The Lost City of the Incas - Think the unimaginable: discover Machu Picchu!
Machu Picchu, in the Quechua language, means “old peak.” At an elevation of 2,430 meters (7,972 feet), it is one of the most revered and important sites in all of Latin America. So important is the site that in 2007 Machu Picchu was named one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. The stonework at Machu Picchu is an outstanding example of the use of natural materials in creating distinctive architecture. Immense walls, terraces, and ramps appear to be natural parts of the steep and rocky slopes.
Cusco, the “Archaeological Capital of the Americas”
Sitting at 3,300 metres above sea level (10,826 feet), Cusco is located in the Watanay Valley, which was once a large glacial lake, “Ballivian Lake”. Cusco city centre has managed to preserve many of its edifices, plazas, and streets from both pre-Inca and colonial times, and is by any measure an architectural delight. In fact, it’s history is so relished that it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1983.
The once-in-a-lifetime experience!
The Inca Trail. To Machu Picchu. Built 500 years ago by the Inca themselves. It is, without a doubt, one of the most famous treks in the world. The Classic Inca Trail tour begins in the Sacred Valley and ends in a cloudy, forested, almost-mystical region where Machu Pichu resides - the world-famous, Lost City of the Inca.
Exploring the Majestic Valley of the Incas
El Valle Sagrado (the Sacred Valley) of the Incas is located 15 km (9miles) north of the Inca capital of Cusco at 2,800 meters. The Sacred Valley was once the Inca Empire’s main point for the extraction of natural wealth, and one of the most important areas for the production of corn in Peru.
The White City
Deeply engrained in Andean traditions of the Altiplano, Arequipa is found in south-western Peru and is the second biggest city in the country. It sits at 2,335 metres above sea level (7,661 feet) and is home to three local volcanoes: solitary, cone-shaped Misti (5,822 metres, or 19,100 feet); the snow-topped Chachani (6,075 metres, or 19,900 feet); and the somewhat distant Picchu Picchu (5,425 metres, 17,800 feet). The volcanoes elevation reaches approximately 20,000 feet.
The Home of the Mighty Andean condor
Produced by the erosive force of the Colca River, the Colca Canyon - 180 km (111 miles) north of Arequipa, in the department of Chivay - is about 70 km (43 miles) long and has a depth of 3,191 metres (10,500 feet), making it the second deepest canyon in the world. (It is second only to its neighbour, Cotahuasi Canyon, which is 160 metres deeper, or 525 feet.)
The Natural Paradise
The Ballestas Islands, a small group of islands that sit just offshore from the Paracas peninsula, are also known as the “poor man’s Galapagos” or “the mini Galapagos of Peru”. They offer visitors unparalleled wildlife viewing and breathtaking scenery.
Ica is located on the Ica River, about 300 km south of Lima, along the desert coast of southern Peru on the Panamericana Highway. Ica is the capital of the Ica region. The area was long inhabited by various cultures of indigenous people before the Spanish conqueror Geronimo Luis de Cabrera claimed its founding in 1563.
The Mysterious Nazca Lines
The department of Nazca is one of the five departments that comprise the province of Ica. Situated between the town of Nazca and Palpa on the south coast, and above the valley of the “Rio Nazca”, Nazca sits at 520 meters (1,700 feet) and has a dry and sunny climate.
Exploring the World’s Highest Navigable Lake
Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world, stretches from south-eastern Peru to western Bolivia. It sits at 3,810 meters above sea level (12,500 feet), is the longest lake in South America, and is also the cradle of Incan civilization. Did we say long?!? Titicaca is an astounding 196 km long (122 miles), has an average width of 56 km (35 miles), and an average depth of 107 meters (351 feet). Not surprisingly, the lake’s cold, blue waters stand in beautiful contrast to the parched Altiplano.
The City of the Kings
Lima, a city at once a bustling metropolis and a living history museum, is Peru’s capital, as well as the gateway to the entire country. With pre-Hispanic, colonial, and modern-day elements at play in its social structure, Lima can rightly be described as an ethnic melting pot. And a population of 8.5 million makes Lima the country’s largest city. Recognizing the cultural diversity of both Lima and Peru in general, UNESCO - in 1988 - designated Lima as a World Heritage Site.
The Pearl of the North
Chiclayo is slightly off the beaten track despite being the fourth largest city in Peru and the capital of the Lambayeque region in the North. Chiclayo is a popular destination for tourists interested in the Moche culture, archeological sites and treasures, most notably that of Lord Sipan, who is known as “King Tutankhamun of the Americas”. Other destinations such as the Pomac Forest natural reserve; the colorful “Modelo” Market selling souvenirs, fruit, clothing; and the beauty of the Pimental surfing beach make visiting Chiclayo worthwhile.
Chachapoyas, meaning cloud forest, is a colonial market town located in the Amazonas region in Northern Peru. Visiting this remote part of the country is worthwhile as there are so many interesting places to explore including the stunning Yumbilla and Gocta waterfalls. Kuelap, the largest pre-Inca ruins in South America and Karajia, sarcophagi built directly into the cliff, are two such worthwhile gems. Or alternatively, you can venture to the Leymebamba museum to learn more about the history of the funerary and cultural traditions of the Chachapoya people.
Puerto Maldonado is worthy of a visit if you wish to explore the Amazon Jungle in Peru. The jungle is easily accessible from the city of Puerto Maldonado which makes it a great stepping stone for rainforest adventures. Travel up the Tambopata River to the spectacular Tambopata National Reserve to see the capybaras, jaguars, caimans and monkeys. Visit the Chuncho Macaw Clay Lick to see where the parrots gather, and tour the river at night to watch the nocturnal animals come to life. As Puerto Maldonado is only a short plane ride from Cusco, it is the perfect place to begin your Peruvian jungle adventure.
Manu National Park
Manu National Park is an 8-hour bus ride from Cusco, a breathtaking and exhilarating setting to begin your cloud forest tour. The Pantiacolla Mountain Range offers a brilliant opportunity for hiking and exploring the surrounding lakes. But it’s not all hard work, as you will have the chance to relax in the hot springs and tour the colorful orchid farms. The diverse flora and fauna in the Manu National Park is the best drawcard of all, allowing visitors to see the giant otters, caimans, river turtles and monkeys that live in the region.
Iquitos is a remote village in Peru accessible only by plane or boat. Despite this, thousands of visitors embark on a trip to Iquitos to explore the Peruvian Amazon each year. It is a destination that appeals to those who appreciate a tour which is slightly off the beaten track and presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore the unspoilt wonder of the Amazon jungle. Add your tour to Iquitos to your Peruvian holiday to extend your stay and learn more about this amazing culture.
Peru Northern Beaches
The Northern beaches in Peru offer a chance to unwind once you have explored the historic ruins and beautiful cities this country is known for. If you have yet to hear of Mancora, Vachaito, Tumbes, Punta Sal and Zorritos, then you are in for a treat as these Northern beaches make a fabulous addition to your tour of Peru. With luxurious accommodation and superb beaches, you can soak up the sun and revel in the natural beauty of the Piura region. Try your hand at kayaking, windsurfing, parasailing or scuba diving or enjoy a boat tour and a spot of fishing. There is plenty of fun for the whole family.