Touted for its gastronomy, revered for its cultural legacies and marveled for its biodiversity, Peru is a land worthy of multiple visits – how else would you be able to see, taste and do it all?
With landscapes ranging from mountains and jungle to sea, Peru has activities and experiences that are as varied as its terrain. From sky-high Inca ruins to remnants of pre-Hispanic civilizations once buried beneath desert sands, these are the best places to visit in Peru.
Best for trekking
One of the New Seven Wonders of the World and Peru’s greatest claim to tourism fame, Machu Picchu lives up to its hype as a mystical and awe-inspiring 15th-century archaeological site. Built with incredible precision, attention to detail and at the great height of 2430m (7972ft) above sea level, Machu Picchu includes temples, private quarters and ceremonial platforms that continue to radiate sacred energy. Machu Picchu, meaning “old peak” in the Indigenous Quechua language of the Andes, can be reached by a two-hour train ride from the Sacred Valley town of Ollantaytambo, or the truly intrepid can walk in the footsteps of the Incas along the classic Inca Trail, a four- to five-day trek that traverses 42km (26 miles).
Local tip: The weather at Machu Picchu seems to have only two settings: heavy rain or bright, burning sunlight. Don’t forget rain gear and sunblock.
Best for desert explorers
It is mind-boggling how few tourists make it to the ancient city of Caral, built around 5000 years ago and impressively conserved. Located in the high desert of the Supe Valley, a 3½-hour car ride from the capital city of Lima, the Unesco World Heritage Site predates ceramic pottery and the Incas. It is the key to the beginning of Andean culture, a visible shift from separate tribes to a shared urban community. With a guide, visitors can stroll through what was once a complex city of the Norte Chico culture, consisting of mud-brick amphitheaters, ceremonial rooms, circular plazas and the remains of six pyramids: remnants of urban planning and agricultural practices that would greatly influence subsequent cultures in Peru.
Best for archaeology enthusiasts
In the Amazonas region of northern Peru, a walled settlement known as Kuélap has stood among the clouds since the 7th century. Built by the Chachapoyas culture (referred to as “Cloud Warriors”), the fortress is often called the Machu Picchu of the North, despite its higher elevation of 3000m (9842ft) above sea level and the fact that it predates the Inca citadel by at least 500 years. Hundreds of circular structures are spread across the site, making it one of the largest sites of stone ruins in the Americas.
Planning tip: Getting to Kuélap is now easy in a day trip from
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One of the best ways to get to know a country is through its food and beverage offerings. For the holiday season, check out these excellent wines from under-the-radar wine regions in different parts of the world (which we should be drinking more from!) for your wanderlust wine-loving friends who are eager to try something new. Note: All wines mentioned are available in the United States.
Culinary powerhouses from throughout Latin America gathered yesterday at the Copacabana Palace, A Belmond Hotel, in Rio de Janeiro, to hear which restaurants would be honored as the very best in the region in 2023, according to World’s 50 Best.
In the 1990s, The Eastern & Oriental Express, a modern version of the vintage luxury trains that once snaked through Southeast Asia, took to the rails. It recreated a decidedly romantic way to travel through the jungles, cities, and riverfront towns of Singapore and Malaysia, which its sister train, the Venice Simplon Orient Express, offered in Europe.
Peru is a megadiverse country, offering countless adventures and cultural experiences for the intrepid – as well as potentially endless head-scratching and headache-inducing occurrences for the uninformed traveler.
Searching for the best places to visit that promote cultural diversity and sustainable travel? The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) recently released its third annual list of the Best Tourism Villages for 2023, a compilation of authentic, lesser-known places to travel. Consider this your new travel bucket list.
Having witnessed a surge in demand for group travel over the past couple of years, Black Tomato–renowned for its imaginative and boundary-pushing experiential travel–has taken this as inspiration for its latest offering. It’s in step with a rising trend of travelers wanting to travel together and reconnect–particularly post-pandemic–with family members and groups of friends.
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