Wondering where to go next to Machu Picchu in Peru?
Those of us lucky enough to live in Peru know this Macchu Picchu is just one of dozens of destinations Peru offers to those venturing into the capital of outside of our workplaces Lima.
Lima has its charms – colonial architecture, archaeological museums, and cuisine that is rightly among the best in the world – but the most enticing attractions in Peru are in the Provinces.
Where to go in Peru besides Machu Picchu
The combination of the long Pacific coast, the To the and the Amazon Make Peru’s geography one of the most dramatic and impressive in the world. And archeology! Machu Picchu is one of thousands of fascinating archaeological sites discovered by the Incas and a variety of cultures that preceded them. And throughout the country there are still many indigenous cultures, making Peru a virtual rainbow of rich living traditions that will delight any visitor.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the best of these Peru attractions, first in the south, then in the north of Lima. After reading this, you will know that Peru is much more than Machu Picchu.
The south of Peru
The city of Cusco, the ancient capital of the Inca Empire, is still open and offers the visitor a wide variety of attractions including spectacular Inca and Spanish colonial structures, amazing textiles and other handicrafts, museums, fine dining and the outskirts. Numerous impressive Inca ruins, including the stone fortress of Sacsayhuaman, which today hosts the Inti Raymi festival every June.
An hour’s drive from Cusco is the beautiful Sacred valley of the Incas, once the bread basket of the empire in which people still live today as they did before the conquest. The Sacred Valley is a rural paradise with some of the most important Inca ruins in Peru and some of the newest and most modern hotels in the country.
Further south, on the border with Bolivia, is the spectacle Lake Titicaca At 12,500 feet, this is the highest navigable lake in the world. Aymara live on its shores and numerous islands and welcome to share their ancient customs and folkways with visitors.
Another delightful attraction in the southern Sierra region is this Arequipa, called the „white city“For the white volcanic rock that continues to be used extensively for building purposes. Arequipa is a quaint colonial city and just a short drive from the majestic Colca Canyonwhich offers some of the most beautiful scenery in this beautiful country.
The southern coastal region is distinguished Paracas, Ica and Nazca. The most famous attraction in the zone is the Nazca Line drawings etched in over 1,000 square kilometers of the sand plain north of Nazca. The 400 BC Erected to AD 600, Nazca line drawings are geoglyphs that characterize various species of birds, a fish, a spider, a monkey, and plants in a maze of straight lines, spirals, triangles, and other scales.
Nazca line drawings are best done from the air, but can also be viewed on site from specially constructed towers. Ica – famous for its warm, dry and sunny climate – is the center of the Peruvian wine industry. Other attractions are the Huacachina oasisWith its palm-lined lagoon with sulphurous medicinal water and the first-class Las Dunas Resort.
The ones nearby Paracas Bay and adjacent Paracas National Reserve are both full of sea and bird life. Be sure to take the boat trip to Ballestas IslandsHere seals, sea lions and countless species of birds can be observed in their natural habitat.
The three luxurious Bayside Hotels:: Liberate Paracas, Double tree and The ranch we’re talking about Lima now, so make your reservations early.
Paracas, Ica and Nazca are sunny and warm all year round. Don’t forget to bring your swimsuit and plenty of sunscreen!
The north of Peru
A short drive north of Lima is Caral, a fascinating archaeological site believed to be 5,000 years old, is commonly referred to as the oldest city in the western hemisphere. A couple of hours north, near the affluent and attractive city Trujilloare the ruins of Chan Chan, the largest adobe city in the hemisphere.
A few more hours is up the coast ChiclayoHere the Lord of Sipan was discovered. With the help of the National Geographic Society, a museum was built in the nearby city – possibly the most beautiful in Peru Lambayeque to house the impressive golden and jeweled archaeological remains.
Perh’s most impressive archaeological site in northern Peru is the mountain fortress of Kuel in the high jungle region near the picturesque town Chachoyas. The Chachoyas area is home to numerous cliff burial sites, many of which have been found with mummies, and two of the highest waterfalls in the world.
Higher in the northern Andes, the city of Cajamarca holds the so-called Inca baths, still functioning thermal baths, in which the Inca king Atahualpa bathed when he was captured and finally killed by the Spanish conquerors led by Francisco Pizarro. Cajamarca is also home to the Yanacocha gold mine, one of the largest in the world, and a multitude of pre-Columbian ruins amid the beautiful mountain scenery of northern Peru.
The highest mountains in northern Peru surround the Hualylas Alley. The snow was at its peak Cordillera Blanca What defines the east side of this beautiful mountain valley is a paradise for mountaineers and anyone looking for an unsurpassed landscape with mountain peaks and glacier-fed mountain lakes.
The North coast also offers functions Peru’s most beautiful beaches. Perhs is the best known Mancora, a party town that has become a haven for Peru’s emerging surfing scene. Once known as Ernest Hemmingway’s favorite fishing spot, the rich Pacific fishing waters now provide the raw materials for some of the best dishes in the world.
The jungle of Peru
The rainy season in the jungle stretches through Ril, but mornings and early afternoons are usually dry.
Peru’s jungle is formed by the Amazon, the longest river in the world, which begins in the mountains of southern Peru and roams through Peru’s vast jungle region on its way to Brazil. Visitors can begin a tour of the Peruvian Amazon in the jungle cities of Puerto Maldonado or Iquitos.
There are unparalleled nature reserves in Peru’s Amazon, including this Manu National Park, and the Tambopata Candamo and Pacaya Samiria nature reserves.
Now you know Peru is much more than Machu Picchu. Whether you are looking for a mountain or jungle adventure, unparalleled archaeological treasures, or just want to relax on the beach or pool while enjoying a pisco sour along with some of the best and freshest food you have ever tried, Peru is the place for you Place for you. Believe me, I know because I live there. Machu Picchu can wait.