A thousand years of history and the heritage left from the Inca civilization are one of the main reasons why you should buy a ticket to this country. But apart from that, there are dozen other places and things to discover. Read this travel guide to Perù with the main things to see and do.
Cuzco is the capital of the Precolumbian empire. The well-known Machu Picchu, the ancient city on top of a mountain is the utmost must-see in Perù. But of course, you should also take some time to admire Perù’s unique natural spots, with their wide variety of plants, species, and landscapes. It goes from the desert to the Amazon rainforest and snowy mountain peaks. What makes this place special, however, is the population with its ancient traditions, languages, and culinary products.
When to go
While planning your trip, you must take into account that Perù’s seasons are the opposite compared to Europe. During winter (from May until August), it won’t be that sunny but might be the best option if you prefer cool temperatures. In Summer (from January until March), you’ll be sure to find good weather, though it’s not a good time for those who feel like they might melt under the sun. The temperatures in the capital during Winter are about 16-18 degrees, while in Summer they increase up to 25-30 degrees.
The main important events in Perù follow the Catholic calendar, especially for what concerns the villages of the Indios. The Carnival (February-March) is a top moment to be here, celebrated for example with water battles. Another important gathering is the Festa di Puno (5th of November), during which the locals wear quirky and colorful costumes and dance in the city’s main streets.
Travel guide to Perù: What to see
If this is your first visit to Perù, then starting from Lima is the best solution. Not only this city is famous for being the Gastronomic Capital in America, but also because of its rich cultural heritage. For instance, the National Museum of Archeology and the park in the center of Lima are worth a visit. In the core of the city, you can admire the Cathedral, and two ancient monasteries: Santo Domingo and San Francisco. Regarding archeological sites, the most important are Huaca Huallamarca, Huaca Pucllana, and Pachacamac. The latter is the most important sanctuary along the coast dating back to pre-Inca times.
In addition to that, you cannot miss a hiking experience in the Paracas Natural Reserve. Here you will find the Islas Ballestas, considered to be the Peruvian Galapagos. But not that far from Paracas is a completely different environment: 150 km away is Nazca, a 500 km area of sand and desert. Furthermore, do not miss the Canyon del Cololca, the deepest of its kind, near the city of Arequipa.
Puno, in the south, lies on the shore of Lake Titicaca, the only one located at such a high point. From here, you can head to Cuzco, the capital of the Inca empire, where of course you’ll find several sites that prove the importance of this civilization. Along the sacred valley of the Urubamba River, there are buses that head to Machu Picchu. But if you want to get the most out of this place, follow the 4-day-trek Inca Trail, a 50 km route on the Ande.
On top of that, the regions of the center and the north of Perù have something special too. From Huaraz, you can head to the colonial city of Trujillo. But if you are seeking a truly wild experience in nature, then go on a jungle expedition in Iquitos. Alternatively, there’s the Abiseo National Park and the Manù National Park.
Travel guide to Perù: Art and Traditions
Embroidered fabrics and the women’s black gowns with lines of different colors according to the region of origin are the relevant traditional products over here. In addition to that, worth mentioning are the ponchos, usually made in wool. Long and red are the ones in Puno, locals wear them during special occasions. In Cuzco, they are short and have geometric ornaments.
Traditional Culinary Products
As mentioned, Lima is the most important place for meals with fish. If you ask a local what you should try, that is Ceviche; fish marinated with lime. Moreover, the main products blend Spanish and African influences. Most recipes include potatoes, corn, and rice. But what this country offers depends mainly on the environmental features of the different areas. For instance, in the north, you’ll find rice and meat, while in the sierra it is mainly about peppers, pork, and corn. In the Amazon rainforest, you’ll find fish, tropical fruits, and vegetables. Here are some traditional dishes that you shouldn’t miss: papa a la huancaína and thearroz con pato from Chiclayo, the chupe de camarones in Arequipa, and the sopa seca from Chincha.
Are you planning a trip in other countries near Perù? Read our article about Bolivia