Incan cultures. These artifacts provide valuable insights into the history and heritage of the region. Explore the exhibits and learn about the ancient Paracas people, who left behind intricate textiles, ceramics, and ceremonial objects.
Exploring Arequipa: The White City
Quaint Streets and Impressive Architecture
Arequipa, known as the White City, is a picturesque destination that enchants visitors with its colonial charm and impressive architecture. The city is characterized by its white stone buildings, made from the volcanic ash of nearby volcanoes. Take a stroll through the historic center and admire the beautifully preserved colonial-era mansions and churches.
One of the highlights of Arequipa is the Basilica Cathedral, a stunning example of Spanish colonial architecture. Step inside and marvel at the intricate woodwork, gold leaf decorations, and ornate altars. The Santa Catalina Monastery is another must-visit attraction, offering a peaceful retreat within the bustling city.
El Misti Volcano: A Breathtaking Backdrop
The imposing El Misti Volcano serves as a dramatic backdrop to the city of Arequipa. This dormant volcano is a popular destination for hiking enthusiasts, offering panoramic views of the city and the surrounding landscapes. Embark on a challenging trek to the summit of El Misti and be rewarded with breathtaking vistas and a sense of accomplishment.
Witness the Majestic Colca Canyon
Andean Condors in Flight
Colca Canyon, one of the deepest canyons in the world, is a natural wonder that attracts visitors from far and wide. The canyon’s lush valleys, terraced mountainsides, and crystalline rivers create a stunning backdrop for outdoor adventures. One of the highlights of a visit to Colca Canyon is the opportunity to witness the majestic Andean condors in flight.
As you stand on the edge of the canyon, you’ll be mesmerized by the sight of these magnificent birds soaring through the sky. The Colca Canyon is also home to traditional Andean villages, where you can immerse yourself in local culture and witness age-old traditions. After a day of exploring, relax in the natural hot springs and let the soothing waters rejuvenate your body and soul.
FAQs: Everything You Need to Know Before Your Trip to Peru
Best Time to Visit Peru
The best time to visit Peru depends on the region you plan to explore. In general, the months of May to September are considered the best time to visit the Andes Mountains, including Machu Picchu and Cusco. This period is the dry season, with clear skies and pleasant temperatures. On the other hand, coastal Lima is best visited between December and April, during Peru’s summer, when you can enjoy warm sunshine and avoid the misty winter weather.
Duration of Your Trip
The duration of your trip to Peru depends on the destinations you wish to visit and the activities you want to experience. While it’s possible to see the top sites of Peru in as little as four days, most visitors spend around a week to 10 days exploring the country. Travelers focusing on the Andean sites of Machu Picchu, Sacred Valley, and Cusco typically spend a week or so. Those wanting to explore the coast, mountains, and rainforest should plan for 10-11 days. Additional destinations like Lake Titicaca, Arequipa, and the Nazca Lines may require an extra 2-4 days.
Visitors from the United States, Canada, the European Union, Australia, New Zealand, and select other countries do not need a tourist visa to visit Peru. Upon arrival, Peruvian Immigrations will mark your passport with the number of days you are permitted to stay, usually 90 days. However, it’s important to ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months after your departure date. For specific information about visa requirements for your country, it’s advisable to visit PromPeru’s Web site or consult with the nearest Peruvian consulate.
Health and Safety Tips
In general, all travelers should ensure that their routine vaccinations are up to date before visiting Peru. Additionally, it’s recommended to get Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccines, especially if you plan to visit rural areas. The yellow fever vaccine is also recommended for those traveling to the Amazon rainforest. For more information about vaccinations and health recommendations, visit the CDC Peru website and consult with your doctor.
Peru is considered a safe tourist destination, with no more violent crime than any other popular tourist destination. However, it’s always important to exercise caution and take common-sense precautions to avoid petty crimes like theft. Keep your valuables secure, avoid walking alone in dark or non-touristy areas at night, and be aware of your surroundings. By following these simple guidelines, you can enjoy a safe and memorable trip to Peru.
Language and Communication
The primary language spoken throughout Peru is Spanish. In rural areas, you may also hear indigenous languages such as Quechua and Aymara. English is not widely spoken in Peru, but you can usually get by with the help of our guides, hotel staff, and language translation apps. It’s always helpful to learn some basic Spanish phrases before your trip to Peru to enhance your interactions with locals and navigate more easily.
Currency and Banking
The currency in Peru is the Peruvian Sol (PEN), and the exchange rate is approximately 1 USD to 4.10 PEN. Money can be exchanged at casa de cambio (exchange houses) located in tourist areas. Major supermarkets may accept USD, but the exchange rate may not be as favorable, and change will be given in Soles. ATMs are plentiful in major cities, and you can withdraw cash using your debit card. Banks such as BCP, Scotiabank, Interbank, and BBVA Continental have ATMs that offer English options. It’s recommended to use ATMs located inside banks for higher security.
Transportation in Peru
Getting around Peru is relatively easy, thanks to its well-developed transportation infrastructure. Secure transfers and transport are often included in vacation packages, ensuring a hassle-free experience. For independent exploration within cities, it’s recommended to book secure taxis through your hotel or use rideshare apps like Uber or Cabify. Lima’s Metropolitano bus system offers easy rides to the historic center, while intercity buses and domestic flights are available for longer journeys. It’s advisable to research and plan your transportation in advance to maximize your time in Peru.
Electrical Outlets and Voltage
Peru uses a 220-volt, 60-cycle electrical current, while the United States uses a 120-volt supply. Most laptops, cameras, and mobile phones can accept dual voltage (110V/220V), but it’s important to confirm before plugging in. Other electronics, such as hair straighteners, are likely to be 110V, so a voltage converter may be necessary. However, many luxury hotels provide a 100V outlet in the bathrooms. The outlets in Peru are often the two-pronged flat type, similar to those in the United States. However, in some locations, you may find the two or three prong circular type. It’s advisable to bring an adapter.
Fertur Peru Travel Agency office locations:
Lima Center Office:
Jirón Junín 211, Lima 15001, Perú
☏ (+51-1) 427-2626
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Calle Schell 485, Miraflores, Lima 15074, Perú
☏ (+51-1) 627-6666
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